A crowd of more than 1,000 spectators surrounded Chuck Fuller Field on Saturday for the exhibition game that raised money for youth ballpark improvements in Owatonna.

The St. Paul Saints have been barnstorming around Minnesota for about 10 years. Saturday's 4-0 win over the Owatonna Aces / Southern Minny all stars was the second-closest game over that time. The hometown nine turned three double plays to thwart several Saints scoring opportunities. The Saints pushed one run across in the third inning. They added one in the eighth and topped off the scoring with a pair of insurance runs in the ninth. St. Paul out-hit the Aces / Southern Minny 11-5. Each team committed an error.

The namesake of Chuck Fuller Field threw out the first pitch of the game, tossing it to his grandson and Aces lead-off hitter Benji Hager.

 

Owatonna mayor Tom Kuntz called the exhibition game a great event for Owatonna. Saints officials said, "Fantastic hosts and a great event" on their Twitter page Saturday night. Tim Truelson of Owatonna Park and Recreation was thrilled with the turnout. He estimated that 1,300 tickets were sold. All proceeds support youth baseball park improvements.

Activities included a home run derby and kids games and skills events on the Dartts Park softball diamond throughout the course of the baseball game. A number of local youth took part in on the field contests between innings.

Former Minnesota Twin Al Newman was the third base coach for the Saints. He joked with the crowd during the game, posed for pictures and signed autographs. The coaching staff for the Aces included Tate Cummins, Brian Price, Brian Simon, Jason Alstead and Matt Skala. The staff posed for a picture. (I don't know if they were asked for autographs.)

The Owatonna Aces open their season Wednesday, May 20, versus Zumbrota at Dartts Park; 7:30PM for the first pitch.