Lawmaker steps in to pitch for American Association team

The pitching stable for the American Association’s Sioux City Explorers is so deep, it crosses political district lines.

After using ten pitchers in their previous two games, the Explorers needed to think outside the box to find viable arms for their Saturday game against the Milwaukee Milkmen.

Or outside the state congressional district.

Sioux City’s Lewis and Clark Stadium is located in Iowa’s 14th State House of Representatives district, just east of the Missouri River. Seven miles to the north, in the 1st district, was Explorers manager Steve Montgomery’s unconventional solution — state representative J.D. Scholten.

Before entering politics, Scholten had put together a lengthy baseball resume. He played collegiate ball at Morningside University and Nebraska, then bounced around different independent ranks — pitching for clubs from Canada to Belgium. One of the first professional teams he played for? The Explorers.

Over a decade and a half removed from his last game with Sioux City, Montgomery called on Scholten to suit up once again. Up against the wall with the clock to first pitch ticking, the request needed some urgency to get through.

“I had like ten missed calls and I had [Montgomery] texting me saying ‘call me. ASAP,'” Scholten told KCAU 9 News. “And that turned into less than three hours later getting the starting nod and pitching.”

The 44-year-old Scholten was game, but he had to clear a few unusual hurdles before accepting the gig.

“I just said ‘look, I don’t care what you give me. I just need someone to go in there and throw strikes,'” Montgomery said. “And he said ‘I think I can do that, but I’ve got to have someone pick up my shift.’ He called me back ten minutes later and said he was in.”

Scholten did more than just throw strikes. He put together a strong 6.2 innings of work, throwing 100 pitches and allowing just two runs as the Explorers notched an 11-2 win.

Looking to build off his winning return, Scholten will pitch once again for Sioux City this Thursday as the Explorers face the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on the road.


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