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Townsend adding high school baseball for spring of 2025

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jul 03, 2024

TOWNSEND — McCarthy Park has long had two baseball fields. But beginning in the spring, those two fields will host a new team as Townsend becomes the latest Montana school district to take a swing at baseball.

Price tag: $20,000.

That's how much money Townsend's school board said needed to be raised by the end of July in order for the district to officially sponsor high school baseball during a March meeting.

“And at that point they turned it over to us and they said, ‘See if you can raise your $20,000,'" said Gary Bauman, who will be the new baseball team's head coach. "And then it was a month — it took us less than a month to raise $20,000.”

Bauman has been a youth baseball coach in Townsend for nearly 20 years. He said the city has 187 kids from ages 4 to 15 who play baseball. But without high school baseball, there was simply nowhere for Townsend kids over the age of 15 to play ball.

“We just graduated out last year a handful of kids," said Bauman. "There was probably about eight or 10 kids that stopped playing last year because there was nowhere else for them to play. And that’s kind of where this push came from.”

Rising high school senior Hunter McCartney is one of those kids who had aged out of Townsend's youth baseball programs. But with the addition of high school baseball, McCartney will get the chance to play again. Playing baseball is something he said he has wanted to do his whole life.

"I’ve been helping out the last couple years since I can’t play," said McCartney. "When we had our season for the little kids that I grew out of, I was just helping them play. Pretty much being a coach. Just out there, throwing practice, and stuff like that.”

For the past two years, McCartney has stayed involved with baseball the only way he could — by assisting Bauman as a youth coach.

“Hunter has helped me coach Babe Ruth baseball for two years now," said Bauman. "He’s been such a great help. But he just wants to play. It’s too far for him to drive down to Three Forks or to Helena to play Legion (baseball). And he just wants to play some baseball.”

McCartney called the opportunity to play baseball for his high school "awesome."

“I’ve been wanting to play baseball forever," said McCartney. "It’s kind of like that dream. But it has more meaning than just going somewhere else to play, and actually playing for your school.”

The new team will play roughly eight home games at McCarthy Park this season.