The next generation of Niagara Power baseball has arrived with the decision to join the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League for the upcoming summer 2021 season. The Niagara Power, along with the Batavia Muckdogs and Capital City Reds, are among the newest additions to the PGCBL.
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is a 16-team summer collegiate baseball league in Upstate New York. Since its inaugural season in 2011, the PGCBL – which annually draws talent from some of the best NCAA, NAIA, and junior college programs – has quickly evolved into the premier wood bat league in the state of New York, while becoming one of the most widely respected summer leagues in the country. The PGCBL is affiliated with Perfect Game USA, the nation’s largest independent amateur scouting bureau.
Robert F. Julian, President of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, stated, “As minor league baseball leaves Upstate New York, I am pleased that the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League has been able to step in and continue to become resident in former New York Penn League venues such as Batavia and Niagara Falls. The addition of Batavia and Niagara Falls creates a very competitive and geographically well-situated western division that will include Jamestown, Elmira, Geneva, Newark, Niagara Falls, and Batavia.”
The Niagara Power departed the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL) to join the PGCBL after 11 seasons. Following a brief hiatus, baseball returned to Sal Maglie Stadium in 2018 with a new organization owned and operated by Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The Power completed the best season in franchise history in 2019, winning 30 games and sweeping the NYCBL Championship Series for their first-ever title. Niagara Falls last hosted affiliated baseball in 1993 under the Detroit Tigers.
Statement from Niagara Power Director, Dr. Patrick Tutka:
"We’re incredibly excited," Tutka said. "We were happy to be part of (the NYCBL). We never had any ill will toward NYCBL, they took great care of us. We're very appreciative of the opportunity, proud to be the champion the last two years, but it's time for us to take the opportunity and move to a league where every team is trying to bring in fans, generate revenue."
"The opportunity to join the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League follows the model the Power have created since its rebirth under the ownership of Niagara University. We want to provide an incredibly high quality of baseball to the community, while also providing our students with a learning laboratory in the minor league model. The PGCBL provides us with that opportunity," director of the Niagara Power, Patrick Tutka.
"The quality of baseball is much better, plus, obviously, these are teams people around here know about. People think of Jamestown, that's the team that stole the Rapids from Niagara Falls. Batavia is still going to be known as the Muckdogs. This is as close as we can get to minor league baseball."
"From our standpoint, the quality of recruiting goes up exponentially. (The PGCBL) had 20-some players drafted in the last few years, six drafted last year even in the (COVID-shortened) draft. The facility quality is also better, Tutka said. “We'll be playing in all former minor league stadiums, while most of the other places (outside home games at Sal Maglie Stadium) we were playing were high school or college fields."
"We are incredibly excited to work with the teams in the league to have a great experience for the Power going forward. The rebirth of the rivalries between Jamestown, Batavia, the Falls and others within the former NY-Penn footprint will create exciting baseball for all."
Thank you to Mike Meiler of the Niagara Gazette for some of the included quotes.
Read his take here: