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Muskegon Clippers set to open season Friday

Tribune Staff • Jun 4, 2018 at 6:15 AM

Muskegon's summer collegiate baseball team, the Muskegon Clippers, will return for its fifth season at historic Marsh Field in Muskegon starting Friday, June 8, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The 2018 summer season will be full of new things, including an updated ballpark, new visiting opponents and events like craft beer nights and scheduled tap takeovers.

Opening night will pit the Clippers against the Saginaw Sugar Beets, kicking off a three-game weekend series with a free magnet game schedule giveaway night. Each family through the gate will receive a free 2018 Clippers game schedule, while supplies last.

Friday will also serve as an opportunity to celebrate the life of Muskegon baseball legend, Jim Grevel.

Grevel passed away in December, leaving a void with his family and the entire Clippers organization. He was an integral part of saving Marsh Field through his work with the Lakeshore Baseball Club. He loved being at the old ballpark doing whatever needed to be done, from dragging the infield to keeping score.

He helped organize the men's adult city league, coordinated the annual high school baseball all-star game, spearheaded numerous youth summer tournaments, and served as a conduit between local high school coaches and the Lakeshore Baseball Club.

In addition to his contributions to Marsh Field, Jim Grevel also left an indelible mark on the Muskegon Clippers. While he often flew under the radar, he was largely responsible for procuring many of the players who represented our organization over the last five years.

The ceremony will recognize Grevel's efforts with a brief ceremony and unveiling of a plaque to be displayed at Marsh Field. Also, the Clippers team will wear a patch with the letters JG on their uniforms this year.

Patrons will also have an opportunity that evening to make a donation to a memorial established by the Grevel family. At the request of Jim's family, all proceeds to the Jim Grevel Memorial Fund will be donated to Jim's beloved Marsh Field in an effort to continue its renovation and modernization.

The 2018 season will be the Clippers' second in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, which is supported by Major League Baseball.

Competing teams in the Northern Division will be the St. Clair, Ontario, Green Giants, the Irish Hills Leprechauns from Adrian, Michigan, the Lake Erie Monarchs out of Flat Rock, Michigan, the Saginaw Sugar Beets, the Lima Locos and the Grand Lake Mariners from Celina, Ohio.

"The league is extremely competitive and should provide our fans with some great baseball this season, said Muskegon Clipper Owner, Pete Gawkowski. "The Lima Locos won the GLSCL championship last year and we hope to challenge them for the title this year."

The Clippers will play a 42-game schedule during the months of June and July and are fortunate to have several three-game weekend home stands as part of their 21 games at Marsh Field.

The 25-man roster features players signed from the Universities of Connecticut, Harvard, Valparaiso, Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

The Muskegon Clipper organization is looking for families willing to host one or two players for the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball season. The season runs from June 8 to July 29. The host family program is an important aspect of each player's time while playing for the Muskegon Clippers. The program has proven successful in the past summers and the bond between the host families and their player often extends beyond the summer and into lifelong friendships.

Each host family provides room and board that includes a bedroom and access to refrigerator space, and a washer and dryer. Transportation is not needed or expected in the hosting duties. The summer schedule is very busy with 42 games in 52 days and players may be on the road for up to five days at a time.

Host families are also treated to a special night at our ballpark one night during the season where they will be thanked and asked to take part in pictures, food, and drink, along with other special activities.

Throughout the season, the Clippers will be offering up special recognition nights for groups like veterans, little league teams, sports clubs and charitable groups.

The Clippers also can arrange for group ticket sales, company picnics, family reunions and other special events on their party deck.

The Clippers have gotten rave reviews from baseball experts and casual fans alike.

Not only is there great baseball played, but the fans love the historic ballpark and the fun and interactive atmosphere that is created during the games.

Part of the excitement includes walk-up music for each Clipper batter. Crowd participation with the action on the field and between innings is part of the uniqueness of Clipper baseball. And finally, kids are allowed to run the bases after the games.

Game tickets are $5 for adults; $3 for senior citizens, $3 for students; $2 for children 5-12. Children 5 and under are free. There is also special pricing for season tickets, a 10-game flex package or group sales.

For more information contact Pete Gawkowski at 231-638-7696 or visit the website at www.muskegonclippers.com or join our Facebook page by searching Muskegon Clippers.

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