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Reservation getting an American Legion team

Apr 4, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Mike Broadhead is moving ahead with his idea of having an American Legion baseball team for players from the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The Riverton police chief will be having the first practice of the season Saturday, April 13, at the hot springs in Fort Washakie.

The team is for anyone between 14 and 19 years old.

"The response has been really good," Broadhead said. "There has been a lot interest that has been shown by a lot of different kids."

Broadhead is excited to see how many players show up for practice.

"We are not going to know for sure where we are at until we start rolling with practice and to see what kids are really committed for the season," Broadhead said. "I'm very encouraged in what I have seen so far."

The team will be called the WRIR and play in the American Legion A division.

"Some of it's a natural outreach for my job with the police department in trying to find ways to make sure the youth has opportunities for me to go out and work with kids," Broadhead said. "Riverton already has an established baseball program."

Broadhead coached in the Riverton Babe Ruth league last year.

"I saw an opening that the reservation just doesn't have that," Broadhead said.

"I think that baseball has a lot to offer as just a great team sport that involves both individual skill and team skill. I thought that it was a good fit to take baseball to a place where kids are looking for something to do on Saturdays."

Scott Komrs is going to be one of the assistant coaches.

The sponsor of the team is American Legion Post 81.

"By American Legion rules, kids that live in Riverton need to go play for the Raiders," Broadhead said.

The first game for WRIR is Friday, June 7, against Douglas at the Lander City Park.

WRIR is scheduled to play 12 to 13 games in the first season.

"One of the keys is that we are trying to build a program," Broadhead said. "I don't expect us to be very competitive this year. We are going to teach them the game and work with them. We hope to be more competitive next year and even more competitive by the third year. It's really a question of developing a whole program."

The goal is to practice twice a week until the end of May.

Broadhead is putting together a camp for the first week of June.

"For a lot of teams, playing legion baseball is all-consuming," Broadhead said.

"Their families can't do anything else. We also want kids to be able to have a summer."

Interested players can call Broadhead at 857-7603 to play for the upcoming season.

"The Eastern Shoshone Tribe has been real involved with us," Broadhead said.

"They are going to work with us to develop our own home field at the hot springs in the future."