KALISPELL — If you build it, they will come. The Pioneer Baseball League is expanding into Flathead County.
“A rich history of baseball in the region but as far as I know never before a professional team has been there,” Pioneer League President Michael Shapiro told MTN News.
A new ballclub and a brand-new ballpark is coming to the Flathead Valley in 2022, as the Pioneer League Board of Directors made the announcement Monday morning.
“One of the most beautiful places in the world and it’s growing rapidly so it’s got a dynamic market,” said Shapiro.
Shapiro said the new club and ballpark will be owned by the Kelly Family, owners of a national construction company. He said the family have been part-time residents of Flathead County for 20 years.
“They were so excited about the idea of bringing baseball to the community, it’s been a dream of theirs,” added Shapiro.
Shapiro said the new ballpark will be located north off Kalispell off US Highway 93 North near the old Montana Raceway Park.
He said the land, team and new 2,500 seat ballpark will be privately funded by the Kelly family. “The idea is they would be starting play in May of 2022."
Shapiro said the Pioneer League has partnered with Major League Baseball helping give young players a second chance at their major league dreams.
“So, these are typically very young players who we’re helping develop and want to see them climb the ladder and make it to Major League Baseball,” said Shapiro.
He said the Pioneer League will be a community asset in the Flathead Valley for years to come.
“It’s like a state-fair wrapped around a ballgame and it’s just fun summer nights, family entertainment, it’s just great,” added Shapiro.