BENSON — What’s a Plowboy? Well in the Land O’Ducks League, it’s the newest amateur baseball team.
Introducing the Benson Plowboys.
“It was kind of a funny name and we liked it,” explained Plowboys co-manager Matthew Ebnet. “We’ve got a lot of country boys, but no farmers I don’t think.”
Benson High School was known as the Plowboys until the 1950s, when it was changed to Braves.
Benson had an amateur baseball team known as the Benson Chiefs until 2013. Since then, there hasn’t been a team.
Ebnet, a 2019 Benson High School graduate, went to watch a buddy play for the Appleton A’s last summer. His buddy, Matthew Goose, was having a blast.
“After I graduated, I didn’t really think about (playing amateur baseball) at all,” Ebnet said. “One of my friends was playing for Appleton.
“We talked about it and maybe seeing what we could do.”
Running a town team isn’t as easy as it looks. Getting players is the easy part. And even that’s not easy. You need help, especially financially. You need support. You need a field where you can sell concessions. Concessions pay the bills. And, you need a league.
Ebnet, a University of Minnesota student majoring in sports management, soon became aware of all this.
The field, Benson’s city-owned park, was no problem in getting dates.
Between his and his brother’s class of baseball players at Benson, they got commitments from 25 players, who range in ages from 17 to “about 23,” Ebnet said. That likely makes them the youngest team in the West Central Tribune area.
There are eight players currently in college. Two are playing junior college baseball, Daniel Lenarz plays at Minnesota State-Fergus Falls and Goosen is at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.
There are five high school players. Four are in the Class of 2021. One, Sam Lenarz, is also a co-manager.
“Our first challenge is we knew it would be tough to get enough money,” Ebnet said.
His father, Roger Ebnet, who is president of the Benson Baseball Boosters Association, helped get letters asking for donations out. The support from area businesses was generous. The Plowboys raised enough money to buy uniforms, baseballs and equipment and still have enough to pay the umpires for two seasons.
The next challenge was finding a league. Ebnet got some help from John Reardon, who used to run the Benson Chiefs, to get into the Land O’ Ducks league. With all its … ahh, ducks in a row, the Benson Plowboys were admitted to the 13-team league for the 2021 season.
There’s a 12-game league season, starting at 2 p.m. May 16 in Clinton. The home-opener is set for 7:30 p.m. May 28 against the Minneota Mudhens.
The Plowboys, ready or not, are excited about joining the world of town ball.
“I have never managed a team before,” Ebnet admitted, then corrected himself. “I’ve coached (Benson) morning (youth) baseball. But I want to be a baseball coach when I graduate from college.”
Twins open season
Ready or not, the New London-Spicer Twins open the 2021 County League season at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Green Lake Diamonds.
They’re scheduled to play the Paynesville Pirates.
Manager Scott Rambow isn’t sure what to expect.
“We haven’t really even gotten together much yet,” Rambow said, noting the Twins have had one practice. “We have some guys away at college and I think Paynesville does too.
“It should be interesting.”
Rambow said that catcher Derek Dolezal and outfielder John Perkins won’t be available Sunday. Both play baseball for Bemidji State, an NCAA Division II program in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
The Twins should have ace pitcher Adam Nibaur available, as well as Adam Schrader. Nibaur, 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, is a former Concordia-Moorhead pitcher. Schrader, an attorney, is a former San Diego Padres minor leaguer who lives in Spicer.
Rambow is hoping for a return to normal after a tough 2020 season.
“Last year, we weren’t sure if we were going to play or not,” Rambow said. “Everything seems sort of back to normal so far.”
As in 2020, the County Line will have six teams: New London-Spicer, Paynesville, the Norway Lake-Sunburg Lakers, the Regal Eagles, the Atwater Chuckers and the Starbuck Stars. Starbuck made it to the state tournament last year and has a lot of good, young talent.
New London-Spicer wound up winning the league and advancing to regional play, where it lost to the Bird Island Bullfrogs. Bird Island made it to the final weekend of the state Class C tournament last year in Springfield and Milroy.
It’s a light weekend for town ball. The Elrosa Saints, who opened with a 6-4 win over the Greenwald Cubs last weekend, play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Spring Hill. The Chargers are Elrosa’s biggest rival in the Stearns County League’s North Division.
Regal is host to Watkins in an exhibition game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Raymond Rockets play an exhibition game at 2 p.m. at Clinton and the Roscoe Rangers are host to a tournament.
On Sunday, Elrosa is host to Dassel-Cokato at 1:30 p.m. and Roscoe plays at Lake Henry in a Stearns County League game.