What snow? Small, Minnesota high school team clears entire baseball field

Their coach is former MLB player Mike Kingery.
Publish date:

If last weekend's blizzard was a curve ball, the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons knocked it out of the park.  

ACGC, a small high school located about 90 miles west of Minneapolis, spent Monday's snow day clearing their baseball field in Atwater. 

No exaggeration, their baseball players and coaches, in addition to other volunteers, literally removed 10 inches of snow from the field, not to mention larger drifts created by the blizzard's fierce winds. 

It went from looking like a blinding white blanket of heavy, wet snow to what you see in the photo above. 

So who's big idea was this? Mike Kingery, their head coach who put Atwater on the map in the 1980s and '90s when he played 10 years of Major League Baseball for the Royals, Mariners, Giants, Athletics, Rockies and Pirates. 

"I just thought [on Monday] that I would go down there, bring my 455 John Deere with a snowblower and see what it could do on the outfield," said Kingery, who's in his third year coaching at ACGC. 

Kingery then got the shoveling party started by texting all of the school's baseball players, inviting anyone interested to come help clear the field. 

More than 30 people responded with shovels and snowblowers, and they wound up clearing the entire field, a seven-hour task that Kingery described as "daunting." 


The frost isn't yet out of the ground, but by removing the snow, Kingery thinks it'll help the ground thaw sooner than it would if he were to wait for it to melt. .

"It's not playable by any means today, but it's way better than it was two days ago." 

Weather wreaks havoc with high school sports

The first Monday in April was supposed to be opening day for high school baseball in Minnesota, and most teams have yet to play a game, so any time saved is a big help. 

"We're already in the middle of April and we've had nine games that have been canceled/postponed, which is almost half your season," Kingery said, while adding that they'll probably have to play a condensed schedule with up to six games a week. 

The Minnesota State High School League just last week approved the option of playing 5-inning doubleheaders, but Kingery is hoping his conference's athletic directors will allow them to go to six innings.

Kingery was a rock-solid MLB player for a decade, and he's got some pretty remarkable career accomplishments to brag about. 

In the strike-shortened season of 1994, he was third in the National League batting race when he hit .349 in 105 games with the Rockies, trailing only Tony Gwynn and Jeff Bagwell, both of whom are in the Hall of Fame. 

Kingery only hit 30 home runs in his career but two of them were off the great Pedro Martinez, including a grand slam against him in 1996.

"So I had two home runs off him, but I had another ball that I hit off the wall off of him," Kingery said. "My joke is if I would've faced Pedro every day I'd be in Cooperstown." 

Next Up

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


What health officials know, don't know about Brazil P.1 variant

Minnesota health officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant in the U.S.

christopher and banks

Christopher & Banks closing stores for good, laying off 361 people at Plymouth facility

The layoffs began earlier this month and will continue through March.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 8.56.43 AM

Tributes, donations after death of popular South High School teacher

The fundraiser had raised more than $9,000 of its $15,000 as of Tuesday.

Target headquarters

2 men plead guilty to arson at Target headquarters in Minneapolis

The two men were charged in the Aug. 26, 2020, arson that happened following false rumors about a police shooting.


17 more teams qualify for the MN state baseball tourney

New Ulm needed 11 innings to beat Mankato West

Rogers baseball

Brackets for MN high school baseball state tournament

Check out the brackets to see who plays who in this week's quarterfinals and semifinals.

state baseball tournament

4 state champs crowned in Minnesota high school baseball

The last game didn't start until nearly 9:30 p.m. because of rain.

14 baseball teams advance to MN state tourney, more Thursday

Wednesday was loaded with section finals, with even more Thursday.

Minnesota baseball tourney starts with 2 walk-offs and high drama

Minnetonka and Heritage Christian won in walk-off fashion.

Twins drop in on Minnetonka baseball team for fun surprise

Trevor Hildenberger helped surprise their national coach of the year.

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 7.57.21 AM

2 teams clinch state baseball berths, dozens of section finals to come

Minnesota's high school baseball season is at its most dramatic stage.

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 1.26.16 PM

State baseball tourney field nearly set as 31 teams clinch

The brackets will be released over the weekend.