IDK Soldiers break through for Rec 1 title
Front Row (L-R): Levi Gaunska, Ryan Iliff, Shannon Wiest, Jordan Padilla, Justin Connell, Kyle Johnson
Back Row (L-R): Seth Hatlewick, Levi Serfoss, John Ness, Jason Bitz, Blaze Culliton, Jared Connell
IDK Soldiers is one of Jamestown’s longest tenured teams. Long ago, before IDK even existed, they claimed a McQuades championship in the Rec 3 division with The Buff as their sponsor. The team continued to grow and improve, becoming one of the best in town and hoping to duplicate their success against tougher competition. With that improvement came greater expectations, both among those who watched from a distance and from within their own dugout.
In 2013, their potential was almost realized with a 3rd place finish at the Rec 1 state tournament. After a 3 year struggle in class D, they returned to Rec 1 but - as is the case with so many teams nowadays - rarely seemed to be able to put their best team on the field when it mattered most. Opportunity knocked earlier this month, though, as the Soldiers made the trek to Mandan with a group as tough and talented as any they’ve put on the field in recent memory.....and they were tested. Often.
The Soliders were able to cruise through game 1 with a 10-run victory, but then the nail-biting began. Narrow victories of 15-14 over Urgent Med and 18-17 over Deeter Dental set up a clash with one of the tournament’s favorites: Big Erv’s/Busch Light/Eichol’s. The Fargo powerhouse built upon last year’s 7th place finish in this tournament to win this year’s Fargo Classic and the Masters 35, Division 1 state championship.
Big Erv’s provided a challenge that the Soliders would not shrink from, earning them their 3rd consecutive one-run victory and sending one of the major threats into the loser’s bracket. The win also propelled them into a battle with Rio’s Lawn Care to determine who would be the last undefeated team standings. Unsurprisingly, this game would once again be decided by just one run and, once again, the Soldiers prevailed.
As they awaited their first shot at the big prize, Fisher/AVC/Southview Liquors/Spur Bar battled through the loser’s bracket to provide the final test. In fact, they would be the first team to hand the Soldiers a loss, 17-14, to set up the winner-take-all “if” game. Much like the previous game, it was a tight matchup - this time seeing the Soldier holding a narrow lead late. With the championship in their sights, though, IDK’s offense took over with a 10-run inning that eliminated all doubt - IDK Soldiers would be your 2020 Men’s Rec 1 state champions.
To say it was a relief for many of those who had been a part of this team through most, if not all of its existence would be an understatement. “Been waiting 20 years,” said manager Levi Serfoss. “Feels great!”
Congratulations to the IDK Soldiers and thank you for bringing a state title back to Jamestown!