In their debut season in the Andrew Agencies Ltd Senior AA Baseball League, the SVDN Dakotas gained valuable experience and had fun playing together.
“The part I enjoyed about this season was being back out on the hardball field with our boys from back home and a few pick-up players and just playing baseball,” said Tommy Rosmus, who co-coached the squad with Randell Wasicuna. “Even though our record wasn’t the best, we still went out every game and had fun and we look forward to next season and improving.”
Although they had some close, hard-fought contests, the Dakota were unable to earn their first league victory this past summer. They went 0-14 with a roster featuring only four athletes with Senior AA experience. Eight Dakotas came from fastball backgrounds while four competed in baseball in the high school ranks in the past. Sage Hall-Vermette played for both the Dakotas and the Brandon 15U AAA Marlins.
“I felt this year was a good learning experience for our players, especially the players that haven’t played hardball before,” Rosmus said. “The boys are excited to play next season and have a good idea on some of the things we have to work on as a team. We will have some winter sessions and spring training and plan to come back stronger next season.”
Although the majority of Dakotas’ players hailed from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, there were also athletes from other First Nations, including Canupawakpa Dakota Nation, Birdtail Sioux Dakota Nation, Waywayseecappo First Nation, and the Cross Lake First Nation.
“It was good to get guys from other reserves together and try to have fun and play the game we love but at the same time trying to teach them about situational baseball on the fly,” Wasicuna said. “.”
Rosmus and Wasicuna had been teammates earlier in their Senior AA careers. They saw an opportunity for players from their home community to compete at the AA level.
“We both love the game of baseball and we just wanted to keep the game going within our community and to get the young guys playing,” Rosmus said. “We have a lot of ball players and athletes back home so we got together last summer and said it’s time we put a Sioux Valley baseball team in the senior AA league. It’s something we’ve talked about for years and years and finally we followed through and entered a team with the help of our sponsors and we will continue this team, I’m hoping, for a very long time.”
They chose the Dakotas moniker to honour past Sioux Valley fastball and hockey teams. Wasicuna noted that Dakotas fastball teams won national championships in the 1990s.
“It was us paying homage to them, because there are only a couple of the original Dakotas around now,” he said. “So, we just wanted to bring it back to life and it’s a name that is known all across Canada.”
The team is seeking success in the future.
“Tons of excitement for next season and the summers to come after that,” Rosmus said. “We had a lot of fun this year and we were happy with the support from our community throughout the season and we look forward to improving every year to give our community something to cheer for during the summer months.”