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North Platte Plainsmen get set for Inaugural Season

North Platte Plainsmen
News 2 at Ten
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 10:52 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The North Platte Plainsmen spent Monday Evening at the D & N Event Center getting one final practice in before Opening Night against the Western Nebraska Pioneers. This is the Inaugural Season for the team. Both Owning Operator Chuck Heeman and Team Manager JM Kelly are excited to get the season underway.

“It’s really neat at this time of year because it’s all coming together. The players are here, the coaches are here, the interns. You plan this thing and you’re thinking it’s way down the road and now all of a sudden it’s here and we’re gonna play tomorrow night and we’re off. It goes really really fast and one of the things about summer ball is you don’t really know what you have. You know you know the schools they come from and they’re good name schools and until the players get here you don’t know what you have and you’ve got nine other teams and you don’t know what they have. But that’s the fun of it, if you knew you were gonna win everyday, why bother? So you get our there and you have fun,” says Heeman.

“They look really good so far. We don’t have everybody here yet obviously, but as we’re getting through this week we’re getting guys in from out of town. I like where we’re at. I think right now we’re about halfway with the team being in town, so once all those guys start getting in probably next week we’ll have a better idea but I think we’re gonna be in a good spot right now,” says Kelly.

With the introduction of the Plainsmen, Bill Wood field is getting some upgrades. Some of those upgrades include the outfield fence and the buildings. A new addition coming to Bill Wood Field this summer will be a party deck.

“When people come out tomorrow night they’ll see that all the buildings have been painted. We are now doing a different kind of signage out on the outfield fence, it used to be hand painted now it’s different. There is something coming in the first part of June in that we’re building a brand new party deck. That construction I believe will start June 1st and will take about a week. So as we do that we’re building one party deck now and we’re building another one later this summer for next year. So we’ve upgraded our sound system, we’ve worked with legion to do that. So there’s a lot of things we’re doing that way,” explains. Heeman.

This will be Team Manager JM Kelly’s fourth summer coaching a summer league team and his first time opening up a program. He previously coached in Hastings and College Station, Texas. With experience in the business comes connection which Kelly used to help recruit players to the team.

“I get made fun of because I’m not really good at very much but I know a bunch of people. So that’s kinda how that happened. I started calling guys, I think before the team actually got put in place or created we were almost halfway done with the team,” explains Kelly.

Kelly explained the main goal of the team this season is not only to win, but to leave better than they came.

“You want to win a bunch of game and I think you win a bunch of games from those guys building themselves up throughout the season. So that’s the main goal is for these guys to get better and build relationships with each other and the other teams and players and leave here with relationships that they didn’t have when they got here,” says Kelly.

The Plainsmen open up their season Tuesday Night against the Western Nebraska Pioneers. The series will run through Thursday and then the team will be on the road for a three game series with the Canyon County Spuds.

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