By Anne Hassler Heidel
Caleb Hartman is pursuing his own field of dreams by putting together a summer collegiate baseball team in McPherson. If he builds it, he hopes people will come.
At the end of last summer Hartman and his coaching colleague Chad Pinson decided to form the McPherson Pipeliners.
“With a lot of hard work, dedication and the help of the City of McPherson, our idea became a reality. 2018 will be our first season of many in McPherson,” Hartman said.
Hartman and Pinson have signed a three-year agreement to compete in the Kansas Collegiate League Baseball and the National Baseball Congress.The Pipeliners have secured use of the Light Capital Diamond from Central Christian College of Kansas.
Hartman selected the name Pipeliners because of McPherson’s industrial and oil history.
Hartman is the recruiting coordinator, head coach and owner. He has spent the last year contacting junior college and DII schools looking for players primarily in Oklahoma and Texas. There will be a few familiar names on the roster of 28-30 players such as former Bullpups Cody Starkel and Marcus McDaniel who plan to play. Hartman has also been busy finding host families for the players to stay with and lining up sponsorships from the community. Both of those opportunities are still available with more information available on the team’s website McPhersonPipeliners.com.
Hartman and Pinson stress this is not a short-term project and they intend on building a legacy in McPherson. To do that they are drawing on their coaching experience and bringing in other coaching talent.
Asst. Coach Chad Pinson, who has coached more than 5,000 young athletes in Lyons, Kan., will work with players in the infield and on hitting. Taylor Werts, will work with outfield players and is the pitching coach. Werts is a Texas native who moved here in 2010 to play baseball at McPherson College.
The opening game for the Pipeliners will be May 31 against the Haven Warhawks at Light Capital Ball Diamond at 7 p.m. A full schedule can be found at mcphersonpipeliners.com. Werts is working with a local radio station to broadcast home games this season.
You can contact Hartman via the team’s Facebook page, website, or by calling (620) 747-9210. Forms for hosting or sponsorship are available on the website.