THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
The Cooperstown Hawkeyes are changing leagues.
The Hawkeyes played their inaugural season at Doubleday Field last summer.
The team has aligned with seven other former New York Collegiate Baseball League members and decided to withdraw from the league with the goal of starting a new, higher quality league, according to a media press release. They will continue to play at Doubleday Field next year.
The Amsterdam Mohawks, Albany Dutchmen, Elmira Pioneers, Glens Falls Golden Eagles, Mohawk Valley Diamond Dogs and Watertown Wizards also made the move to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
They will be joined in the venture by a new franchise located in Newark. This new eight-team league will play a total of 49 regular season games between the first week of June and the last week of July.
According to the NYCBL website, the league, which includes the Oneonta Outlaws, has already replaced the departing teams. On Nov. 7, the league awarded franchises to the Utica Brewers, Sherrill Silversmiths, Syracuse Salt Cats, and Rome Thunderbolts from the Eastern Collegiate Baseball League (ECBL). A sixth franchise, the Syracuse Junior Chiefs, is also joining the NYCBL.
The five new franchises join the Oneonta Outlaws in the East Division.
The West Division franchises are the Allegany County Nitros, Alfred Thunder, Hornell Dodgers, Niagara Power, Webster Yankees and Geneva Red Wings.
A 44-game schedule will get under way the second week of June and with the regular season ending the last week of July.
In addition, the Perfect Game League recently signed an agreement to partner with Perfect Game USA, the world’s largest independent scouting service.
By joining forces in this new endeavor, the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, which begins in the summer of 2011, will have Perfect Game actively assisting the league in identifying and recruiting top college and junior-college prospects, according to the media release. The league will also stage regional showcase events and tournaments.
Cooperstown Hawkeyes owner Tom Hickey said, “From the beginning, our goal has been to bring the best level of entertainment and onfield product for our fans at Doubleday Field. This is another step in establishing Cooperstown as an elite franchise in what promises to be one of the top leagues in the country.
Perfect Game is a great partner and will assist us in moving to the next level.’’
Hickey added that talks with the new league had been on going for six to eight months and became official earlier this month.
“There’s no question that this will significantly upgrade our talent level,’’ he said.
This past year, a record number of 1,164 Perfect Game participants were selected in the Major League baseball draft, including 41 in the first round, according to a media press release from the league.
“The mission of the new PGCBL will be to provide the highest level of collegiate baseball while at the same time offering affordable family entertainment,’’ said Jerry Ford, President of Perfect Game. “The League is comprised of a collection of the best quality ownership available, all of which are committed to year-round operations that afford their franchises the highest level of both baseball and entertainment.’’