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Harwood American Legion baseball team all about fun

Members of the Harwood Hogs Legion baseball team huddle together for a talk after losing to Kindred 15-0 on Monday in Harwood. Dave Wallis1 / 5
Harwood is the home of the Harwood Hogs Legion baseball team. Dave Wallis 2 / 5
Austin Dolan of the Harwood Hogs pitches to a Kindred batter during the Monday game in Harwood. The Harwood team consists of 11 players, ages 16 to 19 years old. Dave Wallis 3 / 5
The Harwood Hogs take on Kindred. Dave Wallis4 / 5
Harwood's Tyler Veen sprints from the batter's box after a base hit as his teammates watch the flight of the ball last week at Harwood Field. David Samson 5 / 5

HARWOOD, N.D. - Nine head of Hogs take the field in Harwood.

“All right, boys, keep it loose, keep it fast; let’s have some fun and play some Hog ball,” instructs coach Eric Siegert.

A dozen spectators arrive toting chairs on this cool, 66-degree July day, ready to watch the Harwood Hogs take on Kindred.

Winds gust out of the north at 35 mph.

Welcome to American Legion Baseball in Harwood.

Siegert started the program five years ago.

“We never had a Legion team out here before that,” he said.

The team consists of 11 players, 16 to 19 years old.

“Depth-wise, we run into a little bit of a challenge. When you have only 11 kids, you hope four or five are pitchers,” said Siegert.

Most of the team has played high school ball.

“When they get here, they are game-ready,” he said.

“This is great for a small town,” said parent and spectator Kim Veen. “The kids love it.”

And so do the parents, she said, who take their turn running the concession stand.

The Hogs play in the Central Section of North Dakota American Legion Class B baseball.

Their opponents include teams from Carrington, New Rockford, Hillsboro, Mayville-Portland, Hatton, Tolna and Kindred.

Last year, The Hogs finished their season 26-6.

“The last couple of years we’ve had a pretty good team,” said Siegert, who played Legion baseball at Hunter.

When his son, Adam, was a teenager, Siegert started a Babe Ruth Baseball team for 13- to 15-year-olds in Harwood.

Adam, now 24, helps his dad coach the Harwood Hogs.

This year’s season started with 34 scheduled games.

“With the weather the way it’s been, we’ve had to postpone a couple here and there,” Siegert said.

The Harwood American Legion Club and local businesses have been very supportive of the team, he said.

“The parents really support their kids,” he said.

The new ballfield, a stone’s throw east of Interstate 29, was built with help from a 2011 Twins Fields for Kids grant provided by the Minnesota Twins Community Fund.

Siegert doesn’t keep statistics for each game. That’s not what it’s all about, he said.

“We’re here to have fun and have good fellowship with each other,” said Siegert.

“At the end of the day we’re Hogs, we’re good friends and we’re teammates.”