WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- On Monday we checked out the first 2014 practice for the Wilmington Sharks. We had a chance to meet the players and coaches. The Wilmington Sharks open the CPL summer league baseball season on Tuesday in Florence. The Sharks home opener will be held just a day later at Buck Hardee Field. During our visit to the Shark Tank we also checked out the renovations, which are nearly complete. (Click the icon to see the video on this story)..
A new scoreboard was long overdue at Buck Hardee Field. It's a welcome addition according to Sharks GM Pat Hutchins, "We'll be ready to play baseball here on Wednesday at 7. The new scoreboard was put up last week. It looks great. As far as other renovations we've added the brick wall. That gives the field a nice look. It brings the fans closer to the field. Behind that there's bleacher sitting."
Only two players return from last year's squad. That means it's a slew of new faces summer, including Ashley grad Christian Wolfe, a sophomore baseball player at UNCW. Wolfe said "We have a lot of local guys, Sam Foy, Steven Linkous, some guys from UNCW, it's gonna be good to have that local base from UNCW games coming out and with all the renovations it's gonna be a great atmosphere."
Sam Foy just completed his sophomore season at Davidson. Foy is a new Shark. He's a New Hanover High graduate. "It's good to be back," Foy told WWAY. "I'm excited to play on my old high school field with a couple of my old teammates and with guys who I played against in high school, in front of friends and family."
Parker Bangs is also a new face this season. He's the Sharks head coach. " With the new ownership and everything it makes everything that much better," Bangs said. "We're at the beach all summer. Nothing against Columbia (where Bangs coached last summer), but it gets kinda hot there and there's no beach within 200 miles. Location and organization and everything we've done I'm excited about being here with the Sharks. " " So these guys have the green light whenever they want from what you just said?" " No, on off days they can go the beach, on off days. Not on a game day. We try to keep them rested, not exhausted and not sun-burned when they get out here every night."
Below we've posted more information from the Sharks website..(Click the icon above to see the video on this story)..
WILMINGTON, NC (SHARKS) -- The Wilmington Sharks are pleased to announce that stadium and field renovations will begin next week as part of an ongoing makeover of Buck Hardee Field before the start of the Coastal Plain League season on May 28th. Included in the renovations will be a new scoreboard, new box seating, new backstop and netting installation and replacement of the current audio system. "We have been working hard with TSE Services to make certain the improvements will be felt immediately when you walk into the ballpark," said Peter Freund, owner of the Sharks. "We are creating a more intimate fan experience by bringing everyone closer to the field and replacing the current chain-link fencing with major league baseball netting."
There will be many other changes in store for Sharks fans including a new merchandise stand for all the recently re-branded Sharks attire, a new kids zone which will include a one-of-a-kind Sharks bounce house (rendering below) and multiple cosmetic changes throughout the ballpark. Peter Freund added, "The bottom line is that we are re-investing in the community and with the help of the city and county, we are going to create a wonderful new venue for both Sharks fans and New Hanover High School to enjoy for many years to come."
Along with the extensive re-branding campaign, the Sharks are also launching their new website today, where fans can buy tickets for the upcoming season through a partnership with online ticket service Etix. The new online merchandise store is under construction but will be available soon including all new headwear, apparel, car magnets and much more. The website address remains the same at wilmingtonsharks.com.