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Little League's big backer

Photos by Brian Hansel Kyle Dykhoff and his brother, Wayne, were instrumental in converting an old softball diamond into a Little League baseball park this summer in Wadena.

Kyle Dykhoff always wanted to play Little League baseball when he was a kid but he never got the chance.

That is one of the reasons he has made sure the town has a Little League program this summer.

As someone who literally went straight from the hospital to a baseball game, Dykhoff has always been a big fan of baseball. He played high school ball for Wadena-Deer Creek and college ball at M State Fergus Falls. He currently plays town team baseball for Bluffton. He has also been coaching a lot of baseball on all levels.

When the parent of a Wadena ballplayer threw out the idea of turning a softball field in Fink Park as a Little League diamond, Dykhoff thought "why not?"

He enlisted the help of his brother, Wayne, and the project got rolling.

"The parents were so darned excited about it. It was awesome," Kyle said.

The city of Wadena gave the Dykhoffs the green light to convert the field. Kyle sat down and planned the remodeling of the field and then lined up some grants and sponsors to fund the work.

The city of Wadena removed the agri-lime from the infield and Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative bought 600 yards of sod to replace it. The Dykhoffs spent a week and a half preparing the field. The fences had to be moved in and capped and a pitching mound had to be built. All the dimensions for a Little League park had to be followed.

When the time came to lay the sod, a Sentence to Serve crew came in and did the work in just four hours.

The Dykhoffs also had to get their new teams into a league. They made their pitch to the Lakes Area Little League and were accepted.

Two Wadena teams have played baseball at the new park on weekday evenings this summer. There is a 9-10 minor league squad and a 11-12 major league club. Kyle is already planning for two minor and two major league Wadena teams next year.

Dykhoff has been working with players in the Wadena Recreation Program this summer and it had been a great experience.

"I really enjoy being out there with the summer rec because it's fun to see the kids improve so much in one season."

Because of the efforts which the Dykhoffs have spearheaded, Wadena baseball players will have a good, strong ladder to climb in the future with no rungs missing.

In the years to come Dykhoff would like to hear parents tell their kids the same thing he was told: "If you are bored, go play baseball."