RiverDogs begin season tonight at home

The Southern Oregon RiverDogs, a team of recent high school and college baseball players — many with local ties — will begin their 48-game summer schedule tonight.

The RiverDogs are host to the Portland Cavaliers at 7 o'clock at Harry & David Field, where all of Southern Oregon's 28 home games will be played.

The teams play again Saturday in a 2 p.m. doubleheader and Sunday in a noon twin bill.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children and $30 for a season pass.

The RiverDogs are coached by Chris Wolf, who has 20-plus years of experience at a variety of levels and who last year was an aide to Southern Oregon head coach Bill James.

An independent team this year, the RiverDogs next season will be in the Sierra Baseball League along with many of the teams on their current schedule.

"The majority of the teams we're playing have joined for next year," says Wolf, 53, who played five years in the Los Angeles Angels' organization in the 1970s. "So this is really a preview of the league."

According to the league Web site, Southern Oregon would be part of the North Division with the Nor-Cal Longhorns, Humboldt Crabs, Redding Colt 45s, California Cobras, Folsom Pioneers, Sacramento Legends and Lodi GrapeSox.

In the South Division, there would be the San Jose Seals, Clovis Outlaws, Santa Maria Packers, San Luis Obispo Blues, San Luis Obispo Rattlers, Stockton Glory and the East LA Dodgers.

In July, each of the teams will send three players to the league all-star game in Lodi, Calif. Wolf will help coach.

Who those players will be is anybody's guess at this point. Wolf doesn't expect to have a full roster before the middle of next week because many players are still in school.

"Some players will come from up north and play this weekend, then go back for finals," says Wolf.

He knows of a half-dozen players or so who plan to return from last year's team, including Josh Suarez, Tyson Nelson, Travis Wolf and Marcus James.

Last season, the RiverDogs were 21-15. They closed out the season with a doubleheader sweep of the same Cavaliers team they kick off this season against.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail ttrower@mailtribune.com

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