The Pioneer League is expanding to Kalispell, MT, for the 2022 season, as the MLB Partner League grows to 10 teams with the additional Flathead Valley franchise.
The league played with eight teams this year, adding Boise while the Northern Colorado Owlz took the season off to build a new ballpark. Both the Owlz and the new Kalispell team will play in 2022.
The new Flathead County team will also be playing in a new ballpark. The yet-to-be-named team ownership will be led by the Kelly Family, owners of a national construction company. 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,” said PBL President Mike Shapiro via 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 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,” said Marty Kelly via press release. “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 is also the founders of the Sunbelt Baseball League, a collegiate summer wood bat league serving the Georgia and Alabama areas.
For those unfamiliar with Montana geography: Flathead County is located in northwest Montana, approximately 117 miles north of Missoula. Known as the gateway to Glacier National Park, there are three incorporated cities in Flathead County. Kalispell, which is the largest, has a population of approximately 19,927. Two additional major municipalities include Whitefish, with a population of 6,357, and Columbia Falls, with a population of 4,688.
The ballpark rendering is courtesy of the Pioneer League, with the design from DHM Design, a Western U.S. firm with offices in Denver and Missoula.
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