Cross Plains Traveling Baseball was started in 1963 by Francis Gorst. Francis, who pioneered the program, has been involved ever since.
Over the years Francis has been a state commissioner, league commissioner, league treasurer, coach and home talent manager.
In 1963 the Babe Ruth League consisted of one team of 13, 14, and 15 year olds. Francis helped to spearhead the Dane County League in the early 80’s into a 13-year old team and a 14 & 15 year old team. In 1984 Francis started the 16-18 year old team when Stan and Jim Nonn took over the 14 & 15 year old Babe Ruth program. Shortly after that Stan and Jim, with the help of Francis, started the 11 & 12 year old teams and the 9 & 10 year old teams. Today we have 8 teams with 100 – 120 players annually.
Francis, for all of his work with youth baseball in Cross Plains, has been inducted into the Babe Ruth Hall of Fame, and in 2015 was inducted into the Ohio Valley Regional Hall of Fame. Our community owes Francis a lot for all he has done for youth baseball.
From the very start, Cross Plain has had a strong baseball program which has allowed many players to go on and have successful baseball careers at Middleton High School, Wisconsin Heights High School, and Edgewood High School. Cross Plains has also produced a number of college players and Minor League players.
In addition, thru 2015, Cross Plains has 7 State Championship Teams, 1 Ohio Valley Regional Champion, and 1 World Series Team. The World Series Team consisted of 17 players from Cross Plains and 1 from Middleton.
Mike Matheny, a player for the Milwaukee Brewers and current coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, sums up what we believe as coaches and program director. Mike said “A large part of how a child improves is your responsibility. The difference for kids at this level is the amount of repetitions that they get. This goes with pitching, hitting, and fielding. As a parent you can help out tremendously by playing catch, throwing, batting practice, hitting ground balls, or finding and instructor who will do it in your place. The more of this your kid can get, the better. This is the one constant that I find with players who reach the Major Leagues; someone spent time with them away from the field.”
That has been the true success of the Cross Plains Traveling Baseball program. The volunteer coaches and the great parent who have truly helped to make sure their son is successful in America’s greatest sport.