Rebel Park to host four Division III games this weekend

A tradition will be continued this weekend at Rebel Park in New Market.

There will be three different Division III baseball schools from out of the area playing against each other on Saturday and Sunday at Rebel Park.

The University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, (Pennsylvania), will be the host school for the games.

“This is something we’ve been doing for a number of years,” New Market President and General Manager Bruce Alger said on Monday afternoon. “This might have started as long as 10 or 12 years ago. We’re hosting a tournament for some of the northern schools so that they could get games in while they head out to more southern locations at the start of their season.”

The first game Saturday is between Baldwin Wallace University (Ohio) and Juniata College (Pennsylvania.) and is scheduled to start at noon. Pitt-Bradford will then play Juniata College at 3 p.m.

On Sunday, Baldwin Wallace and Pitt-Bradford will play a doubleheader starting at noon.

Alger said the idea to host some of the northern schools started when one of the Pitt-Bradford players played for the Rebels, and Alger and then Pitt-Bradford head coach Brett Butler were in contact with each other.

“He inquired about us doing some games in late February, and we jumped all over that,” Alger said. “And we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Zach Foster is in his first-year as head coach at Pitt-Bradford and he also played at Pitt-Bradford and for the Rebels in 2008.

“We have a pretty good relationship with Bruce (Alger),” Foster said in a news  release. “I played there, from Pitt-Bradford in 2008, and we’ve sent some other guys (to the Rebels). It was a no-brainer. It gets (us) out of the cold weather up here.”

Alger said Pitt-Bradford hasn’t always been the host school for the games held at Rebel Park each year, but they’ve been one of the teams playing there.

It will be the season opener for Pitt-Bradford. The Panthers will play nine games in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Fort Myers, Florida, March 6-11.

Juniata is 0-2 this season, losing a pair of games to Eastern Mennonite University. Baldwin Wallace is 2-0 with two victories over Anderson University (Indiana).

There will be no admission charged for the games. The concession stand will be open.

Alger said there’s probably been about 15 or 16 schools that have played there over the 10-12 years they’ve hosted the games.

He said they enjoy hosting the games and it helps them gets the fields ready early for the high school baseball season. Stonewall Jackson plays its home games at Rebel Park.

“It’s the start of the high school baseball season, so it kind of gets people interested in baseball a little early,” Alger said. “Hopefully they’ll come out and see the high schools in the county play. Hopefully we can get some of the high school kids and high school coaches there to learn from the experience.”

Alger said that the weather typically plays a factor in the crowds for the games. He said they’ve had over 100 people there at times.

He said the most important thing is to try to help the colleges get a few extra games in.

“It’s all about giving the kids the opportunity to play baseball. That’s what it’s all about,” Alger said. “If they can get a couple games in and extend their season another couple games or another weekend, even if its on the beginning end, that’s why we do it.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com