By Greg Halbleib
NORMAL – The Normal CornBelters are moving from the professional baseball ranks to summer collegiate league play.
CornBelters general manager Steve Malliet confirmed Wednesday that the team is leaving the independent Frontier League, where the organization has played for its entire nine-year existence.
Malliet said the team’s ownership group is exploring which league to consider for 2019. The Prospect League is the closest geographically with Danville, Quincy, Hannibal, Springfield and Terre Haute among its cities. The Northwoods League operates in the northern Midwest with the closest team in Rockford. Players in such leagues still have college eligibility and are not paid, plus most must provide their own insurance.
No timeline was given for a decision on which league the Belters will play next season.
The CornBelters made one playoff appearance in nine Frontier League seasons after winning the division in 2015. They were swept by the eventual champion Traverse City Beach Bums in a best-of-three series.
Traverse City is also moving out of the Frontier League as the Beach Bums were sold last month to a group that plans to play in the Northwoods League in 2019.
Greg Halbleib can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.