New Wooden Bat Summer Collegiate Baseball League Gets Court OK To Start Playing

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    A judge in South Dakota has cleared the way for the new Independence League, a summer collegiate baseball league formed by 7 teams who dropped out of the Expedition League.

      The new league has a total of 9 teams, including the Western Nebraska Pioneers of Gering, who start their 2022 season tonight in North Platte.

     The president of the Expedition League and his family owned the 5 teams that didn’t drop out and sued to block the new league from playing, citing league bylaws.

      They also argued the leases for some of the ballparks, including Oregon Trail Park in Gering, were with the Expedition League and not the individual clubs.

      The judge ruled in favor of the breakaway league, but there’s still a legal battle over claims by the Expedition League for fees and damages from the 7 former members. 

      The prolonged court fight has left the Independence League teams with little time to get ready for the season. The Pioneers had just one practice heading into the season opener at the North Platte Plainsmen, starting a 3-game series.

     The Pioneers have their home opener this weekend, a 3-game series with the Nebraska Prospects of Omaha with games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

     The Prospects aren’t officially part of the league; they’re an unaffiliated travel-only club helping balance this year’s schedule.

       The Independence League includes 2 other Nebraska teams, the Fremont Moo and the Hastings Sodbusters, plus the Spearfish Sasquatch and the Casper Horseheads. 

      The other 3 clubs are the Badlands Big Sticks of Dickinson, ND; Canyon County Spuds of Caldwell, ID; and the Gem City Bison of Laramie.

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