Montague, the parent of a 16-year-old who would potentially play on the team, was disappointed when she found out at the beginning of the school year that the school wasn’t planning to field a team. Last year, Chance Edman, Stevensville Athletic Director at the time, and Lucas McCormick (he was head of Stevensville Youth Baseball Association) pushed hard to get the Montana High School Association to look at adding baseball. Ultimately, the state decided to approve it as a sport.
“Last spring our school board decided to approve it as a high school sport for Stevensville but decided not to fund it,” said Montague. “When Chance left, I think it kind of got lost in the transition.”
Montague said that once the community found out, in the beginning of this school year, people came together and decided to do the fundraising themselves. Montague said that at last week’s school board meeting, the board told the parents that they would go ahead with baseball this year “if you can come up with $30,000 by October 1st.”
That’s a pretty tall order. “We’re hoping that if we can get a portion of the money, the school will give us more time,” said Montague. “We would like to do this fundraising well, and we know there are a lot of people that want to support these student athletes and we know with more time we could do a better job.”
However, Superintendent Dave Thennis said it was unlikely that the deadline would be extended any further. He said the board made its initial decision in March. He said the Montana High School Association had already extended the deadline from September 1st to October 1st.
“I’ve tried to give some guidance on this to the parents,” said Thennis. “I’m excited about the possibility of having a baseball season this year. The community has been working hard and making good progress. Hopefully, we can get to the point where we can confirm that we’ll have it. The $30,000 number isn’t hard and fast but we need to get awfully close to that number.”
As of Friday afternoon, about $7000 had been raised and deposited in an account at Rocky Mountain Bank. The STARS Foundation, which has a 501c3 tax-exempt designation, is acting as the fiscal sponsor. “But they aren’t active in the baseball fundraising,” said Montague, “because they are currently focusing on the track and tennis court projects.”
“We have a group of parents and some community members that are working very hard to come up with the money to play baseball this year,” said Montague. “We have some seniors who really want to play this year. Because Stevensville was such a part of the push for baseball, we really want to be a part of the inaugural season.”
A fundraiser is planned for Saturday, September 24 from 5 p.m. until 12 midnight at the Tin Can Bar & Draft Room, 207 Main in Stevensville. Tacos for $12 a plate will be served from 5 to 9 p.m. and there will be a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction.
Donations for Stevensville baseball’s fundraising effort for the inaugural season can be mailed to: Stevi STARS Foundation, PO Box 312, Stevensville MT 59870 (phone 406-396-4901), or dropped off at Rocky Mountain Bank in Stevensville, or through Venmo – @stevistars. Donations are tax deductible. You can also donate through the Facebook page: Stevensville High School Baseball Fundraising. For more information email: [email protected] Time is of the essence.
Victoria Howell can be contacted at [email protected]