The New Bern River Rats will not field a team during the 2008 season, owners Sabrina and Steve Bengel announced today. The organization will continue its membership in the Coastal Plain League and will review its options for the 2009 season.
The River Rats, a summer collegiate baseball team playing in the Coastal Plain League, completed their third season in August. The team played its home games at New Bern High School’s Boykin Field.
“This decision was a very difficult and disappointing one for us to make,” said Sabrina Bengel. “Unfortunately, at this time it just wasn’t feasible for us to continue without a facility that better met our needs and the expectations of the Coastal Plain League. We want to sincerely thank all of our sponsors, season ticket holders, host families, and fans for their support over the past three years.”
“We are very proud of the River Rats’ contributions to the community, including our reading program for more than 7,000 students, the community service of our players for non-profit groups throughout each summer, the annual Hot Stove Banquet that brought baseball legends to New Bern, and safe, family-friendly entertainment at the ballpark,” Bengel said.
“So many members of the community stepped forward during our three seasons to help welcome young men from across the country to the New Bern area. Truly, those individuals showed New Bern at its best. Many life long relationships were made by our players and the wonderful people of our community they encountered. We know for some that will go on to play Major League Baseball, they will always remember their summer spent in New Bern.”
The team has not made any determination about its future beyond 2008, Bengel said.