JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A collegiate baseball team is back in Junction City and officials say the presence of a new team is not only good news for local baseball fans but will also help boost the economy.
Members of the Junction City Community Baseball Club revealed at a press conference Tuesday morning that a summer collegiate team called the "Junction City Brigade” is coming to town.
Club president Cecil Aska says he thinks the team will "re-energize the whole sport of baseball in the area."
"The first thing we wanted to do was bring baseball to Junction City. The second thing that we wanted to do is provide affordable, quality family entertainment for our community. We also want to strive to enhance all efforts for our local baseball youth programs. We truly believe that we can make Junction City a destination place where people can come to see quality baseball played in a fantastic atmosphere.," Aska added during the press conference.
The team will play their games at the historic Rathert Stadium on West 13th Street and it is attracting players from Kansas State University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, University of Central Missouri, Southern Arkansas University and students from junior colleges across the area.
"There is no doubt in our mind that people will come from throughout the region to watch baseball here," said Rick Dykstra with the Geary County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
General Manager Mike Heldstab added: "Not only will we have a direct impact for the sales tax here from Rathert Stadium and the Junction City Brigade but we’ll have a lot of folks coming in, whether it be teams, their families, their fans, siblings- everybody will be coming here from these other towns such as Hayes, Topeka, Rossville, Wichita, El Dorado, and even a team from Oklahoma is coming up. We’ll have a lot of money spent in the community at restaurants, gas stations, hotels, motels. It will be pretty much an all-around good economic boost for the community…. We love baseball and we love to come out and watch a good game but this was something bigger than that. This was something about our community and making the whole place better."
Heldstab says for the players, it's a great way to hone their skills and be seen by scouts.
A collegiate team called “The Generals” played in Junction City from 2005-2010 and members of the community as well as businesses and agencies worked together for two years and with the help of private donations, they are bringing baseball back to the area.
"This is a great baseball community. The support that we had at games was fantastic. The community really rallies behind these kids and the kids love it here," said Coach Shane Sieben, who also helped coach the Generals team.
Opening day will be June 1, 2013 at 7 PM against the Rossville Rattlers.