Clinton, Evansville rebuilding teams in Home Talent League
STATELINE NEWS (June 26, 2014) -- Link to article -- Written by Todd Mishler
Transition has been the name of the game for Rock County’s teams in the Home Talent League this season.
Clinton’s and Evansville’s entries in the 46-team adult amateur baseball organization are in rebuilding mode while adapting to younger rosters, while the Orioles also have endured growing pains with a move from Orfordville.
Both squads have been on roller coaster rides in the more competitive Sunday afternoon league and the Thursday night version.
However, Clinton’s Trevor Wallace and Evansville’s Jon Frey are optimistic about their franchises moving forward despite their current struggles.
“We lost our Nos. 2 and 3 pitchers in Joe Cox and Brent Cashore, and Pat Moore, who was a 12- or 13-year veteran, has become a substitute player this year,” said Wallace, a co-manager and second baseman who has played since 2002. “So, we’ve lost a lot of veteran presence and have taken a step back, so we’re in a bit of a rebuilding process. We’ve got better numbers, but a lot of them are rookies and younger guys.”
Still, Wallace said the move from Orfordville -- the Orioles play at Clinton High School on Sundays and the Stateline Youth Sports Complex in Beloit on Thursdays -- will pay dividends moving forward.
“We knew we would be losing guys because we had an older team,” said Wallace, a 2001 Clinton grad who played college baseball at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “In Orfordville, we were landlocked, especially after Whitewater. League rules say you can use only players who live within six miles, with some gray areas. Many guys from Brodhead were going to Monroe, and we couldn’t recruit in the cities of Janesville or Beloit.
“So, moving to Clinton definitely helps,” Wallace added about a franchise that moved from Brodhead to Orfordville after the 1997 season. “A lot of Clinton area guys, many who we had to turn away before, are excited about having the opportunity to play.”
Frey said finding the 20 to 25 players necessary to field a team twice a week during the hectic summer is a never-ending task, which also makes it tough to remain competitive.
“My philosophy on Home Talent League is just that … I don’t do a lot of recruiting and try to stay in Evansville,” said Frey, who was the general manager of the Marshall team from 1996 through 2005. “We get some players from Footville, Orfordville, Brodhead, Edgerton or Brooklyn, but I’d say 80 percent of our roster lives in Evansville.”
And regardless of the Jays’ record, Frey and others simply are happy to have a local team. The community had enjoyed a strong baseball tradition since the 1860s, but its HTL team folded in 1980 after 19 seasons and didn’t rejoin until Frey took the reins in 2005.
“This is our 10th year back in the league, so it’s kind of a milestone for us,” said Frey, who also is one of Evansville’s outfielders. “We’ve got a mixed roster of veterans, some in the middle and new high school guys. We’ll have three new first-year players and probably three second-year guys. We’re in a typically tough Southeast Section and we’re trying to crash into that top echelon.”
Evansville has not reached the playoffs since 2008, and Frey said he would continue to do his part to help the franchise get back toward the top of the standings.
“I’m 37 and I’d like to play with my kids … my oldest is 11, so I’ve got seven years left to go,” Frey said. “We’re just trying to have fun and are still living the dream.”
That goes for Wallace and Clinton, which will rely on Joe Lange, one of the league’s top hitting and pitching stars. On the other hand, the Orioles have posted double figures in wins in the West Division of the Southeast Section the past three years.
“I was always an outfielder, but my arm is shot so I’ve moved to second base,” the right-hander said. “I believe the move will help on the field and from a fans’ perspective. It should help us maintain a franchise for years to come.”
EVANSVILLE HOME TALENT TEAM SPONSORS LITTLE LEAGUE TEAMS FOR
Purple Jays Triple A League Team. Photo taken and provided by ModelUNO
Yellow Jays American-National League Team. Photo taken and provided
by ModelUNO Photography.
'HOME' IS WHERE THE TALENT IS
June 17, 2012 - Janesville Messenger, By Rick West, Staff Writer
Version or Web
EVANSVILLE Games during the early days of baseball, after
the Civil War, often pitted proud community teams against those
from nearby communities. Those games still happen more than 150
years later, thanks to baseball leagues like south-central Wisconsins
Home Talent League, the states largest adult amateur baseball
What makes (the Home Talent League) unique among other amateur
baseball leagues is how locally oriented it is, said Brian
Carriveau, author of Its Just a Game, a newly
released book about the league. Theres actual rules
in the league constitution that you have to live within six miles
of home plate.
The Home Talent League began in 1929 and has grown to 44 teams.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Evansville was home to one of these
community-based teams. Twenty-five years after the team disbanded
in 1980, it was resurrected in 2005 and the Evansville Jays now
compete in the West Division of the HTLs Southeast Section.
