Klamath Falls and Medford will resume college wood bat league baseball action next summer.
The Gems were accepted into the Great West League over the weekend, and will replace Portland in the six-team league, which includes defending league champion Medford.
“The package we worked out was a good one,” Gems co-owner Joe O’Connor said Monday.
The new league, which is a step up competition-wise, includes the Chico Heat, Lincoln (about 30 miles north of Sacramento) Potters, Marysville Gold Sox and Yuba City Bears in addition to Klamath Falls and Medford.
Location of teams means less travel for Klamath Falls in addition to its six home games and six road games against Medford.
Both Klamath Falls and Medford still have to name head coaches for next summer.
Josh Hogan, who was with the Gems in 2012 and then spent fives years with the Rogues, has accepted a new position with the Casper, Wyo., Horseheads, and will work with Chuck and Myra Heeman with that team in the Expedition League.
O’Connor worked with league officials over the weekend to solidify the Klamath Falls entry into the Great West League, something he and the league had hoped to pull off since the 2017 Golden State Collegiate Baseball League ended.
“Welcome the Klamath Falls Gems to the GWL,” league president said in a press release, something which drew a few dozen positive comments on the Gems website Monday.
“Big-time summer collegiate baseball returns to iconic Kiger Stadium,” the release said. “Great local owners (are) working to make the Gems one of the top summer college teams. The folks in Klamath Falls deserve a first-class operation, and they have it now.
“(The Gems have) 30 games next summer at home, including six versus arch-rival Medford.”
Any move out of the GSCBL was placed on hold by O’Connor and co-owner Brianna Schwenk because they wanted to maintain the commitment previous owners had made to that league after Medford moved to the GWL and Klamath Falls to the GSCBL for the 2016 season.
The Great West League’s 2018 schedule is expected to be released within the new few days.
Now that the Gems have settled on the league in which they will play, O’Connor and Schwenk can begin to assemble a coaching staff and sign players for the club’s eighth season.