The Northern Plains are unforgiving when it comes to Spring baseball; snow, rain, and freezing cold wind. It’s enough to make a Post 22 fan stay home and dream of a hot July evening and the Firecracker tournament. But Cheyenne Post 6 comes to town tonight, and Fitzgerald Stadium will be rocking. So bring your dreams of summer, and pray that the baseball gods give us clear skies.
There will be plenty of thunder and lightening inside the ballpark.
The Major League Baseball draft is June 6, and Cheyenne centerfielder, Brandon Nimmo, has risen like a rocket from a projected first or second rounder, to a projected #35, to recent mock drafts that place him as high as #12. Nimmo has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Arkansas next year, but if he is drafted in the 1st round, he’ll be playing pro baseball within weeks of the draft.
“He’s the real deal.” Says Dave Ploof, who has seen Nimmo play many times over the last few years. “He runs well. He throws well. He hits well. And his mental attitude, his toughness, is there. He comes to the park ready to compete and to give 100% every time. You can’t ask any more than that from a player.”
Nimmo may be the marque name in the Cheyenne lineup, but top to bottom, Dave Ploof says that Cheyenne will bring one of the most dominant teams in the region. “Tagg Lain, (the Cheyenne head coach), has really worked hard to develop a great program. The scouts find out where the outstanding programs are and when you play in an outstanding program, and you compete against other outstanding programs, and you put up the numbers, you are going to be seen.”
What makes the Saturday games so intriguing is that Nimmo and his teammates will face two of the best pitchers in the region in Tanner Chleborad and Jake Bohne.
Chleborad is well known to local fans as the ace of the Post 22 staff. He has already signed to play for Washington State next year. 6’3” left-hander, Jake Bohne, has been an early season surprise. Last weekend he threw four scoreless innings against Cheyenne in the frigid cold of Wyoming, including getting Nimmo to pop out to shortstop the one time he faced him. After a long hard winter re-inventing his swing, Bohne has also been on a tear at the plate. He has signed to play next year with Montana State University-Billings.
With all that talent on the field, Dave Ploof believes there may be as many as 30 Major League scouts and front office executives at tonight’s games. They will be there for one last look at Nimmo before the draft, but they will also be there to see him bat against Chleborad and Bohne.
“I’ve been in baseball for a long time,” Ploof commented during Friday’s practice. “…and when you have a kid coming to town who is that good, and is projected so high that 30 scouts will be here, let’s say I play second base… I would know he’s coming, and I would play so well. It’s amazing that the guys who aren’t being looked at are all of a sudden looked at. Then the scouts put a little mark—“follow” next to their name. If you perform, then you get a look. It gives everyone an opportunity to elevate their game.”
It’s an attitude that Jake Bohne and Tanner Chleborad share with their coach.
“I think it’s really exciting. I think we both enjoy the competition.” Bohne told IDS. “You don’t want to be on the mound and think to yourself, ‘Oh, my God, he’s going to the Major Leagues.’ You want to try to beat him, and try to prove that you’re better than him.”
“Usually, when we play a team of that caliber, and a player like Nimmo, I just want to go out and play them tough and compete.” Added Chleborad. “He’s just another batter going up there. You have to approach it the same way as any batter…just hit your spots.” (Actually, fans, Tanner’s exact words were a little bit more expressive)
Jake Bohne: “I know it’s him when he’s at bat. But when I’m out there on the mound, I pull my hat down and don’t even look above the batter’s waist. I’m focusing on the catcher’s mitt. He’s just another batter, and I have to hit my spots.”
The Post 22 Expos will take the field against the Cheyenne Hawks on Saturday afternoon at noon and 2:30 before the Varsity takes the field for a doubleheader, and again on Sunday at 9:00 am.
Saturday’s Varsity doubleheader begins at Fitzgerald Stadium at 5:00 pm. The nightcap will start at 7:30.
Pray for clear skies.