A day out with the New Bern Southpaws

Published 4:54 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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The inaugural season for the New Bern Southpaws is under way at historic Kafer Park. So far, the team has had a successful first season with an average attendance of around 700. They participate in the Old North State league which consists of teams from all over North Carolina and is one of the biggest leagues in the nation. The Southpaws recruit all their players and have athletes from over 30 different colleges.

New Bern has historically brought a lot of talented baseball players throughout the years including most notably right-handed pitcher Adam Warren who pitched in the majors for nine years with teams including the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, and the San Diego Padres.

The idea to bring a collegiate baseball team to New Bern started a little over a year ago and General Manager Dave Caccavaro jumped on the opportunity. After several meetings with the city council, the team got fully approved in January. Despite the limited amount of bleacher space, opening weekend in late May brought in a crowd of a little more than 2,500 fans, and at the game Tuesday night against the Tarboro River Bandits, there was a little over 1,000 people in the park. Head coach Hunter Hackney mentioned how important the crowd is for their players, “Seeing a crowd like that lit a fire under our boys.”

With large crowds and limited bleacher space, it is important to bring a lawn chair to prevent standing the entire game. The Southpaws offer cheap concessions with a hot dog, chips, and water costing less than six dollars. They also have food trucks from Big E Dogs and Tacos and Snowie Snow cones for when it gets hot, and you want a frozen treat. The Southpaws also have a merchandise table set up and after the game has concluded they open the gates for fans to get autographs from any of the players including ECU’s Parker Byrd who made history becoming the first Division I baseball player to play with a prosthetic leg.

“The fans have been absolutely amazing,” Caccavaro said. “New Bern is a huge supporter of the baseball community, and the community is what makes this team special.” Caccavaro mentioned how with more attendance the ballpark has more opportunities to improve and improve the fan experience. New projects will include re-grassing the field, more signage for community engagement, new bleachers, and better fencing.

The Southpaws have a home stretch starting this Friday July 12 through Wednesday July 17 (except Monday July 15). Tickets are seven dollars each and can be purchased online through their website. They also have family deals including four tickets, hot dogs, chips, and drinks for $10 per person, and group rates of five dollars per person for groups of 20 or more.