ALBEMARLE — Preparing for their second season after last year’s inaugural campaign, the Albemarle-based Uwharrie Wampus Cats now have a league home after playing without one last year.
Stanly County’s wood-bat collegiate baseball team announced in a Jan. 26 press release that it has joined the Southern Collegiate Baseball League (SCBL). The Wampus Cats will begin play in their new Major League Baseball-supported circuit this summer in an upcoming campaign that runs from late May to late July.
Joined with the fellow inclusion of the Cats’ rival — the Winston-Salem-based Carolina Disco Turkeys — the North Carolina-headquartered league now has eight teams located in the Charlotte area, including the Mooresville Spinners, Statesville Owls, Queen City Corndogs, Lake Norman Copperheads, Concord A’s and Regulators Baseball Club.
Established in 1999 and partially funded by MLB, the SCBL has had over 100 alumni go on to play professional baseball. In June, the league will send top prospects to a Liberty University showcase to play in front of several pro scouts during the 2024 National Alliance of College Summer Baseball Prospect Games.
Teams in the SCBL will play 30-game league schedules this summer — on top of additional games outside of league play — as well as a league tournament.
“We’re very excited about being in the league and how this league now looks with the Wampus Cats and Disco Turkeys in it,” said Wampus Cats co-owner and president Greg Sullivan. “Fans should expect to see some great competition this summer in Albemarle.”
The Cats announced in November that Josh Kent has taken over as the team’s new skipper.
“I am super excited for the opportunity to get my first summer underway as the head coach of the Wampus Cats,” Kent said in a team statement. “I can’t wait to represent the city of Albemarle and give the Albemarle area a great season to look forward to. We are going to have an amazing group of guys that the fans are going to love.”
Previous coach Houston Wright led Uwharrie to an 18-17 winning record in the team’s first season where over 6,000 fans attended home games at Albemarle’s Don Montgomery Park.
Playing independently of a league in 2023, the Cats finished strong with a 10-3 home win over the Disco Turkeys (a team also owned by Sullivan), a 7-2 home win over the Race City Bootleggers and a 5-2 road win over the Disco Turkeys.
The Cats also impressed in their budding rivalry with the Disco Turkeys, winning six of 11 matchups against the more-experienced club.
In January, the Albemarle team announced that Pfeiffer catcher Greyson Webb, Pfeiffer pitcher Chance Hunt, St. Andrews University infielder Garrett Hamby, Limestone pitcher Aaron George, Methodist University outfielder Jackson Deal, and Caldwell Community College third baseman Wyatt Dawkins were among the new additions to the summer lineup.
The team is expected to announce its 2024 summer schedule in April.