By Derek Holtom
Some youth have a pool or a playground structure in their backyard for entertainment when the snow’s off the ground.
For the Tweet family, it was a batting cage.
“When we moved to Russell, my Auntie bought us a batting cage,” says Dawson Tweet, a former area resident now living in the United States. “My brother, my dad, my sister and I would spend countless hours up in the batting cage in the backyard.”
Looking back, hitting the curveball all summer long in Russell helped develop skills that would open up doors for all three siblings.
Tweet, 20, recently signed with William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri, a NCAA school. He did so after spending two years at Mesabi Range College (a two-year junior college), located in Virginia, Minn., and he hopes to study Physical Therapy next fall. His sister, Savanna, played collegiate softball herself at Minnesota State University Moorhead, while younger brother Wyatt just signed on with Bismarck State University, a junior school where he hopes to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and also make the NCAA ranks.
“This is huge – it will allow me to continue to go to school and play NCAA Division II baseball,” says Tweet. “It’s been a long-time goal of mine to play NCAA baseball. Parents always prioritize school, so this means I can continue to get an education and I can play a game that I love.”
Born in Fargo, N.D., Tweet and his family relocated to Russell in 2009 (when he was seven years old) to work at and eventually take over a bed and breakfast owned by his parents. That didn’t work out, but it did bring Tweet to the Russell area, where he honed his skills in not just baseball, but just about every sport he could play.
“I played lots of different sports,” he said. “I played hockey, volleyball, badminton, and baseball, all in high school.”
His father Blair (the Canadian) and his mother Amy (the American) helped expose all their children to all sorts of interests. But it was baseball that really spoke to Tweet as time went on.
“We were living in Fargo, my father worked at the baseball field there, so I was already around it,” says Tweet. “All the time the focus was really on baseball, but I did love playing all those other sports. It keeps you busy in the off season.
“And that’s my whole family – they love playing other sports as well,” he said. “And you learn so much more about being an athlete by playing different games and working out different parts (of your body). It all benefits you.”
After the signing, which was announced in part on Twitter (which is sort of ironic given his last name), Tweet was inundated with congratulations from friends and family.
“Everyone was over the moon,” he said. “I got so much feedback from my friends on how proud they were of me.
“And especially from my family – they were all so happy for me, and they knew how much work I put into this.”
The collegiate baseball season is much different than that of a say a football or hockey player. Tweet says they try to get in a short fall season before the snow falls, then start up as early as possible in the spring. And while snow is not uncommon in Missouri, spring comes there a lot sooner than it does in Manitoba or Minnesota.
“We do a lot of work in the gym in the winter, and actually (my school team) is about to take a trip to Florida for some training,” says Tweet, referencing a state famous for winter baseball. “We will have a lot more time to be outside in Missouri, where it isn’t as cold.”
Four years from now Tweet will be close to graduating, have four years of college baseball under his belt, and still only be 24 years old. So, is professional baseball – at any level – in his future?
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” he said. “Baseball is a competitive world, and if I’m given an opportunity to further my career, I absolutely want to pursue it.
“It is a long ways down the road, so I just have to keep working and keep focused, and make sure I take care of my school training.”