BELGRADE — Medina Field in Belgrade has been used for home games for not only the Panthers in this inaugural season of high school baseball. The Lone Peak Big Horns have had to use it as a home field also because their field in Big Sky is still not playable due to a long winter.
It takes just under an hour to drive from Lone Peak, down the canyon, and up Jackrabbit Lane to get to Medina Field in Belgrade. It's a bus ride these Big Horns now know all too well.
“It’s been a godsend for us and really helpful, obviously, in our season here," Big Horns head coach John McGuire said. "And, we’ve collaborated with Belgrade for awhile and their younger kids leagues and things, so thanks to them for the opportunity.
"But, it’s been great," he continued. "We come down in the bus, we have the opportunity to talk with the kids, work on lineups and things, so there are some upsides. It’s only an hour. It’s not really that far.”
Lone Peak understands its is positioned in one of the snowiest places in the country, but this extra-long winter is something that’s taken an extra toll on outdoor sports.
“We knew we were going to have trouble; we didn’t expect the amount of snow we had this year," Big Horns assistant coach Matt Morris said. "We know we’re in a ski town, and our elevation’s high, so we knew we were going to have some trouble in the beginning of the season. We didn’t realize it was going to last this long. So, we reached out pretty early, and like I said, the administrators in Belgrade have been great.”
“We didn’t get an outdoor practice until after our first game, so just to be able to play outside they’re improving exponentially now that we’re able to play on real fields," McGuire said.
The Big Horns have found the positive. After a long winter, Medina field is in immaculate condition. The more use, the better.
“I mean it’s been absolutely awesome; you see the field behind me it’s beautiful," Morris said. "To say this is our home field is pretty awesome.”
The biggest catch was when they had to host Belgrade in what is traditionally the Panthers home field on Tuesday. Since Lone Peak was technically the home team, they took the third base dugout and all.
“It’s weird, and I bet it’s their first time over there in the first base dugout, but they were cool about it," Morris said. "Usually, the home team gets the third base dugout. It’s kind of the unwritten rule.”
“It is a bit strange, they’re surely going to have a lot more fans than we are, probably," McGuire said with a laugh. "Seeing that it’s actually their homefield. But, they’ve been nothing but gracious about it and given us all that we need to try to “host” a game here, to the extent you can call it that.
Lone Peak wraps up its high school season this week. Hopefully there’s a little more sunshine in the forecast for these baseball players come summer ball.