Miltona Tigers won’t field a team this year, hope it’s a one-year thing

For the first time since its inaugural season in 2004, the Miltona Tigers amateur baseball team won’t field a team in the Resorters League this summer.

Alexandria’s Mark Whiting checked his swing during a game against the Carlos Cougars on June 16, 2012. (Echo Press file photo by Eric Morken)

It was news that came as a surprise to teams across the league, but a decision that simply came down to a lack of player availability. Manager Paul Walsh called it a perfect storm of events with a lot of players getting close to retirement, college students having to be out of the area on internships and other regulars getting to a point where living out of the area and having families made it impossible to commit every weekend.

“We’re looking at this, hoping this is a one-year thing,” Walsh said by phone on Thursday morning. “We hope to get some younger players next year who are maybe still playing Legion ball this summer and can’t commit to this. We feel bad for the community of Miltona. They have supported us so much…It’s something that we’re looking at as a bump in the road.”

Walsh said not being able to field a team was a surprise to him even after it became somewhat difficult to find enough guys for games toward the end of last season.

“Quite frankly, up and down the league, there’s only a couple teams that don’t have that problem,” Walsh said. “Kids are very busy these days. They have a lot going on. These are young men that, ever since I’ve been doing this, I’ve had guys who were coaching and giving back to the baseball community, at least a couple guys coaching VFW and then maybe one or two coaching Legion…We started up nine years ago and some of those guys have families and don’t live around here anymore. It can be hard to commit to coming back on the weekends.”

The Tigers have built some strong teams and strong rivalries with other surrounding communities. The hope is that those will continue in 2014 after a one-year hiatus.

“We had a great run,” Walsh said. “And we still think we can put something back together.”