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Tarboro River Bandits enjoying inaugural season in CVCL

It's 'Play Ball!' for summer baseball league despite concerns
Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 9:17 PM EDT
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TARBORO, N.C. (WITN) - A vast majority of baseball leagues are on the pine this summer, but that is not the case for the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League. Practices started earlier this month and right now the teams are finishing up exhibition play before official league games start this Saturday. Even better? This season features a new expansion team called the Tarboro River Bandits.

“I think sometimes we take for granted just being able to do the little things that we consider normal in life, whether it’s going to the ballpark with your family and enjoying the game, or watching a game on TV,” said Tarboro head coach Brandon Matthews. “But I can definitely tell these guys, they’re not coming off of a traditional 56-game season that they’ve had in the spring, so their appetite for competition is definitely a lot bigger.”

The River Bandits are owned by Wayne Turnage and coached by Brandon Matthews.

More than ten local guys from the Pitt County area are on the team.

“It’s a whole lot different now looking at a different point of view of it,” said D.H. Conley graduate Shea Ward. “Other guys are watching us play baseball that we should we watching them play baseball, but they don’t have the opportunity to do that.”

Ward’s freshman season at PCC got cut short this past spring.

“It keeps the mind off other things that’s going around in the world right now,” added J..H. Rose graduate Grant Jarman. “About 90 percent of the country is not playing right now, and we’re the only ones that are. So when we get back in the fall, we’ll be more prepared than the rest, which will be good.”

Jarman’s first season at UNC-Greensboro also got sliced this past spring.

“With everything that’s going on, you’re just tired of being in the household,” said North Pitt graduate Phillip Boykin. “Anytime you can get out and play baseball, it’s been great, so we’ve been loving it. It’s concerning everywhere you go. There’s concern when you go to the grocery store. There’s concern when you go into the gas station. For us, playing baseball was the easy part. So, there was still some concern, but not much. I feel more safe out here than I do going in the grocery store.”

Boykin was at Louisburg College but will be headed to Norfolk State next season.

The River Bandits swept Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Carolina Thunder. They won 17-7 in the first game and 4-1 in the second game.

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