HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – The Holly Springs Salamanders are the newest franchise and member of the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League (CPL), as announced by the team at the site of its home park, the North Main Athletic Complex, on Thursday.
Team president Pete Bock revealed the team’s name, logo and colors as well as announced the front office staff and head coach who will lead the team in the 2015 season.
Bock did so amidst the backdrop of ongoing construction of the team’s new facility, and pointed out how tremendous the response was to help shape the team’s identity.
The team held a two-week ‘Name the Team’ contest earlier in the month and received over 400 submissions.
“We had great support from the community and gathered a lot of interesting and unique suggestions for what we should call the team,” Bock said.
“We went through each of them and put the ones we liked up on the board. Salamanders kept jumping out to us because of the variety of things you can do with it as your nickname. We also did some research on salamanders, and even talked with some town officials who informed us of a salamander preservation area here in Holly Springs, so we quickly realized it was a perfect fit.”
It was Joel Eaton of Holly Springs who suggested the name Salamanders and it was Skye Design Studios, a brand identity and design firm located in the greater New York City area, that put together the team’s logo and colors – Vegas Gold and Steel Blue.
Bock, who founded the CPL along with Chairman and CEO Jerry Petitt in 1997, will co-own the franchise with him.
Petitt is a well-known and successful hotel industry figure who set up Creative Hotel Associates, which currently owns and manages over 19 properties across the U.S.
Bock is no stranger to baseball in the Triangle area, having helped start up the Durham Bulls with Miles Wolff in 1980, and has spent most of his adult life working in baseball, having operated minor league teams including the Bulls, Hawaii Islanders, Eugene Emeralds and Idaho Falls Braves.
“We’re excited to be bringing Coastal Plain League baseball to Holly Springs and the surrounding communities,” Petitt said.
“After having our league office located in Raleigh and then Holly Springs for 18 years, we are happy to have a team and beautiful facility that the area can be proud of.”
The rest of Salamanders front office will consist of general manager Tommy Atkinson, assistant general manager Kevin Whitehead, and director of promotions and entertainment Auston Moore.
“We feel we have put together a very talented and knowledgeable front office staff for the Salamanders,” Bock continued.
“Each has their own unique attributes, but the great thing is they have all worked in and around baseball for numerous years. They will all be active members of the community, and look forward to making this franchise a way of life for all of our fans.”
The 2015 season marks the Salamanders first year of summer baseball, as they become the 15th member of the CPL.
They will play in the East Division alongside clubs from nearby Fayetteville, Wilmington and Wilson among others.
On the field, the Salamanders will be coached by former N.C. State Wolfpack infielder Andrew Ciencin who will lead the team in its inaugural season.
Ciencin played in the CPL during college, spending time with the Forest City Owls (2009, 2010) and helped lead them to two Petitt Cup Championships and a national title in 2009.
Following his collegiate playing career, Ciencin spent the 2013 summer as an assistant coach for the Morehead City Marlins of the CPL.
He then returned a year later as the head coach of Forest City, leading them to a 31-27 overall record and berth in the Petitt Cup Playoffs.
“I am extremely happy to accept the position and be able to be the first coach at what I think will be one of the best places to play collegiate summer baseball in the country,” Ciencin said.
“We are already hard at work on recruiting a roster our fans will be proud of. I am excited for this summer, and I am excited for what this team will bring to Holly Springs.”