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Flathead Valley approved for Pioneer League baseball team next summer

Flathead Valley approved for Pioneer League baseball team next summer

MISSOULA — Montana will have a fourth Pioneer League pro baseball team next summer.

On Monday the league's board of directors approved the application of Ridge Run Baseball, LLC to join the league with a team expected to begin play in 2022 in Flathead County (Kalispell area).

It will become the 10th team in the league, joining the Northern Colorado Owlz, who will also begin play in the 2022 season. The Flathead Valley team will join Missoula, Great Falls and Billings as Treasure State representatives.

The yet to be named team will be led by an ownership group of the Kelly Family, owners of a national construction company. The Kelly family has been part-time residents of Flathead County for 20 years.

“We are truly excited to bring the Pioneer League to Flathead County, one of the fastest growing and most beautiful regions in the country,” Pioneer League President Mike Shapiro said. “With the Kelly family’s ownership of the team and their commitment to building a first-class ballpark, Flathead County will enjoy the benefits of a great family entertainment experience while watching some of the most outstanding young professional baseball players in the country.”

The team’s proposed new ballpark, to be constructed on a parcel of land located north of Kalispell off Highway 93, will feature approximately 2,500 seats in addition to berm seating and other social gathering areas. The facility will host a range of family-friendly sports and entertainment events, provide an intimate fan experience, and will serve as a center for a wide variety of local community activities.

“Our family is proud to bring minor league baseball and professional sports to the Flathead Valley community,” Marty Kelly said. “We look forward to giving back to the region and bringing friends and families together through professional baseball and other events all year long.”

The Kelly Family are also the founders of the Sunbelt Baseball League, a collegiate summer wood bat league serving the Georgia and Alabama areas.

“The atmosphere for baseball here in Flathead County is a perfect fit. We could not be happier to see a Pioneer League expansion team here in the County — a team for all of the communities here in the valley to support and to rally behind,” said Randy Brodehl, Chairman of the Flathead County Commission.

Bill Speltz is Missoulian Sports Editor and has served as Sunday columnist the past 15 years. Do you have a story idea? Email Bill at bill.speltz@missoulian.com.

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