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Summer baseball returns to Valley
By Chris Strunk
Last Updated: February 23, 2017

Summer collegiate-level baseball is returning to Valley Center.

Kansas Collegiate League Baseball has agreed to have a team play at least 17 home games at Stevens Field behind the intermediate school, making Valley Center home to summer baseball for the first time since 2013.

The Valley Center school board on Feb. 13 approved a contract with the league's commissioner, Sheldon Howell. The league will pay the district $1,400 to rent the facilities for up to 20 games.

"I was really comfortable with him as a commissioner," said Mike Bonner, the district's assistant superintendent.

Kansas Collegiate League Baseball, which is in its third year, is the former Walter Johnson League and is a premier league of the National Baseball Congress.

"I'm pretty excited," Howell told The News. "… We want to be in communities around Wichita that support baseball."

The league is made up of seven teams, including the newly formed Valley Center Mud Daubers. Valley Center will be coached by Derek Francis, an assistant coach at Emporia State University.

Other teams include the Park City Rangers, Salina Bluejays, Wellington Heat and Kansas Cannons as well as first-year teams Clearwater Outlaws and Wichita Marlins

Howell said the Mud Daubers will be looking for host families as many of the players will not be from the area.

The Valley Center Diamond Dawgs played on the field from 2009 to 2013. After the 2013 season, the team's officials said they couldn't afford the cost of renting the field. The district said it had issues with the team not taking care of the field very well and at times breaking rules.

Coincidentally, the Dawgs contacted the district to see about returning to the Valley Center field.

Bonner said negotiations with the Kansas League team were already underway when the Dawgs expressed interest.

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