Coastal Plain League in Full Swing

by Andrew in

Editor's Note: I'm on vacation this weekend in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. I thought it would be nice to do a little comparison between the CPL and CCBL. Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Coastal Plain League (CPL) was formed in 1997, but with history dating back to 1937 as a Class D minor league, and is one of the nation's top summer collegiate programs. In 2008, there were 21 players n Major League Baseball that played in the CPL, including Kevin Youkilis (Boston, Florence '99, Bourne '00). This year, the league started its schedule on May 27th, more than two weeks before the CCBL.

One of the most attractive teams in the league is the Outer Banks Daredevils, who play at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Sandwiched between the ocean and the bay, it feels like you're near the beach when you're sitting in the stands. Within sight from the field is the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which sits atop a large hill in the distance. For me, a Cape Cod native, I felt right at home. There were even a dozen or so people with their beach chairs.

If you were to compare the CCBL with the CPL, you'll notice a few things right off the bat. First, there's an admission charge. It's only $5 for adults, and you get a ticket with a number they use to give away a prize at the end (there's also a 50/50 raffle, which didn't seem that popular or well-advertised). Another thing you may notice is the amount of sponsors. The outfield fence is lined with banners, and Dunkin' Donuts had a promiment cart set up on the 3rd base side. Since the teams are further apart, there seems to be more local support. Finally, one glance at the rosters will reveal more players from the southern U.S. and smaller colleges. But, the two things the CCBL and CPL have in common are wood bats and low scoring games.

The Outer Banks Daredevil wasn't afraid of the distant lightning.

Teams in the CPL span three states (VA, NC, and SC) with about 7 hours between the furthest apart teams (Forest City Owls and Columbia Blowfish). There are 14 teams in three divisions: North, South, and West.

Looking up and down the rosters, I saw some familiar colleges, but not many familiar names. Coastal Carolina's Jim Birmingham (Cotuit '07) is spending the summer with the Daredevils. Connecticut's Harold Brantley should be a star for the Daredevils, as he led the Atlantic Coast Baseball League in stolen bases last summer and batted over .300 this spring. A couple of the Daredevils most promising players hail from Kennesaw State: Tyler Stubblefield and Josh Whitaker. Both players ended the season with .300+ averages and 25+ RBI. On the visiting Petersburg Generals, there were not as many schools that I was familiar with except Villanova, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Villanova, and Holy Cross.

I'd be curious to find out how many players have spent a summer on the CPL and then the next summer in the CCBL.