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Sandlot teams plan to make pitch-perfect album

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By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

They have a ball playing baseball, and soon many of the players on Lockhart’s sandlot teams will be playing on a vinyl album rather than a diamond.

That’s right, instead of hitting the cutoff man, members of the Hawks and Meat City Smoke will be hitting chords and notes on an album to be released later this year.

Wins are nice, but between balls and strikes, grounders and flyouts, the Hawks and Meat City Smoke are playing America’s favorite pastime in the true spirit of the game.

The Lockhart Sandlot Baseball Club was founded in January 2022 with one team – the Hawks – but interest was so great it was soon realized a second team – Meat City Smoke — was necessary. They compete against 80 teams nationwide, including several around Texas. The Hawks will even travel to Brooklyn, New York on July 29 to play at Prospect Park against one such sandlot club. Between the two Lockhart teams, they have already played at Oklahoma City, Nashville, Tennessee, and Durham, North Carolina, site of the Bull Durham movie.

The two Lockhart teams met on the night of July 4 at City Park. Smoke ran out to a 13-1 lead after three innings, but the Hawks rallied, only to fall short, 16-14.

Players range from their 20’s to 50’s on the Hawks, and Smoke includes a 61-year-old.

The album is a fundraising idea that will help with the cost of a new field the Lockhart Sandlot Baseball Club (LSBC) plans to build at Two Wishes Ranch.

“The album will help raise money for the teams’ operating costs, umpires, and hospitality for visiting teams,” said Sara Barr, Secretary for LSBC. “The goal (for the new field) is to be done possibly by the end of the year. We are planting seed and soil, and after that we’ll put in dugouts and bleachers.”

The coed baseball teams were an idea born from Tamara Deike and Daniel Northcutt. Deike wanted to play on Austin’s Texas Playboys squad yet found it difficult. After recruiting players to form the Hawks last season, Lockhart went on to win the Texas World Series… over the Playboys.

“I just thought, we should do this here,” Deike said. “We began recruiting and after two weeks we began practicing. Some people, like myself, hadn’t played in 20 years, but we sharpened our skills.”

Barr joked that there were fewer players on the Smoke because “they play fewer games. They are considered the ‘committed club,’ and we are considered the ‘casual club.’”

Barr said the games are good-natured and they try to take the visiting team out, “Like to Old Pal or something, or maybe a pool party or even to the river.”

Hawks’ player Will Rhodes, also one of several musicians playing, said his father had been on a sandlot team. If someone associated with that team had a death in the family, the team would pool its money together and pay for the funeral.

There are Texas teams in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Port Aransas, Temple, and Marfa. 

Sometimes, the Hawks and Smoke even use each other’s coaches — Jessica Wimpy, Austin Burge, Shane Renfroe, and Spencer Thibodeaux.

The crowds are picking up at the games, as many nearby residents have learned attending the games is a good source of relaxation while pulling for a Lockhart team.

“It depends, because in the summer it’s so hot, but we have people come out and watch and cheer us on,” Barr said.

The Hawks include about 40 players, which is a good thing because so many miss games due to work and family commitments.

The Hawks have even secured sponsorship from The Original Black’s Barbecue and SH 130 Concession. The Lockhart Sandlot Baseball Club is a non-profit, 501(c)3 entity.

Deike, whose brother, Levi, plays on Smoke, splits time between Lockhart and Portland, Oregon. She said building a team was like handling casting for a film. Her business background is in music and entertainment.

“Our teams have so many talented musicians,” Deike said.

The album, “Sandlot Season One: Lockhart,” will be presented by Stolen Base Records and is planned for later this year. It will be pressed by Gold Rush Vinyl of Austin. Sponsors include Earlybird CBD, Mill Scale Metal Works, with others possibly coming on board later. It will be a vinyl-only album available through the Lockhart Sandlot Baseball Club website as well as selected retailers such as Good Things Grocery, Lockhart Arts & Craft, and others.

The plan is to have a release party perhaps at the Texas Monthly Barbecue Festival.

The baseball-playing musicians comprise a plethora of talent.

The album will include the following:

SIDE A

1. Shane Renfro “Come on Down” (writing collaborators Jonathan Ray Case + Parker Chapin); featuring vocals by Kelly Dugan, Laura McNairy, and Kathryn Chuber

2. Jonathan Ray Case “1981” 

3. Trav Knight “Cactus King” 

4. Shapes and Codes “Bang Bang Sweet”

5. Kelly Dugan “Pepper of the Earth”

SIDE B

1. RF Shannon “Tangerine Marigold” (Casinos in the Wild Demo)

2. Will Rhodes “In Here Out There”

3. Parker Chapin “Damn Good Time” 

4. Taylor Mowrey Burge “The Timber”

5. Swayzeyi “So Much, So Soon” (No-Beats Edit)

The upcoming schedules for both the Hawks and Smoke at City Park are as follows:

Lockhart Hawks

July 16, 4 p.m.

Home vs. The Austin Drag

July 23, TBA

Home vs. Texas Tallboys

July 29, 6 p.m.

at Brooklyn Bad Stars, at Prospect Park

Aug. 5, 4:30 p.m.

at San Antonio Los Slowpokes, at Pittman-Sullivan Park

Meat City Smoke

July 23, 2 p.m.

At Port Aransas Oil Dawgs

Aug. 12, noon

Home vs. East Austin Ramblers

Aug. 26, TBA

Home vs. South Austin Skullbirds

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