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Blowfish leaving Columbia, moving to Lexington County

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Columbia Blowfish
With Minor League Baseball returning to Columbia (S.C.), the Columbia Blowfish (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) are leaving Capital City Stadium and moving to a new Lexington County ballpark.

The Blowfish ownership has signed a lease to play future home games at a new ballpark in Lexington County at the conclusion of the 2014 Coastal Plain League season. "Lexington County Baseball Stadium" will be located off of Highway 1, at the site of the old Lexington High School football field on Ball Park Road across the street from the Lexington Dixie Youth Sports Complex, home of the 2014/2015 Dixie Youth World Series.

"This is a significant day in the history of baseball in the Midlands," said Blowfish owner Bill Shanahan. "We are grateful to Lexington County, who have been tirelessly working with us to bring these plans to fruition. The community of Lexington County is beautiful, it's growing and it's a baseball hotbed. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of it."

"We are excited to partner with Bill Shanahan who brings 30 years of sports ownership, management, marketing and sales experience to the table." said Lexington County Recreation Aging Commission Executive Director Randy Gibson. "Lexington County is continuously developing ways to improve our community through sports and recreation, and this is another giant step in achieving that goal."

The estimated cost of the ballpark is $3 million, which is part of a $23 million bond for improvements in sports facilities across Lexington County. The design for the new stadium was created by Quackenbush Architects and Planners. The new ballpark will have capacity for 3,000 and include an expanded concourse, bowl seating, Wrigley Field style box seats, a right-field berm, left-field lawn seating and an enclosed air conditioned hospitality club. In addition to hosting the Blowfish baseball team, the state-of-the-art complex will be available for other uses including, collegiate and high school baseball championships, baseball camps, tournaments, concerts and other local events making the grounds a hub for entertainment, not just in Lexington County but in the Midlands.

"It's bittersweet," said Blowfish General Manager Kelly Evans. "It's hard to leave a place like Capital City Stadium and all of our amazing fans that are located in downtown. This stadium will always have a special place in our hearts. We want to thank the City of Columbia for all that they have done for us as an organization over the years. We are excited to now call Lexington County home, and to leave our mark on a new community."

Construction on the new stadium is scheduled to start this fall, and is expected to be completed before the 2015 season. The last regular season home game at  is scheduled for Thursday, July 31 at 7:05 p.m.

RELATED STORIES: Another final season for Capital City Stadium; Shanahan steps down from BayBears; Columbia mayor: We have votes to fund new ballpark; New Columbia ballpark receives initial city approval; Columbia ballpark proposal up for vote today; Freier: We're still pursuing new Savannah ballpark; Columbia lease negotiations underway; opposition arises; Columbia moves forward -- cautiously -- with ballpark planning; Freier: I may acquire new team for Columbia; Tanner: College, pro baseball can co-exist in Columbia; Freier: We could open new Columbia ballpark in 2015; New ballpark feasible for Columbia: study; This year should determine future of Sand Gnats; Columbia to study ballpark sites, feasibility; Sand Gnats exploring Columbia move?; Will pro baseball return to Columbia?Final days for Cap City StadiumShanahan: Blowfish negotiating move to Lexington CountyColumbia sells Capital City Stadium siteLooking back at Cap City StadiumClass A ball returning to Columbia?Columbia sells Capital City Stadium; Wal-Mart on the wayFuture of Columbia baseball in play

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