IDAHO — What started as a couple of local college baseball players playing pickup games at Settlers Park has now turned into a competitive collegiate summer league.
"We were just craving to have some sort of competitive edge here again," Kyle McPeak, College of Idaho pitcher said.
College baseball players in Idaho would normally have to travel out of state to get their summer reps in, but now with the Competitors League, they can compete right here in the Treasure Valley.
"I am very thankful," McPeak said. "I have played in a few other summer leagues and have traveled out of state and loved it, but being able to play in the Competitors League back home definitely is an advantage."
An opportunity that is helping the college players in more ways than one.
"Playing over summer is definitely a huge advantage. When I show up back to campus in August I am already in gear and ready to go," McPeak said. "I am ready to jump on the mound and be an instant impact player versus somebody who decides to take the summer off. They are going to come back and already be 3 months behind."
“It’s a huge recruiting tool for JUCO because they are able to save their stuff from the live streams to send out to those Division I, II, III, and NAIA schools to get recruited," Burke Mitchell, Competitors League coach said.
The league is also excited to be hosting fans and themed nights this year.
"We will have a little league night where all the little league players get to come in for free, get to walk on the field before the game, meet the players, take pictures with the players and be a batboy," Mitchell said. "It will be great for the community to be able to hang out in the dugout with all the college guys."
They have over 70 players filling four teams.
Many of them are coming from out of state, so the league is also looking for host families to take in the out-of-state players for the summer.
“Just trying to minimize the cost of living for these college baseball players," Mitchell said. "And also having those college guys be around the younger kids teaching the kids and just being around baseball all the time. We really want that.”
All with one goal in mind, trying to grow the sport of baseball in Idaho.
"We are building the league around the players and the community as much as possible and just want to get baseball growing back up to where it was," Mitchell said.
"I feel like the talent barrier was a little behind maybe five or four years ago, but now I definitely think we are catching up to pace and it is a blast to see how good the teams are actually getting here now," McPeak said.
The league starts June 26, and they still have some roster spots available.
For more information or if you want to host a player, visit competitorsbaseball.com