UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Brewers are preparing for a new season, as well as competing in a brand new league. Fans of the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs know about the PGCBL, as they've been in the league the last few seasons.
The PGCBL is a competitive league with collegiate players of all levels, including some of the top Division I schools. The Brewers this season have players from Florida State, Auburn and TCU, as well as pitcher Jarrett Brown, a Red Sox draft pick from the University of Georgia.
"We got great players out here, people from all over the country, we got people from California, people from down south and you'd be surprised how we've come along," says Brown. "We've played with each other two, three days, worked out and we're bonding like we've played the last three years together. It's great baseball and I know these guys are dedicated. I know each and every one of them and we're ready to go, we're excited for the fans to come out and see us play."
Butch Russo the owner of the Brewers, says the team is planning a lot of exciting promotions. One in particular is Saturday, June 29th, the first "Brew Fest," in which former Major Leaguer Jesse Barfield, who began his professional career in Utica, will visit. There will also be seven local bands performing all day, in preparation for the team's game that night at Murnane Field.
"What we've done in the past three years and the people that work for us and the people surrounding us did a great job," says Russo. "We built some credibility, the college coaches are calling us and the league has a lot to do with it. This league has been highly recognized throughout collegiate baseball and sports. I believe they're ranked sixth in the country in attendance and we're hoping to boost our attendance here to stay with Little Falls and everybody in this league."
Little Falls refers to the DiamondDawgs, whom the Brewers will face for the first time Thursday, June 13th from Veterans Memorial Park. The new rivalry between the two local squads should be exciting for local fans.
The Brewers open their season with four road games beginning Tuesday, then play their home opener Saturday, June 8th at 7:00 p.m.