Another year, another summer, another three months of family fun. In their 18th summer in the Coastal Plain League, the Fayetteville SwampDogs once again combined top-notch baseball, family entertainment and affordable prices into one perfect package at The Swamp.
For the second straight season, Fayetteville's team battled all summer long and earned a playoff berth for their efforts, notching several impressive victories on the way to their 24-26 record. Fayetteville scored double digit runs seven different times in Coastal Plain League play, accomplishing this impressive feat June 3 against Wilmington, June 6 against Lexington County, June 23 against Holly Springs, June 27 against Wilmington, July 3 against Asheboro, July 13 against Wilson and August 2 against Wilmington. The SwampDogs also won two games thanks to complete game shutouts from Blake Schriever (Cal State Northridge) and Harry Thomas (Campbell) in 2018.
The SwampDogs sent three players to the Lexington County for the Coastal Plain League All-Star Weekend this summer, as Schriever, Joey Wiemer (Cincinnati) and Matt Kelly (Portland) represented Fayetteville in the game. The trio of SwampDogs, along with the front office and coaching staff, were in attendance for the July 8 All-Star Skills Showcase as well as the July 9 All-Star Game, in which the National Team defeated the American Team 9-4.
Schriever led a talented group of SwampDogs pitchers that were a major key to the team's success. Fayetteville's pitching staff ranked fourth in the Coastal Plain League with a 3.86 ERA and featured four players who reached the 20-inning mark with an ERA under 3.00: Schriever, Josh Avila (Cumberlands), Logan Carter (Middle Georgia State) and German Reyes (Mount Olive).
At the plate, Kelly and Wiemer were two of the SwampDogs' top options in 2018. Kelly brought exceptional consistency as he blasted two home runs, tied for the league-lead with five triples and finished second with 16 doubles. Both he and Wiemer placed in the top four on the team in batting average, with Natale Monastra (Xavier) and Brett Young (Delta State) finishing first and second at .303 and .273.
Off the field, it was another terrific summer of engaging with the community here in Fayetteville. Throughout the season, players, coaches and staff could be found throughout the Cumberland County area, from nursing homes to boys and girls clubs to local businesses. And in keeping with Independence Day tradition, the SwampDogs participated in the Hope Mills Fourth of July parade. At every stop, Fayetteville's team brought a little bit of that family fun with them.
The SwampDogs also continued to prove their dedication and commitment to charitable causes, especially those that work to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Each and every night, the SwampDogs supported Special Olympics Cumberland County through spare change for Special Olympics donation jars and the Special Olympics Internship. That commitment was reaffirmed through the Balls and Strikes Bowling Classic at B & B Lanes, a wonderful event in which the team raised nearly $4,000 for Service Source and Friendship House Fayetteville.
2018 saw the SwampDogs host not one but two charity jersey auctions! First, for the 12th annual StriKing Out Cancer Night on July 3, the team wore and then auctioned off special edition pink jerseys to raise money for the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation. Just a few weeks later, the SwampDogs raised money for local first responders through the sale of one-of-a-kind jerseys on First Responders' Night.
With another season officially in the books, the SwampDogs are looking forward to their 19th Summer of Fun next year. The team looks to improve upon the year's result and make a deep run into the Petitt Cup Playoffs while offering family fun each and every day. Whether you're a baseball fanatic or just someone looking for a good time, come out to The Swamp in 2019 for even more promotions, fireworks extravaganzas and of course more exciting SwampDogs baseball.