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Successful Trojan Baseball program had roots in ’61 season
February 11, 2013
MADISON, S.D. – Distinguished 2012 Dakota State baseball players Anyelo Roman, Jason Hershfield and Max Garza can thank Jack Bauer, Darrell Sabers and Dale Waba for the groundwork for the sport which was laid in early 1961.
That trio of General Beadle State student-athletes/amateur baseball players approached Dr. V.A. Lowry, General Beadle's long-time president, about starting a baseball program which had been dormant for decades.
"We told (President) Lowry that we could get together a team without costing that much (if any) money involved," said Waba, now a retired Madison school administration/educator/coach.
"We all played baseball for our hometowns," added Sabers, also known as Dr. Sabers at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "We really wanted to get a team together at General Beadle."
(Sabers, who at 76-plus years, plays men's slow-pitch softball for three different leagues' teams.)
"The biggest selling point we made to President Lowry was that we could wear our town teams' uniforms," said Bauer, who now resides in Elkton after retiring from teaching in 2005 after serving the Canby, Minn. school system for many years. "Basically, it wouldn't cost General Beadle anything."
The trio also pitched the idea that the team could travel with the men's track team in out-of-town contests.
With Lowry's approval and that of William Bulfer, the school's athletic director at the time, the team began play in April that year.
Bauer, Sabers and Waba were joined by student-athletes who played in at least seven different amateur baseball leagues.
They included: Ray Kooistra, Ron Kouri, Dick Anderson, Bill Wheeler, Gene Whealy, Bob Nangle, Ray Tidblom, Lonnie Scriver, Steve Bogenrief, Del Halseth, Doug Groce, Farrel Jacobsen, Terry Walters, Denny Hakeman, Wes Remmers, Gene Lindahl and Earl Williams.
Waba was the oldest member of the team, having served in the United State Armed Services before coming to GBSTC. He became the playing coach/manager of the team that season.
Myself, Darrell, Denny and Gene were the team top hitters," said Waba. "Bill, Doug and Farrel were both pretty good pitchers and fielders. Really, all the guys were solid ballplayers."
"I was more a hitter than anything else," admitted Sabers. "When I played for the Salem Cubs the previous summer in 1960, I hit something like .439."
Kooistra, a retired teacher now living in Yankton, handled much of the catching chores (along with Waba). He knew what the team had in pitchers.
"Bill had a good fastball," smiled Kooistra. "Farrel, however, had a lot of different motion on the ball. It could be said that he threw a lot of 'junk' at opposing batters. But, he didn't have as good a fastball as Bill had."
Groce, who retired from teaching and coaching in the Madison school awhile back, was the Trojans' ace reliever.
A humble Groce said, "I never started. My biggest memory was striking out Sid Bostic, South Dakota State's star freshman athlete. "For me, it was just fun to play baseball and to get the college team going."
In that inaugural season, the Trojans were 3-4, including a season opening 3-0 win over the Yankton Lakers. They finished the limited schedule year with a doubleheader win, 8-1 and 4-1, over State's freshmen.
Hakeman, Scriver and Kooistra each hit safely in the Lakers' game, while Wheel tossed a one-hit shutout in that contest.
Against State, Sabers went 3-for-4 at the plate in the opener and cranked out a homer in the nightcap. Whealy also had two hits in the nightcap.
That season, the Trojans also played doubleheaders against the Lakers and then took on Black Hills State in Rapid City. All were losses.
The baseball Trojans reached a temporary high point in the early 80's when they earned their way to the South Dakota-Iowa Conference (SDIC) upper echelon, becoming the conference champions in 1984 and 1985.
Even after that stellar run, the team was dropped after the '85 season, due to DSC's computer-mission changeover. In 1995, the team was reinstated, finishing with a 4-27 campaign.
In 2003 and again in 2005, the Trojans captured the NAIA Region III Tournament and advanced to the Super Regionals, and over the past eight years, the team has averaged 26 wins a season. (The Trojans qualified for the NAIA Region III Tournament four times – 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. DSU qualified for the NAIA Baseball National Tournament Opening Round in 2012 after earning a runner-up honor in the Association of Independent Institutions Baseball Postseason conference tournament.)
"It was important that we needed to get the team established way back in 1961," stressed Waba. "By the 1962 season, the college had supplied us with equipment and uniforms. I became the team's manager while Bulfer took over as coach. I am just glad that we were able to lay the groundwork for future teams."
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director