The Jays roster is almost exclusively made up of former Evansville
High School stars, but there are a few on the 25-player roster from
the nearby communities of Footville and Albany.
We do our best to reach out to the (Evansville) high school
seniors in particular, theres typically one or two high school
seniors that are very good players, said Jays General Manager
Jon Frey. I do not actively recruit outside of Evansville
because we are a community-supported team. The players we have from
outside of Evansville are players that have approached me.
While league rules require players to have completed their high
school careers, there is no upper age limit to play in the league.
According to Carriveau, 66-year-old Vern Geishert, baseball coach
at Richland Center High School, who pitched in 11 games for the
California Angels in 1969, still plays for the HTL team in Richland
He doesnt play on a regular basis, but every once in
a while hell pinch hit, Carriveau said. Its
really unique, to see this former Major Leaguer still playing in
At the other end of the spectrum are players who just graduated
a couple weeks ago.
It adds to the dynamics of the team chemistry, Frey
said. But were all competing on the same team, so it
boils down to whos performing on the field and not necessarily
One of the Jays veterans is Jeremy Rasmussen, age 27, who has been
with the Jays since 2005.
After a year off last summer for Air Force training, Rasmussen was
able to win back his position this summer as the Jays starting
center fielder and leadoff hitter.
Rasmussen said the blend of young and experienced players works
well in Evansville.
Theres a level of respect (for the older players), from
the kids fresh out of high school, Rasmussen said. They
know we know what were doing and still can compete.
Craig Paton, 22, has been with the Jays for six seasons. Paton also
played high school baseball at Evansville and two years at Carthage
College. It was just after high school that he joined the Jays.
At that point it was to get as many reps as I could going
into (college) and to get ready for the next step, Paton said.
Now I play because I love the game, its fun to play
and I enjoy it.
This is a way to get my competitive edge out.
In addition to playing, Paton is one of three players who serve
as the teams field coaches, working together to determine
the batting lineup and pitching rotation.
We usually have the same idea and bounce a few things off
each other, Paton said. There havent been too
many big fights, yet, but its still early (in the season).
Paton said with players work schedules, vacations and other
commitments, its tough at times putting the best lineup on
Some days youre missing your best catcher and other
days youre missing your best shortstop or pitcher, so you
have to make do with what youve got, Paton said. Like
Jon (Frey) likes to say, youve got to dance with the girls
that are at the party.
The Jays play a 30- to 35-game schedule each summer, with their
home games on the upper diamond at Evansvilles Lake Leota
Park, which they have dubbed The Jays Nest (see related graphic).
So, if you want to see young, and not-so-young, baseball players
who love to play the game, come to The Jays Nest and see what the
Home Talent League is all about.
These are work-a-day guys who love playing baseball, keeping
the dream alive, Carriveau said. And still being able
to play the game at a competitive level.
And its players not quite ready to make the move to softball.
Its nothing like slow-pitch softball. Its real
baseball with real baseball strategy, Rasmussen said of the
HTL. Im going to play this as long as I can. I can play
slow-pitch when Im 70 or 80 years old. I play because
the game doesnt change. Players change, but the game doesnt
Community Pitches in for Batting Cage
September 1, 2011 -EVANSVILLE, WI - This summer the Evansville
Jays Home Talent Baseball Team organized an effort to build a community
batting cage at Lake Leota Park upper baseball diamond area. The
Jays presented the idea with plans to the Park & Recreation
Board in June for approval.
Once approved, the site excavating time and equipment was donated
by Kyle Allen and Mike Wickersham of Allen Custom Flatwork. Sean
Crull of R&K Construction donated his time and equipment for
drilling the pole holes, hauling the poles to the park and setting
the poles in the ground. The poles were donated by Roger Berg of
RM Berg General Contractor. The Jays set the poles in place with
Then the Jays built a framed box around the poles for the gravel
and ag lime that was hauled and donated by Al Miller of Footville
Rock & Lime. Rocks for the retaining wall around the batting
cage were donated by R&K Construction. The Jays purchased and
installed the batting cage net and hardware. Evansville resident,
Larry Dobbs donated three shrubs for a future green back drop behind
the pitcher, and mulch for those shrubs was donated by Dean George
The Evansville Home Talent Team also acknowledges the support and
coordination in building the batting cage from Evansville resident,
Gordy Ringhand. The Jays are working on making more improvements
to the upper baseball diamond area, and if you would like to contribute
(time, equipment, monetary) to the improvement effort, please contact
Mike Maves (608-289-9035) and/or Jon Frey (608-575-4359).
