The McDonald’s Fighting Squirrels are a regional summer baseball program geared towards preparing kids to play college baseball. The Squirrels play in the Babe Ruth Baseball league, a national not-for-profit educational organization that creates development opportunities for young men through baseball.
In their 16 years of competition the Squirrels have some great achievements:
10 Missouri State Championships
5 Regional Championships
5 World Series appearances
2018 National Championship in Jamestown, New York
2020 Southern Invitational Championship in Mobile, Alabama in 2020. (The Southern Invitational took the place of the World Series due to the Covid-19 pandemic.)
The Squirrels currently have three teams in the organization: 19u, 17u, and 15u teams that all play 40+ game schedules. Michael Minner, Director and Head Coach of the Squirrels, is dedicated to “doing things the right way.” Minder puts this into action by coaching baseball on the field, and mentoring young men off it. Their guiding philosophy is that creating good men is as important as winning. For the Squirrels, the two go hand in hand. The organization has seen 87 players move on to play college baseball.
The Squirrels play their home games at Hillhouse Park in Charleston, Missouri, a spacious summer baseball field that is also home to the Charleston High School Bluejays. The 15 acres of land for the park was donated by Nelsene and Ray Hillhouse in honor of their son Benny. The Park has played host to the Babe Ruth 16-18 Midwest Plains Regional in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2019, and 2021 will add one more as the 16-18 year old Midwest Plains Regional Tournament makes its way back to Missouri. The park has also been the site of nine Missouri Class 2 and 3 District Tournaments.
Picturesque Charleston, Missouri is home to the Fighting Squirrels. Charleston sits at the top of the Missouri Bootheel, and is a town rich with history and full of charming old homes. In the springtime, the annual Dogwood Azalea Festival fills the town with visitors to see the city in bloom. Charleston also loves its sports. The BlueJays have a storied history in high school athletics, and the town turns out to support its teams. The Fighting Squirrels loves this support, and in turn team members engage in local events and projects. They believe it’s important to invest their time and energy into their community – after all, for some people there is life outside of baseball!