The VBL team in Charlottesville will play its games at CHS
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -
Baseball fans in Charlottesville who long to watch America's Pastime during the summer will no longer have to turn a wistful glance towards Waynesboro, Staunton, or Harrisonburg.
For the first time in forty years, the Valley Baseball League is coming to Charlottesville.
The Charlottesville team has already been accepted into the league, and will begin play in 2015.
VBL Commissioner/President Don Lemish says, "It's a perfect fit."
Lemish says they've been trying for years to get a team in Charlottesville.
"When I had my first conversation with Joe Koshansky and Jeff Burton, I got to tell you, I just about jumped out of the window, thinking, 'This is the greatest thing that's going to happen to the Valley League,'" says Lemish. "We're very excited about it."
Charlottesville Team General Manager Joe Koshansky adds, "I think it's a fantastic fit. The Valley League has a great reputation. We have a pretty big market here in Charlottesville, with a lot of baseball fans here. It's something that, frankly, I think we were missing."
Virginia baseball coach Brian O'Connor is no stranger to the Valley Baseball League.
"I actually played in this league after my freshman year of college," says O'Connor. "It was my first exposure to the state of Virginia, and I'll always remember it. There's a lot of good players in this league. There's a lot of players who go on to play in the Major Leagues."
O'Connor played a part in bringing a team to Charlottesville, but the Cavaliers' performance on the field had the biggest impact.
Lemish says, "UVa has just raised the whole level of excitement for baseball over here in the last ten years."
O'Connor adds, "This is a baseball town. People love baseball, and I think this is a terrific fit."
The team will play its games at Charlottesville High School, and will be making a few upgrades like batting cages and bullpens.
Koshansky says, "There's going to be a few upgrades we make as we go along. We're in talks with Charlottesville High School and the city with what we want to do."
O'Connor says he's looking forward to hearing the crack of the bat from some of the best collegiate players in the country.
"All the people in our community that love the sport of baseball, now their season has been extended by two more months," says the former Harrisonburg Turk. "I can tell you, myself, my family, we're going to be out here a handful of times to watch summer baseball here in Charlottesville."
The Valley League currently has eleven teams, and Charlottesville will make it twelve next season.
The team will be holding a 'Name the Team' contest in the near future.
The Valley Baseball League had a team in Charlottesville until 1974.
There were 27 former Valley League players in the Major Leagues last season.
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