Shockers President talks decision to leave New Market

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:16 PM EDT
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New Market, Va. (WHSV) - On Tuesday the New Market Shockers of the Rockingham County Baseball League announced they will not be able to play in New Market this summer and will instead play at Spotswood High School.

The decision was made because the team couldn’t afford increased expenses related to the upkeep of the field at Rebel Park in New Market after the New Market Rebels of the Valley Baseball League, who the Shockers share the park with, signed a contract with an outside company to maintain the field.

“We just had to make a decision based on business and profit and loss and just decided we wouldn’t be able to financially afford to continue to play in New Market,” said Lisa Jones-Hart, President of the Shockers.

Hart said that there are no hard feelings with the Rebels and that she completely understands their business choice. She said the Shockers will continue to be supportive of the Rebels.

“We’re not the organization that they are that is established, had been established for years, and has very dedicated faithful followers. We’re fairly new back in the RCBL at New Market so we just don’t have that income to offset that expense,” she said.

The team is still in the process of fundraising and securing sponsorships in the Spotswood area for the upcoming season but Jones-Hart is excited about it.

“Some of our old New Market friends are currently involved in the Spotswood Trailblazer program so it will be like being reunited with some old friends,” she said.

Jones-Hart, whose grandfather Bobby Strickler helped bring the RCBL to New Market, said it is heartbreaking to leave the town but that the team will continue to move forward.

“It’s bittersweet for me to walk away and try to find a new place but one thing my grandfather raised me was you know when you get knocked down you say a prayer and get back and go at it again. That’s kind of the attitude I’ve taken with this,” she said. “Regardless of where the team is my grandfather’s spirit will always be there. He loved baseball, he loved the R-C-B-L and if my family can do anything to keep that going and keep that moving along then we’ll definitely do that.”

The team’s home beyond this season is uncertain but potentially playing in Luray down the road has been discussed.

“We have talked to Luray, we talked to Luray before we talked to Spotswood just because of proximity. We have very dedicated fans there in New Market that love baseball and of course, we wanted to look for a place close by so that we could keep those fans there,” said Jones-Hart. “Unfortunately that wasn’t able to work out for the 2023 season, I’m not saying we won’t reach out to them and talk to them about 2024, I would love to play in Luray myself but it’s just too early to tell.”