Unsung Heroes: Host families make Mid-Plains baseball possible

JUNCTION CITY (KSNT) – The Junction City Brigade of the Mid-Plains League is made up of college players from areas far and near, but the diverse group has put together a long but great summer season.

“It’s been awesome,” said Ben Ramberg, pitcher from Fort Hays State. “It’s been a lot of fun, we win a lot and we have a lot of fun together.”

However after games and practices, one might ask: ‘Where are these guys staying?’

Especially with some of their home towns being hours away.

That’s where the residents of Junction City, as well as any other city in the Mid-Plains League, come in as some of them were willing to open up their home to complete strangers.

“We were a little anxious,” said Jennifer Ruffley, first time host. “We repainted his bedroom and repainted his bathroom and bought new bedding and towels. We were trying to just make them feel at home”

According to the players, the hosts have done a great job of doing just that.

“I got my own room which is nice,” said Troy Wehde, catcher from Quincy University. “They have dogs, I have dogs.”

“When I go to my parents, they’ll cook for me and when I’m here, Dana’s been awesome,” Rambert said. “She cooks for us, she takes care of us, she gets us what we need.”

This experience though is a two-way street, as the hosts also benefit from the players stay as well.

“We’ve got a 14 year old and 11 year old boy,” said Ruffley. “The 11 year old is really active in baseball and it’s nice to have a good influence around the house over the summer”

Dana Wiegand, the host family coordinator, agrees.

“It’s nice having a role model for our son who loves the sport,” Wiegand said. “It’s something else for us to do on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday night, another place to be because we love baseball and being at the ball fields is where we love to be.”

Wiegand also explains that even after the season, the connection won’t end there.

“We just found so much excitement with it,” Wiegand said. “We still have contacts with a lot of those players, we’ve been to weddings, we’ve been to graduations.”

Because while they were strangers at the beginning of the summer, they’re pretty much family by the end.

The Junction City Brigade will face the Midwest Athletics in the Cowdin Cup final starting Thursday.


Note: Dana Wiegand thanks all the host families. If you are interested in being a host family for next season, contact the Junction City Brigade and she will get your information.

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