Fargo has been able to brag about its athletes in recent years, from Chris Coste to Carson Wentz. But there may not be a more unifying team than the one taking the diamond Wednesday morning in Westfield, Indiana.
The Fargo 12 year old Little League team will face Coon Rapids, Minnesota in a winner’s bracket game with the winner advancing to the Midwest Regional Final Saturday, one win away from Little League Nirvana; the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Little League baseball has its detractors, people that believe that the games shouldn’t be televised, is this too much too soon for 12 year olds? That ship has sailed though, ESPN pays Little League a handsome price to televise its championship and now its regionals. The fact a Fargo a team is now playing on television is remarkable, considering this team is in its first year. Last fall, Fargo Little League and Babe Ruth combined to form Fargo Youth Baseball, a chance to put together the best players in the city on one team. The experiment has been a resounding success.
WDAY Sports first profiled this team in the middle of July, right after they won the state tournament, outscoring opponents 58-0. The team then slayed the South Dakota state champ from Canyon Lake, making history with that win, as a North Dakota team had never qualified for the Midwest Regional.
Mike Rerick, the head coach of the team told me earlier this week that he believed this team had potential, saying: “We told the guys, go watch Sioux Falls in Williamsport. There’s no reason that can’t be us next year.” That Sioux Falls team was also in its first year last season and qualified for the World Series in Williamsport.
I’m sure there was a little bit of jealousy from the northern neighbors and the thought, “well if Sioux Falls can do it, there’s no way Fargo can’t!” It appears that philosophy has taken hold. Fargo pounded Kearney, Nebraska 15-1 on Sunday in its regional opener then followed it up with a 4-1 win over Des Moines, Iowa on Monday. Drew Rerick, Mike’s son, throw 85 pitches, the most you can in a Little League game and struck out 13 batters. You only get 18 outs in a Little League game.
The attention has been growing on this team. We’ve had calls into the station on where to watch this team play. The regionals are on ESPN Plus, a new network created by the Worldwide Leader to get more money by showing more content. You have to download the ESPN App, then purchase a subscription to watch the games. Fargo is two wins away from reaching the World Series and then it’s big boy ESPN where everyone can watch them.
Coste and Wentz have their fans, but not everyone is a baseball fan and Viking fans would love to bury Wentz when the teams play in October. This team has already unified the baseball community. A win tomorrow and non-baseball fans will be interested. It’s the appeal of the World Series and Williamsport.
It seems like Fargo’s team is now.