As published in The Evansville Review in the September 7, 2011
Batting cage excavating time and equipment donated by Kyle Allen
and Mike Wickersham of Allen Custom Flatwork.
For the batting cage, Sean Crull (and little helpers left to right:
Gavin Frey, Blake Frey and Patrick Crull) of R&K Construction
donated his time and equipment for drilling the pole holes, hauling
the poles to the park and setting the poles in the ground.
The Evansville Jays Home Talent Baseball Team sets the donated poles
by Roger Berg for the community batting cage.
The Jays built a frame and rock wall around the batting cage for
the gravel and ag lime donated by Footville Rock & Lime.
The installation of the Evansville community batting cage at Lake
Leota Park upper baseball diamond area was made possible by community
members and businesses pitching in.
May, 2011 - Evansville, Wisconsin
The Evansville Jays donate to the Evansville High School baseball
team to help purchase a new scoreboard.
Home Talent All-Star Game
July 1, 2010 - Evansville, Wisconsin
Evansvilles Mike Maves and Jeremy Rasmussen were voted by
their teammates to represent the Jays in the 2010 Home Talent League
All-Star Game Friday, July 16 at The Duck Pond (Warner Park) in
Madison. The game will start at 7:05 pm. The event is sponsored
jointly by the Home Talent Baseball League and the Madison Mallards
Northwoods League team. The game will be the East & Southeast
Section HTL All-Stars vs the North & West Section HTL All-Stars.
Tickets are available at the Mallards ticket office or by calling
608-246-4277 or vist www.mallardsbaseball.com.
to 2010 All Star Game Roster and Report
May, 2010 - Evansville, Wisconsin
The Evansville Jays donate to the Evansville High School baseball
team to purchase a new home plate tarp.
July 1, 2009 - Evansville, Wisconsin
HTL ALL STAR GAME: Evansville's Brent Cashore was voted by
his teammates to represent Evansville Jays in the 2009 Home Talent
League All-Star Game Friday, July 31 at The Duck Pond (Warner Park)
in Madison at 7:00 pm. The event is sponsored jointly by the Home
Talent Baseball League and the Madison Mallards Northwoods League
team. The game will be the East & Southeast Section All-Stars
vs the North & West Section All-Stars. For more information
and/or tickets to the game, please contact any of the Jays players.
to 2009 All Star Game Roster and Report
May, 2009 - Evansville, Wisconsin
The Evansville Jays donate to the Evansville Sports Booster Club
for supplies to build a new baseball concession stand at the High
School field. Also, the Jays donated to the Evansville High School
baseball team to help purchase a new pitching mound tarp.
October 12, 2008 - Waunakee, Wisconsin
At the 2008 Home Talent annual awards banquet at Rex's Innkeeper
in Waunakee, the Jays ace pitcher, Matt Drefahl, was named the Southeast
Section's MVP and the Jays General Manager, Jon Frey, was named
Co-Manager of the Year. See
link for other awards that night.
June 30, 2008 - Madison, Wisconsin
Evansville steps into the spotlight
By Brian Carriveau, Home
Talent Baseball Blog
About the author: Brian Carriveau is writing a book about the
Home Talent League this summer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit Brian Carriveau, Home
Talent Baseball Blog
"I'm a promoter," said Jon Frey during the annual Evansville
Home Talent League bowling fundraiser back in February. "I
have this mindset of promotion and marketing and sales."
Plans were in place, even back then, to have the Evansville Jays
take on the Lake Mills Grays at Warner Park following a Madison
Mallards game. The time had finally come on Sunday when those plans
came to fruition. The Jays beat the Grays 9-0 on one of the nicest
ball fields in southern Wisconsin this side of Miller Park.
According to Frey, the game had been a year and a half in the works.
He had wanted his team to play there last year, but things just
didn't work out. This year, he was prepared to put that P.T. Barnum-esque
brain of his to work.
"I want to first promote my community, Evansville" said
Frey back in February. "And then I want to promote the Evansville
community festival, the Fourth of July. And then I want to promote
my team, and then I want promote my league because all these people
in Madison are going to be exposed to an amateur league at this
His team needs no self-promotion. They've let their actions on the
field do the talking this season. As the team's general manager/center
fielder, Frey deserves a lot of credit after building this team
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Frey
received a job offer to work in Beloit. With his wife working in
Madison, they bought a house about halfway in between, settling
Frey commuted all the way to his hometown, Marshall, to play baseball
for several years before attempting to build a franchise in Evansville
in 2005. He did all the dirty work including player recruitment,
fundraising, and a myriad of other duties it takes to get a team
off the ground.
