Walla Walla expansion franchise awarded to Pacific Northwest ownership group

The West Coast League has awarded a membership to Walla Walla, Washington, to be owned by Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC, a Pacific Northwest group.

The team will begin play in 2010.

“We’re excited to be returning minor league-like baseball to Walla Walla, and to have a terrific ownership group with ties to the community,” said league president Ken Wilson. “Many people in southeast Washington and northern Oregon have fond memories of watching the likes of Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith and Tony Gwynn play at Borleske Stadium early in their careers. We look forward to creating new memories.”

Pacific Baseball Ventures is led by wireless communications pioneers John Stanton and Theresa Gillespie. The group includes ex-Major League All-Star Jeff Cirillo, former Microsoft executive Greg Shaw, Peter Van Oppen and Mikal Thomsen. Both Van Oppen and Thomsen are partners in the investment firm Trilogy Partnership of Bellevue, Washington.

“We’re excited to bring high-quality baseball back to Walla Walla,” said Stanton. “It is a city and region that is very important to many of those in our ownership group and our families. We look forward to putting a competitive and aggressive ballclub on the field, along with great promotions, that will make Borleske a great place to bring your family all summer long.”

The group expects to introduce a general manager, team name, logo, and colors over the upcoming weeks.