Intercounty Baseball League tours Welland Stadium as part of ‘fact-finding mission’

Welland Stadium, a ballpark specifically built to house a Class A baseball team, deserves another turn at bat.

Whether that will be as home to a team in the Intercounty Baseball League depends on the results of an ongoing "fact-finding mission."

Ryan Harrison, an Ontario Hockey League referee and one of four co-owners of the Intercounty league's Burlington Herd, is conducting the mission on behalf of his team, but he will be sharing all his findings with the eight-team league.

He has the league's blessing to conduct the search.

"They're all for it," he said. "They're actually the same as me, they wonder why there isn't a team here already."

The 28-year-old sales representative with an athletic wear company hasn't ruled out the Herd relocating to Welland should a long-term business plan be viable, but ideally would like to see the southern Ontario league expand.

"I think having new blood in the lineup is healthy for us," he said after touring the 2,500-seat stadium along with Welland native and fellow OHL referee Brent Coulombe.

"I'm not saying we need 14, 16 to 20 teams, but one or two more would make it 10."

Harrison was impressed with the fan and player amenities offered in the single-deck facility built in 1989 to accommodate the Welland Pirates, then the New York-Pennsylvania League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In addition to dressing rooms for home and visiting teams and dugouts with washrooms, the stadium has a concession stand, press box, ticket booth and a changeroom for umpires.