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By Dave Hart
The Clippers, who spent their first three years of existence in the Michigan Summer Collegiate Baseball League and won two championships, were officially accepted to play in the highly respected Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, beginning next season.
“We have been on and off working on this for the past three years,” said Gawkowski. “This deal had to not only work out for Muskegon, but it had to work out for the league.
“This is a great thing for the Muskegon area. We hope we can get the support from the community. We plan to hopefully add on to Marsh Field down the road and win championships.”
The Clippers, which are expected to play 42 games next season, will still have all their home games at Marsh Field. Ticket prices are expected to be the same as last season.
The regular season will be in June and July.
The GLSCL, which will have 15 teams next year, has been in existence since 1986 and features many talented college players who are recruited from Division 1 universities around the nation.
According to GLSCL website (www.greatlakesleague.org) there have been 90 big league players who have spent their summers in the league, including former Detroit Tigers Brian Moehler, Dave Mlicki and C.J. Nitkowski.
To complete the deal to get into the league, the Clippers will help guide their former league rival, the Holland Millers, into the GLSCL.
The Holland team will now be referred to as “Lake Michigan,” with a nickname to be chosen in the near future, according to Gawkowski.
Lake Michigan will play its home games at multiple sites next year, including Marsh Field, Davenport College and the Art Van Sports Complex in Rockford.
The Clippers and Lake Michigan are two of three new teams that will be joining the GLSCL. The other, based in Tecumseh, Ontario, will be known as the Green Giants.
The Clippers and the two other expansion teams will join the established Irish Hills (Adrian, Michigan) Leprechauns and Lake Erie (Flat Rock, Michigan) Monarchs in the Northern Division of the league.
The 10 other GLSCL teams will be competing in two five-team divisions. Nine of the teams are based in Ohio while one franchise is from Indiana.
Those teams are the Cincinnati Steam, Galion Graders, Grand Lake (Celina) Mariners, Hamilton Joes, Licking County (Newark, Ohio) Settlers, Lima Locos, Lorain County Ironmen, Richmond (Indiana) Jazz, Southern Ohio (Athens) Copperheads and Xenia Scouts.
The Hamilton Joes defeated the Lima Locos last season to win the league championship.
The 2017 Clippers schedule will be released in November, and will consists of games against teams in their own division.
Muskegon is already in the process of filling its roster for the upcoming season with players from colleges like Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Grand Valley State, Slippery Rock, Ashland, The Citadel, Louisiana-Lafayette and Arizona State, according to Gawkowski.
The Clippers will have 25 players on their team, which will be an increase from past seasons. Manager Walt Gawkowski will return for his fourth season.