In their first year, the Jays won all of three games. In 2006 and
2007, they improved to win four, but still lost three quarters of
their Sunday League schedule.
Finally in 2008, the hard work has started to pay off. The Jays
are now in sole possession of first place in the Western division
of the Southeastern section of the Home Talent League with a six
and one record.
"It's a lot more fun to go out and expect to win instead of,
'How we going to win this one? How are we going to go out and play
this one?'" said right fielder Jeremy Rasmussen. "The
last couple of years we've gone out, we didn't know which was going
to come out. Were we going to make 10 errors or are we going to
have 10 hits?"
Surprisingly, it's a lot of the same players on the team back from
that inaugural 2005 season when they barely won. Back then, players
maybe hadn't played in a long time. With a couple years of practice
and seasoning, they're playing some of the best baseball of their
"I think people weren't used to hitting," said shortstop
Nick Manion, "so you can tell we're more relaxed hitting. That's
what hitting is about, being relaxed. You can tell that people are
relaxed and people are throwing strikes. That's a huge thing. Our
pitchers are throwing strikes."
With Frey at the helm, the Jays are winning baseball games, and
amateur baseball is being promoted to a larger audience. In fact,
in just a few weeks, the Home Talent League All-Stars will be playing
the U.S. Military All-Stars in the All-American Challenge at Warner
Park on Sunday July 13.
The game is part of the Northwoods League All-Star game festivities
being hosted by the Mallards. Rasmussen will be Evansville's representative,
and he's just glad he's been given that chance thanks to guys like
"I thank him every day, having the opportunity to come out
and keep playing," said Rasmussen. "Otherwise I'd be playing
Next weekend's Home Talent League road trip: Marshall at Waterloo
on Friday for the annual Waterloo Fourth of July Festival.
Evansville watches the Madison Mallards take on the Green Bay Bullfrogs
at Warner Park from the vantage of the adjacent practice field bleachers
as they wait for the game to end, and they can take the field. Photo
credit Brian Carriveau, Home
Talent Baseball Blog.
June 20, 2008 - Evansville, Wisconsin
EVANSVILLE COMMUNITY NIGHT AT THE MALLARDS
Sunday, June 29 is Evansville Community Night at the Madison
Mallards baseball game at Warner Park in Madison. Evansville
residents will receive a discount on game tickets. The Mallards
game starts at 3:05 pm. After the Mallards game, the Evansville
Jays will play a Home Talent League game against Lake Mills.
If you have plans to watch the Mallards play some time this
summer and watch your local Evansville Home Talent Team
play, here is your chance to watch both teams in action
on the same day. It is baseball "the way it ought to
The Mallards have other promotions in place for this game.
The first 500 kids and the first 500 seniors will receive
a replica Madison Blues hat. Also, every Sunday this summer,
kids 14 and under will receive a free hot dog, pop and a
bag of chips.
Sunday, June 29 game tickets are available to purchase from players
of the Evansville Jays. For contact information for the Evansville
Jays, see www.evansville.hometalent.org or call Jon Frey at 608-575-4359.
To purchase discounted tickets on the day of the game residents
will need to show a valid driver's license. For more information
on the game and tickets, see www.mallardsbaseball.com
or call 608-246-4277.
The Madison Mallards are a member of the Northwoods League, a summer
collegiate league. The Evansville Jays are a franchised team of
the Home Talent Baseball League since 2005. The Home Talent League
is an amateur baseball league that started in 1929 that is currently
made up of 43 teams in the south-central Wisconsin area.
Coming up in mid-July the Mallards will be hosting the Northwoods
League All-Star Game in Madison July 13-14. As part of a full day
of celebration on Sunday, July 13, a game will be played between
the Home Talent League All-Stars and the U.S. Military All-Stars.
The Evansville Jays will be represented by Jeremy Rasmussen of Evansville.
Jeremy was voted by his teammates to represent Evansville in this
All-Star game. The Northwoods League All-Star game will be Monday,
May 21, 2008, Evansville - Printed in The Evansville Review.
An All "American" Weekend: Baseball
and Hot Dogs
By Tammy T. Pomplun
What could be more All "American" for Memorial Day weekend
than hot dogs and baseball? The Andrew Peart American Family Insurance
Agency is sponsoring Evansville Jays Home Talent baseball game as
they play against Deerfield on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26 at 1
p.m. at the EHS Stan Sperry baseball field. Local Veterans will
be providing the color guard and a DJ will be announcing the game.
