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Brand new First National Bank of River Falls Field at Hoffman Park will host the Wisconsin Baseball Association State Semifinals and Finals the next two weekends. The River Falls Fighting Fish will open the semifinal round at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8. (Photo courtesy of Scott Gavin)

Wisconsin baseball champ to be crowned in River Falls

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For the first time in the 65-year history of the Wisconsin Baseball Association, the WBA state champion will be crowned in River Falls later this month.

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Thirty-two teams begin the quest for a state title at four different sites across the state this weekend, Aug. 8-10, including brand new First National Bank of River Falls Field at Hoffman Park.

The new ballpark will also host the 8-team WBA finals Aug. 15-17.

The River Falls Fighting Fish are among the final 32 teams and will kick off the WBA semifinal round this Friday, Aug. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at their home ballpark against the Hallie Eagles.

The Fish have qualified for the WBA playoffs every year since their inception in 2008. They’ve reached the final round three times -- 2010, 2011 and 2013 -- winning the 2011 WBA state title in Coon Valley.

River Falls Baseball Council president and Fighting Fish player-manager Josh Eidem said the team is excited about hosting the WBA playoffs in the new ballpark’s inaugural season.

“There's no place like home, and there's no atmosphere like playoff, single-elimination baseball,” he said. “After years of traveling to places like Rib Lake and Coon Valley, it's a great thing to try to make a playoff run in front of our own fans.”

The WBA is an organization made up of 63 amateur baseball teams from six different leagues in the western half of Wisconsin.

“To host the WBA Finals as well, which probably won't happen for another seven years, that guarantees that whenever our season ends this year, it will end in front of our hometown crowd,” Eidem noted.

In addition to River Falls, this weekend’s semifinal round games will be played at Hallie, Haugen and Rib Lake.

Per WBA guidelines, admission to semifinal and final round games is $3 for an adult, $5 for families and $1 for children age 5-and-over.

For more on this story, please see Sports in the Aug. 7 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

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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.
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