The Texas Collegiate League released its 2012 season schedule Tuesday. The seven-team, 60-game schedule features a brand new team, the return of a past champion, and a dramatic change to the league’s playoff schedule.
The season kicks off on Friday, June 1, with three games on the schedule. The league’s newest franchise in The Woodlands opens its inaugural season at home against the Victoria Generals, the 2010 league champs. The Woodlands organization is expected to announce its team nickname at a press conference later Tuesday.
In other opening day action, the McKinney Marshals, TCL champions in 2006 and 2008, return after a one-year hiatus by hosting the East Texas Pump Jacks. The circuit’s two Louisiana-based franchises will also do battle when the Acadiana Cane Cutters host the Alexandria Aces.
The Brazos Valley Bombers, fresh off a dramatic run to their first TCL Championship Series appearance in 2011, start their season on June 2 in The Woodlands.
For the second straight season, the TCL sports a 60-game schedule divided into two halves. At the end of the first half of the season, the top two teams in the standings qualify for the playoffs.
All win-loss records are reset to 0-0 to begin the second half of the season. The two teams with the best records in the second half earn the final two postseason berths. If a team qualifies in both halves, another club will be awarded a wild-card entry into the playoffs.
The regular season comes to a close on August 11.
The TCL playoffs get a bit of a makeover with a change to the postseason’s first round. The new format will see teams meet in a one-game playoff in the opening round, mirroring Major League Baseball’s new winner-take-call wild card game.
First-round winners will meet in the best-of-three TCL Championship Series beginning August 13. The league will crown a new champion by August 15.
Teams will break from normal action to take part in the 2012 TCL All-Star Game on Monday, July 9 in Victoria. The Generals held the midsummer classic in 2010, before Brazos Valley played host in 2011.
The date of the All-Star Game was chosen after consulting major league scouts. With the last day to sign drafted players now a month earlier than in years past, scouts want to get a look at the TCL’s top talent before the deadline.
The complete league schedule will be posted shortly to the league website. Individual team schedules can be found on the teams' repsective sites.
The TCL began play in 2004 and quickly became one of the top summer collegiate leagues in the nation. In 2011, two TCL franchises were ranked by Perfect Game in the top-25 out of more than 250 summer collegiate teams across the country. More than 300 TCL players have been drafted by major league teams and no fewer than a dozen have played in the big leagues. Notable league alumni include Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence and Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.