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The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

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Wilmington Shark’s general manager forecasts an exciting season of baseball

Sharks attempt to take base. (Doug Neeb/SquintEye Photo)

After last year’s successful season ending in an unfortunate championship loss, Wilmington’s summer collegiate wood bat team, the Sharks, are chasing redemption and anticipating a fun go-round in the upcoming months.  

The team is a part of the Coastal Plains League, which first originated in 1997.  

“We’re one of the best leagues in the country for baseball,” says General Manager and Shark Alumni Brett Bloomquist.  

Home games, hosted at Buck Hardee Field at Legion Stadium, are set to take place from May 22 to July 27. During these dates, 35 games are to be played against various conference and non-conference teams. Championship games in the Petitt Cup Playoffs begin the next day on July 28 and last until Aug. 3.  

Among the conference rivals are the Morehead City Marlins and the newly formed Greenville Yard Gnomes. Because of proximity, these opponents boast a highly competitive match and a jam-packed stadium.  

Baseball will not be the only entertainment happening on the field. Bloomquist highlights some events taking place during the season, including four nights of post-game fireworks beginning on June 14 and three more dates beginning July 2.  

Partnerships with local well-known personnel such as Amanda Goodyear, Sunny 102.7’s radio host, will also be in occurrence. Other mentioned guests include DJ and Comedian Randy Slack from Rock 98.7, and Foz from radio channel 107.5.  

The Sharks will also host rising country music star Reed Foley on July 6 after a rivalry match against the Greenville Yard Gnomes.  

Bloomquist speaks for the team when stating their excitement to host games at home and interact with fans. 

“We strive to make it a family friendly environment for the community,” he says.  

Family is a commonly used term among the team’s vocabulary. This is due to the team’s close relationship with each other, and the unique offering of living with host families.  

“We’re all super close. We’re a family out here– it’s a connection,” says Bloomquist, “We’ve got tight-knit hosts and tight-knit players.” 

The pivotal role of host families plays a major part in bringing the talent to Wilmington.  

“We have high caliber players coming to play baseball for our league from across the country,” Bloomquist continues.  

He sheds light on head coach Russ Burroughs by mentioning his strategic methods in recruiting the best players.  

Burroughs is coming up on his fourth season with the program and has a well-known profile in the baseball world.  

“He has a strong relationship with players and coaches from around the country,” claims Bloomquist. 

Burroughs uses those connections as leverage to bring the best possible players to Wilmington. Many alumni from the Sharks carry on their baseball career to a plethora of professional leagues. Some notable Shark alumni include Alec Bohm (Philadelphia Phillies), Emilio Pagan (Cincinnati Reds) and Ryan Jeffers (Minnesota Twins).  

Last season, five players were drafted into higher leagues. With ten returning athletes this season, there are high hopes to continue the positive momentum  

“Our guys play in the spring season and then come here to show off their abilities to hit with wood,” adds Bloomquist, “They come here to show that they are ready for the next level.”  

Outside of the games played at Legion Stadium, the Sharks will play games in N.C., S.C., Ga. and Va.  

The packed-in schedule consists of multiple hour bus rides, playing baseball and returning home to do this routine on repeat. 

The cycle provides an environment for development, according to the team’s general manager. As the season continues, so does the intensity of the game.  

Bloomquist concludes his excitement for the season with a thankful attitude towards team members, staff, host families, partnerships and fans. He sets the tone for the upcoming months with an expectation of fun opportunities and events.  

“We got it all going for us,” he said. “It’s beach. It’s baseball. It’s summertime.”

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