The Gate City Grays had won the last 3 of their 4 games in “walk off” fashion. And in the bottom of the final inning against the East Idaho Threads, with two outs, the tying run on third and winning run on second, they were perched to do the same.
On a wild pitch that just missed the catcher’s glove, the Gray’s runner on third darted for home. The roar of hundreds of Gray’s fans that suddenly rose to their feet, excited by the chance to tie the game, cheered him on.
Catcher Jon Hemsely quickly found the ball that had bounced only a few feet away from him. He ran to the ball, grabbed it, and turning made a quick toss towards home plate. Pitcher Daza Verdugo arrived just in time to make the catch and apply the tag.
It was close. But with a booming voice, point and pumping his fist, the home plate umpire yelled “OUT!” and the Threads stormed the field to celebrate their victory.
It was a tight, hard-fought game by both sides, which featured spectacular defensive plays and solid hitting.
Top Row From Left: Coach Ryan Rasmussen, Tayler Singleton, Edgar Lopez, Jacob Shively, Carlos Toledo, Grant Gardner, Ben Orchard, Jon Hemsley, Rob Lindstrom, Matt Lindstrom. Bottom Row From Left: Juan Reyes, Karson Hanosky, Gerry Flores, Sergio Cejudo, Daza Verdugo, Drew Arnold.
The East Idaho Threads
Before the game had begun however, regular Gray’s fans were curious about the East Idaho Threads. They were a team the fans had never heard of or seen on the schedule before. They were even more curious about the players’ uniforms, representing the Monarchs, the Rockies, the Orioles, and the Spuds (four of the five teams in SEIABL).
One Gray’s fan, after speaking with one of the players about where the team came from, commented, “Oh that’s why you’re called the ‘Threads.’ Because you were all ‘threaded together.’”
Although the thread of a baseball is the real reason Thread’s Coach Ryan Rasmussen chose the name, the fan’s comment was very accurate of this all-star team that “threaded together” some of the best baseball players who played during SEIABL’s regular season.
The win was meaningful to the players, the future of the Threads and the future of the league. For the players, it will be a night to remember.
Rob Lindstrom played for the Monarchs during the regular season and centerfield for the Threads against the Grays. He commented that being able to play with his brother Matt (who also played for the Monarchs) in a close game under the lights against a team like the Grays and come away with the win “was a dream come true.”
Next Step for the Threads and SEIABL
Coach Ryan Rasmussen has long envisioned taking the baseball talent in East Idaho and organizing a team that could officially join the Northern Utah League. This league is home to four semi-professional teams from Utah as well as one from Idaho (Gate City).
After the game, he shared with his team that “this was only the beginning” of an opportunity for the Threads to represent East Idaho in this prestigious league.
The logistics of this area hosting a semi-professional team are still in the works. But you can be sure that this isn’t the last time that you hear of the East Idaho Threads.
The win for the Threads was an exclamation point at the end of a very successful first season. Despite the league being new, it enjoyed an amazing turnout of about 80 athletes. SEIABL (Southeast Idaho Amateur Baseball League) had five teams that played each other for 14 regular season games and then in a single elimination tournament, which the Spuds won.
Now that SEIABL has worked through a year of scheduling, coordinated official umpires, and found fields to play on, we can only expect it to grow. More teams, more games, more baseball.
The rise of the South East Idaho Amateur Baseball League demonstrates that East Idaho has a strong baseball community with talented baseball players that can hang with, and even beat the best.