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Season begins on May 17 with two premier matchups
The Rockingham County Baseball League has released the schedule for the 2019 season. The 95th season of RCBL baseball will kick off on May 17, a bit earlier than in past seasons.
“We are starting the season a week early, hopefully to avoid the late season rush of making games up due to rain outs,” commissioner Randy Atkins said.
Opening Night features a pair of premier RCBL matchups. The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks will travel to Buck Bowman Park for a clash against the Clover Hill Bucks. The two teams have accounted for eight of the past 10 championships, facing each other in multiple finals series.
On the other side of the county, the Grottoes Cardinals will host the defending champion Bridgewater Reds at Shifflett Field. The Cardinals and Reds faced each other in the playoffs in both 2016 and 2017, splitting the series.
The Reds will hope to get off to a strong start to the season as they look to turn in another championship performance. They could become the first team since Stuarts Draft in 2012-2014 to win three consecutive championships.
The 2019 season will feature some changes, as the league has decided to get rid of the East and West Divisions. There will be one pennant winner at the end of the 28-game regular season, and every team will be seeded one through eight for the playoffs. The 2019 RCBL postseason is scheduled to begin on July 30.
With the abolishment of the divisions, there will still be an East vs. West All-Star Game. The 2019 contest will see a change of venue this year, as it will be held at Ray Heatwole Field in Bridgewater.
Fans who can’t make it to a game at any point in the season can hear all the action on the Bob Wade RCBL Broadcasts on ESPN 1360 WHBG. Karl Magenhofer and Matthew Atkins will return to the mic for the 2019 season to bring all the action to listeners across the county.
The 2019 Bob Wade RCBL Broadcast schedule kicks off on Wednesday, May 22 with the Elkton Blue Sox hosting the Grottoes Cardinals. The broadcasts will showcase premier matchups throughout the season and will feature games from every team.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for season previews of each team, which will be published on RCBLBaseball.com.
“I’m excited to be officially part of the league. I’ve followed the County League since I was a little kid,” Atkins said. “Being part of the oldest amateur baseball league in America, with so much history and good quality baseball, is an honor.”
Atkins is currently the Director of Marketing at Valley Care Management, which has been one of the main sponsors of the RCBL in recent seasons. VCM has provided sponsorship for such initiatives as the Play Ball show and the RCBL Passport.
While Atkins takes over as commissioner, Bocock will remain a part of the league as well. Bocock resigned from his commissioner post in August to accept the head coaching job with the Woodstock River Bandits of the Valley Baseball League. He will still be involved with the RCBL, serving as the league’s historian.
“I wanted to stay attached to the league and also give credit to the people that deserve it by staying as the historian,” Bocock said.
The RCBL Hall of Fame and Museum, which houses memorabilia from the league’s history, is located in the Hall of Fame Sports Grill in Cover Hill.