By Tyler Ohmann
A bit of a shuffle will take place in the Victory League (VL) beginning this spring as the annual Victory League meeting, Jan. 20, revealed that Holdingford will leave the VL in 2017 and will be replaced by Swanville.
At the meeting, the Express was granted a one-year leave of absence due to several players leaving the team to play with friends on other teams.
“Holdingford is a small school, and it was supporting too many teams,” VL President Randy Heidman said.
The Express will be able to be reinstated in 2018 with a simple majority vote of the VL board.
Swanville was unanimously voted in to replace the spot that the Express left behind. The Swans had applied for entry last year as well, but were denied.
Opole will be shifted from the VL West division to the VL South, and the Swans will take Opole’s spot in the West.
Heidman said that these changes will be beneficial to several teams by cutting on travel time and renewing old rivalries as well as nearby rivalries.
“After playing four years in the Resorters League, the Swanville Swans are excited to play in the Victory League in 2017,” said Swans manager John Lindeman. “We are looking forward to re-establishing rivalries with area Victory League teams, with the hope that crowds for our games (at home and on the road) will be large and spirited.”
The Swans have made several improvements to their field in recent years, which is on Swanville school grounds.
In the past couple of years, the Swans added a new mound and home plate area as well as a in-ground sprinkler system and the 20-by-80-foot “Chain Link Monster” fence in left field.
Lindeman hopes that with continued community support the Swans will be able to continue to improve the field. They would like to add grass infields, lights and an electronic scoreboard in the future.
“In short, we are excited to begin a new era of town ball in Swanville as a member of the Victory League, which is truly one of the premiere Class C town ball leagues in Minnesota,” Lindeman said.
The VL said that it was an easy decision to accept the Swans.
“It was a no-brainer to vote Swanville in with Holdingford dropping out,” Heidman said. “You hate to see teams leave, but we understand that it was an unfortunate thing.”
In the past 10 years or so, two other teams have left the VL via leave of absence (Harding and Brainerd). Neither has since re-established themselves.
A previous Swanville team, known as the Heat, was in the VL at one point in the past.
The VL North/East begin the season April 30, the South/West begins April 23.