Fairbury school board approves creation of NSAA-sanctioned baseball team

FAIRBURY – The Fairbury school board approved the creation of an NSAA-sanctioned baseball team for the 2019-2020 school year.

The board approved the motion on a 4-1 vote at a Monday meeting at the ’47 Building.

Fairbury will compete at the Class B level, and will likely play nearby schools like Crete, Beatrice, Norris, York and Seward.

“There have been parents chiming in for awhile now,” Fairbury athletic director Derek Anderson said. “Probably the last year-and-a-half. We have a class coming up with a lot of kids that are active in baseball. Things just started speeding up and falling into place as there was more and more momentum. After Christmas, it really started speeding up.”

The Jeffs will only field a varsity team in 2019-20. Anderson said 34 boys from 8th-11th grade would be interested in going out for baseball, according to a recent school-wide survey, though it’s unlikely that many would go out for baseball when the time comes.

The total cost for adding a baseball team, including everything from field prep, umpires and uniforms, would be roughly $20,000 for the first year. Anderson predicts about 75 percent of those expenses would carry over into the following years.

The team will play at the field at City Park, which has been the long-time home of Fairbury’s Legion team, the Landsharks.

Fairbury does have until June 1 to decide if they’d want to co-op with another school, but that seems unlikely at this time.

All in all, it seems like the addition of baseball is a popular one, based on public and social media reaction.

“I’m excited in general,” Anderson said. “Anytime we give kids opportunities, in sports or scholastically, any time we can do something to help our students succeed, I am all for it.”

Enrollment wise, Fairbury will be a small Class B school in baseball. The Jeffs had 93 boys enrolled in high school in 2018-19, and that would have made them the fourth smallest baseball school in the state this past year.

Fairbury competes in Class C1 in football, volleyball and basketball, but they compete at the B level in softball, wrestling and track. Just like those other teams, Anderson is confident that Fairbury will be up to the task of playing bigger schools.

Our softball team has been willing to play bigger schools, and it doesn’t matter,” Anderson said. “You look at basketball and wrestling, they’re willing to play bigger schools – it doesn’t matter. I would assume our baseball team will fall right in with that. Whoever we have to play, whoever is in front of us, that’s what we’ll do.”

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @Tommy_NCN.

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