COVERWith the past month’s dreary weather giving way to sunshine in the coming weeks, and the building excitement inside classrooms all across the county, it’s a sure sign that summer is almost here and that SwampDogs baseball is just around corner! In fact, the opening day is on Wednesday, June 1.

The 2016 season coincides with the Fayetteville SwampDogs 16th season playing in the Coastal Plain League. The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 20th season in 2016, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had nearly 1,300 alumni drafted and 81 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII.The SwampDogs are one of the most successful franchises in the league’s history, making the Petitt Cup Playoffs eight times in the past 11 seasons, reaching the championship round three times. The SwampDogs boast 90 alumni taken in the draft and have produced six players who have gone on to play in Major League Baseball including slugger Mark Reynolds and David Aardsma. 

The SwampDogs have managed to make a name for themselves and have earned the right to host the 2016 Coast Plain League All-Star Game this season. This is the fourth time Fayetteville has hosted, and the first since 2011.The Coastal Plain League All-Star Game is a two-day extravaganza, starting with the Home Run Derby and Fan Fest, to be held on Sunday, July 10. The All-Star Game is on Monday, July 11, and will be followed by a Fireworks Extravaganza.

“We are extremely excited to be bringing the All-Star Game back to Fayetteville,” said SwampDogs General Manager Jeremy Aagard. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase all the great things Fayetteville has to offer to a huge audience.”

Players from each of the CPL’s 16 teams will compete in the All-Star Game, and representatives from each of the teams will be on hand for the experience. The two-day extravaganza will also bring fans, family members of players and hundreds of other visitors to Fayetteville including scouts from all 30 Major League teams.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the Fayetteville SwampDogs as host to our 2016 Coastal Plain League All-Star Game,” said CPL COO/Commissioner Justin Sellers. “From Lew Handelsman to Jeremy Aagard and their entire staff, the SwampDogs are a staple not only in the All-American City of Fayetteville, but in the CPL. They have proven time and again to make a night at the ballpark a memorable experience for their fans and we look forward to seeing what ‘fun’ they have in store with our All-Star event! This will be a great couple of days to highlight the best players in the league and to showcase the SwampDogs, their loyal fans, and the City of Fayetteville!”  

This game features the cream of the crop of collegiate baseball players all coming together for one star-studded game.

“We want to put on a show like nobody has ever seen before,” said Aagard. “And because of the support of the community, we’re going to be able to make this All-Star Game an event nobody will ever forget.”

The Coastal Plain League All-Star Game will be broadcast regionally on Time Warner Cable Sports. Tickets are available for both nights of the extravaganza now, and can be reserved by contacting the SwampDogs at 426-5900.

The All-Star Game is only one of the many special events that are planned for this season. Highlighted by five firework extravaganzas the 2016 season at The Swamp will be one you don’t want to miss with memorable promotions each night throughout the entire summer.

The home opener kicks off the festivities on Wednesday, June 1 with the Magnet Schedule Giveaway presented by Freeman & Barrett, CPAs. 

The first firework night of the year is presented by Mountaire Farms on Saturday June 4. Healy Wholesale will also be giving away a gift that night to the first 500 fans over the age of 21. 

Military Appreciation Night presented by Lee Hyundai will be celebrated with fireworks on June 16. 

Hendrick Chrysler Jeep Fiat and Disaster One bring back the annual Honoring America Firework Show which is accessible to the entire public following the game on July 3, and is punctuated with the biggest firework spectacular in all of Fayetteville Independence Weekend. 

And the final fireworks spectacle of the season is on Fan Appreciation Night with fireworks on Aug. 5.

The fourth pyrotechnic display will coincide with The 2016 Coastal Plain League All-Star Game, Home-Run Derby and Fan Fest. The festivities conclude with a firework celebration after the game.

Some new and unique nights in 2016 include Star Wars Night, Leave it to Bieber Nigh, and a Super Sweet 16 Party celebrating the SwampDogs’ 16th season in Fayetteville.

The 10th Annual Striking Out Cancer night will return July 16 with one-of-a-kind pink game jerseys being auctioned off to benefit Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Friends of the Cancer Center.

The SwampDogs are also partnering with A Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Aug. 4 for Bringing Memories Home Safe. A special purple jersey, worn by the SwampDogs, is set for auction after the game to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Weekly promotional nights are also planned at The Swamp:

Mondays: Kids Eat Free- Kids 12 and under get a voucher for a hot dog, chips, and a drink with purchase of a ticket every Monday home game, all-season long.

Tuesdays: Tuesday Mania Presented by Dogwood Reality- Hang out in the ballpark Tuesday nights with backyard games, prizes, and learn more about the potential home of your dreams.

Wednesdays: Winning Wednesdays- Win big on Wednesdays when prizes could be won wherever you look. Under your seat? You have a chance. On your hot dog wrapper? Could be! You never know how you’re going to win on Wednesdays at The Swamp!

Other returning fan favorites include Summertime St. Paddy’s Night and the 12th Annual Family Fun Night with the Fun-Go Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Bob 96.5 FM. The complete promotional schedule can be viewed at GoSwampDogs.com.

There are a lot of fun things planned for the season, but what is truly going to make it great is a summer of great baseball. To that end, the SwampDogs have signed some of the best baseball players in the country, including top hitters, fielders and pitchers. The SwampDogs 2016 season is going to be one for the books, so head down to the Swamp to cheer the team on.

For more information on the Fayetteville SwampDogs, visit their team website at www.goswampdogs.com and follow them on Twitter @GoSwampDogs and like them on Facebook at Fayetteville SwampDogs Baseball. Where baseball is fun!

For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow them via Twitter @CPLBaseball.

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