Every spring, the baseball diamond in Prentis Park is occupied by a group of South Dakota students who play in competitive league. This group of students is the University of South Dakota club baseball team.
Being a club sport team puts all the work of scheduling, practicing and managing onto the student players themselves.
Senior president and head coach Trevor Freudenthal not only deals with managing the team, he also plays for USD.
Freundenthal said being a part of a club sport team in college is not an easy task.
“It’s quite difficult at times to keep everyone motivated and focused for practices and games during the season,” Freundenthal said. “We try to practice three times a week and for most of the players it gets hard with school and everything else going on.
Sophomore Trevor Doyle said despite not receiving scholarships to play, the team still works just as hard.
“We approach the team as if we were playing for a non-club sport,” Doyle said. “We play hard in every game and it doesn’t matter that were a club team.”
Currently the Coyotes only have one win on the season but still have plenty of games left in the season.
Freundenthal said despite the team’s 1-5 record this season the club baseball team is one of the stronger club sports at USD.
“We are a competitive team,” Freundethal said. “Our goal every year is to win our Mid-America North conference and hopefully make it to Georgia. This year I think we have more experience than in years past and should have a chance to make it.”
Columbus, Georgia is where the National Club Baseball Association hosts its World Series, which is separate from the NCAA College World Series in Omaha.
Doyle said the team is focused on trying to win their conference in order to make it to the NCBA World Series.
“We need to play hard in every conference game this season,” Doyle said. “The goal is win conference, regionals and make it to Georgia.”
The Coyotes next face Northern Iowa on March 31 and April 1 at Prentis Park in a double-header each day.
Freundenthal said the team will have to come out strong in order to pull out some wins this weekend against Northern Iowa.
“We need to come out and play like we can,” Freundenthal said. “Last weekend we struggled but it also was our first weekend of competitive baseball this season. I think we got our first weekend jitters out of the way.”
Sophomore relief pitcher Ryan Lauseng said the team is looking to build off every game they play together.
“We have gotten off to a slow start,” Lauseng said. “Were still trying to figure out how to play together but it is getting better after every game.”
Doyle said the games against Northern Iowa are big for the team.
“We know we didn’t play our best last weekend,” Doyle said. “Its time for us to step up and make plays.”
Freundenthal said being able to play in Vermillion at Prentis Park convenient for the team and community.
“It is nice to have a home field in our home town,” Freundenthal said. “Hopefully we can get a big home field crowd this weekend.”