There are two places in Bonner that get a lot a traffic in spring and early summer. They are Kelly Pines and Odegaard.
People are always asking me what is that? Kelly Pines is the baseball field by the school with the great grandstand, and Odegaard are the fields by the Barn. Baseball has a long history in Bonner with newspaper clippings about Bonner teams dating back to 1913. As I read in my Story of Bonner, Montana about the 1926 baseball team, I noticed their names are reflected all over Bonner and West Riverside in street names and families that still live here: Don Ruby, Chris Magnussen, Zepphire Labbe, Earl Kolppa, Roy Quinnell, Percy and Pat Thibodeau, N. Jacobsen, Bill Kerns, Kelly Pine, Clifford Hanson, Jack Peers and Carl Swanson. Kelly Pines, established in 1937, was named after one-handed ball player Kelly Pine who was killed in an auto accident.
The old Zaugg milking barn overlooks the Lions Club park called Odegaard. Kelly Pines and Odegaard are home fields for Mount Jumbo East Little League. Our players are from Rattlesnake, East Missoula, Bonner, Clinton and Potomac. As a parent and fan I get to go to Odegaard with my lawn chair and listen to the ting of the bat hitting the ball and the fans cheering every spring. The big horn sheep are usually in attendance. The littlest kids are swinging on the swings and rolling down the little hill. The players are impervious to the cold or the sun, either way the weather pushes us.
At Kelly Pines the games go longer for the field is for the older boys. As a fan I get to sit in the Grand Stand and watch the sun set over their heads between the back side of Mount Sentinel and Mount Jumbo. For these boys it becomes a serious game. The dust flies as a player steals second. The fans are screaming, “He’s running!”
Some are yelling at the runner, “Go Under!” Then it gets quiet a moment as we all watch for the Line Judge to give the signal, “Out!” Half the stands groans, the other half cheers, and the boy dusts himself off and jogs back to the dugout. As we get up to leave, our feet crunch over the shells of sunflower seeds. We are repeating a scene that has been going on for 96 years.
So, tonight I gather up my seat cushion, sun screen, sunflower seeds and sunglasses. We load up the car with ball bags and kids in clean uniforms and head for Kelly Pines. The two Bonner teams find themselves against each other in the City tournament.
Go Bonner Boys!