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WCL launches yet another league

The summer-collegiate West Coast League launches a third circuit centered in Portland and operated by coaches and scouts.

West Coast League president Ken Wilson announced that the WCL is introducing a new four-team summer collegiate league in Portland, Oregon to open in June, 2009. The new league will be called WCL Portland and cater to student-athletes from the Portland Metropolitan Area and Vancouver, Washington.

WCL Portland will adhere to the governances of the WCL, but will be operated independently by a local board of directors that includes ex-University of Portland athletic director and head baseball coach Joe Etzel, former Mt. Hood Community College head baseball coach Dale Stebbins, current Concordia University Head Baseball Coach Rob Vance, former Lewis and Clark head baseball coach Jerry Gatto, Florida Marlins scout Gabe Sandy, Boston Red Sox scout Matt Dorey and West Coast League president Ken Wilson.

Dale Stebbins will act as the new summer league’s first commissioner.

The new league is taking a "back to the future" start-up approach as it looks to emulate the old Northwest Collegiate Baseball League (NCBL) that Joe Etzel ran from 1990-1996 at the University of Portland and Mt. Hood Community College.

Current head college coaches Pat Casey of Oregon State, Don Marbut of Washington State, Donny Harrel of Seattle University, Greg Bradley of Pacific University, Rob Vance of Concordia, Nate Mayben of Corban College and Geoff Loomis of Pacific Lutheran all gained experience in the instruction-oriented NCBL, which also featured future major leaguers Justin Baughman, Brady Clark, Bart Miadich, Mike Thurman and Chris Wakeland.

The four teams will play a 30-game schedule at University of Portland and Mt. Hood Community College. Included in the schedule, each team will play three road games versus West Coast League teams such as the Wenatchee AppleSox, Bellingham Bells and Corvallis Knights.

"We’re putting this league together to offer area college players a high quality, affordable summer baseball experience that will include instruction," said Joe Etzel. "We’re committed to instruction. It’s going to differentiate our league from others."

Two of the four head coaches in the new league have already been picked — Rob Vance of Concordia and Bryan Donohue of Mt. Hood CC. Both are head coaches at their respective programs. The other two head coaching positions are open and will be selected by the league’s board.

"It’s our goal to make summer ball accessible to players from smaller schools too, and to deliver quality and develop players while striving to keep the cost of playing in the summer reasonable," said Commissioner Dale Stebbins.

The league’s first season is slated to start Tuesday, June 9.

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