New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) Commissioner Sean McGrath today unveiled the NECBL’s 2021 composite schedule.

Among the announcements in the press release (below) is that opening day will take place on June 3 and the Newport Gulls will play host to the 2021 NECBL All-Star Game on Sunday, July 18, 2020 at historic Cardines Field.

Newport Gulls will open up the season at Valley on June 3, will host their first home game of the season versus Vineyard on June 4, and will wrap up the 2021 season on August 1 at Vineyard.

See the Newport Gulls full season schedule here.

Press Release – 2021 NECBL Schedule Unveiled

Commissioner Sean McGrath has unveiled the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s (NECBL) 2021 composite schedule today.

After an unprecedented past year that saw the COVID-19 pandemic derail the 2020 season before it could begin, the New England League’s 27th season of play will finally come to fruition when the 2021 campaign begins on Thursday, June 3, to commence a 42-game regular season slate for each member of the 14-team league. The efforts of each of the league’s 14 communities’ first responders, as well as local and state health officials, were instrumental in paving the way back to the diamond, and the theme of the summer will undoubtedly be one of gratitude to those who made the return to play possible.

The 2019 Fay Vincent Sr. Cup champion Keene Swamp Bats, who have eagerly been waiting to raise their fifth championship banner, will open the summer at Vermont on Opening Night to highlight a five-game slate. The Swamp Bats will raise their banner at home a night later when they entertain Upper Valley.

Also waiting patiently have been the Bristol Blues, who joined the league prior to the 2020 season but – like everyone else – were forced to wait a year before taking the diamond yet again. The Blues will welcome the Danbury Westerners to Muzzy Field for the first NECBL tilt in the city of Bristol since 2010 (when the Bristol Collegiate Baseball Club spent their only season before becoming the Mystic Schooners) as part of Opening Night’s loaded ledger.

Other teams in action on Day 1 include Mystic hosting the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, who made quite a splash during their first full season in the league in 2019 when they nearly shocked the world with a run the NECBL Championship Series before being turned away by Keene; North Adams traveling to Winnipesaukee; and Valley – who won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018 – welcoming Newport, the latter of which still reigns supreme atop the NECBL with their six Fay Vincent Sr. Cups.

The league’s newest – as of two days ago – addition, albeit a familiar one, will have to wait a day to make their 2021 debut, as the North Shore Navigators will play their first NECBL contest since 2011 when they host Vermont at historic Fraser Field on June 4 as part of a six-game slate. North Shore won the 2010 Fay Vincent Sr. Cup and also three-peated back when the organization was located in Middleton (Conn.) in the late 1990s. Other teams waiting until Day 2 for their first game include Ocean State (at Bristol); Sanford (hosting Winnipesaukee) and Upper Valley (at Keene).

The league will employ a balanced, divisional schedule model for the 2021 campaign; with seven teams now in each the North and South division, each organization will play the remaining six divisional foes seven times for a 42-game schedule. Each organization will have four home games and three away games against three divisional teams, and vice versa for the remaining three.

With Bristol and North Shore’s entrance, the league’s divisional realignment has shifted for the 2021 season: North Shore will be slotted in the North Division alongside Keene, North Adams, Sanford, Upper Valley, Vermont and Winnipesaukee, while Bristol will be placed in the South Division with Danbury, Martha’s Vineyard, Mystic, Newport, Ocean State and Valley.

The Newport Gulls will play host to the 2021 NECBL All-Star Game on Sunday, July 18, 2020 at historic Cardines Field in Newport, Rhode Island, marking the fourth time the Gulls have hosted the NECBL All-Star Game and first time since 2016. The All-Star Game showcases the NECBL’s top talent in a fun-filled afternoon and evening of the best the league has to offer – with players from all NECBL organizations showcasing their skills in front of scouts from every Major League Baseball (MLB) organization.

After that, each of the league’s 14 teams will play two final weeks of the regular season with hopes of qualifying for the 2021 NECBL Playoffs, of which the format will be announced at a later date.

The final games of the regular season will be held on Sunday, Aug. 1, with the following day (Aug. 2) open for makeup games before the postseason begins on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

At its core, the NECBL is a league that prides itself on giving its many student-athletes from all walks of life and all levels of collegiate baseball the opportunity to have their talents noticed by scouts from every Major League Baseball (MLB) organization. Beginning this summer, the league will be in better position to do so than ever before after agreeing to a partnership with Synergy Sports to implement the company’s innovative video technology into each of the league’s ballparks, in addition to adding TrackMan technology to its venues.

Finally, organizations will also host special exhibition games, Bristol and Ocean State playing Team Israel at Dunkin Donuts Park – home of the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats – on July 14-15.

The New England Collegiate Baseball League is a wooden bat college summer league that fields teams in all six New England states. Partially funded by Major League Baseball, the New England League started play in 1994 and has sent over 150 alumni to the Major Leagues with nearly 30 alumni taken in the first round of the MLB Draft. For continuing coverage of the NECBL, visit NECBL.com and follow the league on TwitterInstagram and on Facebook.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).