Bill Leith, President of the Kino Baseball League announced the Sun Belt College League entered into contract agreement with the Pima County Stadium District to play 33 dates in the Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium this coming summer. The league takes over for the Tucson Saguaros, an independent team that played in the Pecos League at Kino Stadium for the past two summers. Prior to the Saguaros the Tucson Padres, AAA affiliate of the San
Diego Padres was the summer occupant in the stadium.
The league has expanded for 2018. In 2017 five teams competed, this year the league has expanded to nine times and features the finest in graduated high school and enrolled collegiate players from Southern Arizona and from other parts of the country. In 2017 Juan Aguilera who is currently in the pitching rotation at the University of Arizona pitched in the league with the Cochise Stars.
2018 represents the seventh season for the collegiate league and have called the Kino Sports Complex its home since its inception. Besides playing games in the stadium, other league games will be scheduled to be played at the Kino Sports Complex South Fields that is adjacent to the stadium.
The season will open on Sunday, June 3 when the Boulder Collegians from Boulder, Colorado come to Tucson to begin a three-game series against Sun Belt teams. Game time will be 7 p.m. at Kino Stadium.
The nine teams will include the defending league champions the Boom along with the Kings, Knights, Tucson Prospects, Tucson Champs, Team Tucson, Southern Arizona Prospects, Cochise Stars and the Javelinas.
The Sun Belt College League is one of over 40 collegiate wood bat summer leagues throughout the country and only one of 11 college summer leagues that has received Premier League status from the National Baseball Congress out of Wichita, Kansas which is home to the annual NBC World Series that features long established collegiate leagues such as Alaska, Jayhawk and others. The Sun Belt League sent a team to the World Series in 2017 and it finished 3-2, with former Cienega alum Nick Gonzales, who is now at New Mexico State, was selected as the World Series first team All-American.
The league will play on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in both the Stadium and at the Kino South Fields. The features of playing at Kino Stadium will include full concessions and beer sales. Plus, the amenities of a professional experience for the fans with score and message board, public address system and plenty of music and entertainment.
From news release.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com