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It is a family affair for the Four Corners baseball team.

They love them some baseball in Four-Corners
Aug 8, 2017

By Rich Winter

Gotta admit when I heard the name Four Corners from the State amateur baseball tournament I wondered where in the heck this group was from. Do they let teams from Arizona in, and if not, well, it's gotta be somewhere tucked away in the eastern part of the state, right?


Nope...the team is based about 20 miles north of Mildand, five miles from the now defunct town of Haze (forgive me if I spell a name or two wrong here), and about 40 miles west of Stanley County. 


While Google Maps or SIRI might come back at you with 'That location is in the middle of nowhere,' don't utter those words to the folks from Four-Corners because on game day, despite the location, in a former pasture, the stands are packed with people. 


"Four-Corners got started in 2003 by a bunch of buddies that all kind of grew up together, started playing softball and just kept playing," Catcher/Third-baseman, Kris Dozark said. "A bunch of families got together including the Hand Brothers, the Normans, the Riggles and the Stoeser's as all of their dads and grandpas played in the 60's and 70's and all of this was kind of a dream to bring baseball back." 


While the playing area at Four-Corners isn't Wrigley field it's not the cow pasture that it used to be either. 


"When the field first got started it was a pasture and it was rough for a while," Dozark said. "It is an all-dirt infield but we've made some improvements with an out-field fance and this year we put Agri-Lime on the field. You might run into a prickly pear cactus in the outfield on occasion."


To beef up attendance at the home games, the Four Corners folks usually have a kids baseball game prior so those that have traveled have time to watch a double-header before heading back home. 


As Four-Corners took down Castlewood, 12-1 in the opening game of the tournament, a ton of fans traveled and Four-Corners pitcher/centerfielder, JD Farley couldn't help but feel the home-town fans despite the electricity in the air in packed house in Mitchell. 


"When you go to Mitchell that first weekend it’s always packed," Farley said. "I played a little college so it's fun to run into teammates and old friends and chit-chat with the guys, it's a pretty neat experience.


The NEAT experience isn't just about travel to the state tournaments. With not the youngest roster in the state tournament, Farley says he often hops in car to go to games with someone who might have four to five kids and he says he wouldn't have it any other way. 


"Going to the games everyone has a family and a few kids," Farley said. "We all go camping and we're parents and adults and we can always have a good time, seems like we've known each other all our lives." 


For Dozark, an Environmental Scientist that refs football, wrestling and the occasional baseball game, he loves running into people he knows or names he knows from reffing high-school athletes. 


Dozark reffed teammate Cooper Carter three of four years ago and while Carter slid into Dozark's catchers position, the Pierre resident just enjoyes seeing familiar faces while at the tournament. 


"It's pretty cool I lived in Platte for a few years so when I see Keith and Frank that takes me back," Dozark said. "We have a teacher from Wagner on our team and I get to see guys like Josh Gephard from Plankington, who coaches the MVP wrestling team. It's cool to follow guys' careers and see how everyone is doing." 


While Farley joined the Four-Corners team last year, he fits right in as if he's been there awhile.


"A lof of our players like to have a good time, give each other crap, and JD fits in with that whole crowd," Dozark said. 


While Four-Corners has won a first-round game in each of the last 2 (maybe 3) years at the state amateur, both Dozark and Farley are cautiously optimistic about their chances to reach the quarters.


"We're a little banged up but if we're healthy and play good baseball, I think we have a shot," Farley said. "Gotta keep playing great defense and then keep hitting the ball well."


Author's Note - One of the families Dozark mentioned during a Tuesday interview was the Hand family....Is one of them about 50 and tall like 6-4 or 6-5 I asked...Yep, Byron....I remember that guy...

Rich Winter, Bennett County class of 1985.


Good luck to the Four Corners team and if folks aren't out harvesting, working or traveling to the games, and have internet access, the games will be webcast at www.liveticket.tv


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