Drive by the baseball fields at Pioneer Park this summer and you may come across a little league baseball game with a big-league atmosphere. This season, the Hastings 13AA youth baseball team has added a few wrinkles to its pre-game program in the form of flag bearers, the national anthem and community members throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Erlend Larsen, a player-parent, said the idea came to a few of the kids' parents late one night and that it would set a good example for the players, as well as adding something special to their experience.
On Monday, June 25, Hastings was back in action at Pioneer Park against Eastview. During the pre-game ceremony, Cora Odman and Rhea Peine presented the American flag on the pitching mound as both teams lined up on the foul ball lines. J. J. Bloomquist played the national anthem on the trumpet and then Mayor Paul Hicks threw out the first pitch. The Raiders do this for all their home games at Pioneer Park, incorporating siblings and other family members of the players.