With WCL meetings wrapped up, a new and exciting market now part of the league footprint, and the world focused on baseball with the start of the World Series, the WCL is thrilled to release its 2016 league schedule.
The upcoming season marks the 12th season of WCL baseball in the beautiful Pacific Northwest as the premier summer collegiate circuit west of the Mississippi. The league features some of the best collegiate baseball players in North America across 11 markets in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Opening Day will be Friday, June 3, 2016 and will be highlighted by the league champion Bend Elks welcoming long-time rival Corvallis Knights to Vince Genna Stadium.
“We are excited to get this schedule to market by the conclusion of October,” said WCL president Dennis Koho. “Last season more than 400,000 fans came through the gates to see our wonderful players, and we look forward to what we expect will be a record-setting season in 2016.
Key matchups this season include: an early-season test with the Kelowna Falcons, who participated in the WCL championship series against the Elks, visiting host Victoria HarbourCats on June 10-12; the Yakima Valley Pippins and the Walla Walla Sweets picking up their Rt. 12 rivalry as the Sweets travel to visit the Pippins June 24-26; and Bellingham traveling to Cowlitz July 26-28 in what is likely to be a key series with likely playoff ramifications.
The WCL has re-aligned to a two-division structure, with a north and a south division. This realignment will help accentuate long-time rivalries, while allowing players and fans to have greater exposure to the markets and teams that comprise the WCL. One key change is that the Yakima Valley Pippins, who won the WCL East as an expansion franchise in 2014, will play in the South Division with the new Gresham franchise, Bend, Corvallis, Cowlitz and Kitsap. The North Division will feature the two Canadian franchises, Kelowna and Victoria, as well as Bellingham, Wenatchee, and Walla Walla. Additionally, the board of directors has decided to move to a split-season format to determine playoff participants.
“The split-season format will help teams that qualify in the first half of the season better prepare for the playoffs, as well as keep each WCL market fully engaged in the pennant race all season long,” said Koho.
The circuit as a whole will all be traveling to Cowlitz this summer as the Black Bears will be hosting the 2016 WCL All-Star Game. The WCL will take pause Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19, as team and league officials, players and coaches will travel to David Story Field. The league schedule features 54 league games, with each team playing a balanced schedule. The regular season will conclude Sunday, August 7 and the WCL Playoffs – a four-team postseason to determine the league champion – will be slated to begin Tuesday, August 9.
To review the complete 2016 WCL schedule, please download the attached PDF.