Hartford, Vermont will host a new summer-collegiate New England Collegiate Baseball League team for the 2016 season, as the 13th team in the circuit will be playing in the Upper Connecticut River Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont.
After boasting 12 members in each of the last two summers, the NECBL will once again become a 13-team summer collegiate baseball league in 2016. The unnamed Upper Valley team will be governed by familiar faces, as Jonathan and Noah Crane — who previously operated the Laconia Muskrats for six years — will oversee the new franchise.
Jonathan Crane will serve as Upper Valley’s President, while Noah Crane will hold a similar post as the one he held with Laconia, and will operate as General Manager to help build the franchise’s inaugural roster for their historic first season in the summer of 2016.
“We are extremely excited to expand our reach and welcome yet another community into the New England League,” Commissioner Sean McGrath stated. “After the tremendous work that Jonathan and Noah put forth over the past six years in Laconia, and after assuring that the Muskrats would be in equally excellent shape while maintaining their reputation as one of the league’s premiere franchises during and after this transition, they are seeing their dream of an NECBL franchise in their home region. We will welcome Upper Valley into the NECBL with open arms and already look forward to many memorable seasons in Hartford.”
“This is an exciting day for the Upper Valley, as we finally have an NECBL team to call our own,” general manager Noah Crane stated. “This day is the culmination of three years of work to make this team a reality. My family has been blessed to call the Upper Valley home for nearly 40 years and this is a small way that we can give back and say ‘Thank You.'”
Located in Windsor County in Vermont along the New Hampshire border at the intersection of Interstates 89 and 91, Hartford is nestled in the scenic Upper Valley region at the White River and Connecticut River junctions. The franchise will play its home games at the Maxfield Sports Complex located in Hartford, and field lights, bleacher seating, a fully functioning pressbox and concession stand will all be added to begin the 2016 season when the league kicks off on June 9.
The Hartford team will be slotted in the Northern Division alongside Keene, Laconia, North Adams, Sanford, Valley and Vermont, bringing the division to seven teams. The expansion to 13 teams will mean the league will revert to a 44-game schedule in 2016. Full schedule details will be unveiled at a later date.
The official team name, mascot and logo will be unveiled by the new Upper Valley franchise during the week before Thanksgiving, and management is asking fans to submit names for the team via its website at UpperValleyBaseball.com.