Giddy with the Opening Day honor of yelling “Play ball” to get the Walla Walla Sweets baseball season going, Ami Cross, 6, bubbles with enthusiasm just before her big moment.
Photo by Jeff Horner.
WALLA WALLA – The Walla Walla Sweets open their fifth season of baseball at 7:05 p.m. on June 5 at Borleske Stadium against an alumni squad.
The Sweets’ schedule for the 2014 season was included in the West Coast League schedule recently released by WCL president Dennis Koho.
Start times for regular-season games will be 7:05 p.m., with Sunday games starting at 5:05 p.m.
The Sweets are scheduled to play 60 games in 2014 season, with 33 home games and 27 on the road. Of the 33 regular season home games, 27 will be against league opponents and six against non-league teams.
New to the WCL this year is the Yakima franchise. The still-to-be-named team, also owned by Pacific Baseball Ventures (PBV, the ownership of the group of the Sweets), plays in Walla Walla twice this season. The first series between the two teams at Borleske Stadium is scheduled for July 3-5.
“I am excited for this series,” said PBV chief operating officer Zachary Fraser, who was the founding general manager of the Sweets and is overseeing the start-up process in Yakima. “It will be tough to decide who to root for, but I will be in my seats and I am certain I will enjoy the series.”
The first two nights of the first series against Yakima be military appreciation nights, honoring those who serve our country and all those in full military dress or with a valid military ID will receive free admission to either game. Fireworks are scheduled for July 3, while July 4th will be the Sweets’ only 1:05 p.m. start.
In honor of the team’s fifth season, the team opens the 2014 season with an alumni game, featuring players from the teams’ first four seasons. The Sweets will welcome back fan favorites and ask them to once again don the Sweets uniform. This game will be included as one of the regular 33 home games for the 2014 season.
“The community in Walla Walla has supported the Sweets from the very beginning, and fans have really connected with our players over the last four years,” said Sweets general manager Katie Baxter. “Our front office staff and coaches are excited to bring back former players for an alumni game to start our fifth anniversary season.”
With the expansion of the WCL to 12 teams, the league has been realigned into three divisions.
The East Division will include the Walla Walla Sweets, Yakima, the Wenatchee AppleSox and the Kelowna Falcons.
The Bellingham Bells, Victoria HarbourCats, Cowlitz Black Bears and Kitsap BlueJackets will make up the West Division.
The South Division will be comprised of the Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, Klamath Falls Gems and Medford Rogues.
In addition to the new divisional alignment, the WCL moves to a revised playoff format in 2014.
The three division winners will be joined by a wild-card winner in the divisional series. The wild-card will be determined by the best record of the remaining nine teams who did not win their division.
The winners of the division series will play in the WCL Championship Series, with the team with the best regular-season record of the two to play host. Both playoff rounds will continue to be best-of-three.
Season tickets for the 2014 season of Sweets baseball are on sale now. Sweets half-season packages, eight-game packages and 12-game vouchers go on sale starting Nov. 29.
For more information, see website wallawallasweets.com.