UW-L baseball, Loggers strike deal for funding, improvements

LA CROSSE, Wis. — The future of two La Crosse baseball programs is brighter, thanks to a new partnership.

The La Crosse Loggers and UW-La Crosse officials announced the deal Thursday that provides funding for the UW-L baseball program and facility upgrades for the Loggers home field at Copeland Park.

The Loggers will make an annual donation to UW-L that will cover the baseball program’s fundraising needs.

In return, UW-L will help the Loggers with fundraising for about $650,000 in upgrades to Copeland Park, including a video board, an artificial turf infield and batting cages.

The UW-L baseball program nearly folded in 2009 after state funding was cut. The program was saved in early 2010 by anonymous donors, who pledged about $100,000, and by fundraising efforts.

“Partnering with UW-L was an easy choice,” says Loggers owner Dan Kapanke. “Couple that with enhancing the city-owned facility to make it an even more attractive place for baseball teams of our community to utilize is a great ‘win’ for everyone involved.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with an extraordinary organization like the La Crosse Loggers,” says Chris Schwarz, UW-L head baseball coach. “Knowing the financial challenges we faced a few years ago, it is amazing to think we are on the brink of financial security. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of UW-La Crosse baseball.”

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Copeland Park, which hosts about 200 baseball games a year, would become UW-L’s home field as early as 2013, pending city approval. The length of the deal between UW-L and the Loggers will likely mirror the Loggers’ new lease agreement with the City of La Crosse.

“We hope that this collaborative effort with the great people at UW-L and our tremendous relationship with the City of La Crosse will allow the great game of baseball to continue to be at the forefront of the Coulee Region for many years to come.,” says Loggers GM Chris Goodell.

UW-L won its first WIAC conference baseball title this year since 2000. The Eagles (30-9) set a school record for wins this year.

UW-L hosts the WIAC baseball championships this weekend and plays UW-Oshkosh Friday at 10:00 a.m. at North Campus Field by Myrick Park.

The Loggers are preparing to open their 10th season on the road May 30 against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. The Loggers’ home opener is June 2 against the Madison Mallards.