Devils having success with diversity

Posted at: 03/30/2014 9:44 PM
Updated at: 03/30/2014 10:43 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There is a common expression - life is all about who you know.

"With a two-year program, you lose guys so quickly that as soon as you seem to get them on the right page, they're gone," Riverland baseball coach Scott Koenigs said.

Which is why Koenigs used his connections to the Blue Devils advantage.

He brought in so many Floridians and Curacao natives that two-thirds of his roster is now filled by non-Minnesotans.

"It's tough to get guys that can actually get you to that World Series, which is the goal every year," Koenigs said. "So that's why we have to reach out and go to so many different places."

Koenigs said Iowa has a big advantage, because practically all of their junior colleges can offer athletic scholarships.

"A lot of our good players that we have around this area will take the scholarship and go somewhere else," Koenigs said.

You might think the cultural gap creates some issues, but the players told me that's not the case, thanks in part to their annual Florida trip every March.

"26 hours on a bus, and you bond pretty well," Lewiston, Minn., native Zach Nelson said.

"It's nice to be here; to have the different cultures," Osage, Iowa, native Matt Bushbaum said.

"We get along really well," Nelson said. "Not much to it, really."

After all, they all have the same goal - get back to the Division III Junior College World Series.

"We have a lot of talent. We have a lot of ability. It's now putting it all together," Koenigs said.

"I'll take our chances any day," Nelson said. "I think we have a big chance to get back to Tyler, Texas."