WHITEFISH — One of the greatest things about sports is that every athlete and every team are unique. No season or story is alike.
Zach Veneman is going into his sophomore year at Valley City (N.D.) State in the fall, making this summer his last season with the Glacier Twins.
As he is beginning his second chapter he is now saying goodbye to his first. Veneman has been playing for the American Legion Baseball Class A Twins for more than six years, and coach Kevin Slaybaugh jokes that he is pretty much family now. However, Veneman is about to leave the nest as his time with his Glacier family is coming to an end.
"It is weird," he said. "I've been playing since I was 2 years old and been around this field and around these guys and coaches since I was 6 years old, so it's kind of surreal. It's going to be crazy to leave finally after all these years."
"It's kind of a neat deal because I get to see him grow up," Slaybaugh said. "I coached his older brothers when they were in Babe Ruth and he was just a little, tiny guy running around, so I've seen his growth from the time he was a little guy until now."
From 12 years old to 18 Veneman has grown on the diamond and off, but this college sophomore is getting ready to turn from his first chapter to his second -- although it sounds like he will never leave it for good.
"I'll be back around here a lot, though, helping the young kids and seeing all the coaches and stuff and seeing how they progress," Veneman said.
eneman had an outstanding freshman year at Valley City State with a 3.0 ERA on the mound and .509 slugging percentage at the plate. Slaybaugh said he could not be prouder of Veneman's versatility at the collegiate level. "He's like one of my kids," Slaybaugh said.
"It's amazing how well he's done. He was recruited as a catcher, and when he got there he's turned into more of a pitcher/outfielder, so he's had a lot of success so far as a freshman."
Veneman has so far helped the Twins to a 22-8 record this summer and hopes to continue this momentum for the rest of the season.