BAY CITY – The Traverse City Pit Spitters baseball team, a new addition to the Northwoods League, will host the 2019 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament May 8-12.
The GLIAC Tournament was played at Athletes in Action Sports Complex in Xenia, Ohio, for several years and at the Corner Ballpark in Detroit in 2018.
“We’ve been looking for a minor league park that could fit us into their schedule, and Traverse City is the perfect fit,” GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar said. “Minor league baseball is known for providing great facilities and a fun experience to its players and spectators. We want to do the same for our student-athletes.”
“We are thrilled to be hosting the GLIAC conference tournament this May and look forward to showcasing post-season collegiate baseball,” Pit Spitters CEO Joe Chamberlin said. “This event is a perfect example of one of our key organizational priorities -- finding new ways to use the ballpark that bring excitement and community engagement to Traverse City and Northern Michigan. We couldn’t be more excited to start delivering on that promise with the 2019 GLIAC Tournament.”
Being a tourist destination and having an artificial turf field also make Traverse City at great draw. The GLIAC has transitioned to artificial turf fields for its baseball and softball tournaments due to unpredictable spring weather. Both tournaments were impacted by rain in 2018 but were completed. If the tournaments had been held on natural turf fields they would have been cancelled or shortened.
“It is very exciting for GLIAC Baseball that we are moving our tournament to a great venue like Traverse City,” Davenport University baseball coach Kevin Tidey said. “The experience as a whole is something that our student-athletes will really enjoy.”
Pit Spitters first-year manager Josh Rebandt is the Davenport pitching coach. The Traverse City Pit Spitters are in their first year as a member of the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is a 22-team collegiate summer baseball league which plays from the end of May through mid-August. Last fall a group of investors led by the West Michigan Whitecaps purchased the stadium and started up the new franchise.
"The Traverse City Region is home to an incredible community,” said Wayne State University baseball coach Ryan Kelley. “Obviously the ballpark is impressive, but the Grand Traverse and Leelanau County residents are very welcoming and supportive of athletics. The community, facility and environment setting will generate a memorable championship experience for GLIAC baseball student-athletes. A special thanks to TC Baseball LLC for hosting our conference championship tournament."
Visit www.gliac.org to follow GLIAC baseball, which begins non-conference play Friday. GLIAC competition opens March 22.