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Ty's Take: Keep tabs on Pats

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sports Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

We sports editor folk sure do love our statistics. More importantly, we love to be able to find them lightning quick when it comes to writing athletic stories.

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For the most part, this has become a relatively simple task, thanks largely to the wonders of the World Wide Web. Nowadays, most high school sports team keep track online via websites specific to either their sport or conference. Heck, even high schools have their own activities pages, typically stocked with past season awards, rosters and up-to-date schedules.

During the high school season, www2.edutech.nodak.edu/edcsite/index.html is my go-to home away from home for all things East Region. There, scores, standings and schedules are easily available for fall, winter and spring sports.

If this comes up short for some reason, the North Dakota High School Activities Association website, www.ndhsaa.org, can help fill in the gaps, albeit not always quite as thoroughly as the EDC site.

But when all is said and done and prep sports give way to summer break, there tends to be a bit of an information gap, especially when it comes to American Legion baseball teams.

That's all changed now, thanks to Shane Bitzer.

Father of Patriots star slugger Chance Bitzer, Shane has taken it upon himself to start up a new website, www.atthefield.net, specifically focused on the game-by-game progress of the West Fargo-based team. On the site, users can find everything from accurate schedules, to rosters and player stats, to full-fledged game box scores.

In short, it's a baseball nut's dream.

I was turned on to the shiny-new site by Patriots coach Bill Ibach, who said he didn't exactly know what Shane Bitzer was planning, but that there promised to be big changes this summer in the world of online sports content.

Shane Bitzer said he came up with the idea last summer when he was stuck back in Moorhead while the Patriots were on a road trip to Omaha, Neb.

"One of the dads down there was texting me at the end of every inning and letting me know what happened," he said. "I had access to the West Fargo baseball site, so I was able to update it for other parents so they would know what was going on."

Shane Bitzer said that, although the West Fargo baseball site was alright for some things, loading statistics box scores took a lot of effort.

With his new site, however, he links to a Canada-based website - www.pointstreak.com - that takes care of all the dirty work. Now, all Shane Bitzer has to do is go to games and type in the numbers as he sees it.

When all the numbers are put in, www.poinstreak.com automatically tabulates season statistics for a running tally.

So far, everything is working swimmingly, he said.

"We had a couple of glitches with a couple of games, but it was more of a problem with the servers than anything," Shane Bitzer said.

The website also is capable of live feeds, so visitors can watch as a game instantaneously unfolds, pitch-by-pitch, from the comfort of their computers. Other projects in the works include the possibility of running video clips, as well as implementing audio to tie in with the stat software, Shane Bitzer said.

"It's great for family members that aren't in town, or can't go to the game," he said.

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