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by Judith Hruz
Olney-area residents will soon be able to root, root, root for the home team when the new Cropdusters take the field at Olney Boys and Girls Club this summer.
Cropdusters Baseball, a new addition to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, will play a two-month summer schedule, fielding some of the finest college players.
Tony Korson, a native Washingtonian, is the founder and president of the team and credits a local volunteer board for being “passionate” about baseball and the community.
Korson, the CEO of Koa Sports in Montgomery County, thought the Greater Olney community would be a good fit for a collegiate baseball team.
“I just thought we could do it really well,” he said.
The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2021 and is only a few weeks away from its season opener.
About 35 college baseball players will arrive for the season on June 1, bringing a “nice mix” of talent, Korson said.
Players must be on a college baseball team in order to play in the Ripken League.
The Cropdusters are coached by Adam Leader of Howard County, who played baseball at Wesley College.
Leader pitched and played middle infield.
He began coaching baseball after college and was named the head baseball coach at Reservoir High School in 2002 and is approaching his 300th win.
Cropdusters Baseball has a 20-year lease with Olney Boys and Girls Club (OBGC) to play at its Freeman Fields.
Korson approached OBGC Executive Director Brad Scott about a year and a half ago looking for support for a new team.
Scott said it was easy to agree. Having the collegiate baseball team on OBGC’s campus would provide inspiration for OBGC’s players and draw patrons to the facility.
“We can feel the sense of excitement building in community,” he said.
He said OBGC has top baseball teams on the youth level, so those young athletes being able to see excellent collegiate athletes will enhance their skills.
“It’s win for everyone,” he said. “Such a huge win for everyone.”
Scott and Korson approached Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Dist. 14) about funding for a stadium for the Cropdusters, which could be used for OBGC teams when the collegiate team is not using the facility.
Zucker and the District 14 lawmakers brought home $1 million from Annapolis for OBGC to build a new stadium with dugouts, seating, lights and other field improvements.
“We are extremely excited about this amazing project and the positive impact it will have for our entire community,” Zucker said.
The stadium is expected to be completed by the summer of 2023, Scott said.
OBGC also received $1.75 million to build a multi-sport training facility on the campus.
MedStar Montgomery Medical Center will partner with OBGC on that project.
“Great things are going on here,” Scott said.
A preseason game against the Southern Maryland Senators will be held at 3 pm. June 5 at OBGC’s Freeman Fields.
The season opener is set for 5 p.m. June 10 against the Giant.
For more on Cropdusters Baseball and ticket purchases and prices, visit www.cropdustersbaseball.com.
Olney Boys and Girls Club’s Freeman Fields is located at 4501 Olney-Laytonsville Road (Route 108).
Photo by Tim Pruss/MyDrone.Pro
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