Coming off the best season in franchise history, the Kelowna Falcons will kick off the 2016 West Coast League campaign Friday night at Elks Stadium.
The defending Eastern Division champs will take in the Bellingham Bells at 6:35 p.m. in the first of the three-game weekend series.
As has become tradition, admission to the Falcons home opener is free.
The Falcons enjoyed a record-setting 2015 season, winning 34 regular season games and playing in the WCL championship series in August.
New field manager Bryan Donohue and GM Mark Nonis have compiled a 35-man roster for the season, which includes a trio of returnees. Back for 2016 are all-Star Max Carter, infielder Lane Lacrone and outfielder Joey Crunkilton.
“We’re excited about our group,” said Nonis. “We are hoping to see the same synergy as last year and I think our three returning guys can be leaders bringing together our team quickly. The fact our team gelled so much last year contributed to our success.”
This year’s roster includes nine players from the state of Washington, seven from California and one from West Kelowna.
Local talent Trevor Mlait, from West Kelowna, was a standout for the Okanagan Athletics and just completed his first season south of the border playing for Utah State University Eastern.
Donohue, from Mt. Community College in Oregon, takes over the head coaching duties from Billy Clontz who guided the Falcons for two seasons.
Donohue will be assisted by Michael Bennett and Scott Stone.
Friday night’s admission is free courtesy of Telus, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. Saturday’s game goes at 6:35 p.m., while Sunday’s meeting between the Falcons and Bells starts at 6:05 p.m.