FARGO – Ian Schultz and Seth Brenneman are trading in their baseball spikes for combat boots less than two weeks after they graduate from high school.
The two Fargo North seniors are enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard and leave for basic training June 10 in San Antonio.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Schutz, a pitcher. “It gives you a sense of pride. Especially around here, a lot of people really respect that career choice.”
Schultz and Brenneman have played integral parts on the Spartans baseball team this season, leading Fargo North to a second-place finish in the East Region tournament. That earned the Spartans a No. 2 seed in the East at the state tournament, which starts today.
“I haven’t heard anybody criticize me on (the decision),” said Brenneman, who plays first base for North. “Everybody says, ‘Wow that’s really cool’ and have looked up to me for doing it. And I really like that feeling.”
The two made the decision to commit to the NDANG together.
“We’ve known each other from pretty much middle school, and we’ve been best friends ever since then,” Brenneman said. “(Enlisting together) makes everything a lot easier.”
Andrew Delvo, a Spartans JV baseball player, also pledged to join with the two as well.
Schultz and Brenneman’s fathers each served in the active duty Air Guard together.
“Pretty much every guy in my family does it,” Brenneman said. “It’s kind of a legacy. Eventually maybe my kids will want to do it.”
The two, although quiet leaders, are effective leaders both on and off the field North head coach Jeff Fiechtner said.
“It’s been an awesome four years watching those two grow and develop,” said Fiechtner, who is in his 16th year of coaching the team. “They are both very quiet, yet everybody looks at them when they talk. It’s very unique, especially at this level. I haven’t seen a negative thing come out of their mouths. They’re consistent with their character and consistent with their integrity, so when they come out on the baseball field, they are fun to be around.”
His only qualm about the boys enlisting? Watching them hang up their spikes and shelf their baseball mitts.
“I think both of them have a future in baseball when it comes to the college level,” Fiechtner said. “They are just phenomenal athletes on the baseball field.”
They chose the NDANG because they can still get a college education while staying close to home.
However, neither one knows for sure where in the country they will be for training.
“I still want to be able to go to school and get an education so it was the best fit for me,” said Schultz, who was a Gatorade Player of the Year nominee and team-elected MVP.
This season marks the first time in five years that Fargo North has made it to state.
“The past three years I’ve been here we kind of shot ourselves in the foot late and haven’t been able to go,” Brenneman said. “But this year we pulled through. Feels good. We’re finally at state.”
Schultz, Brenneman and the Spartans first take on West No. 3-seeded Dickinson at 1:30 p.m. today in Mandan, N.D.
“We’ve been working hard for it, and I think things have been going pretty well,” Schultz said. “We’ve been playing good ball, and I think if we just keep doing what we are doing, polishing a few things up, we have a good chance.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Madalyn Laske at (701) 241-5549
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