Hometown talent in the mix for RedHawks roster spot
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A Fargo South and Concordia alum, Chris Coste is the poster child for the ultimate dream. Having made it to the biggest stage and won the biggest prize in baseball, he’s proven anything is possible and it is as much today as it was back in his day.
“The baseball in this area locally, youth on up to legion ball and college, it’s gotten to be strong, there are more local players available than say when I played,” RedHawks Manager Chris Coste said. “But there’s still a lot of pressure to be really good because once again, they’re not here as a courtesy. They’re here to help us when games and succeed.”
Alex DuBord, a Fargo South alum, and Austin VerSteeg, a Cobber graduate, have joined the RedHawks bullpen this summer and they are both hoping to do just that.
“I think every team like this can thrive with some good local players. You certainly aren’t going to have that many of them but the bottom line is they also have to be really good and help you win games,” Coste said. “The level of our league has gotten to where it’s nice to have a local guy but that local guy has to be really good.”
VerSteeg is an undrafted, right-handed pitcher and a Division III product. He started for Coste at Concordia and spent this last season as a volunteer coach for the Cobbers and is now being given a chance at his dream.
“I know I’m not looked at as the best, as a great player,” VerSteeg said at Newman Outdoor Field. “I’m a D3 school, you know. I always thought I could play professional baseball and at the end of the day I’m just trying to make the team and showing what I got in pro ball. Show that I can play in pro ball.”
Alongside him in the bullpen, fellow righty Alex DuBord. The Fargo South Bruin went the Junior College route out of high school and was eventually drafted in the tenth round by the San Francisco Giants. He spent two and a half years in the minor leagues until Major League baseball made major cuts last summer.
“I mean yea, it’s hard. Especially being a tenth-round draft pick. You know my hopes were high as soon as I got drafted,” DuBord recalled. “I was cared for and everything but once again it comes down to it being a business. What’s more important for this and what’s this but obviously a great opportunity to come back and play baseball and being my hometown it just feels good to play back here. I’m excited for it for sure.”
Both DuBord and VerSteeg are in the mix, competing this week for a spot on next week’s opening day roster. Coste and his staff will have to make decisions this week but he admits it’s good for baseball and area youth to see guys like this, local talent, at the next level.
“You want those guys to succeed because it’s a testament to baseball and you really want the youth to see it,” Coste explained. “I want Fargo Post 2, West Fargo, Moorhead legion teams to come to a game on occasion and be like, ‘boy that guy can make it, I can do that and even more so.’ Everyone wants to get drafted but some guys are just not going to get drafted. This is a good spot for them. So we want to see guys like that succeed. For us, because they can help us win games but it’s also good for local baseball.”>
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