Esko baseball program receives $10,000 Muscle Milk grantEsko Hockey Association plans last-chance community get-together
Lincoln High School in Esko has won a $10,000 grant to help replace baseball equipment lost in last summer’s flood. Esko is one of 22 schools nationwide to benefit from the Muscle Milk Recovery Grant Program. The program aims to help rebuild and revitalize the high school athletic programs.
Esko’s varsity baseball field was washed away when the Midway River flooded its banks last June. The team’s equipment, including a batting cage and a tractor used for grooming the field, was ruined.
“We are tremendously grateful for this generous gift that will help us continue our baseball program,” said Ben Haugen, head coach of the high school baseball team. “Our players, their families and others in the community have pitched in a lot during the off season to help us rebuild, and so it’s wonderful to receive this support from companies like Muscle Milk that recognize the value of our program and the needs that we faced.”
This is the second major grant awarded to assist the baseball program. Last fall, the Minnesota Twins Community Fund’s Twins Fields for Kids program awarded a $10,000 grant to the Esko Little League and Softball Association (ELLSA). That grant, which was matched by local donations and volunteer labor, helped rebuild the dugouts, and replace the clay that washed away from the pitcher’s mound.
The Esko baseball team begins practice March 18.
The announcement of the grant award comes on the heels of the latest developments involving the Esko Hockey Shack, which was also damaged by the June flood waters, filling the hockey shack with several feet of water. That led to extensive mold problems and other damage. As a result, the building had to be completely gutted.
“The fact that we played hockey in Esko at all this winter is such a credit to the hard work of a lot of parents and community volunteers,” said Steve Lanthier, president of the Esko Youth Hockey and Skating Association. “This summer, it looked really doubtful that we’d be able to pull this off. But we had people who wouldn’t give up. They put in hours and hours of their time tearing apart and rebuilding the hockey shack.”
Now, after all the work to rebuild it for this winter’s skating season, it has served its purpose for the season and it now must come down to make way for other construction associated with the Esko Schools sports facilities referendum.
The Esko Hockey Association is planning a community party of sorts on Friday, March 15. If weather (i.e. ice conditions) permit, it will be one last chance to skate and play hockey at the facility. Then, beginning Saturday, March 16, the Hockey Association will begin tearing it down.