Klamath Falls joining WCL for 2011 season

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PORTLAND - Klamath Falls, Ore., will join the West Coast League for the 2011 season, becoming the 10th active franchise.

Klamath Falls Gems Baseball, LLC, will operate the professionally operated, college-level wood-bat team, according to WCL president Ken Wilson, who made the announcement.

Five Klamath Falls residents make up the operating group, led by Oregon Tech basketball coach Danny Miles. Other members of Klamath Falls Gems Baseball are former Oregon Tech athletic director Howard Morris and area businessmen Eric Baker, Don Gresdel, and Brian Smith.

"We're really excited about bringing minor league (style) like baseball back to Klamath Falls," said Miles. "This is affordable family entertainment, and we believe the community will embrace the Gems."

Going with the nickname Gems is a salute to Klamath Falls three seasons in the Far West League (1949-1951). The Gems will play in Kiger Stadium, which was constructed in 1948, and served as home for the original Gems.

"This is something we've needed for a long time," added Don Ambers, head of the volunteer Kiger Stadium Association. "Having a team in a league of this stature really puts Klamath Falls on the baseball map."

"This team belongs to the people of Klamath Falls," Baker said. "We've got it going, now it's up to everyone in town to realize this is our town and our team."

The team is conducting a nationwide search for a general manager and a coach.

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