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Stateline Baseball

News Detail


Jul, 2018

History of Stateline Thunder

When I started the Stateline Thunder in 2013, it took 2 years of discussions, planning, and creative thinking. I remember working extensively with Mike Morley to create a system that would compliment our community league while advancing our programs for those that wanted the next step up.

Mike had been on the Board of Directors for many years, while I had just joined for the 2011 season. Mike's insight into the history, as well as what the players and parents were looking for, was instrumental in forming a system that would be received well by everyone. 

After a successful first year, we decided to extend our program with Winter Training starting in January of 2014. Mike Morley, Jeff Whalen, and I ran the training 2 times a week, and the kids loved it. We had 16 kids sign up for the training that year. The Bat Cave in Beloit was a nice fit for us until 2015 when we had 2 dozen kids sign up. Scott Krieg has just left the Poplar Grove Power and was helping us train kids that year, but with so many kids - and so little space, we had to do something different.

It was in the 2016 season we moved our training to the Stateline Indoor Sports Center. Mike Morley "retired", leaving a gap in our training staff. Plus, the growth of the rec league and thunder programs meant we needed more coaches to help. People like Scott Krieg, Charlie Bennett, and Jim Baluch stepped up and made it easier to coach so many kids, with Jim heading up the 8u division, Scott and Charlie worked with the  10u and 12u, and Jeff and I worked with the older kids.

That year we attracted over 40 kids, and we grew to 80 kids training with us in 2018. We currently have 5 teams in Thunder - and looking back, I really do have to thank Mike Morely, Jeff Whalen, and Jim Baluch for everything they have done to make Thunder was it is. Mike for helping me start it off, Jeff for helping train these kids over the years, and Jim for taking the reigns from me and moving Thunder into the future.

Here is a snapshot of each season so far:

Director - Ryan Rydell
Teams - 3 (10u, 12u, 14u)

Director - Ryan Rydell
Teams - 2 (10u, 12u)
Training - 16 kids (Bat Cave)

Director - Ryan Rydell
Teams - 3 (8u, 12u, 14u)
Training - 24 kids (Bat Cave)

Director - Ryan Rydell
Teams - 4 (8u, 10u, 12u, 14u)
Training, 40+ kids (Stateline)

Director - Scott Krieg / Ryan Rydell / Jim Baluch
Teams - 4 (8u, 10uR, 10uB, 12u)
Training, 60+ kids (Stateline)

Director - Jim Baluch
Teams - 5 (9u, 10u, 11u, 12u, 13u)
Training - 80 kids (Stateline)

Some Highlights: 

Ryan Rydell & Jeff Whalen lead teams over 3 seasons well over .500 record with 1 Championship, two 2nd place, two 3rd place finishes. Their Thunder teams were the 1st or 2nd seed going into several tournaments over those 3 years.

Charlie Bennett leads the 10u Red 2017 team to a highly successful winning record season, with a Championship and 2nd place finish.

Jim Baluch takes our youngest team through 2 straight years of success at 8u and 9u, with a high win percentage, numerous 2nd place finishes, and 1 championship.