Not only is admission free, but Andy Peart's Agency is providing
free hot dogs and soda to the first 500 fans through the gate as
well as many free prizes throughout the game. Later, during the
seventh inning stretch, a free raffle will be held for a chance
to win six Brewers tickets donated by American Family Insurance.
(You must be present to win.) "We hope the community comes
out to the ball park to enjoy a fun afternoon with family and friends
and show their support for our local baseball team," said Andy.
"This team has excellent local talent and we're happy to sponsor
Evansville Jays Home Talent Baseball Team
Evansville's Home Talent Team (EHT), part of the Southeast Section
of the Home Talent Baseball League (HTL), was revived in 2005, after
a hiatus since their last game in 1980. Evansville has had Home
Talent Teams dating back to the 1930s. Now, over 20 Evansville men
play on our team, providing free entertainment on Sunday afternoons
at the High School baseball field and Thursday evenings at Lake
Leota/Leonard Park. The team's organizational leadership includes
general manager Jon Frey, assistant manager Jeremy Rasmussen, field
manager Bob Kurtz and public relations coordinator Davis Pryce.
The team has been practicing indoors since January and had seven
scrimmage games before playing their first actual league game of
the season. The Evansville Jay's Home Opener was on May 18 against
Albion. (See related game report and box score article in this issue
of The Evansville Review.) Upcoming games include a game at Stoughton
on May 25 and a home game on May 29 against Verona at Lake Leota/Leonard
Park starting at 7:30 p.m.
Watch the Jays play at the Evansville Community Night at the Mallards
on Sunday, June 29 at Warner Park in Madison following the 3 p.m.
Mallards Game. Discounted tickets to the Mallards game are available
by contacting any EHT player or Jon Frey at 882-4626, cell 575-4359,
or email email@example.com.
Here in Evansville, stop by to cheer on the Evansville Jays at Lake
Leota/ Leonard Park after the Fourth of July parade for some summer
food and baseball. The Jays will host Stoughton with a noon game
time start. There will be a DJ announcing the game and color guard
will again be provided by local area Veterans. Another event not
to be missed is Sunday, July 13 Appreciation Game Day, a day when
the Jays thank their sponsors, families and fans for supporting
the team in 2008 with a free picnic with the team after the game.
Another popular game is Youth Baseball Night. On Thursday, July
17 young kids are invited to enjoy a night at the Lake Leota ball
park by obtaining autographs from the Home Talent players, chasing
down free foul balls, running the score board, and even playing
catch or warming up with the players.
Concessions are available at each of the home games with proceeds
going back to the team. Check out the Evansville Jays' website at
www.evansville.hometalent.org for a complete schedule, results,
sponsor list, roster and great action pictures.
In addition to the community's cheering support, financial support
is always welcome to help cover the costs of yearly league fees,
umpires, baseballs and other operating expenses. Volunteers are
also needed to help operate and manage the concession stand. Contact
Jon Frey to volunteer.
The Evansville Jays have been supportive of our community as well.
In addition to providing a source of recreation for area men of
all ages and free entertainment for the community, the Evansville
Jays have donated toward the construction of the outdoor batting
cage at EHS and a new commercial quality freezer and refrigerator
in the upper ball diamond concession stand at Lake Leota/Leonard
American Family Insurance/Andrew Peart Strong Community Supporters
"Baseball is a great American past time and we're proud to
support such a dedicated and talented team," says Andy Peart,
who has been Evansville's American Family Insurance Agent in Evansville
since taking over the agency from Gene Bass in January 2006. Andy's
wife, Heidi, who is also a licensed representative, joins him in
the agency. The Pearts are Evansville residents and are raising
their three daughters here, Maddie, 14, Lydia, 7, and Claudia, 6.
As a licensed office manager, Abbey (Tomlin) Tway stayed on board
with Andy after he took over the business. Abbey has been with American
Family Insurance for four years, is a lifelong Evansville resident
and was recently wed to Beau Tway.
American Family offers a variety of insurance: auto, home, farm,
business, life, health, variable products, as well as annuities.
Stop in to the American Family Insurance office at 150 E. Main Street,
Suite 16, and thank our American Family agents for sponsoring our
Community Baseball Team, the Evansville Jays, and while you're there,
ask Andy about your insurance coverage.
May 14, 2008, Evansville - Printed in The Evansville Review. Article
by Jon Frey.
Evansville Home Talent Baseball - 2008 Season Pre-View
The Evansville Home Talent (EHT) baseball team (as known as the
"Jays") has been busy organizing and practicing for the
upcoming 2008 season. Evansville's own amateur adult baseball team
will be competing in the Southeast Section of the Home Talent League
(HTL). The 2008 season marks the fourth year of the franchise's
existence after rejoining the league in 2005. Prior to 2005, the
last year Evansville had a team in the HTL was 1981 with many of
those players still in the area and are willing to share their experiences
and stories with you.
