New summer collegiate baseball team coming to the east

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Take me out to the ballgame. That’s most likely what you’ll hear from friends and family this summer, thanks to a new sports program coming in May.

The Coastal Plain League (CPL) unveiled the Greenville Yard Gnomes in Townebank Tower on the ECU athletics campus on Wednesday.

General Manager Michael Villafana says the team will be an extension of a student’s collegiate baseball season.

“Once their done playing for their colleges. They’ll come play for us, it’s another opportunity for them to get more reps, get scouted by major league teams and then obviously extend hopefully into a future professional baseball career” says Villafana.

The announcement was made by the Capitol Broadcasting Company during a press conference attended by residents, students, and city officials.

ECU student Lawton Henderson says he is looking forward to watching the games with friends and family.

“I think it’s awesome. You know, it’s great that they’re bringing a new team back there’s a lot of history with having a baseball team here. East Carolina is a great place to have a baseball team, rich culture and it’s exciting” says Henderson.

Officials say to date the CPL has had nearly 200 alums make their major league debut, most notable including Ryan Zimmerman, and Chris Taylor. Former NC State and NFL Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Russell Wilson also played in the CPL before playing two seasons of minor league baseball for the Colorado Rockies.

“One thing that we noticed is there’s really no professional sports team in this area. Once ECU season is over there’s really nothing so this is going to be an opportunity for us to be able to bring the Greenville community together, come and enjoy a baseball game and obviously, we’ll have those food and beverage options as well” says Villafana.

The Greenville Yard Gnomes home opener is May 24th, with playoffs extending through the first week of August.

The Coastal Plain League is currently comprised of 15 franchises playing in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and North Carolina.