With a new "southernmost" team being added to the mix, the Texas Collegiate League is adding the Brazos Valley Bombers to the League for the 2007 season.
"We are very excited to have a new team in the Texas Collegiate League in the Bryan-College Station area," said League Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gerald Haddock. "This opens a new venue for Texas Collegiate League play and is in an area where college baseball is extremely popular. We expect some outstanding fan interest. We look forward to further expansion in the area to develop a new southern division of the Texas Collegiate League."
Chief Executive Officer of the Brazos Valley Bombers Uri Geva states, "I was extremely excited about being able to bring a new kind of entertainment into the Brazos Valley and having the Bombers join the growing TCL"
The Brazos Valley Bombers are the 10th team in the Texas Collegiate League, joining new entries Duncanville in 2006 and Denton in 2005. The original eight members of the three-year-old wooden bat league were Colleyville-Grapevine, Coppell, Graham, Granbury, Highland Park, McKinney, Mineral Wells, and Weatherford. Highland Park moved to Plano prior to the '06 season while Colleyville-Grapevine became the Euless LoneStars in 2005. Granbury left the TCL after the '04 campaign and was replaced by Denton, who won the 2005 TCL title and played in the 2006 finals against champion McKinney. Coppell captured the initial Texas Collegiate League crown in 2004, while McKinney defeated Denton in 2006 to give three different champions in three years.
The Bombers are scheduled to play at Travis Park, former home to the Bryan Bombers who were part of the Lone Star League from 1947-1949. The park was originally known as Bomber Field in honor of its occupant, a 101-game loser in 1947. Capacity for the renovated facility will be approximately 1,200, and the park will have Major League dimensions on all fields. The expansion to the southern part of Texas leaves the door open for further enlargement of the TCL.
Headquarters for the 10th TCL squad in 2007 will be Infinity ProSports offices in Bryan-College Station. The team is expected to draw on a solid fan base from Texas A&M, Sam Houston and Blinn Junior College - which have produced over 30 players for TCL teams in the first three years of its existence. A general manager and head coach have not yet been chosen.
The popular TCL opened with eight teams playing a 52-game schedule in 2004. The next year, eight teams (with the addition of Denton and Euless to the lineup) competed in 48 games and a standard best 2-of-3 divisional playoff, which has become a staple of the League since the opening campaign. The nine teams in 2005 also played a 48-game schedule with playoffs to determine the champs in the Tris Speaker Division (McKinney) and Rogers Hornsby Division (Denton).
Since the League started, 88 alumni with ties to the Texas Collegiate League have been drafted by Major League teams or signed by professional independent baseball squads. Mark Lowe of the Highland Park Blue Sox and University of Texas-Arlington became the first TCL competitor to make it to the majors in June 2006 and captured his first win as a member of the Seattle Mariners in a relief role.
All told, there were 250-plus players from 91 different colleges and universities on 2006 TCL rosters. Some of the more nationally-recognized schools sending their standouts to the TCL included Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Dallas Baptist, Houston, Long Beach State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Pacific, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas-Arlington, Texas State, Texas Tech, and Wichita State, among others.
The 2007 TCL season is scheduled for early June through early August with the annual All-Star Game on July 9. For more information on the Texas Collegiate League, please contact the League office at 817-339-9367 or visit www.texascollegiateleague.com.