MARTINSVILLE, Va. – While baseball may be in flux in other parts of the area, the Martinsville Mustangs are getting ready to open their 16th season in the Coastal Plain League.
“It’s fantastic. It’s been a long four months for everybody involved, so [we’re] really excited to be back out here everyday,” said Jake Marinelli.
He’s in his first year as the Mustangs coach.
After a brief delay to the start of the season, the premier collegiate summer league is ready to get into the swing of things and provide some action for guys who had a short, unexpected college season.
“I know, like, many others who worked out hard throughout the fall and you get cut short you’re just dying to be on the field and show all the work you put in,” said outfielder Will Knight. The Amherst native just completed his sophomore season at Virginia Military Institute.
The Mustangs have over two dozen players on the 2020 roster. Some signed on to the team as early as last fall, while others, like Will Davis, of Ferrum, came on board at the end of March.
“I signed after our season was canceled and that kind of pushed my decision to play here knowing that I’d get to play some baseball,” said Davis.
The Coastal Plain League has no affiliation with Major League Baseball, which is why the Mustangs never had any doubt that they would take the field to play this summer. In fact, they’re taking on the motto of being the only game in town.
“Greg Suire, our owner, is really involved with the Coastal Plain League,” said Marinelli.
“He assured us the whole time ‘We’re playing, we’re playing.’ Us getting out here was never a question. Sometimes who we’re playing and when, but never a doubt that we were going to be 100% go,” Marinelli said.
As the Mustangs prepare for the season opener on Thursday night, players are thankful for the opportunity to get another crack at the bat this summer.
“Summer ball is where you learn to get better. So, I feel like this summer is a good time for me to sharpen every part of my game,” said Knight.
“How often do you get to compete with big Division One guys, big junior college guys? So, it’s just going to be fun,” said Davis.