Niagara Gazette — The New York Collegiate Baseball league will expand to 13 teams for the 2014 season, adding teams in Cortland and on the campus of Houghton College in Allegany County.
The Houghton-based franchise, to be named the Genesee Rapids, has connections to both current the NYCBL member Niagara Power and to, of all teams, the Buffalo Sabres.
The Rapids will be run by Ralph Kerr, whose grandson Michael Kerr was a member of the Power’s 2013 roster.
The elder Kerr also happens to be the father of Kim Pegula, a graduate of Houghton College and the wife of Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, who helped finance the facility on which the Rapids will play, the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex.
“We were impressed with the level of play and enthusiasm around the league,” Kerr said in a story published online by the sports website PickinSplinters.com. “We thought it would be great if we could take advantage of the brand-new baseball facilities at Houghton College and have a team in the league from this area.
“The league has a great reputation,” Kerr also told the online report. “It’s word of mouth from the young men who played in the league previously.”
Pegula provided $12 million to kick-start the project at Houghton College. This past August, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to launch the final phase of the complex’s construction, a new field house.
Also entering the NYCBL beginning next season is the Cortland Crush, who will play their home games at Beaudry Park in Cortland. It’s a return to the league for the town, whose former franchise the Cortland Apples won the NYCBL championship back in 1982.
The Niagara Power, meanwhile, are preparing for their eighth year of membership in the NYCBL and, according to sources close to the matter, are lending some assistance to the Rapids to help them prepare for their inaugural season.
The Power and fellow NYCBL teams, meanwhile, are also busy this fall already seeking recruits to play in the 2014 season.