Two new summer collegiate baseball teams debut in Iowa this summer. The Bancroft Bandits and Carroll Merchants are both owned by a Wisconsin man and are playing in the new seven-team Corn Belt League, which also has teams in Omaha and Sioux Falls.
The Carroll Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in getting the Merchants started.
“We have had outstanding support this year”, said executive director Shannon Landauer. “We have sponsors for 11 of the 13 home dates so far. We also have program sponsors and just a great number of businesses in the community that are helping out.”
Landauer says one of the biggest challenges was finding host families for the players who come from as far away as Venezuela.
Carroll has a rich baseball history and Landauer says the community has responded to the new team.
“We have had people stop in to buy tickets and share newspaper articles and photos of years past. Carroll is a town that is very progressive but it also maintains a deep connection to its wonderful history.”
The team will have a meet and greet this evening and the Merchants home opener is Friday night against the Sioux Falls Pilots.
The Bancroft Bandits open their home season on Saturday against the Omaha Filthballers.