Statesville Owls 2019 season approaches

Kevin Williams (19) and Dylan Haskell celebrate a Statesville Owls home run during a game last season. The Owls open the 2019 season Wednesday.

The 2019 campaign is on the horizon for the Statesville Owls.

Members of the team report this coming week. The Owls plan to hold workouts Monday and Tuesday before opening the season Wednesday in Charlotte against the Crushers. Their home opener is Thursday against the Piedmont Pride.

“We have a lot of returners from last year’s team,” said new General Manager Michael Bonifay, pitching coach for Montreat College. “I think with these guys that are coming back and some of the new additions we have … I think quite a few of those guys are going to be able to come in and make an impact and really help the team out.”

The Owls’ 45-game schedule features 22 home dates, including a June 29 doubleheader against the Carolina Vipers. West Iredell High will serve as the home ballpark once again.

Andrew Meadows returns as head coach. The Mooresville native played college baseball at Catawba Valley Community College and NCAA Division II power North Greensville.

Bonifay will again assist as pitching coach, in addition to fulfilling his elevated role with the club.

The Owls enjoyed the best season in their seven-year history under the direction of that duo a year ago. Aided by a few captivating late-game rallies, Statesville posted a 21-5 record.

Unfortunately, because the Owls were independent and not a member of a league last summer they weren’t eligible for the postseason.

This year, they rejoin the Southern Collegiate Baseball League and will be postseason eligible. They defeated the Mooresville Spinners in both regular-season meetings in 2018. The Spinners went on to claim the SCBL championship.

“So we know we can compete with all the teams in the SCBL,” Bonifay said. “I think we have a really good chance at making a run in the league.”

The Owls were members of the SCBL from 2010-2015, compiling an overall record of 115-119. They suspended operations in 2016 and didn’t field a team that summer or the next.

Bonifay said the 2019 roster is close to being finalized. He highlighted increased depth and the return of several college players who played their high school ball in Iredell County.

“(Last year) was fun,” Bonifay said. “We had guys like Ausar Rankin that just came up big time. You had bullpen arms like Kevin Williams that came in during clutch spots and really did a good job for us. It’s going to be good to have guys like Ausar and Kevin back. We’ll have guys like R.J. Conner that are coming back who are going to be really helpful to us. R.J. can play multiple positions. He can run like the wind. And we’re going to have a few good arms (on the mound).”

2019 Statesville Owls schedule

(Home games 7 p.m. at West Iredell H.S.)

Wednesday, May 29

Statesville Owls at Charlotte Crushers

Thursday, May 30

Piedmont Pride at Statesville Owls

Friday, May 31

Carolina Vipers at Statesville Owls

Saturday, June 1

Statesville Owls at Mooresville Spinners

Monday, June 3

Statesville Owls at Concord A’s

Tuesday, June 4

Lenoir Oilers at Statesville Owls

Wednesday, June 5

Race City Bootleggers at Statesville Owls

Thursday, June 6

Statesville Owls at Lake Norman Copperheads

Friday, June 7

Charlotte rushers at Statesville Owls

Saturday, June 8

Statesville Owls at Piedmont Pride

Monday, June 10

Statesville Owls at Carolina Vipers

Tuesday, June 11

Mooresville Spinner at Statesville Owls

Wednesday, June 12

Race City Bootleggers at Statesville Owls

Thursday, June 13

Statesville Owls at Concord A’s

Friday, June 14

Lenoir Oilers at Statesville Owls

Saturday, June 15

Lake Norman Copperheads at Statesville Owls

Monday, June 17

Statesville Owls at Charlotte Crushers

Tuesday, June 18

Piedmont Pride at Statesville Owls

Thursday, June 20

Statesville Owls at Carolina Vipers

Friday, June 21

Statesville Owls at Mooresville Spinners

Saturday, June 22

Concord A’s at Statesville Owls

Monday, June 24

Lenoir Oilers at Statesville Owls

Tuesday, June 25

Statesville Owls at Lake Norman Copperheads

Thursday, June 27

Charlotte Crushers at Statesville Owls

Friday, June 28

Statesville Owls at Piedmont Pride

Saturday, June 29

Carolina Vipers at Statesville Owls (DH)

Monday, July 1

Mooresville Spinners at Statesville Owls

Tuesday, July 2

Statesville Owls at Concord A’s

Thursday, July 4

Statesville Owls at Lenoir Oilers

Friday, July 5

Lake Norman Copperheads at Statesville Owls

Saturday, July 6

Statesville Owls at Charlotte Crushers

Monday, July 8

Statesville Owls at Piedmont Pride

Tuesday, July 9

Statesville Owls at Race City Bootleggers

Thursday, July 11

Statesville Owls at Mooresville Spinners

Friday, July 12

Concord A’s at Statesville Owls

Saturday, July 13

Statesville Owls at Lenoir Oilers

Monday July 15 / Tuesday July 16

SCBL All-Star game

Wednesday, July 17

Lake Norman Copperheads at Statesville Owls

Thursday, July 18

Charlotte Crushers at Statesville Owls

Friday, July 19

Piedmont Pride at Statesville Owls

Saturday, July 20

Statesville Owls at Carolina Vipers

Monday, July 22

Mooresville Spinners at Statesville Owls

Tuesday, July 23

Statesville Owls at Concord A’s

Wednesday, July 24

Statesville Owls at Lenoir Oilers

Thursday, July 25

Lake Norman Copperheads at Statesville Owls

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