Summer baseball is finally returning to McNair Field. The 2018 season opener is drawing near, and the entire community is ready for action. Fresh off their victories as the 2017 First Half and Second Half Division Champions, the Owls are ready to provide an action-packed summer for our baseball-loving community.
"We wait for this day to come around every year, and it's finally almost here and we couldn't be happier," said Phil Dangel, who is entering his third year as the Owner of the Owls. "We have a ton of new and exciting promotions this year as well as some popular ones from last year, including a huge Memorial Day celebration, Healthy Kids Night and Scout Night, Faith Night and Little League Night, the Skydiving Angels, Splash Day for the kids, OwlMania Wrestling Night, Fourth of July and the first ever beerfest at McNair Field as well as six Dollar Mondays, three Bark In The Park nights and four fireworks nights. We also have an exciting new on-field promotion sponsored by McCurry-Deck Motors where fans will have ten chances this season to roll dice to win $10,000. In addition to our nightly game themes, we are also doing several giveaways for fans with gifts like a Hoot bobblehead, rally towels and dog bandanas. We are very ready and we are very excited."
Minority Owner Rob Frost, also entering his third year with the Owls, couldn't agree more: "We are very excited for a great season of Owls baseball that's coming up in a few days. We've worked hard to give you the makings of a really good baseball team. Forest City has become a top destination for players from all over the United States - few teams can pull players as far away as California, but Forest City can because of the quality of the team, the passion of the fans and the charm of the Forest City and Rutherford County area." Frost added that, "We'll have a new selection of shirts and baseball caps that proudly promote Forest City and North Carolina, and they'll also be available at our new office at 138 E. Main Street. Come in and check them out and look around our new centrally located home. We couldn't do this without our fans, host families and our sponsors - thank you very much for being part of the Owls. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at McNair Field. Let's have a great summer and go Owls!"
Matt Reed, the Owls' head coach returning for his second year with the team, stated that he is "very excited to be back in Forest City for the upcoming season. Last year was a great year, and with the key returning players and talented new players, it should be another exciting summer at McNair Field. We have an incredible roster this season, and I believe we will see even more success than we did last year, both on and off the field." Reed will be assisted by Craig Bolton, who is also returning for his second year coaching the Owls, and Alex Conaway, former Owl standout from Lander University. All three coaches will provide the team with a great deal of enthusiasm and experience.
The Owls have 11 returning players on their roster as well as a multitude of new players that are having outstanding seasons. Iona College's senior Seth Hoagland is finishing up his final year of play with a career .234 BA. Carson Jones and Colton Yeager from Lander University have had memorable years; sophomore CF Yeager has hit .305 with 31 RBIs in 45 games from the leadoff spot and junior INF Jones, a returning 2017 All-Star, has hit 13 homers in 44 games. Spartanburg Methodist College's freshman INF Houston Wright leads his team with 12 homeruns and freshman RHP Canaan Silver recently threw a no-hitter versus USC Sumter. Local boys Joel McDaniel and Kendall McGowan continue to play well for Appalachian State University. North Greenville University's Daniel Kight, another returner and potential closer for the Owls, has appeared in 14 games with 5 saves and 3.76 ERA. Returner AJ Wright from UMBC is hitting .290 with 23 RBIs and 4 Rs.
The Owls open their season with three spring training games: Saturday, 5/26 with $2 admission and $2 beer specials, Monday, 5/28 with the annual Memorial Day and Salute to the Troops celebration and Tuesday, 5/29 with $2 admission and $2 beer specials. The Owls are hosting The Hoppers concert on Thursday, 5/24 at McNair Field. Tickets for all events as well as the Owls' regular season games are available for purchase at forestcitybaseball.com.