The Brunswick Surfin’ Turfs, Brunswick County’s home team in The Old North State League’s 15-team summer collegiate wood bat baseball league, will return for a third season, playing 39 games from Sunday, May 21-Sunday, July 23.
The Surfin’ Turfs are seeking host families for the players who come from throughout North Carolina, up and down the east coast as well as a few from around the country.
Steve Prokop of The Saltwater Agency real estate brokerage, who serves as the PA announcer for the team, hosted a pair of players from Colorado in the first season in 2020.
“We started in COVID. It was really difficult to get families the first year. The second year, I think we had two or three families. And we had a lot of kids that were renting apartments up in Leland because it was the only place that they could stay. But there was that commute down here every day for practices or games or whatever, it was tough. So we really want to be centrally located where we have everybody down here in the area. It makes it easier for everybody,” Prokop said.
The Surfin’ Turfs will have a roster of between 25 to 30 players and they are looking to find housing for about half of the players.
“We need a minimum of 16 bedrooms. You know, we’re still looking for more kids and where we’re going to get those has yet to be determined, but we definitely need 16 beds. Some of the others already (have housing lined up), they’re getting their own place or they have family that live in the area and they wanted to play down here near the beach. What college kid wouldn’t? We are the furthest south and closest to the to the beach. It is a popular destination.
“We’re really trying to get the word out that we need support from the local businesses to help support these kids as well as families to house some of these kids. We have 18 kids that are coming from out of area. Some Division 1, Division 2 players, not just Junior College players, which is mostly what we had in the past,” Prokop said.
“The very first year, we had two kids (Bailey Seeger and Taylor White) from Denver, Colo., and I’m still in touch with those kids. That’s what’s neat about the whole experience is that as a host family, I’m still keeping in touch with these kids.”
“We have 18 kids that need a place. I house two every year, so I’ve already taken two off the board. But really all it is is a bed and a place for them to wash their clothes. If you’re an old baseball fan and you want to be a part of something, you get two free tickets for every kid that you house for the entire season. If you have a child that is a baseball player, it’s great to have a college kid to come in. It’s just a great experience for everybody involved.”
Prokop said the living arrangements run through July.
“And if we make the playoffs it trickles into August a little bit. We have to wait until the kids get out of college. Once they get down here they have, like, one practice together as a team and then they just play games just about every other day or every two or three days,” he said.
“We’re raising money to help pay for bus transportation. The kids last year had to drive to all the games. This year we’ve got a bus, we’re now getting a driver. But you’ve got to pay for gas. You’ve got to pay for all of that stuff.”
Prokop added they are meeting with groups including the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce this month to make a presentation to them about supporting the team.
“We’ve really upped the game this year, as far as the team,” Prokop added, in part due to Old North State League President and CEO Alec Allred and wife Lexi recently moving to Southport, with Lexi Allred becoming the Surfin’ Turfs’ new general manager.
“They want to make this a pinnacle of the league. This is a great location. We’re going to do a better job of tying into advertising and marketing to the vacationers. It’s fun entertainment and inexpensive for the family. Bring out the kids, watch a ball game,” Prokop said.
“It’s really a growth point now, with the team that we expect to have, to get the involvement to really make this thing go big. We’d like to have a couple hundred people in the stands every game. We’re really trying to ingratiate ourselves to the local area. And we’re excited about what’s happening already, but we need support.”
Anyone interested in providing housing for players can apply on the Surfin’ Turfs website at www.brunswicksurfinturfs.com/host-a-turf.
“Go directly to the website, where there is (a link) for host families. You have to apply and the league will run a check on you just to make sure that the situation is a good situation. But the players are also held to a high standard. They understand that they’re being put up by these families out of the kindness of their heart and that if they violate the confidence of the family and the rules that the family has, they’re not part of the league. There’s no questions asked,” Prokop said.
“They’ve never had a problem with that, because these kids, they’re paying. The kids are paying to come and play. And so they’re invested in it. And the experience that they have, it’s a positive one. I mean, it’s one of those where the families really get to be a part of the kid’s life.”
Brian Slattery is the sports editor for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 910-239-7433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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