A state title is on the line in Menomonie this weekend.
Eight Wisconsin Baseball Association teams have converged on the city looking for some hardware.
With the host site of the WBA State Finals rotating between the six conferences this season fell upon the St. Croix Valley Baseball League. Possible host River Falls is currently undergoing renovation to its baseball fields opening up a opportunity for the Menomonie Eagles to be the host team.
“I wanted to push it, I wanted to host a state tournament here,” Eagles manager Tyler Hamann said of bringing the finals to Menomonie. “We had so much support from city council, the parks department and the Menomonie Baseball Association to make it happen. It’s a very neat opportunity that Menomonie has.”
Hamann wanted to see Wakanda Park be a quality location to host an event like the state finals. Collaborating with others in the community the baseball fields have gotten the upgrades Hamann was looking for. The infield was redone, a new windscreen along the outfield fence was added and the landscape along the first base side of the park was cleaned up. Keeping the field looking its best was also made a priority by watering the outfield consistency this summer.
“People have put in so much work to make that park what it is right now and it’s really nice,” Hamann said of Wakanda Park. “Hosting a state tournament has been a big push to fix things up around the park.”
Participants in this year’s state finals includes Tidlen, Osseo, the Eau Claire Cavaliers, the Eau Claire Bears, Spooner, Hayward, Chaseburg-Coon Valley and Ashland. Osseo won the WBA championship in 2018.
The first two quarterfinal matchups were played Friday night, while the remaining quarterfinals start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Semifinal games start at 4:30 p.m. and the title game will be played on Sunday at noon.
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The tournament will also provide a big opportunity for the Menomonie Baseball Association. The association will run all concessions and it will receive all proceeds with those funds helping Menomonie youth baseball players of all ages.
“All the money we raise we put back into the facilities to make them better, nicer, more facilities for all the kids to play,” Joel Verdon president of the Menomonie Baseball Association said.
The Eagles fell a game short of reaching the state finals dropping a contest 4-1 to the Spooner Cardinals last Sunday. Menomonie opened the postseason with a 7-0 victory over the Whittlesey last Saturday. Bret Lecheler tossed seven scoreless innings to pick up the win.
“We played good defense and had a few timely hits, but it all boiled down to pitching,” Hamann said of the win over Whittlesey.
Hamann said the team was disappointing they won’t be representing the city at the state finals but they all remain confident with the future for the Eagles.
Tickets for tournament are $6 for adults, $3 for ages 12-18 and 12 and under are free. Concessions and beer will be sold and a shuttle bus will also be provided.
“I just think it’s going to be a lot of fun baseball to watch. I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere. The park is beautiful shape, the field is in beautiful playing condition,” Verdon said. “It’s just going to be fun to sit down there and take in some good baseball.”