Transplants orient to Hoosier living

 

Dave Weatherwax/The Herald
Dubois County Bombers pitcher Alex Britt grew up in a small town about 30 minutes from Charlotte, N.C. Living in Dubois County is an adjustment for Britt and many of his teammates, most of whom bond between poker games, fishing trips and pickup basketball games. The Bombers will extend their summer stay Tuesday, when they host Terre Haute at 7:15 at League Stadium in a Western Division playoff matchup.


By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer

The initial reactions pretty much give away the answer.

Faces contort, grimace a little. Nobody wants to say the wrong thing. The facial expressions seem to all converge on one central theme: Dubois County isn’t exactly a lush summer spot for a guy in his late teens or early 20s.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the nadir of someone’s existence, either.

Need proof? Ask this year’s Dubois County Bombers, who are set to host Tuesday’s Prospect League, first-round playoff game at 7:15 p.m. against Terre Haute.

Every season a smattering a young guys from across the Midwest and other parts of the country leave college at the end of the spring semester and head to Huntingburg, a place where most of them haven’t been before. Probably not even heard of, actually.

But playing baseball is a passion, and when that’s the case, dusty ballfields in rural neighborhoods don’t seem so foreign.

Dubois County manager Ryan Anderson is somewhat of a local, living in Vincennes. He’ll tell the guys there’s a movie theater in Jasper. And if they want to make the drive, they can visit the shopping mall in Evansville.

Players wish there were more options. And more than once someone has said they wouldn’t mind seeing as many girls as they do at college.

But...

“It’s nice, though,” countered Austin Nyman, who grew up in northern California before attending college at Hofstra, situated in the fast-forward world of New York. “No one is in a rush to get anywhere.”

“I get to meet new people on the field, new teammates, and then it just feels like you’re just at home once you start getting in the group. I’ve gone other places and met different people. Whenever you get with the team and start bonding with them, like everything else around seems more comfortable.”

Everyone talks of the importance of making friends fast with teammates. There aren’t any cliques. Between poker games, fishing trips and pickup basketball games played on the courts adjacent to League Stadium, everyone fits in.

“Team chemistry is great,” said Alex Britt, who grew up about 30 minutes from Charlotte, N.C. “Hanging out, getting to know everybody, it just makes everybody more comfortable on the field.”

“They hang out a lot, and that’s definitely helped us with camaraderie,” Anderson added. “Hanging out together, playing together, they see a lot of each other all the time, but sometimes that can be a good thing.”

Cody Daily grew up in Granite City, Ill., about 10 miles from St. Louis, but with his family owning land in the country, he spent plenty of time hunting and fishing. That’s something no one has to give up when they move to southern Indiana.

“I especially like it, because I like living in the country and that’s where I live over by Dale,” said Daily, who recently caught some catfish and bluegill at Huntingburg Lake. “I tell (my family and friends back home) I like it out here, it’s fun. It’s good people, nice friends and family and it’s a blast.”

The one caveat is the players don’t have a whole lot of free time. By the time the team stops to eat and arrives back in Huntingburg after a road game, it’s usually around 5 a.m. Late-morning naps that spread into the afternoon typically follow, and by the time the players wake up, they need to be back at the ballfield for the next game.

Trying to make friends in a new place while clinging to anything that’s reminiscent of home, that basically sums up everyone’s first year of college. Players agreed with that assessment. Daily even said the guys, after realizing how good they were early in the season, wished they could turn the Bombers into a college team.

The thinking was they stumbled onto something special, and nobody wanted to loosen their grip.
 
They still don’t.

“It kind of sucks knowing that we all live so far away, we’re probably never going to see a lot of us again,” Daily said. “We’re just trying to make it count and have the best time we can.”

Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com.




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com