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Both of River Falls' community baseball teams -- the American Legion and the Fighting Fish -- won state championships in 2011. The teams and their fans hope to develop a competition baseball field in the city. Bob Burrows photo

Baseball Bash Feb. 11 at Kilkarney

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The inaugural River Falls Baseball Bash, a celebration of two state champion baseball teams and the kickoff to the Community Ballpark Project, is all set for Saturday night, Feb. 11, beginning at 6 p.m. at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club.

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The event, hosted by the River Falls Baseball Council, will be a night of games, raffles, silent auctions, food and a brief program.

Among the highlights will be a celebration of the state championships won by both the River Falls Post 121 American Legion and Fighting Fish baseball teams this past summer, the first time in Wisconsin history both a Legion and amateur team from the same community have won state titles.

The event will also kick off the RFBC's Community Ballpark Project to build a new baseball facility at Hoffman Park East, including the unveiling of the ballpark's concept drawing.

Tickets are free and available at First National Bank, Dick's Market, Bo's N Mine, Johnnie's Bar, and Kilkarney Hills Golf Club, or from any RFBC board member (Josh Eidem, Fred Barr, Ryan Bishop, Curt Bruns, Dave Dintemann, Cedric Ellingson, Tim Frey, Brian Giebel, Clint Kempf, Pat O'Malley, Brian Pechacek and Joel Schaffer).

Each ticket holder will be entitled to one free $5 raffle ticket and appetizers. A cash bar and hot dog bar will also be available.

Among the raffle and auction items will be Green Bay Packer jerseys, University of Wisconsin Badgers tickets, autographed baseballs donated by Minnesota Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra, a jumbo Packers Super Bowl ring, and autographed Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau jerseys.

Information about outfield fence and other advertising at the ballpark and samples of engraved bricks for the ballpark's "Donor's Plaza" will also be available.

The Community Ballpark Project is designed to fund a lighted, stadium-style ballpark in River Falls at Hoffman Park East. The field will host an estimated 70-80 baseball games per summer.

The ballpark would serve as a home to the River Falls Fighting Fish amateur baseball team, the River Falls American Legion team, select River Falls High School varsity games, and "showcase" River Falls Youth Baseball events for 14 and 15 year-olds, such as tournament championship games. Stadium-style seating could also accommodate other local events, such as concerts or civic ceremonies.

The RFBC board has been meeting every other week planning fundraising and construction of the ballpark. The board is working with city officials on a lease agreement and Ogden Engineering on a grading plan for the site while Frisbie Architects is doing preliminary design work.

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
(715) 426-1047
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