May 21st, 2020, one day after schools in Iowa were given the green light for a baseball and softball season, Belmond-Klemme became the first of three schools to forego their season. School board member Gary Berkland at the time said, even though he loves baseball and softball and is a ‘real sports fan,’ they needed to defer to the professionals telling the school that having a baseball and softball season wasn’t a ‘good move.’
Now, the school may be feeling the effect of that decision. Recently, the school board approved a sharing agreement with Eagle Grove – who also didn’t field summer sports teams last year – because of low numbers. According to superintendent Dan Frazier, only seven boys in grades 9-12 agreed to play varsity baseball in 2021. Frazier says a possible cause could be the canceled season a year ago but noted it was a matter of life or death.
Eagle Grove also has low numbers in their varsity program, but with the addition of Belmond-Klemme’s seven athletes, “I think we’ll be competitive,” Frazier said.
For Frazier and the school, it’s now a rebuilding process – one that could take years. It’s unlikely the Broncos will play varsity baseball in 2022, either. Frazier says the hope is to field a junior varsity team next year to be ready for varsity baseball again in 2023.
This move will cause the Eagles to play in the Class 2A postseason instead of Class 1A. The sharing agreement forces Eagle Grove to assume Belmond-Klemme’s BEDS – the document used for the classification of schools in Iowa – but will only affect the team in the postseason. “By the time we combined two varsity programs, we’ll be competitive at that level,” Frazier also noted.
The Eagle Grove coaches and the athletes of the two Wright County schools are making the transition without incident. Frazier says the Belmond-Klemme players have been welcomed in by their new teammates and coaches.
The school boards’ move last May prompted Iowa education head Ann lebo to wavier the transfer rule. This allowed Belmond-Klemme and Eagle Grove students to play baseball and softball with any school in Iowa that would accept them without serving a period of ineligibility.
Though the baseball team won’t take the field in green and blue, the storied softball program will be back on the field in 2021; Frazier says they have strong softball numbers in junior high and high school.
Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for Coloff Media radio stations KIOW and KHAM. He can be reached daily at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-585-1073. Do you have a story idea? Feel free to contact him. Zarren is an award-winning journalist providing coverage to all area schools. Throughout the year, you will hear Zarren calling games as the ‘voice of the Forest City Indians’ on KIOW (107.3), the Indians flagship station.