Scott Dunne said he’s a little uncomfortable describing the Kaneville Skeeters as a travel baseball team.
“It makes you sound elite,” said Dunne, the team’s head coach.
And that isn’t what the team’s story is about, he said.
The Skeeters are made up of fifth-grade boys who live in Elburn and have played together for years. Dunne said they were looking to stay together, so they formed a travel team. He said they found a perfect fit in the Kaneville Baseball and Softball Organization. And they play their home games Wednesdays in Kaneville.
The team officially was started in 2011, but Dunne said it really started before that. He and a friend, Adam Bottorff, would show up at the baseball field at John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn on Monday mornings during the summer and boys would arrive to play ball. Dunne said about 20 kids would show up.
“It’s something you don’t see anymore, and I just wanted the kids to play baseball again,” Dunne said. “There were no set teams, no set positions and we didn’t even keep score.”
A group stuck together and entered an organized house league, where they enjoyed a good experience. But there are rules against keeping teams together, because the goal is to preserve a recreational experience. To keep the team together, the friends would have to create a team for travel ball. Dunne said he found that in Kaneville, which has fields Dunne described as beautiful – “dugouts, grass infield, home run fence and a concession stand.”
The Skeeters play tournaments throughout the year, and they compete in the Kane County Bronco League.
Rob Ottosen, president of the Kaneville Baseball and Softball Organization, said the team was welcome. There were just a couple of requests – the team had to identify itself as Kaneville, and it had to use the colors of black and orange. The Skeeters are one of two teams that regularly play at Kaneville’s larger baseball field.
“It’s great we brought them to little old Kaneville,” Ottosen said.
Dunne has high hopes to have promotions for their home games Wednesday night and said coaches are “trying to make this experience the best they will have growing up playing baseball.” He said he understands that the team might not be able to stay together for years to come. In fact, he said he’s a little surprised it has stuck together as long as it has.
“I didn’t think we were going to do it again,” he said. “There are a handful of players who are very good and could play somewhere else, but the parents and kids decided we had a blast, and we’re going to do this again.”
The team’s players are Scotty Dunne, Connor Bottorff, Ben Durbala, David Bradbury, Victor Krause, Mason Kottmeyer, Giovanni Celia, Marty Scialabba, Willie Cushman, Coltin Humm, Tom Eberhardt and Zach Beatty.
Coaches are Dunne, Adam Bottorff, Mark Bradbury and Brian Beatty.
• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.