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Home Talent League brings 4th of July baseball back

Published: Jul. 4, 2021 at 9:58 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Home Talent League has provided amateur baseball to southern Wisconsin since 1929 and just like any other league, professional or not, it took a hiatus.

Moving past the pandemic the Home Talent League brought a tradition back, playing baseball on the 4th of July.

“It’s a day that we celebrate America. And what better way to be out here playing America’s game of baseball.” Middleton 29ers manager, Brandon Hellenbrand said before his team took on the Cross Plains Businessmen on Sunday afternoon at Sorenson Field.

It was not just the return of a holiday tradition for both teams, but a rivalry being played as well.

“I don’t think it gets any better than this.” Cross Plains manager Randy Meinholz said.

“Playing Middleton on the 4th of July. 4th of July should be baseball day.”

“We always have that dream of one day making the majors, right? Well this is our dream playing after high school and college.” Hellenbrand added when reflecting on his time as a player for the 29ers starting when he graduated in 2001 to now leading them as a manager.

The Home Talent League’s season and tradition returning is significant for more than just the teams but the dedicated fans too. Doc Cramer and Mike Zimmerman coached and taught many of the players on the 29ers when they were at Middleton high school. Now retired, they attend almost every game home or away.

“Everybody’s trying hard. Everybody wants to win but everybody has got to go to work Monday. They keep it in perspective, most of them and it’s a nice competitive game to watch.” said Zimmerman before watching his son play on Sunday.

“You know there are some family gatherings but this is family. Sitting here with good friends. People I used to work with. People who are parents of the current players. And this is just a nice way to spend the day.” said Cramer.

“Maybe have a beer, some peanuts in a shell, and good conversation. That’s maybe more important than the baseball itself.”

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