Saginaw Sugar Beets take the field June 5

SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) - (10/16/17) - Get ready to play ball in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

After a 66 year absence, the Saginaw-area will be home to a new organized baseball team.

The Saginaw Sugar Beets are part of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.

Owner Corky Thompson bought the franchise rights to the Lorain County Ironmen and has moved the team to Mid-Michigan.

Monday at a news conference, Thompson announced the team will play home games at the Dow Diamond and Saginaw Valley State University.

Four of the games will be held at Dow Diamond, home of the Great Lakes Loons.

Thompson said the Loons organization has welcomed the team with open arms. "It shouldn't be viewed as competition, because these are collegiate kids, those are professionals. Our guys will be more aspiring to be Loons," Thompson said.

Thompson, who also runs the 8U-18U organization the Saginaw Golds, said he hopes to fill the 32 man roster with a lot of local players. His goal is 60% local.

Bill McDonald, owner of McDonald Auto Group, has partnered with Thompson to operate the team.

Together they wanted to bring affordable family fun back to town, and give local prospects a chance to be drafted into the pros.

Tickets for the games will be $5.

The games will be the first at this level in the Saginaw-area since 1951 when the Saginaw Jack Rabbits played.

And while everyone is excited to bring baseball back to Saginaw, Thompson said the team belongs to the Great Lakes Bay Region.

"With the tradition here, that a lot of people don't know about, combined with Midland's passion, Bay City's passion, I think it's the right fit and the right time," Thompson said.

The Sugar Beets will play 42 regular season games next June and July. Opening day is June 5.

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