Booster club forms to support Lakers

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 11, 2018

In their second season, the Albert Lea Lakers will play for the first time with the support of a booster club this year.

During their first season, the Lakers hadn’t had a booster club to help get their games and information into the public eye. By forming a six-member booster club, residents of Albert Lea are hoping to expand the Lakers’ name and draw in bigger crowds to the games.

Mark Calderon, a lifelong baseball fan and former high school player, is one of the members of the booster club who hopes to bring more attention to the team.

“We started a nonprofit booster club this year to make Albert Lea aware,” Calderon said, “We want the people of Albert Lea to be aware and get excited about a collegiate baseball team here in town.”

Calderon said the first part of putting their name out there was getting businesses to support the team. The booster club already has a handful of local businesses lined up to lend a hand this year, including Anytime Fitness, Leach Law Firm and others.

Starting pitcher for the Lakers on Friday night was Blake Bagenstos. He pitched six innings allowing just one run and recorded six strikeouts in the 4-3 win over the Bandits. Tyler Julson/Albert Lea Tribune.

The biggest challenge the booster club is facing now is the task of finding host families to take in the players for the two months they are here over the summer.

Calderon said he joined the booster club because of the positive experience he had as a host family last year. He said the group of players he had staying with him were great guys and he had a lot of fun being involved.

“I just think, by getting this booster club started and giving it a stable foundation, we can take off with this,” Calderon said. “It can really be a positive thing for Albert Lea, not only for baseball, but other sports as well. If we can do something positive, people are going to hear about it and come in.”

Another big draw factor for the Lakers this season is the current roster. Last season, the team finished with an 11-19 record and in last place of the Pioneer League.

Outfielder Jamell Newson easliy takes third base after a throwing error allowed him to steal second base during a game last summer for the Albert Lea Lakers. Tyler Julson/Albert Lea Tribune.

However, under the new leadership of head coach Michael Keeran, this year’s squad has potential to be great. Filled with award-winners at nearly every position, a few local players and even players with the potential of being drafted into the major leagues, the 2018 Lakers are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Anyone who is interested in being a host family or getting involved with the program in another way is encouraged to contact Calderon at 507-402-3709 or one of the other booster club members, including Rachel Schmidt or Scott MacRae, who can be reached at albertlealakersbooster@hotmail.com.

“I’m very excited for the season to start,” Calderon said. “I wish it started tomorrow. I hope everything pans out for us, and all of these guys come here ready to play. Coach (Keeran) is a well-disciplined guy. He’s on top of his game and I think he’s going to send this group in the right direction.”

By the numbers

6 – People who make up the booster club

11 – Games the Albert Lea Lakers won last season

2 – The season for the Lakers this summer in Albert Lea

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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