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Red River Pilots' coach, players leave midseason, Expedition League trying to reassemble a roster

The Red River Pilots are a first-year collegiate summer baseball team.

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The Expedition League announced earlier this year the new Grand Forks team will be named the Red River Pilots.
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GRAND FORKS — The first season of the Red River Pilots is off to a rocky start.

Head coach Matty Holem has resigned and his collegiate summer baseball team has apparently left, as well.

According to a release from the Expedition League, Holem resigned via email on June 29.

"He also dismissed the Pilots' players, which was unauthorized and had not been discussed with nor approved by the Expedition League," the statement said. "We are working diligently to rebuild the Pilots' roster for the 2022 season's stretch run."

The statement was released Friday. Earlier in the week, Expedition League commissioner Steve Wagner spoke to the Herald about the coach's departure.

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"We've had our head coach leave us a little high and dry," Wagner said. "We're reloading and bringing in a new coach and continuing our season."

The Expedition League operated out of Kraft Field last summer when the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks of Brandon, Manitoba, played in Grand Forks due to Canadian border crossing issues related to the pandemic.

It has been a tumultuous last couple of seasons for the Expedition League.

The league went from a 12-team league to a four-team league from 2021 to 2022.

Seven former Expedition League teams formed an Independence League following complaints of player mistreatment with the Mining City Tommyknockers of Butte, Mont.

The former teams include the Badlands Big Sticks, Canyon County Spuds, Casper Horseheads, Fremont Moo, Hastings Sodbusters, Spearfish Sasquatch and Western Nebraska Pioneers.

According to the Hastings Tribune, Wagner sued the defecting franchises. Those defecting teams then filed a counterclaim lawsuit.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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