Baseball: Alexandria set to play Willmar at Target Field on April 22

Following the Twins-Nationals game, Alexandria will play Willmar in a regular season game at Target Field on April 22. Tickets for admission to both games will be sold locally by Alexandria baseball players and the Alexandria Youth Baseball Association beginning next week.

Target Field will play host to Alexandria-Willmar high school baseball game on April 22, 2023, after a Minnesota Twins versus Washington Nationals game.
Contributed photo by the Minnesota Twins - Molly Kaiser/Molly Kaiser

ALEXANDRIA - Not a lot of Minnesota high school baseball teams get the opportunity to play at Target Field. But the Alexandria Cardinals are one of those teams that have been selected to play a game at Target Field in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Alexandria plays Central Lakes Conference and Section 8AAA foe Willmar following the conclusion of the Minnesota Twins-Washington Nationals game (1:10 p.m. start) on April 22.

"We are always continuing to try to give our athletes experiences that they will always remember, and I think this would qualify as one of those," Alexandria head coach Jake Munsch said. "We have had opportunities to play at CHS, US Bank Stadium, Siebert Field, and now Target Field, and that is something we are proud of as a program."

The exterior of Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. Alexandria will play Willmar in a high school game on April 22, 2023, following the Twins-Nationals game.
Contributed photo by the Minnesota Twins - Brace Hemmelgarn/Brace Hemmelgarn

This game is the first of four high school games on the day.

Fans can purchase tickets to the Twins game and the following Alexandria game for $10 total.


"Alexandria baseball has a great following, and our fans and their support have made a tremendous impact," Munsch said. "Allowing them an opportunity to view a Twins game, then see us play, I am hoping, will spark the interest for people to make the trip. We will work hard to get the word out. We hope many people will come to support us that day. The AYBA and the players within the program will be selling tickets. We have around 2,000 tickets to sell. If people choose not to go to the game but in lieu would like to give monetary support, that is an option as well."

These tickets are good for admission to the Twins game and the Alexandria versus Willmar game afterward.

The tickets can be purchased by buying a ticket from a member of the Alexandria varsity, junior varsity, or freshmen team or by contacting a board member of the AYBA. AYBA president Wade Lerfald said tickets will be handed out next week and will be sold after that.

"It's a great fundraiser that the Minnesota Twins have offered to us because we have 2,000 tickets, and if we sell all 2,000, a portion of those proceeds go back into our program," Lerfald said. "There's not a bad seat at Target Field, and the seats are in the 300 level just off the Kirby Puckett gate. As soon as the Twins game is done, and the high school game starts, fans are able to move down, and if they want to sit right behind home plate, they have the opportunity to do that."

Lerfald said a portion of the tickets would be set aside for the student body so they could buy some and go down to the game.

The Minnesota Twins organization has been aware of the big baseball interest in the Alexandria community for a while and thought the Cardinals baseball team would be a great team to feature at the park.

Jaxon Schoenrock
Alexandria's Jaxon Schoenrock pitches in the rain during the Class AAA semifinals against top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Mankato West on June 15, 2022. Schoenrock and Alexandria will play at Target Field against Willmar on April 22, 2023.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

"Alexandria is a community that we've had our eyes on for a while," Minnesota Twins Youth Engagement Manager Chelsey Falzone said. "It's really important to us to pick schools that are not offered in the same area for this. We have a great relationship with the Minnesota State High School League and the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association. So we relied on both of those organizations to weigh in, but then also we had to ask ourselves what communities have been standout baseball communities. Alexandria came to mind right away."

"The biggest thing too is with Alexandria baseball is we weren't picked, I don't think, solely on athletic ability and making the state tournament last year; I think we were picked also on the character of all of our athletes and all of our sports," Lerfald said. "We seem to represent Alexandria very well in all different sports when we're at the state tournaments."


Falzone said that not only have they seen a big interest from the Alexandria community in high school, but they've seen the interest in the youth baseball association.

The Twins held a community fund clinic in Alexandria in 2022, which was a hit.

"It was one of the most highly attended clinics, which is important to us," Falzone said. "That speaks volumes about how robust their baseball community is."

Having this game on a big game stage is a big win for the Alexandria and Willmar communities.

"It's a great opportunity," Alexandria activities director Ben Kvidt said. "Anytime you get a chance to play in a professional setting, it's pretty special. I know we've had students play at some of the other professional venues in Minnesota, and it's almost always one of their favorite memories from playing in high school."

A view of the Minneapolis skyline from the left field pole at Target Field. Alexandria will play Willmar at Target Field after the Twins-Nationals game on April 22, 2023.
Contributed photo by the Minnesota Twins - Brace Hemmelgarn/Brace Hemmelgarn

Alexandria (21-7 in 2022) and Willmar (15-7 in 2022) were the top two teams in the Section 8AAA regular season last season, and Alexandria won the section title en route to finishing third at the state tournament last season.

"I believe that all activities want their sports or programs to be positively highlighted whenever possible," Munsch said. "The Twins reaching out to us and giving us this opportunity is an honor. Central Minnesota baseball, especially the Central Lakes Conference, has tremendous baseball talent. The Willmar/Alex rivalry is a great way to highlight this by allowing us to compete on that stage. Talking with Tom DeBoer (Willmar's head coach) about the opportunity, we knew it was something we couldn't pass up."

Falzone said that they had talks about having Alexandria play each other at Target Field began around the beginning of this year.


This game also serves as a fundraising opportunity for the teams.

"We do this as a fundraising opportunity for these programs," Falzone said. "It also showcases our beautiful ballpark and provides a great opportunity for kids and families to enjoy the Twins game beforehand. But we hope that the teams make money by selling their tickets."

Falzone said that the Twins love hosting these games and are looking forward to doing so in the future.

"We want to make Target Field accessible, and we're doing everything that we can to limit the barriers for teams to be able to participate in this," Falzone said. "We want high school baseball players to experience the beauty of stepping onto the field as Byron Buxton is stepping off of it. It also showcases our beautiful ballpark and provides a great opportunity for kids and families to enjoy the Twins game beforehand. We hope that the teams make money by selling their tickets."

Kvidt said this is a great opportunity for the kids to make memories.

"We are very excited for the opportunity to play at Target Field," he said. "I think it's something our players and coaches will remember for a long time."

Having this opportunity is just one of many reasons why the high school baseball team and youth baseball association are excited about the future.

The Alexandria Youth Baseball Association is upgrading softball and baseball fields in the community, including Knute Nelson Memorial Park.


A new scoreboard is being installed this spring, and new turf will also be put in by the summer.

"I played here growing up and through amateur ball, and I must say that this is super exciting for the community," Lerfald said. "It's been a lot of work with the city of Alexandria, school district 206, Alexandria youth baseball, and the committee we formed for capital improvements. We're looking to keep going on that with softball and baseball and improve our facilities around here. The biggest thing here is Alexandria baseball is on the map. We've got the Alexandria Legends playing here in the spring, and they're a pretty great team. Baseball is pretty exciting around here, and there's a lot going on."

A rendering of the exterior of Knute Nelson Memorial Park after proposed and planned upgrades.
Contributed photo

Kvidt is excited about the work that is going on at the ballpark.

"Knute is a fantastic setting for a baseball field, and there's a ton of history with that ballpark, so to see the improvements being made is very exciting as that will continue to be an outstanding place to not only play a game but also for the fans to watch the game as well," Kvidt said.

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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