Salina Stockade baseball ready to settle down and play ball

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
McDonald Stadium in El Dorado, Kansas

EL DORADO—For Tom Fitzpatrick it will be different being in dorm rooms but being able to call something "home" will be a welcomed edition to an already tumultuous season. 

The El Dorado Stockade... I mean, the Salina Stockade are set to play a five-game home stand at historic McDonald Stadium tonight at 6:35 p.m. against the Trinidad (Colo.) Triggers. First, the Stockade will have to get settled into the Butler Community College dorms. 

"We just found out this week," Fitzpatrick said. "Guys are scrambling to get their own linens and be prepared."

The Stockade had their series with Colorado Springs abruptly cancelled due to field issues beyond both team's control and the Stockade have been staying in Garden City until this morning when they will make their way to El Dorado.

"I've never been to El Dorado or Wichita," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm looking forward and honestly, I'm really excited."

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Fitzpatrick is only 25 years old but will handle the coaching duties, as well as playing catcher and first base. He was approached about the dual role after the original head coach fell through. Fitzpatrick enjoys the position and admits it's not too hard. There is only making sure everything gets done. Doesn't sound much different than what you do with your team leader. 

"It's not that hard but there's a lot to get done," Fitzpatrick said. "From uniforms to equipment. It's my responsibility we take care of that."

You can read about the Stockade's journey to El Dorado but if you really want to experience the Pecos League, an offensive powered league, you have to see it for yourself. Pitching is a novelty and the balls go flying. 

From Collins Robinson, who will start for the Stockade and is related to Jackie Robinson, to Jordan Anderson, one of the hardest hitting players in the entire league. There's a lot to like about this team if you can get by the pitching woes. 

"It's not just us [with the pitching]," Fitzpatrick said. "Every team is limited and have to pick position players."

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The City and the league came to an agreement there will be no paid admission to McDonald Stadium and will hopefully have a mascot. They will stream the games, albeit a premium stream, and will provide concessions.

Despite the terrible start, the Stockade seem to be turning a corner. They're 2-5 in their last seven games after only winning two in their previous 28. While the record isn't what they would like, they are starting to see some positives. They're hoping they're able to see some of those positives during this home stand.

"Once we throw good arm like what we have, we have good odds to win games," Fitzpatrick said. "It's the problem and I have guys that I don't want to throw."

It's been better. In the month of July, the Stockade are allowing 12 runs per game, compared to the 17 per game they were allowing in the month of June. They're scoring more runs, too. They are averaging 9.4 runs in July, compared to 6.7 in June. 

Whether El Dorado will be the future of the Stockade, that remains to be seen. For Fitzpatrick and the rest of the bunch, they are ready to entertain and not to be in a hotel for a night.

"We can be a really fun offensive team," Fitzpatrick said. "We're hoping people come out and we give them a show with some early home runs."

Who: Trinidad Triggers (15-21) at Salina Stockade (4-31)

When: Wednesday, July 14 at 6:35 p.m. 

Where: Historic McDonald Stadium

Watch: Here (cost is $6.00 or you can come out to McDonald for free).

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.