by Dennis Dalman
Champion Field in Sartell will be one of the “star” attractions during five days in August when the Sartell Muskies baseball team and the Sartell Stone Poneys co-host the Omann Insurance Invitational Tournament, the first time that particular eight-team event has ever happened at the Sartell venue.
What made the tourney possible, more than anything, were the major improvements to Champion Field achieved in recent years, thanks to thousands of hours of volunteer work and many thousands of dollars of contributions by so many organizations, businesses and the City of Sartell.
The tournament games are slated for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6-7; and will continue Friday-Sunday, Aug. 12-14. There will be four games played on each of those days, most starting at 11 a.m. and the last game of each day starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students ages 12-18 and $1 for anybody under 11.
“We now have a bull pen, a concession stand and in-field improvements that make the field really look nice,” said Randy Beckstrom, manager of the Muskies team and coordinator of the upcoming tournament. “We have a great sound system, bathrooms and a press box.”
Beckstrom joined the Muskies in 1989. In 2013, the team won the Class C state championship.
“The Muskies have been in existence since 1979, but it took all those years to finally make Champion Field what it is today,” Beckstrom said. “People don’t realize how much work and time went into that field – a lot of it by team members – and how much work it is to maintain. The original founding members of the Muskies went through so much work just to get the field started so many years ago.”
Beckstrom noted the 21-member Muskies themselves earned a berth in the tournament at Champion Field after defeating Clear Lake July 23 by 7-3 in a Region 1C Amateur Baseball game. The Muskies play in the 15-team Lakewood League. The other teams likely to be in the tournament are St. Joseph, Clear Lake and Foley, Beckstrom noted. Teams from the Eastern Mini-League that might be in the tournament, depending on upcoming games, are among the following: the Sartell Stone Poneys, Braham, Chisago Lakes, Hinckley, Mora, Nowthen, Quamba and Rum River.
Beckstrom and others are now putting together a printed booklet for the tournament and are looking for sponsors to be named in the booklet. Anyone interested should call Beckstrom at 320-250-7775.