Summer baseball league adds teams in Bangor, Augusta and Old Orchard Beach

by Larry Mahoney

Bangor Daily News

A summer baseball league featuring college players that has been operating in southern Maine is adding teams in Bangor, Augusta and Old Orchard Beach and plans to start playing in the new locations next month.

The Bangor Babes will be one of five teams in the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League. The Babes will open the season at 6 p.m. June 1 by hosting the Old Orchard Beach Bugs at the Winkin Sports Complex at Husson University in Bangor. The other teams are the Augusta Surgin’ Sturgeon, the Sebago Slammin’ Salmon and the Gorham Lightning.

The league was formed in 2017 with five teams in Greater Portland playing against each other. Max Salevsky of Hollis, who founded and owned the league before selling it to North Carolina-based The Players League earlier this year, will serve as the commissioner. The Players League also runs the Old North State League in North Carolina.

Salevsky said this will be the first year the Maine teams will be connected to a specific city and area. In previous years, players would sign up to compete in the league, be assigned to teams and play at several ballparks in southern and western Maine.

“What we would do is have a player pool for those who signed up, and we would divide them up among the teams. We tried to divide them up as evenly as we could,” Salevsky said.

He said the one exception was a team composed of players from Portland’s Maine Lightning baseball program out of the Edge Academy in Portland.

There were six teams in the league last year: the Nor’easters, the Norsemen, the Windjammers, the Anglers, the Patriots and the Lightning.

This year each team will have its own field or fields. Augusta will play at Morton Field, Old Orchard Beach will play at The Ballpark, Sebago will play at St. Joseph’s College in Standish or the St. Louis Field in Biddeford, and Gorham will play at Ed Flaherty Field in Gorham.

It will be a wooden-bat league like the other prominent college summer leagues, including the Cape Cod Baseball League. The teams will play 24 regular-season games followed by playoffs, which will entail a play-in game between the fourth and fifth-place teams and then a four-team double-elimination tournament.
Single games will be nine innings, and doubleheader games will be seven innings.

Salevsky said pitchers will be under a pitch count limit the first couple of weeks to protect their arms, particularly those whose college seasons ended early so they haven’t pitched in quite a while.

Players will pay at least $450 per season to play, Salevsky said, and they must be college eligible the ensuing fall. Salevsky said the playing fees cover the rising costs of things like baseballs, field rentals and umpires.
Jeff Musgrove, the co-founder and operating partner of Wasabi Ventures Sports Management, purchased the rights to the Bangor, Augusta and Old Orchard Beach franchises and also has similar teams in other states. He said they are excited to have the three franchises and consider it a showcase league where players can develop while facing good competition and playing in quality ballparks.

“This is a dream come true,” said Musgrove, who expects the league to keep growing under Wasabi, a Florida-based investment group formed in 2022 focused on start-ups in sports.

“We have two goals: We would like to bring in local ownership and we would like to form a foundation to raise money for the community,” Musgrove said.

Former Bangor High School, University of Maine and Liberty University standout pitcher Trevor DeLaite will coach the Babes, according to Musgrove. Musgrove said most of the rosters have already been filled.

Salevsky said there is no numerical cutoff to the rosters and Musgrove said he expects rosters to be around 25 to 28 players because not every player will be able to attend every game. Fans will be charged $5 to attend games.
In the future, with players potentially coming to play in the league from other states, Salevsky said they could help find reasonably priced housing for them or find host families as well as helping them find summer jobs.

Salevsky said he could see the league expanding by at least three teams next year in the Brunswick area, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and with another team in southern Maine.

He will be the commissioner for at least three years. Salevsky’s decision to form the league seven years ago stemmed from the lack of playing opportunities for college players in Maine. At the time, there was only one summer college league team in Maine, the Sanford Mainers of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

Salvesky had been affiliated with American Legion baseball for several years in southern Maine but that has taken a massive hit due to the advent of summer travel ball. He is excited about the future of the league.
“I can see it being a long-running league that is poised to take its place with other very good college leagues in New England,” he said.