Rosengren: Baseball in snowshoes at Lake Tomahawk

From SABR member John Rosengren at Sports on Earth on July 24, 2014:

They play the national pastime a little differently here — on snowshoes. In the summertime. The local team has a decided home field advantage, having learned to shuffle along the eight inches of coarse sawdust spread throughout the infield. On this particular Monday evening in July, Don Hilgendorf, 76, a retired Division III baseball coach and the driving force behind this unique brand of entertainment, gathers his players for a pregame pep talk. 

The only team to beat his Snow Hawks in recent years has been that night’s opponent, the Chicago All-Stars, who swept a two-game series last summer and won a special July 4 contest the previous Friday, 10-9. “You remember what happened last year,” Hilgendorf tells the 14 players on snowshoes gathered around him. “We don’t want that to happen again.”

From his second-floor perch behind home plate, the public address announcer, Jim Soyck, 79, the voice of snowshoe baseball and an unapologetic homer who calls strikes for the Snow Hawks’ pitcher, compliments hometown fielders and exhorts the hitters to rally, ups the ante with his pregame announcement: “We are out for a little revenge tonight. I’ve got a $10 bet on our guys.”

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Originally published: July 29, 2014. Last Updated: July 29, 2014.