Missouri’s high school baseball championship games will be played in Ozark starting in 2021.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association board of directors announced U.S. Baseball Park as the home for the baseball state championships from 2021 to 2025.
The Springfield Sports Commission assisted in putting together the bid package for U.S. Baseball Park to host the games. Lance Kettering, executive director of the Springfield Sports Commission, explained that the former Ducks Stadium won the bid against other stadiums from across Missouri.
“The Sports Commission was honored to partner with U.S. Baseball Park in submitting the bid to host the MSHSAA State Baseball Championships,” Kettering said. “The winning bid is a testament to Coach Mark Stratton, and the entire crew at U.S. Baseball Park. We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with Coach Stratton to bring the state Baseball Championships back to our region and add to our list of outstanding events hosted in our region.”
Stratton, general manager of U.S. Baseball Park and the former baseball coach at Drury University and Glendale High School, has been instrumental in bringing baseball games to Ozark.
“Bringing the MSHSAA State Baseball Championships back to our region will no doubt be well received,” Stratton said. “We are very pleased and appreciative of the support of the U.S.Baseball Park management team and their commitment to bring this prestigious event to southwest Missouri.”
Stratton said the announcement lines up with U.S. Baseball Park’s goals of bringing premier baseball events to Christian County and committing to high school and amateur baseball.
The MSHSAA State Baseball Championships are presently held in O’Fallon at CarShield Field, the home of the River City Rascals of the independent minor league professional Frontier League.
U.S. Baseball Park underwent a name change and about $3 million in renovation in 2015. The project included the installation of AstroTurf and a $500,000 digital video board in right field.
"We are excited to partner with U.S. Baseball Park and general manager Mark Stratton, the Springfield Sports Commission and the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. U.S. Baseball Park is a beautiful facility and will afford our students and communities a great baseball experience," said Dr. Kerwin Urhahn, executive director at MSHSAA.
All five classes will compete in the MSHSAA State Baseball Championships at U.S. Baseball Park in 2021. The games will include semifinals, state championships and third place games. Paid attendance for the championships over the past five years has averaged 8,349 fans each year.
U.S. Baseball Park is the home of the NCAA Division-II Drury University Panthers baseball team, the Show-Me Collegiate League, the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, Heart of America Conference Tournament, a plethora of high school and competitive games and tournaments and the Monday Night Mini’s tee-ball league.