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Little League Eyeing Sioux Falls

November 6, 2008, 10:44 PM by Jay Elsen

Little League Eyeing Sioux Falls
A lack of sanctioned high school baseball makes it difficult for players from South Dakota to get noticed on the national stage. But if a group of supporters in Sioux Falls has their way, future players from the city will start stepping into the spotlight at much earlier age. 

Last summer Rapid City's Canyon Lake All-Stars put South Dakota on the map.

Despite an 0-and-3 showing in Williamsport, Canyon Lake managed to win the support of the entire state. And, in the process, inspired fans in Sioux Falls to give their boys the same opportunity.

"I started getting some calls from parents and coaches wanting to know what it would take to get Little League into Sioux Falls."

Sam Ranck is the League Development Manager for Little League International. And he sees South Dakota's largest city as a perfect fit.

"We're trying to grow the program in South Dakota. We don't have a lot of participation, at this point, on the eastern side of the state," explains Ranck. "We have Huron, who's been in the program for a number of years, and we have interest from 6-8 other communities. And just because of the size and location, Sioux Falls would make an ideal place for Little League." 

Development of a chartered Sioux Falls program consists of two options. The first of which would involve establishing a relationship with the city's existing organization. 

"We would give first priority to work with SEBA. And we've at least met, and I think that their board will be discussing the idea further. Not that they're going to necessarily consider it, but they'll be discussing it further," Ranck said. 

If SEBA declines, Ranck says Little League is prepared to move forward as a separate entity. 

"I have no doubt that there's enough outside support based on the number of phone calls that I've received," Ranck says. "And also, just the recognition that the Little League name carries will draw interest to the program as well."

The growth of Little League in South Dakota may already be underway outside of Sioux Falls. Ranck says youth baseball organizations in both Brandon and Milbank have expressed interest in developing chartered Little League Programs in their towns.

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