As opening week continues in the Northwoods League, The Mandan Flickertails are trying to get through this early part of the season, all without a head coach.
It has been an unusual start to the Flickertail season. Formerly the Thunder Bay Border Cats out of Canada. the team has had to move south for the summer.
“We just kind of keep preaching to the players that we got to be flexible in a situation like this and they’ve done a great job,” says assistant coach Kyle MacKinnon. “I know the Larks have done a ton stuff, so we’re just trying to keep the guys fed, keep them in good spirits and try and get on the field”
However, Head Coach Mike Steed is stuck in Canada until the border restrictions lift. The players he recruited figuring out how they fit on the team with him gone.
“All my communication about this was through him,” says Damone Hale. “So the fact that he wasn’t here when I got here, it sucks, but I understand the situation that they’re in out there. So before I left, I actually got in contact with one of the coaches and then just try and build a bond between them before I got out here.”
The Flickertails have a roster made up of mostly Division one talent, 24 total, a stat that these coaches don’t pay attention to.
“There’s good baseball at all levels,” MacKinnon says. “So it doesn’t matter where you play, if you don’t bring it in a game, you’re going to get rolled over anyways.”
Damone Hale comes from Yavapai College, a junior college, but is a highly-touted prospect for the class of 2019. Batting over .400 in this first three games, Hale wants to make things happen at the top of the lineup.
“I really want people to enjoy watching me play,” Hale says. “That’s one of my things, I like to inspire people, whether it’s just in front of people, in the field, on the field. But I know a lot of people that are coming to watch are kids and they just want to see a good ball game and I just want to put on a show best I can.”
“It’s just going to be a lot of fun,” says MacKinnon. “And hopefully we can bring a good brand of baseball to Bismarck and hopefully entertain some fans.”
The Flickertails return to action tonight, looking to take down the undefeated Bismarck Larks.