|Gering talks possible college league|
|July 15, 2016 Jerry Purvis|
A collegiate summer baseball league may be coming to Gering, but faces working through some accommodation features.
City officials met with representatives from the Expedition Baseball League to talk about bringing the summer league to Gering. A 32-home game summer schedule would feature Division I and II players, who would most likely be housed with local host families.
“These players look for summer leagues,” which attracts pro scouts who come out to “watch their performances to see if they might be (Major League) material,” said Recreation Committee member Dan Smith, who was one of the city officials to meet with Expedition representatives. “There are similar leagues around the country, but nothing in this area.”
To host the league, Gering would need to increase the number of diamonds at Oregon Trail Park, as well as fit those diamonds to meet league standard. Summer league fields measure 325 feet to the foul poles and 380 feet to the centerfield fence. The proposed fields would also include room for about 750 or more spectators in terraced areas for group seating.
Smith said the city already had plans to build another baseball diamond at Oregon Trail Park, east of city’s swimming pool, and north of the armory.
“We may need to expand the parking, which could be a challenge,” Smith said. “We are planning to start small and expand as the stands fill up with spectators.”
Gering plans to spend about $2.1 million for a large field, several small ones, and more restrooms, and a concession area. In all, the project would be funded over a five-year period.
In their first meeting with Gering, Expedition officials said they would like to be playing at Oregon Trail Park by 2017, next year. Smith said, to accommodate the proposed schedule, the city would need to expand the Diamond One to meet specifications. The city marked 2018 as the date for completion.
During their regular July 11 meeting, Gering City Council members approved the Recreation Committees’ request to continue discussions on bringing in the possible college league.
“There have been kids who have gone through these leagues, and ended up playing in the World Series; so you never know,” Smith said.