Friday, April 29, 2016

Caleb Stayton (right) shares a high-five with head coach Rich Maloney after Stayton hit a solo home run for Ball State University against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Port Charlotte, Fla. It was the first collegiate homer for the freshman and Elkhart Christian Academy graduate. (Photo Supplied / Mike James Photography)

Caleb Stayton (second from right) accepts the A.D. Phillips Sportsmanship Award surrounded by (from right) Bristol Post 143 baseball liaison and finance officer Keith Kinder, baseball manager Jim Treadway and commander Arthur Webber. Stayton, a 2013 Elkhart Christian Academy graduate and Ball State University freshman first baseman, is the first Bristol recipient of an award presented since 1964. (Steve Krah / The Elkhart Truth)

Elkhart Christian's Caleb Stayton grimaces as he takes a swing with his teammates watching during game one of a doubleheader against Fort Wayne Crusaders Saturday, May 11, 2013. (Jennifer Shephard / The Elkhart Truth)
Staytons to share in father-son baseball adventure in Alaska

Posted on June 4, 2014 at 1:49 p.m.

It is an opportunity for plenty of father-son bonding with a lot of baseball and The Last Frontier thrown in.

Caleb Stayton, fresh off his freshman season at Ball State University, will get to travel with his summer team, the Lake Erie Monarchs, and play a series of games in Alaska.

Among those will be the famed Midnight Sun Game. Hosted by the Alaska Goldpanners since 1906, the 2014 MSG is to begin at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21, and go past midnight without the need of lights.

Caleb's father, Fred, will also be making the trip later this month. Fittingly, Father's Day (June 15) will be celebrated along the way.

"It is pretty cool," said Caleb, a 2013 Elkhart Christian Academy graduate. "I'm pretty pumped that I'm with this team."

With most of the games at night, the Staytons will get a chance to explore before heading to the ballpark.

"It's going to be a lot of fun to spend time with him," Caleb said. "I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Fred Stayton said he might have been more excited than his son when he first learned that parents, especially fathers, were invited to accompany the team on its Alaska tour.

"People were telling me, 'you'll regret not doing that' and 'that will make special memories," said Fred, who will get to experience games and other things as the Monarchs make their way throug Palmer, Kenai, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The team, which is a member of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League and based in Flat Rock, Mich. (after relocating from Toledo, Ohio), is slated to play 11 games in 11 days against teams from the Alaska Baseball League, including the Matsu Miners, where Marian High School graduate and University of Arizona assistant coach Bobby Rinard is on the coaching staff.

Caleb Stayton, a left-handed swinger and first baseman, hit .285 with five home runs, 31 runs batted in, 30 runs scored and a .374 on-base average in his first season at Ball State.

"It was a blast," Caleb said. "I played almost everyday. I can't complain about that, being a freshman."

Caleb played last summer for Bristol American Legion Post 143. Last spring, he helped ECA to its first baseball sectional title.

Ball State head coach Rich Maloney helped place his players on summer collegiate teams, including his son, Alex (who was also a BSU freshman in 2014), with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.

Caleb landed with Lake Erie because the team had a need for a first baseman. It was a bonus that the team was also going to make the trip to Alaska.