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High school baseball coming to Billings Central in spring of 2025

Baseball generic
Posted at 2:53 PM, Mar 22, 2024

BILLINGS — In a Billings Catholic Schools board vote Wednesday, high school baseball was added to the activities menu at Billings Central. The school is expected to play its first varsity season in the spring of 2025.

Central athletic director Mike Ryan announced the addition of baseball in an email Thursday afternoon.

Principal Nolan Trafton told MTN Sports on Friday that a feasibility study was conducted by an exploratory committee and its finding were presented to the school board, which voted to approve baseball unanimously.

"It was pretty evident that there was interest from our student body for baseball," Trafton said. "This past summer we started to dig a little deeper, really kind of leaning on schools that had already approved it and using their numbers to gain a good idea of what baseball would look like at Billings Central."

School District 2 in Billings — which includes Senior, Skyview and West high schools — voted in December to add baseball and expects to play its first season in the spring of 2025, as well.

Trafton said startup costs for other schools have ranged between $35,000 and $75,000, and that Central's expenditures will land somewhere in the middle. Trafton said the agreement to add baseball came with the stipulation that the program would be self-funded for the first three years, which is similar to SD2's arrangement.

"This gives us a little bit of time to work it into the activities budget," he said. "That was something we came to a conclusion about based on how other schools were proposing baseball to their school boards and some of the success that they've had with it implemented already."

Trafton said decisions such as where the team will practice and play will be made going forward.

"We'll continue to have those discussions with the city of Billings to see where practices and games can take place," he said. "We're looking forward to having those talks."

This spring marks the second year in which baseball will be offered by the Montana High School Association as a sanctioned varsity sport. Thirty-two schools comprising 25 teams are expected to compete this season. The eight-team all-class state tournament will be held May 16-18 at Ogren Park in Missoula.

Polson is the defending state champion. The Pirates won the first Montana high school championship last May in Butte with a 10-4 victory over Whitefish.

Following is a list of schools and teams that will compete in baseball this season:

Belgrade

Bigfork

Browning

Butte

Butte Central

Columbia Falls

Columbus

Corvallis

Dillon-Twin Bridges

East Helena

Eureka

Florence-Carlton

Frenchtown

Hamilton-Darby

Livingston-Big Timber

Lone Peak

Plains-Hot Springs

Polson

Ronan

St. Ignatius-Arlee

Sidney-Fairview

Stevensville

Thompson Falls-Noxon

Troy

Whitefish