With college baseball wrapping up, the Dodge City Athletics, a collegiate summer league team, is about to get its season under way.

    The A’s are one week away from starting their season with a homestand against the Colorado Renegades at Cavalier Field, on June 4, starting at 7 p.m.

    This season, the Dodge City A’s bring in a wide array of players from different levels, including six who played NCAA Division-I ball and two more who signed letters of intent to play at that level next year.

    “I am excited about the group we’ve got coming in,” Dodge City head coach Jeremy Irlbeck said. “Mainly because they are all character guys — they are guys that are going to do the right thing, they are not going to embarrass the summer programs. They are also going to have a passion for the game of baseball.

    “They are here in Dodge for the summer for the right reasons. That is why I am excited about this whole group.  … I think they are going to be very competitive. I think they are going to come and play hard, play the game, the entire game, and that is something I am very excited for.”


With college baseball wrapping up, the Dodge City Athletics, a collegiate summer league team, is about to get its season under way.
    The A’s are one week away from starting their season with a homestand against the Colorado Renegades at Cavalier Field, on June 4, starting at 7 p.m.
    This season, the Dodge City A’s bring in a wide array of players from different levels, including six who played NCAA Division-I ball and two more who signed letters of intent to play at that level next year.
    “I am excited about the group we’ve got coming in,” Dodge City head coach Jeremy Irlbeck said. “Mainly because they are all character guys — they are guys that are going to do the right thing, they are not going to embarrass the summer programs. They are also going to have a passion for the game of baseball.
    “They are here in Dodge for the summer for the right reasons. That is why I am excited about this whole group.  … I think they are going to be very competitive. I think they are going to come and play hard, play the game, the entire game, and that is something I am very excited for.”
    One of the players on the Dodge City roster is West Virginia outfielder and first baseman Jeremy Gum. He started 33 games for the Mountaineers and had a .315 batting average with 10 doubles, four home runs and 20 RBIs.
    From Morehead State, the A’s bring in infielder Michael Fear, who hit .341 in 43 starts with 10 doubles, four home runs and 35 RBIs.
    The A’s roster also features Dodge City High School product Aaron Heiland.
    “It’s nice to have a local player,” Dodge City A’s General Manager Phil Stephenson said. “Hopefully we will interest people in Dodge City who want to see a local player and see his abilities stack up against guys from different parts of the country.”
    In his first year at Kansas Wesleyan, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics  school in Salina, Heiland was named by the coaches of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference for a Gold Glove award in the outfield and was also second-team all-conference.
    Heiland started 39 games and batted .333 with 31 runs and 17 RBIs, while having a .988 fielding percentage.
    Dodge City general manager Phil Stephenson said that he has not had a chance to see most of the team’s players perform  and won’t get that opportunity until they show up on Tuesday.
    “You don’t get to see these guys, you don’t know them —with the exception of the two guys that played here at Dodge City (Community College), T.J. (Millspaugh) and Rick (Lesperance),” Stephenson said. “The other guys, you are taking it off recommendations of coaches. A lot of times people I know or Jeremy knows, scouts we have become acquainted with getting information and just trying to piece together what you hope are talented guys that will mesh well together and play well together.”
    When the players arrive Tuesday, Irlbeck said they would spend the day getting settled in and having housing arraignments taken care of. The team will have two days to practice before opening the season.
    Stephenson said he was glad to see his team will be starting the season with four non-conference games.
    “In the past, we have always had to play our (Jayhawk) league games right from the get-go,” Stephenson said. “We would have two practices and go play our league games. This year, we get a couple practices and four non-league games to open with two teams from Colorado — the Renegades and the Colorado Bombers. ... It is kind of good for everybody. It gives you a chance to play everybody, gives you a chance to look at everybody, gives all your pitchers some work before you get into league play.
    “I think that is something we have never had in the past since I have been here. … It seems like it usually takes a week playing league games before we finally get a feel for how everything is going to go by then. If you are in the gutter, it is tough to get out of it. This year that won’t be the case.”
    While the players are in Dodge City, they will be living with host families, and Stephenson said he still does not have enough volunteers to house the entire team.
    “A big part of it is host families and we are probably about seven or eight bed shorts of where we would like to be right now to have enough to cover everything,” Stephenson said. “Having played two different summers away from home in Fairbanks, Alaska, while I was in college, to this day, the people I stayed with in Fairbanks, I still have yearly contact with them, stay in touch with them and see how they are doing.
    Stephenson said it can be a gratifying experience that one can cherish forever.
    “I think 90 percent of the people that get involved in this, their experience turns out to be wonderful because the majority of the young men who come in here, have aspirations of wanting to play professional baseball and that is why they are doing this,” he said. “The family I stayed with in Alaska kept players for 13 or 14 years, and of those years, they only had two guys that made it to the big leagues, myself and Mike Boddicker, who pitched for the Orioles.
    “For them, that was as big of a thrill when one of us made it to the big leagues because it was like someone from their own family. It was someone they had taken in and had done stuff with.”
    The A’s are competing in the National Baseball Congress.

DODGE CITY A’S
2010 SCHEDULE
    June 4 — COLORADO RENEGADES, 7 p.m.; June 5 —COLORADO RENEGADES, 7 p.m.; June 6 — COLORADO BOMBERS, 7 p.m.;  June 7 — COLORADO BOMBERS, 7 p.m.; June 8 — at Liberal BeeJays, 7 p.m.; June 9 — HAYS LARKS, 7 p.m.;  June 11 — EL DORADO BRONCOS, 7 p.m.; June 12 — EL DORADO BRONCOS, 7 p.m.; June 13 — EL DORADO BRONCOS, 7 p.m.; June 16 — at Valley Center (DH), 5 p.m.; June 18 — at Derby Twins, 7 p.m.; June 19 — at Derby Twins, 7 p.m.; June 20 — at Derby Twins, 7 p.m.; June 22 — at Hays Larks, 7 p.m.; June 23 — HAYS LARKS, 7 p.m.; June 24 — TOPEKA GOLDEN GIANTS, 7 p.m.; June 25 — HAYSVILLE, 7 p.m.; June 26 — HAYSVILLE, 7 p.m.; June 27 — HAYSVILLE, 7 p.m.; June 29 — at Hays Larks, 7 p.m.; June 30 — HAYS LARKS, 7 p.m.; July 1 — LIBERAL BEEJAYS, 7 p.m.; July 2 — at Topeka Golden Giants, 7 p.m.; July 3 — at Topeka Golden Giants, 7 p.m.; July 4 — at Liberal BeeJays, 7 p.m.; July 6 — AT VALLEY CENTER (DH), 5 p.m.; July 8 — at Liberal BeeJays, 7 p.m.; July 9 — DERBY TWINS, 7 p.m.; July 10 — DERBY TWINS, 7 p.m.; July 11 — DERBY TWINS, 7 p.m.; July 13 — at El Dorado Broncos, 7 p.m.; July 14 — at El Dorado Broncos, 7 p.m.; July 15 — at El Dorado Broncos 7 p.m.; July 16 — LIBERAL BEEJAYS, 7 p.m.; July 17 — LIBERAL BEEJAYS, 7 p.m.; July 18 — LIBERAL BEEJAYS, 7 p.m.; July 19 — at Hays Larks, 7 p.m.; July 22 — HAYS LARKS, 7 p.m.; July 24 —  at Haysville, 7 p.m.; July 26 — at Haysville, 7 p.m.; July 28 — at Hays Larks, 7 p.m.; July 29 — LIBERAL BEEJAYS, 7 p.m.

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