Life Remembered: Mark Scheiwe's son and his favorite team 'seek comfort' in playing
BUCKLEY — At the top of each inning of Sunday's doubleheader against the Royal Giants, Buckley's Ryne Scheiwe glanced toward the center field fence of the field that bears his grandfather's name.
There hung the No. 7 jersey of his father, Mark Scheiwe, who passed away unexpectedly on Friday.
"You can't look behind the grandstands and see him there anymore, and that's tough," he said. "But it is what it is, and you have to try and move on. I know he would want me up here playing. That's what we had to do."
Scheiwe said he spent most of the games "in a fog out there," but the 28-year-old was able to help his team earn a split against Royal as the Dutchmasters lost 5-4 before winning 7-4.
But for those in attendance and those on the field, there was a little more to Sunday's action on the diamond than just a couple of baseball games. For a few hours, there was a return to a sense of normalcy for a community that had been rocked by heartbreak.
"It was hard (Sunday)," Buckley head coach and player Brock Niebuhr said while fighting back emotions. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryne and his family. But we still had to play baseball. That's what we do in Buckley on Sunday. We play baseball."
There was talk of canceling the games. Royal head coach Mike Harper said he called Niebuhr on Saturday to ask if they should play and was told there was "no way they would not be playing."
"A lot of the guys on these teams are friends with each other and have known each other for a long time, and we knew this was going to be a tough day to get through," Harper said. "We wanted to come out and play competitive baseball because that is what Buckley always does. But at the same time, we all had Ryne's dad on our mind."
While there was some doubt about whether the games would be played, Niebuhr said there was no doubt if Ryne would be on the field manning first base on Sunday.
"Him being out here and playing (Sunday) says a lot about who he is, and I wouldn't expect anything less," Niebuhr said. "I asked him if he wanted to play, but I already knew what the answer was going to be. I knew he was going to be out here playing."
Buckley's Trent Eshleman, who played with Mark, said he was not surprised to see Ryne on the field because that is the kind of toughness his father instilled in him.
"That just kind of tells you the kind of dad Ryne had. It spells it all out for you," Eshleman said. "Linda and Ryne both said, 'What do we do on Sundays? We play baseball.' And because of that, we got to seek comfort with each other."
All those present agreed that Mark would have wanted the games to go on.
"That's what is great about Buckley and about what Mark Scheiwe epitomized," Eshleman said. "It's not about one guy. There is nothing bigger than the fraternity. This place has been around for 120 years, and there was never a more humble guy than Scheiwe."
Eshleman said that type of attitude is what sets Buckley apart from other teams and other towns.
"What means more than anything to me is that we've got a good family here," Eshleman said. "We'll get through this. It'll be tough, but we'll through it together."
Players and fans from both teams stuck around after the game to celebrate the life of Mark Scheiwe, and Ryne could not help but think about what his father meant to the people of Buckley.
"All I wanted to do was follow in his footsteps and make him proud," he said. "He was a great player, and he's hard to live up to. But now he's looking down on us, and hopefully he'll help me out here in the future."
A visitation for Mark Scheiwe, 53, will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Baier Family Funeral Services, 406 E. Pells St., Paxton.
Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. John's Lutheran Church in Buckley, with burial to follow in St. John's Cemetery.
There will also be a visitation at the church on Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. until the time of service.