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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 15, 2002 - Issue 63


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He's a Young Hunkpapa with a Mean Fastball

by Dottie Potter Lakota Journal Staff Writer

baseball batBISMARCK, ND - A young man only 17 years old sends a mean fast ball at 85 mph and pitched a shutout game until the ninth inning in the State A Tournament in Bismarck last week.

Rob Bird House, enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and a Jr. at Bismarck High School, pitched a no hitter for the Demons into the ninth inning when the opposing team finally got a hit and scored.

Fargo won the game 1-0 but the Demons took 5th place in the tournament.

"Rob and the other pitcher both were really throwing their best. There's usually seven innings in high school baseball, but it went into the ninth inning and both had pitched a shutout game. Then they beat us 1 to 0, but it was an awesome game," Phillip Bird House said with pride of his son's pitching.

The young man has been playing ball and pitching since he started in the Little League games when he was about 10 years old.

His father said, "I started him pitching when he was only five years old and now he throws an 85 mph ball left handed."

He added that his son is the only Native American on the high school team and that he was selected for the Bismarck Governor's Legion Team where he's also he only Native American player. The team is made up of the top players from the three high schools in Bismarck.

"The past weekend he made the All-State Tournament Team—they pick two top players from eight teams," Bird House said.

He added, "We were really excited, but worried because his team lost the game 1-0, but he was chosen for the All-State team anyway—we are really proud of him."

The father said he grew up in Wakpala on the reservation but moved his family to Bismarck where he believed his children could get a better education.

"Just like any town, there's some discrimination here, but there's none in the sports up here. Rob doesn't experience any discrimination at all—the kids all know him because of what he's done and they know what he can do—and they really respect him," Bird House said.

He said that his son made it to the Babe Ruth World Series two years ago when he was only 15 years old. "The series took place at Lebanon, Missouri and it was an awesome experience," Bird House said.

The young baseball pitcher hopes to play in the major leagues. His father said that his coaches believe that colleges will be looking at him and perhaps the big leagues by next year when he is a senior.

"He hopes to get an athletic scholarship and is looking at Nebraska and Minnesota, but if he would get a chance at the big leagues, then he'd go and try to work in classes some other way," Bird House said.

He and his wife, Tami, have two daughters ages two and 13, in addition to their son. "The oldest one is more into band and music than sports," Bird House said.

He added that the coaches are working with his son in a strengthening and weight program and hope that by next year, he will be pitching the ball at 90 mph and they're confident that he will be picked by a major league—if not next year—sometime in his near future.

Until then, the young man will continue to do what he does best - play baseball as a left handed pitcher who throws a fast ball at 85 mph and has the stamina to pitch nine innings or more if the game comes to that.

(c) 2002 Lakota Journal

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Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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