The Pioneer Baseball League (PBL) Board of Directors today approved the application of Ridge Run Baseball, LLC to join the association with a team expected to begin play in 2022 in Flathead County, Mont., encompassing the communities of the valley.
The Montana club will become the 10th team in the PBL, joining the Northern Colorado Owlz, who will also kickoff play in the 2022 season.
The Kelly Family, owners of a national construction company, will front the ownership group of the yet-to-be named team. The Kelly family have 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,” PBL President Mike Shapiro said in a press release. “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 club’s proposed new ballpark, to be built on a parcel of land located north of Kalispell off Highway 93, will feature approximately 2,500 seats in addition to berm (a flat strip of land) seating and other social-gathering areas. The facility will host a range of family-friendly sports and entertainment events, provide an up close, 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, an eight-team 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,” Randy Brodehl, Chairman of the Flathead County Commission, said.
— Jerry Del Priore