Cassville to house college baseball team

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Arrows ink deal to play 10 games at high school field

Cassville schools has reached and agreement to become the home of the Cassville Arrows, an independent team of college baseball players, for the summer of 2017.

The Arrows, formerly known as the Springfield Arrows, played last season at Dodson Field on the campus of Southwest Baptist University and will play 10 games at the high school facility.

When an agreement could not be reached on the use of the field this season the team began to look for a new home

"Sean Trent, [East Newton baseball coach], originally contacted us about this team needing a place to play," said Doug Martin, Cassville athletic director. "Aaron Massey, [President and CEO of the Arrows], then contacted me about the possibility of relocating to Cassville. We weren't seeking a summer team, but are honored that we have facilities that would make us a desirable destination for such a group."

Martin said that the way the idea was pitched to him was that the team would contain some former Big 8 Conference players.

The 2016 Arrows' roster did contain two former Big 8 standouts in Rocky Liveoak, East Newton graduate who currently plays for Missouri Valley, and Payton Rawlins, who prepped at Seneca and plays for Ecclasia College. Additionally, Colton Vaught, from Crane, who now plays at Southwest Baptist University, was also on the roster.

The Arrows agreed to rent the field for $250 each game, a fee that Martin said was standard, and the Cassville schools will have a representative at each game.

In 2016, the Arrows' schedule featured games against teams from Joplin, Independence, Chillicothe, Ozark and St. Louis.

The hope of the group is to join the Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas Collegiate Baseball League (MINK) in the 2018 season, according to Massey.

In order to be eligible to join the MINK League, teams must follow a few rules. All athletes are unpaid in order to maintain their NCAA eligibility. Each team is operated in a similar manner to a professional minor league team, providing players an opportunity to play under the same conditions, using wooden bats, minor league specification baseballs, experiencing overnight road trips and playing nightly before fans in a stadium.

After the annual MINK league meetings back in October, in which Massey attended, a league press release stated that the Branson Nationals would not return in 2017 as the organization sought new ownership. Massey believes he has positioned himself to be that new ownership.

"Right now, we are on probation with the MINK League," Massey said. "We are playing every team in the league but one. A normal season is around 40-45 games. We hope to play a full slate next year."

The Arrows have 19 games scheduled against MINK teams, competing against all teams but the Sedalia Bombers, the 2016 league champs.

Massey is currently searching to fill coaching staff vacancies.

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