Montana State University-Billings’ baseball team consists of 38 active players and 4 red shirts.
“Recruiting in-state, that’s huge for this program,” said Caje Golden.”We’re all just so honored to represent Montana and come to this school and play baseball.
15 of those 42 young men are from the Treasure State. Players say they love having other Montana guys on the team, and that transitioning is easy.
“I’m a transfer back to Billings but I know like freshmen coming in, it’s nice knowing people on the team,” explained Cole Jones. “So many Billings guys, you grew up with them, playing against them, you build relationships just playing against people. It’s nice having those when you step foot on campus.”
Matt Dillon added, “We get some kids from out of state that come here and it takes a little bit of an adjustment period but all of the Montana guys, they know what to expect during the winters, knowing they have to start their cars 15 minutes early.”
The amount of Montana natives on the team shows off the abilities the state and the City of Billings have when it comes to producing solid players.
Freshman Brooks Zimmer explained, “This is the only four-year big school that we have that has baseball in Montana and having quite a few people from Billings on the team definitely shows that Billings baseball is a good program, the legion program puts out some good players.”
“Being from the outside, we’ve always known Billings as a baseball town and you look at the history of the Mustangs and the success of both of the legion programs, its just a testament to the support this community gives these kids and these young men get an opportunity to play good baseball,” said Head Coach Aaron Sutton.
“I think the people love it,” added Jalen Garcia.”We get a lot of people out at Dehler when they go out and play there for the legion programs and you know, it’s a big stadium and you’ve got two teams here and the programs do a great job.”
For the Billings natives, they fall on one side or the other when it comes to legion baseball. Red side or blue side.
Dillon, who played for the Royals in high school said, “We fueded a little bit, like with Cole. Cole and I would always, before games, would be taking fly balls and talking to each other about who’s going to do better, who’s going to do worse in the game, but I was excited when he came here to join us and team up with us because he’s very talented. Same with Jalen, when he came back from Corbin, it’s just fun to play on the same side after competing for so long with him.”
Golden played for the Scarlets. He said, “All of the red side guys say the state championships and I mean even the kids from out-of-state, they are saying, “Oh blue side guys, oh red side guys,” like they’re not even from here and they know that it’s a big deal here in Billings.”
Dylan Johnson also played for the Scarlets. He is a freshman at MSUB. “We were obviously enemies in high school, but I like Matt Dillon, he’s a great kid, and Brooks Zimmer, and me and brooks played together for travel ball and stuff, he’s a great guy.”
As for Coach Sutton, he plays the blue side-red side talk safe. “I’m split right down the middle, I’m split right in the middle with those guys. I love both sides as far as sending us players and what they’ve been doing as far as developing them and getting them ready for us.”
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