Lincoln Potters starting catcher Logan Wurm, with the University of Louisiana Monroe and a graduate of Sutter Union High School in Sutter, is introduced before playing against the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox on July 1. (Photos by Steve Martarano. Click to view slideshow)

Photos: Organized Baseball Returns to the Capital Region

Back Photo gallery Jul 7, 2020 By Steve Martarano

The Lincoln Potters play in historic McBean Stadium in downtown Lincoln, and the wood-bat California Collegiate League team averaged almost 1,000 fans per game during the 2019 season. This year, the Potters are just happy to be playing, even if fans aren’t allowed.

With the COVID-19 pandemic sidelining almost all youth, college and professional sports since mid-March, the CCL — one of many summer showcase leagues for college players across the country — canceled its 2020 season before its scheduled June start.

After working out agreements with local jurisdictions to get players back on the field, and issuing coronavirus-specific rules of engagement (temperature checks for all attendees, players bring their own equipment, sanitation stations in each dugout), an abbreviated 31-game season independent of the CCL, and mostly without fans, has begun, with Lincoln as one of the league’s anchor cities. The revamped league also includes teams from the Bay Area, Marysville, Healdsburg, Bakersfield and Santa Barbara. 

Related: A City’s Growth Spurt

McBean Stadium is a nearly 100-year-old ballpark near downtown Lincoln that was refurbished before the 2017 season through a partnership with William Jessup University and a $260,000 Placer Valley Tourism grant. 

“Semi-pro and collegiate baseball have been part of Lincoln’s history for over 150 years,” says Shawn Tillman, economic development manager for Lincoln. “The improvements to the stadium provide a tremendous venue for leisure and entertainment and a top-notch facility for the teams that play there.”
 
Starting with the July 1 opener against the rival Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, 24 games, plus a season-ending tournament, are scheduled at McBean through early August. The Gold Sox, meanwhile, play at Colusa Casino Stadium in downtown Marysville, where Yuba County has allowed the Gold Sox to sell 100 tickets per game.

Professional and college scouts, along with essential staff, are among the only persons allowed to attend the July 1 game at McBean Stadium in Lincoln. Attendees had their temperatures taken and had to wear a mask to enter; once inside the stadium, they were advised to socially distance.

With fans unable to attend games at McBean Stadium, Potters home games are streamed and shown live at nearby Dillian’s Bar & Grill. Placer County’s bars and restaurants remained open as of early July and weren’t subject to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s closure order that affected 19 other counties in California.

Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox outfielder Michael Boomgaarden shades his eyes as the sun sets at McBean Stadium in Lincoln on July 1. Boomgaarden, a graduate of Sutter Union High School, attends Feather River College in Quincy.

Jesuit High School 2020 graduate Daniel Susac, who had homered earlier in the game, leaves in the sixth inning after he was hit in the foot by a pitch. Susac is headed to the University of Arizona in the fall and is the younger brother of major leaguer Andrew Susac. His cousin, Tonko Susac, is also a pitcher with the Potters.

Darkness overtakes McBean Memorial Stadium as seen from the dugout of the visiting Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox on July 1. The Gold Sox won 11-10.

Editor’s note: On July 23, the Lincoln Potters terminated the remainder of their 2020 season due to a player testing positive with COVID-19. 

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