There might be a run on hot dogs and peanuts in Declo and spontaneous outbreaks of “take me out to the ball game”, now that they are hosting baseball games and have their own team. The conversation about adding a baseball team and accompanying field began about 12 years ago. Players from Declo High School have been co-opting with both Burley and Minico High Schoolsl for years. When asked what made this year different from years of other conversations, baseball committee member, Kent Kidd said simply, “the stars aligned.” He said as the conversation emerged, “the coach was there, the money was there, the labor was there and the donations were there.”

The Cassia Board of trustees approved the baseball team at their April 2016 board meeting. A fundraising and building committee was formed and the group began asking for interest in getting the project done. Bruce Breshears, committee member, recalls the experience being akin to “a good old fashioned barn raising.” Countless community donations of labor and funds combined with nine Eagle Scout projects later, Declo touts one of the top fields in the state, according to local baseball umpires. Breshears adds that, “the community effort wasn’t just about baseball. We wanted a complex that saw an upgrade to the softball field, including a new scoreboard, announcer’s box and concessions.”

One of the larger donors was Rob Roberts, owner of R & M Steel in Caldwell. His is a familiar name as he has donated the steel packages for many large building projects in our district. His latest donation was the steel package for the field house.

Funds were kept and maintained by the building committee and asks for donations were handled by committee members. The committee coordinated with school administration and the athletic director to address logistics. Many in the community questioned the lack of a baseball program in Declo, considering the size of the school and its active student body. Several students had opted to permanently change schools to be a part of a baseball program. Athletic director, Kelly Kidd, reports that participation in spring sports is typically lower than fall sports and this gives student athletes another option for sports participation.

Head coach Doug Meyer, former Kimberly High School baseball coach and assistant coach, Ag Teacher Jessie Miller, ended up with a team of 20 players. Tryouts brought out 24 potential players. Of that, two were eventually cut and two quit. This won’t be the only team using the field, however. Two other youth league teams for 12-15 years olds will also call the field home.

Bruce Breshears thinks of the field building committee and then says, “there is no personal gain in this for any of us. We just love the community of Declo and want to support opportunities for kids.” With the great community support, there was no trouble finding someone to throw out the first pitch.

Debbie Critchfield, of Oakley, is a former member and chairman of the Cassia County School Board and currently serves as District Communications Officer, a member of the Cassia County Republican Central Committee and is an active education volunteer who served on the state technology task force.

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