Joplin Outlaws looking for host families for summer season

GM Mark Rains says the team has 7 players looking for a place to stay this summer.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Tonya Sprenkle knows what it’s like to be a host family for the Joplin Outlaws.

“We found it to be a really pleasurable experience,” Sprenkle says of hosting a player, “It just kind of brought us back to when our kids were home.”

Sprenkle and her husband hosted infielder Jack Hanstad from Frisco, Texas back in 2019. She had planned to host two players in 2020 before season was canceled due to COVID-19.

“He was just a great young man that was great to have around,” Sprenkle says, “He was polite and nice. We got to meet his family. We met them at a couple games, and we even had a weekend where part of his family stayed at our house when they came up to see him.”

The Outlaws are currently looking for a few more host families like Sprenkle’s for this summer.

General Manager Mark Rains, who hosts players every year himself, says the organization is still searching for places to stay for about seven players.

“They become part of your family. They’re good young men,” Rains says, “We just need some help getting them some beds. It’s the biggest part of our program. We survive on sponsorships and donations, but we can’t put on our program without our community reaching out and  helping put these kids up for two months.”

Players will arrive around Memorial Day weekend.

Rains says most of the players have their own transportation and are self sufficient – they just need a place to call home for a few weeks.

“All of these players have been away at school. They know how to take care of themselves,” Rains says, “They know how to do their own laundry and get a meal. If you’ve got younger kids, they’ll look at these guys like big brothers and mentors. These guys will play ball and play catch with them until they wear them out.”

“They were polite all the time and treated our home with respect,” Sprenkle says of the players visiting her house, “The boys are given a strict set of rules from the team…but we didn’t have any problems. We treated them like they were are own kids. I knew if my kids were going somewhere, I would want them to have a great place to stay. We have a lot of great families in the Joplin area who could easily open their homes to good kids like this. We can show our hospitality by inviting these kids into our homes, and share the experience of them improving their skills and getting to take that back to their college or wherever it is they plan to play in the future.”

Families interested in being a host family for the Joplin Outlaws can contact Mark Rains at 417-825-4218 or email Rains at markrains16@gmail.com.

The Outlaws are a collegiate summer baseball team competing in the MINK League. They play their home games at Joplin’s Joe Becker Stadium. The Outlaws will play their home opener against Des Moines on June 4th in Joplin.