MISSOULA — Summertime means baseball, and while Major League Baseball is well into its 2023 season, in Missoula, America's pastime is officially back over at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field.
The Missoula Paddleheads held a media day on Monday as they officially unveiled their roster for this season and got team workouts underway over the weekend.
"Definitely excited. We've got a big core group back," pitcher Cody Thompson said. "A lot of our bullpen guys are back like myself. A lot of the lineup is back. So that's exciting and I think the expectation is the same as it was last year is go back to the championship and actually bring it home this time."
Thompson is one of 15 players on this year's roster who played for the Paddleheads last season. Last year, Missoula had a Pioneer League best 69-26 record in the regular season and advanced to the Pioneer League championship series. While falling short against the Grand Junction Rockies in 2022, the Paddleheads won it all in 2021.
The baseball club is in their third season as the re-branded Paddleheads and as an independent team, and there's been a lot of success in their first two seasons.
"The main thing we want to showcase is who we do this for. We come out here every single day to put on a show for these Missoula, Montana fans," infielder Kamron Willman said. "And whether that's some weekends we go out and read books to some kids in certain places, or we're helping to hand out and community service. How much we want to represent this town shows through everything we do."
The Paddleheads open the season on May 23 in Billings and have their home opener in Missoula on May 30 and will play all the way through September. For a full schedule, click here.
"We had a wonderful year last year, but we didn't win, and so we're looking to change that again," Paddleheads manager Michael Schlact said. "That sat with us for a while. That kind of molded and shaped how we built the roster and what we did to eliminate that from happening again."