During the months of January, February and March, the Jays have
been practicing indoors playing catch and hitting in batting cages.
Once the weather warmed up, practice was moved outside, along with
playing practice scrimmage game with other HTL teams. This spring
the Jays have played a total of seven scrimmage games before playing
a single league game.
Opening Day for the Southeast Section of the HTL was on Sunday,
May 4. Evansville was scheduled to play Oregon. Unfortunately, Oregon
was unable to organize and/or field a team for the 2008 season,
so Evansville received a bye. The Jays played Waunakee in a practice
scrimmage game that day. Waunakee also had a bye in the Northern
Section of the league.
The Season Starts
Well, not quite yet. Mother Nature had a little something to say
about that on Mother's Day. The team was scheduled to play their
first league game on Sunday at Jefferson, but the game was cancelled
due to the wet weather.
The Jays will start Night League play on Thursday, May 15 at Monona.
The team's Home Opener will be this Sunday, May 18 against Albion
at the High School field. There will be concessions available, so
stop by and have a hot dog or brat. Come and check out your local
EHT Game Schedule
Around town you will see the team's sponsor poster schedules hanging
up at local businesses, so be sure to check those out. Also, the
team prints colorful pocket schedules for your wallet, purse or
refrigerator. The smaller schedules are also located at local area
business counters. And as always, you can find the Jays' schedule
and results on the Internet at www.evansville.hometalent.org.
The Jays have a few marquee games this season that is worth mentioning.
Memorial Day & American Family Insurance Day Game -
Monday, May 26 Evansville will host Deerfield at the High School
field starting at 1:00 pm. There will be a DJ announcing the game
and color guard will be provided by local area Veterans. Also, courtesy
of Evansville's Andrew Peart Agency, free hot dogs and soda will
be available for the first 500 fans, and while at the game sign
up for a free raffle to win Brewers tickets.
Evansville Community Night at Warner Park - Evansville has
once again teamed up with the Mallards to promote the community
and community events. This year the Home Talent team will play one
of their league games after the Mallards game on Sunday, June 29.
As Evansville Community Night, residents receive a discount at the
gate for Mallard game bleacher tickets. The Mallards game starts
at 3:05 pm with the Jays game to follow around 6:00 pm. The Jays
have tickets available for sale; contact one of the players for
more info and/or tickets.
Fourth of July Game - After the parade come on down to Lake
Leota Park for some summer food and baseball. The Jays will host
Stoughton with a noon game time start. There will be a DJ announcing
the game and color guard will be provided by local area Veterans.
Appreciation Day Game - The Jays would like to thank their
sponsors, families and fans for supporting the team in 2008. After
the Sunday, July 13 game at Lake Leota Park enjoy a free picnic
with the team.
Youth Baseball Night - This has been a popular night with
the kids for the past couple of years. On Thursday, July 17 young
kids are invited to enjoy a night at the Lake Leota ball park by
obtaining autographs from the Home Talent players, chase down free
foul balls, run the score board, and even play catch or warm up
with the players.
The Evansville Home Talent Baseball team would like to recognize
their 2008 sponsors to date: Gold Sponsors: Allen Realty, Allen
Custom Flatwork; Silver Sponsors: Midwest Dental, VFW Post 6905,
Roger Roth CPA & Associates; American Legion; Subway of Evansville,
The Night Owl, Hoffy's House of Tunes, American Family Andrew Peart
Agency; Bronze Sponsors: M&I Bank, State Farm Jeff Farnsworth,
Shannon & DeMarb Law Office, EZ Financial Group, Buttchen Electric,
TDS Home Improvement, Union Bank & Trust, AG Manion Drywall;
Web Sponsors: Dairyland Real Estate, RE/MAX Preferred.
For more information on Evansville Home Talent Baseball, surf over
to the team's website at www.evansville.hometalent.org.
June 11, 2007, Evansville - Evansville Home Talent Baseball Team
donates to the Evansville High School Baseball Program for the construction
of the outdoor batting cage. Thank
you letter from Athletic Director, Brian Cashore.
May 9, 2007, Evansville - Appliance Works, Evansville Community
Partnership (ECP) and Evansville Home Talent Baseball partnered
together to purchase and install a new commercial quality freezer
and refrigerator in the upper ball diamond concession stand at Lake
Leota Park. The large upright units will be used for an park activities
when the concession stand is open. Local volunteer, Gene Bass reflected,
"the old ones were warn-out and hardly ever worked." Text
provided by ECP Coordinator Robin Lopez-Grignon that originally
printed in the May 9, 2007 issue of The Evansville Review.
