Anticipation is growing throughout the Valley for opening day. The Walla Walla Sweets open their season Friday at home against the Corvallis Knights, the team they faced in last season's championship series.
Although the Sweets came up short in the showdown for the title, enthusiasm for the team continues to climb. The Sweets, in just two short years, have become a part of this community.
The Sweets have made Borleske Stadium the gathering place for the community on warm summer nights. The baseball -- played with wood bats by some of the nation's best college players -- is excellent and the atmosphere is outstanding. The Sweets organization, led by General Manager Zachary Fraser, has transformed Borleske into a top-notch venue for watching baseball. New seats were added last year and the expansion has continued.
The stadium is looking great.
This year's team has some familiar faces back as well as some new players. Manager J.C. Biagi will have the team ready to make a run for the title.
While the play on the field will be excellent, the fun and excitement isn't only between the foul lines. The various promotions taking place each night get the fans in the stands involved in the games.
Sweets baseball is reasonably priced family entertainment.
And this year the Sweets host the West Coast League All-Star Game on July 24.
Borleske Stadium will be filled with talented players and excited fans as well as Major League Baseball scouts. The players in the West Coast League are as good -- or better -- than those playing in professional minor league baseball. The only difference is these players, many of whom were drafted by pro teams, have opted to play college baseball. Some will end up in the majors when their college careers are over.
The fun will start on July 23 when the Sweets host the All-Star Block Party presented by the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation on Main Street. It will take place in front of the Sweets Shoppe between Spokane and Colville streets.
The free event is open to the community. It will feature live music, family-friendly activities, local food and the opportunity to meet the WCL all-stars and Sweets players.
"We wanted to make this event about the entire community and really showcase what America's Friendliest Town has to offer," Fraser said.
The first pitch has yet to be thrown, but the 2012 season should be a great one.