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St. Paul Saints plan exhibition game in River Falls against local all-stars

Falcon News Service

April 11, 2017

First National Bank of River Falls Field will host its first taste of professional baseball when the St. Paul Saints come to town on May 13.

The Saints, affiliated with the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball league, will make their first trip into Wisconsin for an exhibition game against the St. Croix Valley League All-Stars, according to a press release from the team. The St. Croix Valley League is composed of 12 adult baseball teams from the region.

Killebrew Root Beer partnered with the Saints and the community of River Falls to help make the game a reality.

“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,” Jim Lundeen, president of Minnesota-based RJM Distributing, said in the press release.

The baseball field, which opened in 2014, is home to the River Falls Wildcats high school team and the River Falls Fighting Fish adult team. River Falls Baseball Council Board Member Fred Barr said that the Saints coming to town means a great deal to River Falls baseball.

“A lot of people are coming from Eau Claire, Menomonie, Woodbury, St. Paul to see the Saints,” said Barr. “When I said 2,000 people, we’re going to sell 2,000 people tickets, but we think there are going to be a couple hundred people walk up the day of. We could be pushing 2,500 people.”

Barr also said it will provide a boost to the town itself.

“It will be good for the economy. These people are going to the restaurants and the bars. Maybe stop and shop a little bit and stay in the hotels,” said Barr.

Having the Saints come to town was an idea the River Falls Baseball Council had for quite some time.

“We have to give credit to… after we got the ballpark built originally… Judy Berg with the Chamber of Commerce had reached out to the Saints and to try and arrange a barnstorming game. The Saints weren’t available that year, but Judy stayed on them and just her tenacity, just staying in contact with them,” said Barr.

The baseball field has already hosted a few marquee events. Last summer, River Falls was the site of the annual American Legion State Baseball Tournament. The River Falls Baseball Council is looking into booking future events similar to this one.

“(The) Saints, it’s always possible they’ll come back again. We think they will,” said Barr. “We’re excited to host another legion tournament in a few years. We’re planning concerts out at the ballpark and some other things like that. It’s such a great venue, so why not take advantage of it?”

On the day of the event, spectators will be able to catch batting practices from both teams and a home run derby prefacing the game.

The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. The field is located in Hoffman Park East. Tickets may be ordered online at www.riverfallsbaseball.org.

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