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Little League Development Manager Sam Ranck Greeted With Growing Interest During Visit to South Dakota

Little League Development Manager Sam Ranck Greeted With Growing Interest During Visit to South Dakota


The Canyon Lake Little League from Rapid City, S.D., won the 2009 Midwest Region Championship and became the first league from South Dakota to reach the Little League Baseball World Series.

Hoping to build on the momentum of Canyon Lake Little League’s run to Williamsport, several communities throughout South Dakota have inquired about joining Little League.

Recently, Sam Ranck, Little League International’s League Development Manager, traveled to Brandon and Sioux Falls, S.D., to discuss with civic leaders the possibilities of starting Little League programs in their areas.

“The biggest misconception was that Little League is expensive to play,” Mr. Ranck said. “By and large, the people of South Dakota have not had Little League, so I made them aware of what the program had to offer.

“With about 3,500 children playing youth baseball in Sioux Falls, many people wanted to know what it would take to have a Sioux Falls team play in the World Series,” Mr. Ranck said.  “Moreover, they liked the idea that adult volunteers can participate in the program, the service and support, and that Little League’s resources make the program affordable to operate.”

In Sioux Falls, Mr. Ranck spoke with community members who have expressed a willingness to operate a Little League program in their city.

“Little League received positive press in the local newspaper and on the local ESPN Radio station for making the visit after Rapid City advanced to the World Series this past season,” Mr. Ranck said. “The media coverage focused on providing the same opportunities for the children in Sioux Falls as the children in Rapid City now enjoy. If we do need to start a new program from scratch, the media should be very supportive of the efforts and provide additional publicity for the league.”

Discussions are currently ongoing involving the direction of Little League in Sioux Falls. Community members have stated there is a group that is willing and capable of operating a chartered program as early as 2009.

Following a meeting with the Brandon Valley Youth Baseball board of directors, Mr. Ranck was informed that, by way of a unanimous vote, the town of Brandon had decided to charter with Little League beginning with the 2009 season. As part of the same meeting, Mr. Ranck was able to also bring in the city of Harrisburg, which had interleagued with Brandon in past seasons.

This purposed league in Sioux Falls could play an interleague regular season schedule with Brandon and Harrisburg.

Mr. Ranck also had separate conversations with representatives from Dell Rapids and Sherman, and has had previous inquiries from Millbank and Brookings.

In 2008, nearly 3,800 children in South Dakota, ages 5-12, played Little League Baseball and Softball on more than 250 teams.