Pictured with the donated refrigerator and freezer units are (L
to R) Brian Fick (Appliance Works), Gene Bass (ECP) and Jon Frey
(Home Talent Baseball). All three helped in the donation of these
items to the park. Photo taken and provided by Kelly Gildner.
2005, JACK O' DIAMONDS AWARDS - www.wiab.org
These awards are from the teams, and players of whom I've seen
play in some 63 games in the 2005 season. At each game I kept a
box score, along with making notes on player defense, and their
effort to play the game. - Jack Sprecher, www.wiab.org
"JACK O' DIAMONDS" GENERAL MANAGER'S of the 2005
season. These two men are true professionals in the game of Wisconsin
Amateur Baseball. They both have promoted their teams and leagues.
No! they didn't win any championships on the field, but with their
websites, and their sponsorship from their communities they are
Home Talent Baseball League
Two Rivers "Polar Bears"
Shoreland Baseball League
"2005, Jack O' Diamonds" SILVER Glove Awards
1st Base: Steve Ihlenfeldt, Kewaunee "Chiefs"
2nd Base: Ryan Ebert, Clintonville "A's"
3rd Base: Ben Jewson, Two Rivers "Polar Bears"
Shortstop: Ryan Tanck, West Jacksonport "Ports"
Catcher: Bobb Mineau, Casco "Athletics"
Outfield: Micah Bootz, Kewaunee "Chiefs"
Outfield: Jon Frey, Evansville "Jays"
Outfield: Mike O'Rourke, Neosho "Rockets"
Pitcher: Mike Finnegan, Madison "Senators"
Evansville gets back into area baseball league
after leaving it 25 years ago
Published in the Janesville
Gazette on Friday, June 3, 2005
By Todd Mishler
Special to the Gazette
Related Story - League
provides many memories
EVANSVILLE-The standings show their record is 1-5. However, Jon
Frey said the simple fact that they're playing means they're already
Frey is the general manager and an outfielder for the new Evansville
Jays, the first local baseball entrant affiliated with the Home
Talent League since 1980.
"I consider it a major success, a milestone to have played
our first scrimmage and games," Frey said. "We had bad
weather on Opening Day and not as many people showed up as I would
have hoped, but I'm excited for our players.
"This gives many of them an opportunity to play baseball when
they probably thought they wouldn't get that chance again."
||Although this diving attempt at a ball resulted
only in infield sand, 41-year-old Tony Manion has welcomed the
chance to manage and play for Evansville in its return to the
Home Talent League. Evansville had not fielded a team in the
area league since 1980.
Al Hoch/Gazette Staff
That includes Frey, who played and was a behind-the-scenes guy
from 1996-2004 with the league's organization from his native Marshall.
The University of Wisconsin graduate got a job in Beloit, so he
and his wife moved to Evansville in 2001 as a halfway point.
Frey has played every summer since T-ball, so the 28-year-old knew
he wanted to be involved in his favorite sport in any way possible.
"In Marshall, we had built a winning team, had made the playoffs
and had beaten Cottage Grove for the first time in eight years last
season," said Frey, who also tired of the draining traveling
schedule. "They were in good shape because they had about 20
guys, so I decided to step aside."
Frey attended high school and American Legion games, talked to
the coaches and started getting to know more folks in Evansville,
feeling them out for talent and interest levels in the community.
"Brian Cashore said there were enough quality players
around, that it was just a matter of digging them up,"
Frey said of the Evansville High School coach. "So my
first two phases were recruiting players and fund-raising,
and the third part was all of the off-the-field stuff with
the league, getting equipment, figuring out where we'd play
and other details."
Everything came together nicely as the Jays were placed in
the West Division of the Southeast Section, joining Albion,
Orfordville, Stoughton, Oregon and Utica while giving residents
another shot at creating and re-creating memories of amateur
Tony Manion manages the Evansville team, which plays its home games
at the high school diamond and expects to gain the services
of some high school senior and college players as summer approaches.
Frey said respectability would come in time. But he's pleased
with how the players and the community have stepped up to
the plate so far and were treated last Sunday to the team's
first victory-a 4-3 thriller over Utica.
"Not a lot of people knew me, so I relied heavily on the players
as salesmen and to promote the team," Frey said. "Residents
know their names, and they've built relationships.
"Some have relatives or friends who own businesses, which
have responded positively to our efforts,'' he said. "It started
with a couple of names and snowballed from there.
"Word of mouth has been the key. People seem genuinely excited
about having a team in town, and we couldn't do it without their
The Jays participate in the Home Talent's Sunday afternoon and
Thursday night leagues, and Frey said it'll be a building process.
