January 15, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA – Today the Expedition League announced its newest affiliate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The team will play at Karras Park at Ronken Field on the Augustana University campus.

The Expedition League is an elite summer collegiate wood bat baseball league that promotes affordable, wholesome family entertainment, enhances the quality of life in its member communities, provides the tools and experience to optimize collegiate players’ development and potential to play professional baseball while providing the infrastructure and support necessary for the success of the league affiliated team owners.

Expedition League teams play a 64-game season beginning on May 26, 2020 and ending on August 8, 2020 with one week of playoffs after the regular season. The 2020 season will include 10-member teams.  The 2020 All-Star Extravaganza will be July 2021 at Mike Lansing Field in Casper, Wyoming.

“We are thrilled to be adding an Expedition League team in Sioux Falls”, said Steve Wagner, Expedition League President.  “Sioux Falls is a wonderful, growing, thriving community and is the largest city in South Dakota.  It’s an economic and cultural hub with low unemployment, a strong economy and one of the best business climates in the entire country.  The people in and around Sioux Falls are salt of the earth people and we’re excited to bring our brand of high caliber, nonstop fun, family entertainment to this great City.  Karras Park at Ronken Field is an incredible venue for Expedition League baseball and FUN!  Augustana University has done an outstanding job of improving the facility and we’re looking forward to working closely with Augustana on additional upgrades coming for the 2020 season that will enhance the fan experience.  I can’t wait for the 2020 home opener in Sioux Falls as I know the ballpark will be rockin’ all summer long.”

Augustana University Athletic Director Josh Morton noted, “We’re happy to have the Expedition League use our home during the Augustana offseason.  We feel like we have the best college baseball stadium in the region and we’re glad the Expedition League recognized that and wanted to play their home games on the Augustana campus.  The Sioux Falls community is at the heart of everything we do at Augustana and this is one more opportunity to show that.  I’m especially pleased this will provide some of our own baseball student-athletes a chance to play summer baseball in a community that supports us so well during the season.”

General Manager The Team has hired Bill Larsen as its first General Manager. Bill has a tremendous amount of experience as a General Manager in Minor League Baseball and served in the Minor Leagues for more than 25 years.  He was the first General Manager of the Kane County Cougars in Geneva, Illinois near Chicago.  First year attendance in Kane County was 250,000 fans and within several years Bill had grown attendance to 450,000 fans per year, leading the Midwest League. Bill served as the GM in Kane County for eight years. After Kane County, Bill became the General Manager of the Nashville Sounds in the Pacific Coast League.  Under Bill’s leadership, the Sounds increased attendance from 110,000 fans in Bill’s first year to 350,000 fans in his third year.  Bill also served as the General Manager of the Fort Wayne Wizards for three years.  In his first year in Fort Wayne, attendance increased by 40,000 fans or nearly 20%. His philosophy has always been ‘Fun, Family Entertainment’ with full doses of thrills during games via many promotions, contests, and daily giveaways.

Bill won the Midwest League’s Executive of the Year Award, the Bob Frietas Award for the Best Franchise in Minor League Baseball, and the Larry McPhail Award for Best Promotions in Minor League Baseball. Bill also served our country in the United States Air Force and was decorated three times for his service in Vietnam.

“I’m excited to be in Sioux Falls and involved with a summer collegiate baseball team in the Expedition League”, commented Bill.  “Sioux Falls is a great baseball city and once fans come to an Expedition League game at Karras Park this summer, you’ll want to come back again and again for more fun than you ever expected!”

“We are extremely blessed to have secured Bill as the first GM of the Expedition League’s Sioux Falls affiliate”, said Steve Wagner.  “Bill is all about ‘fun family entertainment’ and the great fans in Sioux Falls will be treated to an incredible show every night at the ballpark.  His track record of success in Minor League Baseball translates perfectly to the Expedition League since we emulate the minor league experience”.

Head Coach   The team’s Head Coach is Caleb Lang, the Hitting Coach at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, a Division II institution in the Peach Belt Conference. This past summer, Caleb served as an assistant coach with the Traverse City Pit Spitters in the Northwoods League.  That team won the league championship and set a league record for wins.  The previous two years, Lang served as a graduate assistant for the Eastern Nazarene College Baseball Team.  There he helped lead the team to their first conference playoff appearance in 10 years and their first conference playoff win since 2006.  This past season, Eastern Nazarene’s revamped offense collected the most hits, home runs and runs scored in over a decade. In 2017, Lang was the Head Coach of the Niagara Power in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.  He led the Power to the playoffs in their inaugural season, coaching the Pitcher of the Year and numerous All-League selections.  Prior to coaching the team, Lang played for the Power where he was named Player of the Year in the league.  Caleb played at Cairn University where he was an All-American center fielder.  He holds school records for games started and played, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs, RBI, and stolen bases.

“I’m honored and blessed to be named the first Head Coach of the Expedition League’s Sioux Falls team in what promises to be a tenured and successful organization”, noted Lang.  “Steve Wagner has expressed to me his vision for the team and what it will bring to the Sioux Falls community.  There’s reason to be excited as we have the ability to build a culture and team that Sioux Falls will be proud of. We look forward to support from the entire community and the surrounding area. The focal point of our team will be the development of players both on the field and as young men.  We’ll play the game hard and in a fashion that will reflect Sioux Falls values. Our players will come from all over the country and, of course, some from right here in South Dakota.”

“We’re fortunate to have secured Caleb as the first Head Coach in franchise history”, stated Wagner. “After an extensive head coach search, Caleb stood out as an excellent candidate to lead our new team in Sioux Falls, both on and off the field.  Caleb has all of the characteristics that will make him a success in the Expedition League and in all of his future endeavors”.

Corporate Partnerships and Group Outings 2020 corporate partnership and group outing inquiries can be directed to Bill Larsen at (941)773-8580 or Steve Wagner at (612)840-1895. The team has many exciting opportunities available to maximize the exposure of your company’s products or services in a fun, entertaining environment. We can entertain groups of any size and we will provide an unforgettable experience for your employees and clients.

Season Tickets Information on how to secure season tickets for the inaugural season of the Expedition League’s Sioux Falls team can be obtained by visiting the Expedition League’s website at www.expeditionleague.com.  The new team’s social media platforms and website will be introduced very soon and tickets can be purchased via those avenues as well.

Name-the-team suggestions and upcoming vote “We are asking fans to give us their input and suggestions for the name of the team,” said Steve Wagner. “We look forward to the fans’ great ideas for the name and logo since this team belongs to the people of Sioux Falls and the surrounding communities. Some great team names have already been suggested and we look forward to hearing from more people in the community.”  Once we receive all input, we will narrow down the potential team names and run a poll to choose the finalists and the ultimate team name.  Fans can vote on the team name and a drawing will be held from the fans who guess the winning team name. The winner will receive two season tickets for the 2020 inaugural season, two official team hats, and an opportunity to throw out a
ceremonial first pitch at a game. Team names can be submitted on the Expedition League’s website at www.expeditionleague.com.

Host families needed for players and interns The new Sioux Falls team is looking for host families to house players and interns for the summer months. Interns arrive in midMay and players arrive in late May; all stay through early August. Players will be on the road for half the season and at your home when the team is in town. Families need to provide a bed and safe housing. Host families receive free season tickets, discounts on concessions and merchandise, and other perks.  If interested in being a host family, please email us at steve.wagner@theexpeditionleague.com.