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St. Paul Saints coming to town

First National Bank of River Falls Field

What started as a tip of the cap to barnstorming games in the early 1900s has grown into an amazing community event for the St. Paul Saints and River Falls.

For the ninth consecutive year the Saints will stay close to home to play a road game, but this time they will add a first to their list: travel across state lines. The Saints, and partner Killebrew Root Beer, will visit River Falls on Saturday, May 13, for an exhibition game against the St. Croix Valley Baseball League All-Stars

The Saints head to the City on the Kinni, ranked as one of the best small cities in the country in “Top 100 Best Small Towns” by Livability, and will take on the SCVBL All-Stars at 4 p.m. at beautiful First National Bank of River Falls Field, located in Hoffman Park at 600 Hanson Drive.

The All-Star Team will be made up of players from 13 teams: The host River Falls Fighting Fish, Menomonie Eagles, New Richmond Millers, Osceola Braves, St. Croix Falls Bandits, Spring Valley Hawks, Bay City Bombers, Ellsworth Hubbers, Hager City Skeeters, Plum City Blues, Prescott Pirates, Elmwood Expos and Hudson River Rats.

“Killebrew Root Beer is very excited to be working with the River Falls community to provide the 2017 St. Paul Saints Barnstorming exhibition game at the First National Bank of River Falls Field,” said Jim Lundeen, President of RJM Distributing. “River Falls has an excellent baseball park and a dedicated staff of community volunteers who will make the 2017 Saints exhibition game one of the best ever. May 13, 2017 will be a fun day.”

Gates open at 12:30 p.m. with the St. Croix Valley All-Stars taking batting practice at 1 p.m. and the Saints at 1:45 p.m. The top three power hitters on each team will square off in a home run hitting contest at 2:50 p.m. with the game beginning at 4 p.m.

The game will help raise money for the ballpark, which opened in June, 2014 and is home to the Fighting Fish,as well as the River Falls High School and River Falls American Legion teams. The ballpark was funded almost wholly by private citizens, local businesses and the baseball community. The Fighting Fish are the 2011 Wisconsin Baseball Association Champions and reached the finals from 2013-15.

Tickets for the special exhibition are $10 and can be purchased at First National Bank of River Falls, Johnnie’s Bar, the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau or by going online to riverfallsbaseball.org.

The Saints began their barnstorming tradition in 2008 when they celebrated the 100thAnniversary of Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville. The 2017 game will be the first barnstorming tour to Wisconsin.

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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