John L. Davis, center, is owner of the Brookhaven Bucks of the Sunbelt League, who will play at Oglethorpe’s Hermance Stadium, above. At left is league commissioner Bobby Bennett. At right is Bucks coach Tim Burgess.

A Brookhaven business owner plans to start a new baseball team in the community.

Commercial real estate investor John L. Davis said the Brookhaven Bucks will begin play in June.

The team will compete in the Sunbelt League, composed of nine teams in metro Atlanta that feature college players. The Bucks will play home games at Hermance Stadium on the Oglethorpe University campus, Davis said. The first game is planned for June 4.

Davis said he decided to start the team because he’s a baseball fan.

“I love baseball, and I think it’s going to be fun,” he said. “I think this will be great for Brookhaven.”

The Bucks will play a seven-week season with two home games and two road games each week, Davis said. Home games will be played on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons, the team announced. Tickets will cost $4 for adults and $2 for children, Davis said.

Players in the league are amateurs, but use wooden bats, the same as professional baseball players.

Using wooden bats “kind of helps the transfer to pro ball,” said Tim Burgess, assistant coach of the Georgia Perimeter College baseball team, who will coach the Bucks. “Usually the guys who play in leagues like this have a good shot at playing after college.”

Davis said he organized the team after seeing a newspaper article about the Sunbelt League, which has teams in Alpharetta, Norcross, Douglasville, Cumming, Conyers and Locust Grove. He thought the league should field a team at a community inside I-285, metro Atlanta’s Perimeter Highway, and offered to start one in Brookhaven. The league quickly accepted, he said.

“This is a huge deal, to come inside the Perimeter and have a team,” Sunbelt League Commissioner Bobby Bennett said recently during a visit to the Oglethorpe field. “It’s a beautiful community. And there are a lot of talented baseball players in this area, a lot of players we can pull to this team.”

The Sunbelt League says on its website that its mission is “to provide a first-class collegiate summer program dedicated to helping young college athletes achieve their dreams of playing at the professional level. Based out of the metro Atlanta area, this wood bat league showcases some of the top talent in the nation while providing exciting family entertainment to the community.”

Davis said the 28-player Brookhaven team will be made up of “quality college baseball players” from schools such as Florida State University, Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University. Last year, the team said in its press release, 14 Sunbelt League players were drafted or signed by major league franchises.

Davis said he wanted it based at Oglethorpe’s stadium, with its landmark stone exterior on Peachtree Road, because of its location and because “we wanted to go somewhere with a collegiate atmosphere.” Because the team will feature metro Atlanta players, he said, fans “will get to know players a little better than they do pro athletes.”

He said Bucks games should provide “a family type atmosphere” and offer Brookhaven residents a place to take their children.

“There’s a dearth of activities in Brookhaven outside of restaurants,” Davis said as he checked out the field’s entrances and concession stands one recent morning. “What else do you do at night? You have to leave Brookhaven. This will be a place someone can come with his family.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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