Jackson Senior Babe Ruth baseball coach Paul Sander watches from foul territory Monday, July 6, 2009, at Jackson City Park. Sander is slated to serve as the head coach for the Charleston Riverdogs 19-and-older baseball team this summer. [Order this photo]
The Charleston Riverdogs 19-and-older collegiate-level baseball team is organizing and will be holding tryouts in April. The time, date and location of the tryouts has not been determined at this time.
Current Saxony Lutheran high school baseball coach and former Jackson Senior Babe Ruth baseball coach Paul Sander will serve as the head coach of the Riverdogs this summer.
"We saw the need for another collegiate level baseball team players can play on in southeast Missouri," Sander said. "We anticipate a lot of interest in the Riverdogs team. We are already getting calls. There are many really good 19-and-older players in the area that have not had a lot of options to play locally in the summer. This will be a great new option for some of those players.
"College players need a place to play in the summer," Sander continued. "They are expected to keep up their skills and continue playing in the summer. However, we are not limiting ourselves to just college players. Anyone who is 19-and-older and wants to play is encouraged to tryout or call to find out more information."
Sander is no stranger to coaching successful summer league baseball programs.
He most recently served as the head coach of Jackson Senior Babe Ruth. The 2009 Jackson Senior Babe Ruth team finished one win shy of advancing to the national tournament and the 2010 Jackson Senior Babe Ruth team won a state title with Sander serving as the skipper.
The Charleston Riverdogs will play home games at Hillhouse Park in Charleston, Mo., and Saxony Lutheran High School in Jackson, Mo.
Michael Minner, who coaches the 18-and-under Charleston Fighting Squirrels Senior Babe Ruth baseball team, is excited a college-level team is returning to the area.
"This is a team that my dad and one of my best friends dads started while we were in college so we could get some work in the summer," said Minner, who has coached the Charleston Fighting Squirrels to six state titles in the last decade. "We haven't had it for a few years or so, but we've had some older kids playing college ball that have needed a place to play the past few summers. Some of them have played for me on the Charleston Fighting Squirrels in the past. I just feel like I owe them a place to get some work in the summer.
"Baseball has been great to me and I have been truly blessed to meet some great people," Minner continued. "Hopefully, the Riverdogs will be an extension of everything we have done. Paul will do a great job with the guys and we hope this is a great place for college players to be able to come home and still stay sharp with their baseball skills. We hope it's a long-term success story."
Sander estimates the cost to play on the team for each player will be $150. The team is projected to play a 35-game schedule. Those interested may obtain more information by contacting Sander at (573) 270-9535 or Minner at (573) 382-2740.
"Coach Minner and I look forward to starting what we hope will be another long-lasting collegiate level team in the southeast Missouri area," Sander said. "We also look forward to having a lot of fun in the process."