"We play to win on Sundays, and we use Thursdays to get everybody
as much playing time as possible," he said. "We either
practice or play scrimmages Tuesday nights.''
Manion, 41, said having fun is the most important factor, and the
wins and losses will take care of themselves.
"Baseball is my passion, which is why I've been volunteering
with the high school to improve that program in any way I can,"
Manion said. "Hopefully, we'll get some of these younger guys
each year to keep things going, and maybe littler kids will see
us and provide us with players down the road."
Manion's 19-year-old son, Nick, played college ball in Minnesota
and has joined the team, while Alex, 17, is a future prospect.
"Most of our guys haven't played in three to eight years,
so it's going to take time," Manion said. "We all knew
from the beginning that it might be rocky at first, but Jon asked
everybody to make a five-year commitment to the program.
"The hitting will come around, and I can see that we're getting
better and gaining confidence. The guys are having a blast."
Text taken from Gazette website on June 6, 2005
Home Talent League baseball: Evansville returns
By Jason McMahon - Capital
Times - April 30, 2005
It's been nearly 25 years since Evansville fielded a team in the
Home Talent League, but the memories of amateur baseball in town
are still alive and well.
Jon Frey found this out in his attempt to revive the program, as
he stumped for support throughout the community, visiting with local
businesses and organizations.
"People reminisced about the Home Talent team in Evansville.
... I heard a few stories on that, saying 'Oh yeah, I used to go
down to the park and watch those guys,' " Frey said. "When
I went to the VFW, there were some old-timers who said 'Yeah, I
played on that team back in the '60s.' "
Evansville's HTL team lasted from 1962 until 1981, and all has
been quiet between the lines since. But that will change Sunday,
when Evansville makes its return to Wisconsin's largest adult amateur
The new team, the Evansville Jays, will host Stoughton at 1 p.m.
at the high school as the HTL opens its 77th season.
"I'm probably more nervous than anything," said Frey,
the team's general manager. "This is our first chance to provide
a first impression to the community."
Frey ran Marshall's HTL team for eight years, and moved to Evansville
in 2001. Since then, he has quietly tried to build support for a
local franchise, before stepping up his efforts this past offseason.
He got a strong response from the community - several businesses
and even one set of parents contributed $1,000 toward the team's
start-up costs - and at one point had a roster of 30 players, which
has since been whittled to 22.
The team includes three high school seniors and four players currently
on college baseball teams.
Contenders aplenty: Frey knows it's a stretch to hope for
an HTL playoff appearance. But several other clubs have postseason
After racing through the 2004 season with a perfect 22-0 record
- the first undefeated HTL season in 13 years - Wiota hopes to join
Cottage Grove as the only repeat champions in the last two decades.
Cottage Grove won back-to-back titles in 2000-01, and won three
straight from 1996-98.
"It's awful hard to repeat as champion. Cottage Grove somehow
found a way to do it," Reilly said. "From the first game
to the last game, it ought to be an exciting year."
New big man in blue: The HTL also has a new umpire coordinator,
as David Thom takes the reins after being elected at the league's
March meeting to serve in the position.
Thom, who has umpired HTL games for eight years and has 30 years
of experience calling games, takes over for Tim McIntyre, who decided
not to pursue the job again after 10 years as coordinator.
One of Thom's first duties was to tackle the seemingly annual umpire
shortage, exacerbated by the change in leadership. Looking for umps
with some experience, he sought help from the WIAA.
"We tapped into the WIAA list of umpires and e-mailed them
with the opportunity to work in the Home Talent League," Thom
said. "We got quite a few returns."
Defending champion: Wiota.
2004 Section champions: Cross Plains (Northern, East Division);
Sauk Prairie (Northern, West Division); Ridgeway (Western, North
Division); Wiota (Western, South Division); Cottage Grove (Eastern);
Jefferson (Southeast, East Division); Albion (Southeast, West Division).
Changes: Evansville is back in the HTL after a 23-year absence,
and will play in the Southeast Section's West Division. McFarland
moves from the Southeast Section to the Eastern Section. The Western
Section lost two teams, as Monroe and Muscoda will not play this
Sunday's big games: Cottage Grove at Monona, Sauk Prairie
at Waunakee, Albion at Utica, Jefferson at Lake Mills, Ridgeway
Get connected: Schedules, standings and more are available
at the HTL Web site (www.hometalent.org). The Home Talent Umpires
Association has its own Web site (www.htua.org), which includes
directions to all area diamonds.
Text taken from Capital Times website on April 30, 2005