The Shenandoah Valley Baseball League announced on Friday morning that a franchise has been awarded to the Lexington area. The Rockbridge Rapids franchise has partnered with Washington and Lee University and will play its home games at W&L's newly-lighted Cap'n Dick Smith Field beginning in June of 2009.
The Shenandah Valley League has been in existence for over 60 years. The league became an NCAA-sanctioned league in 1961 and still operates under the same guidelines, although the NCAA no longer has direct involvement with summer leagues. The league adopted wooden bats in 1993. The VBL is funded in part by a grant from Major League Baseball and is a member of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball, a national affiliation of summer leagues. The league has produced well over 1,000 professional baseball players, including a record 79 former players drafted in the most recent Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June, 2008.
The Rockbridge Rapids will compete in the South Division of the Valley League along with the Covington Lumberjacks, Harrisonburg Turks, New Market Rebels, Staunton Braves, and Waynesboro Generals. The North Division will remain unchanged with the Fauquier Gators, Front Royal Cardinals, Haymarket Senators, Luray Wranglers, Winchester Royals, and Woodstock River Bandits. The league currently plays a 44-game schedule beginning in early June or late May with playoffs beginning in the last week of July and extending into early August.
For more information about the Rockbridge Rapids, please visit the franchise website at http://www.rockbridgerapids.com/. You can also view the video of Friday's announcement by visiting http://mswms1.wlu.edu/RBRapids.wmv%20.