FOX 9 Town Ball Tour: Why is Howard Lake's town ball team called the Orphans?

Nestled on the shores of beautiful Howard Lake sits Memorial Park, also known as "The Orphanage." 

After the former Howard Lake Blue Sox town ball team ended during World War II, a man named Don Mitchell resurrected a new team in 1947 without a sponsor or a field, hence the name. 

The team again disbanded in the late 1960s, but in 1995, the current Orphans rose again thanks to Mike Gagnon.

They went to the state tournament in their first year and haven't had a losing season since. They went to the tournament 11 of the last 13 seasons, with two final four finishes and many loyal fans. 

Now, with a field on Howard Lake, batters swing for the water, not the fences.

That prime location, also comes with complications, however, as 16 inches of rain in a week in 2002 made the field unplayable for almost a year, jeopardizing their home once again. 

Howard Lake is west of the Twin Cities off Highway 12, past Delano and Montrose. 

Howard Lake Orphans vs. Cokato Kernels: Memorial Park (“The Orphanage”), 101 10th Ave, Howard Lake, MN. 

Driving directions: (From the Twin Cities) Hop on I-394 W. Take US-12 W past Delano and Montrose to Howard Lake. Turn right onto 10th Ave/County Rd 6 SW. You can't miss it!

FOX 9 will be broadcasting live starting at 5 p.m. and FOX 9 Sports will continue broadcasting live after the game. And, this year, we're bringing FOX 9 Town Ball Tour can koozies to keep your drinks cold. 

Can’t make it tonight? Here are the other stops along the Fox 9 Town Ball Tour. 

JUNE 26: Glencoe Brewers
vs Young America Cardinals
Vollmer Field, 100 Desoto Avenue S, Glencoe, MN

JULY 3: New Ulm Brewers
vs St. Clair Wood Ducks
Johnson Park, 500 N. German Street, New Ulm, MN

JULY 10: Waseca Braves
vs Wanamingo Jacks
Tink Larson Field, 400 7th Avenue NE, Waseca, MN

JULY 17: Chanhassen Red Birds
vs Minnetonka Millers
Red Bird Stadium, 2200 Lyman Blvd, Chanhassen, MN