Family plays host to La Crosse Loggers baseball players from around the country

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -- - Every year baseball players from around the country spend their summer in La Crosse. 

The La Crosse Loggers organization is part of a summer league for some of the best college baseball players in the country. 

One local family said it's an opportunity to give an athlete a home away from home. 

"I've always been a Brewers fan and grew up watching baseball," said Jessica Boland, a participant in the Northwoods League host family program. 

For Jessica, her husband, Mike, and their two kids, America's pastime is part of their family. 

"We have been going to games pretty much since college," Mike said.

They said their son, Alex, loves to step up to the plate. 

"When he was about 2 years old, he would start pitching and catching," Mike said. 

They said one summer, the Loggers gave Alex the ultimate childhood experience.

"He got to watch batting practice and do the first pitch," Jessica said. 

He grew attached to some of the players. 

"Mason McCoy and him kind of hung out during batting practice and that just made us think that it might be something that we want to try," Jessica said. 

The Bolands took on the task of housing a La Crosse Loggers player during the season. 

"The first year we had Andrew Perez, He was a pitcher from South Florida." 

"Second year we had Matt Morales, who was a shortstop, and he actually got drafted about two weeks after he got here," Mike said. "We had Johnny Croley, who came in as a mid-season replacement for a couple of weeks, and than this year we have Eddie Miller."

Miller said he has been playing baseball since he can remember. 

"I started playing when I was four years old," Miller said. 

Miller is a pitcher from Ocala, Florida. He said summer leagues helps him improve during the off-season. 

"I come from a mid-major school, so playing against these power five conference kids is kind of exciting and makes me step up my game a little bit," Miller said.  

The Loggers have carried some of Major League baseball's best pitchers, including 2017 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and the 2017 runner-up Chris Sale. 

"I think that's everybody's goal if they're playing college baseball," Miller said. 

Miller said there is no better way to spend a summer. 

"They really care," Miller said. "They give me everything I would need or want. It's really nice." 

The Boland family said they stay in touch with past players and have even traveled to other states to watch their games. 

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