The Great Bend Boom has gone bust.
The Pecos League professional baseball team that held its inaugural season in Great Bend in 2016 will not return this summer, Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn said. He cited lack of support for the decision.
“The Pecos League attempted to get on track in Great Bend but could never match the support of Garden City or Salina,” he said, referring to sister teams in other Kansas communities. Founded in 2011, the Houston-based league is an independent pro ball league which operates in 10 cities in desert mountain regions throughout New Mexico, Southern Arizona, Kansas, West Texas, Southern Colorado and now California (where some teams have been relocated).
“Fans are invited to go to Salina or Garden City to see Pecos League for 2017 season,” Dunn said. He also thanked the host families that provided homes for the players and those who did attend the games.
Dunn also noted the arrival in Great Bend of another summer baseball team, the collegiate-level Bat Cats which falls under the Jayhawk League. Roger Ward is the force behind the Bat Cats and he plans to form the team with collegiate players from around the area, including athletes from the University of Kansas and Barton Community College.
“Great Bend now has a Jayhawk League team and that will serve the needs of summer baseball,” he said. “It would be very tough to have two teams on the same field in the summer. We feel it is best to let them have a full opportunity to be successful.”
It was at a September, 2015, meeting that the Great Bend City Council approved lease agreements allowing both teams to use Al Burns Field at Veterans Memorial Park. The agreement called for each team to pay $750 for use of the field for the season, plus each will pay the GBRC $25 per game for field maintenance. It was up to the teams’ organizers to hash out scheduling.
The Jayhawk League has teams in Kansas and Oklahoma. The eight-member league has an automatic berth into the National Baseball Congress World Series that is played in Wichita. Other area Jayhawk teams are the Derby Twins, Wellington Heat, Hays Larks and the Liberal BeeJays.
Several Boom players have landed on the Tucson Saguaros roster, Dunn said.
As for the Boom’s 2018 season, “that will be re-evaluated in August,” Dunn said.