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River Bandits prepare for 2024 season

The Tarboro River Bandits are preparing to take the field for the 2024 season. The River Bandits are a collegiate summer team featuring talented college baseball players from around the country. They open their season at home at Tarboro’s Municipal Stadium against the Fuquay-Varina Twins on Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m.

Team owner Wayne Turnage emphasized the quality of players in summer collegiate leagues, noting that around 75% of the players on this year’s roster are Division I athletes. He also shared that two former River Bandits were taken in last year’s MLB draft, with 8–10 more players eligible this year, including several he expects to be drafted, including Liam McFadden-Ackman of Northern Kentucky University.

The River Bandits will begin this season in a larger league, the Old North State League, which was created specifically to improve player development. Turnage is excited about the opportunity to participate in the new league, the competition with the teams throughout North Carolina along with the fans those visiting teams will bring to the area.

Tickets for each home game are $8, and season tickets are available for $130. The games are family-friendly. The gates will open one and a half hours before the games to encourage fan interactions with the team, including giving kids the chance to play catch with the team.

Turnage commented that fans are able to have far more interaction with the players than they are compared to minor league games. “Fans will get to know players on a personal level through conversations with them,” Turnage said.

There are many promotional nights, including Date Night and Church Night, as well as games designated to give back to the community.

Two of those include the Homerun for Hunger food drive and the JT Winstead Memorial Game, which will award scholarship money to students in honor of JT Winstead. By bringing in three cans of food for admission, the food drive collected over 1500 cans last year, but Turnage hopes to collect more than 2000 this year.

The team is introducing a couple of new events this season, including Cancer Foundation Night on June 2. A portion of the proceeds from that game will be given to the Cancer Foundation. On June 3, the River Bandits will host an Educational Day for Edgecombe County Schools at 11 a.m. A special game for Senior Citizens and Veterans will be at noon on June 25.

See the full 2024 promotional night schedule here.

One way the community can support college teams like the River Bandits is by hosting players. Players live with local families during the season since the NCAA prohibits athletes from receiving a summer stipend. This is a great way to support these athletes and to help provide quality baseball for our area. The relationships between the host family and players often become meaningful and enduring.

The River Bandits are still looking for a couple more host homes for the upcoming season. Learn more about host homes here.

The River Bandits have several sponsorship opportunities available. Sponsors can advertise while also helping offset some of the team's costs and keeping ticket prices low.

Corporate and group ticket options are available for groups of 25 or more. Groups receive half-price tickets and have an opportunity to have a table at the game to share information. This is open to businesses as well as organizations like little leagues, churches, and other groups.

Contact for more information about the sponsorship and advertising opportunities available as well as group ticketing.

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