A pair of Lovell Mustangs baseball players will be continuing their careers at the next level. Cole Wambeke and Dakota Bond, both of Cowley, will play for the Dawson Community College Buccaneers in Glendive, Mont., starting this fall.
According to Mustangs manager Michael Jameson, new Dawson coach Chris Lewis has scoured the region for players and contacted him to ask if he had a player or two to consider. Jameson said he mentioned his graduating seniors, Wambeke and Bond.
Both of the 2016 Rocky Mountain High School graduates were named to the Wyoming Class A North All-District all-star team this year, Wambeke to the first team and Bond to the second team. Wambeke was also named to the Class A All-State team, a second team selection.
Wambeke has been a pitcher, shortstop and occasional outfielder for the Mustangs. Mustangs coach Steven Durtsche, who managed Wambeke for several years, said that, even when Wambeke was younger, of Babe Ruth age, he would bring him up to pitch a game or two when needed.
Jameson said Wambeke was “one of our most reliable and consistent guys,” adding, “You pretty much knew what you were going to get out of him day in and day out. He gave us a quality effort. Whether at the plate, on the mound or in the field, you knew it would be a good performance.”
Wambeke was 6-5 on the mound for the Mustangs this season with a 3.56 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 57 innings. He only walked 16. Wambeke also hit .294 with 23 RBIs and 35 runs scored.
The son of Pat and Sonya Wambeke of Cowley, Wambeke plans to major in physical education in college, and he said he might later return to college in Wyoming, perhaps at the university, noting that the Hathaway Scholarship can be deferred. He said he’ll be on a general sports scholarship at Dawson.
Buccaneer coach Lewis said in a Dawson College press release that Wambeke is a “utility guy that will give us some options on defense and will also see time on the mound.” He noted that Wambeke only struck out 11 times in 182 plate appearances this season.
Bond said Jameson and assistant coach Jason Borders asked him if he would be interested in playing at Dawson.
“I said yes,” Bond noted. “They gave me his (Coach Lewis) email address and I contacted him.”
Bond said he had been looking at playing at Montana State University-Billings but changed his mind when Lewis called. He said he toured the campus last Friday, adding, “the field looks great.”
“He said they can guarantee me a spot, but they can’t promise money because he hasn’t seen me play,” Bond said. “I told him I can pitch, catch and play third.”
The son of Joe and Tammy Bond, he said he is undeclared at this time but may major in education, with an emphasis on history, or in business management.
“Dakota will be joining us this fall, and we are excited to add another versatile player to our roster,” Lewis said. “He hit .316 with only 13 strikeouts in 105 plate appearances, so he will fit right into our pressure style offense and put the ball in play.”
Jameson noted that Bond was “the type of kid who makes everybody around him better through his work ethic and practice habits.”
“Coach Borders gave him the nickname of the bulldog of the team,” Jameson said. “You need guys like that who always have a dirty jersey at the end of the day. They may not be the prettiest, but they’ll get the job done and give 100 percent.”
Wambeke and Bond are the third and fourth players in recent years to play for the Bucanneers. Jameson himself played at Dawson, followed a few years later by Steven Pickett of Lovell.
“I think it’s a huge step in continuing to build the program and seeing these guys have opportunities to continue to play,” Jameson said. “It gets everybody excited. You can see that there are opportunities and doors that are opened through baseball. Baseball will give you options. I hope we can continue this trend and send guys on a yearly basis.
By David Peck