The 2019 American Legion baseball state tournament will be held in Central Minnesota for the first time since 2009. The tourney will be split between four ballparks: Cold Spring, Paynesville, St. Martin and Watkins.

The tournament gets underway with a banquet on July 31st at River's Edge Convention Center, with games beginning on August 1st.

The tournament is typically held in the Twin Cities, but this year presents an opportunity for some of Central Minnesota's "gem baseball parks" to be featured, according to Co-Chair Bill Thelen of Cold Spring.

"Cold Spring has hosted many amateur state tournaments, but we have never hosted a Legion (tournament)," Thelen said. "It's about time they come back up here so we can showcase some of these ballparks we have."

Thelen says that while he handles things for the Legion program, Rocori baseball coach Jeff Illies is the main man in charge of Cold Spring Ballpark.

"(Illies) makes that park what it is, and he should be commended for that," Thelen said. "There are a lot of people who take care of that beautiful ballpark."

Most of the players and their families will be staying in the St. Cloud metro area due to a lack of hotel rooms in the actual host cities.

"Unfortunately, Cold Spring doesn't have enough accommodations to house these players, because we need 60 rooms," Thelen said. "So, St. Cloud has really been helping us out with the convention and (accommodations)."