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Raider baseball team's shared

Baseball is more than just a game, despite what Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) tells her manager, Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), in the 1992 movie, "A League of Their Own."

The Hastings Raiders baseball team of 2007 -- the team that took sixth in the state tournament -- has proved that point again and again.

On June 20, the baseball team's four captains and their coach, Charlie Brookins, made Supt. Tim Collins' list of good news and were invited to share with the District 200 School Board some of the highlights of their season.

Coach Brookins talked about the ups and downs that come with any team, but stressed the boys' impressive performances in key situations and under stressful circumstances.

The baseball team included 12 seniors who Coach Brookins said will be greatly missed next year. Though their fall and winter sports seasons were challenging -- they won less than a dozen games collectively in their football, basketball and hockey seasons -- this group of athletes refused to give up and set out in pursuit of a state baseball title.

The community came together to join them on the ride, one on which they embarked with a deep sense of team strength and unity.

This game, rich in history, bridges generations. It brings back faces from the past, like the Hastings State Championship teams of 1967 and 1999, and faces of the future. The older come for what was once theirs and the young come to understand what is to be, what is possible.

For the final game at Midway Stadium on June 15, students dressed in tie-dyed shirts bearing the players' nicknames and numbers. The Hastings staff members present looked on with pride while parents snapped pictures and elementary- and middle-school students -- dressed in their blue-and-gold traveling team jerseys -- gathered to gape at their heroes with wide eyes.

The crowd looked encouraged, but with two runners on in the seventh, Rocori closed the door to the Class AAA Consolation Championship game, leaving the Raiders two runs short of a victory.

At that point, even though the scoreboard read 6-5 in favor of the opposing team, the people who sat behind the Hastings Raiders' bench stood up and cheered.

They praised a team of individuals for their relentless effort and thanked them for a season full of memories.

The current team may not have had a chance to let it all sink in by now, but teams of the past will be quick to tell them they were a part of something special.

It's not only a game.

No, it is so much more than that.