Thursday, July 18, 2024

Range Riders’ Mason Dinesen gets the call

by Daily Inter Lake
| July 3, 2024 12:00 AM

Mason Dinesen received the call that every Pioneer Leaguer wants to get. 

It was announced via the Range Riders’ Instagram page Sunday, that Dinesen’s contract was purchased by the Chicago White Sox.  

The move effectively ends the longest-tenured player for the Range Riders, as Dinesen played with the team since their inaugural season in 2022. However, the news should come as no surprise to the fans that have watched his growth since his debut. 

Dinesen’s improvement over the years can easily be traced by statistics but it is who he became to the team that will be hard to replicate. In his third year with the team, manager Paul Fletcher noticed that Dinesen led by example. Whether that is the extra work he puts in or his willingness to put the team first and he knew his time with the team might be ending soon. 

“Mason just goes out there and he plays hard every day,” Fletcher said. “He is one of those guys that has all the skillset needed that transfers to the next level but for him being here, he is just a wonderful guy who does whatever you need him to do.” 

Since his first season with the team when he was added late in the season from Billings, Dinesen has been one of the most significant players in the lineup. He has improved his batting average and power each season. This season alone he has already eclipsed last year’s home run and stolen base totals in 51 fewer games. 

After attending multiple different colleges in his home state of Florida, Dinesen joined the Billings Mustangs in 2022 where he hit .242 in 41 games.  

Range Riders’ hitting coach Stu Pederson received word that Billings was planning on releasing him and immediately made a call to acquire the versatile player. 

“I thought there was potential in Dinesen and that Billings was maybe not using him in the right way,” Pederson said. “He’s a student of the game, he is not afraid to work hard to get better at his craft and when you see guys like that, it makes you want to work with them.” 

Both Fletcher and Pederson used Dinesen’s versatility to the team’s advantage since he arrived at Glacier. He has hit in every spot of the lineup, played multiple different positions and his development this year as more of a power-hitter has not derailed him from using arguably his greatest tool, his speed. 

“Me and coach Tommy Thompson have a signal that tells me to drop down a bunt whenever the third baseman is back,” Dinesen said. “My goal is to always get on base and use my speed whenever I can.” 

When Dinesen became an everyday player for the Range Riders in 2023, he stole 26 bases in 86 games played. This season, he leads all the Pioneer League in stolen bases with 27, in only 35 total games, an attractive quality to any team looking to add speed to their roster.  

After being named the Pioneer League player of the week two weeks ago, it seemed evident that Dinesen might be getting the call he was waiting for. He was hitting .371, with eight home runs and 33 RBIs, well on pace to equal career-highs in every category.  

The move comes at a time when the Range Riders are jousting for a playoff spot before the first half of the season ends. They currently hold the second seed in the Pioneer League standings with 12 games left and the top two seeds at the break are guaranteed a playoff berth.  

Dinesen leaves a large void to fill, not only in the lineup or the clubhouse but also in the stands for the fans who have rooted for No. 23 over the last three seasons.  

However, Dinesen believes that if the team continues the mindset they had earlier in the season, that the fans will have a lot more to root for, a playoff team. 

“The focus is always to win, whether it’s the first or second half of the season or when we clinch a playoff spot,” Dinesen said. “We have other guys in this clubhouse who share that same mentality, to just win.” 

    Glacier Range Riders second baseman Mason Dinesen (23) tags Idaho Falls' Zaid Walker (21) as he slides into second base for a double in the first inning at Glacier Bank Park on Friday, June 14. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider 
    Glacier's Mason Dinesen (23) connects on a two-run single in the third inning against the Idaho Falls Chukars at Glacier Bank Park on Friday, June 14. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider