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Cal Ripken League welcomes new Gaithersburg team


Staff writer

The Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League announced on Nov. 12 that the Gaithersburg Giants will become its 11th ballclub, beginning with the 2013 season.

The Giants will join the league, which is comprised of 11 teams. Gaithersburg will be the fourth Montgomery County-based team along with Bethesda Big Train, Rockville Express and Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts. The Giants will play their home games at Kelley Park in the City of Gaithersburg.

The Southern Maryland Nationals are comprised of several area baseball players. Last year’s team included Calvert County-based players Danny Breen, Bryan McHale, Taylor Peed, Nikolay Uherek, Spencer Wolfe and Brandon Crigger. Andrew Barefoot and Michael Bowie hail from Charles County.

Travis Mister, Calvert High School’s head baseball coach, is the team’s first base coach.

The Nationals play their home games at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, home to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and last year compiled a record of 15-26, good for ninth place.

The team is coached by Doug Creek. Chuck Winegardner and Donnie Herbert are co-founders.

Founded in 2006, the Giants played in the Maryland Collegiate Baseball League (formerly the Eddie Brooks League) and won the MCBL’s 2011 regular season championship. Under current manager Jeff Rabberman, Gaithersburg compiled a record of 87-43 since 2009 and never finished lower than second place in the MCBL during his tenure.

“I am really excited and honored to have our team in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League,” Rabberman said in a press release. “I like the roster we have recruited and I think we will be very competitive right away. I look forward to representing our league and community in a high-class manner 44 nights every summer.”

Rabberman is joined by Alfie Riley, who will serve as general manager of the Gaithersburg Giants. The franchise will be operated as a not-for-profit organization by the Gaithersburg Sports Association.

“As President of Gaithersburg Sports Association, I feel extremely proud of becoming a member of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League,” Riley said. “Our acceptance into the league is the crowning achievement and the fruition of years of hard work and dedication started by the Giants founder, John Brady, in 2006.”

The Giants are the sixth team to join the Cal Ripken League since the league began play with six charter franchises in 2005. Most recently, the D.C. Grays joined before the 2012 season.

“We are pleased with the direction our League has taken over the last seven years,” said interim league commissioner Alex Thompson. “Bob Douglas had a vision to grow this League and bring our unique brand of baseball to more communities across our region. The addition of the Giants certainly advances that vision. Gaithersburg is a baseball city and we are excited to begin play there in 2013.”

Douglas passed away on Sept. 26 after his third season as commissioner of the Ripken League.