Mason Brumbaugh of the Hastings Redbirds pitches during
Playing on a traveling team isn't for the faint-hearted.
It requires a commitment from both players, ages 8-14, and their families.
Depending on the age division, teams may play upwards of 50 games during a season, which typically start with training in January or February and run through July.
End-of-the-season play may include games in Omaha, Kansas City, or Denver. Team fees and equipment costs can run well over $1,000 per season on non-sponsored teams. And when teams aren't playing, they're practicing or fundraising to cover team costs.
But coaches of the three Hastings traveling teams — two established teams and a new one just starting — say that although the schedule is rigorous, the players learn to excel at both baseball and life.
Jim Boeve has coached baseball for more than 30 years. That experience includes 23 years as head baseball coach at Hastings College, 17 years with American Legion teams, and three years with the Fairbanks Redbirds USSSA traveling youth team.