Columbia Blowfish announce move to Lexington County for 2015 season

Columbia Blowfish president Bill Shanahan (far right), with his wife Vicki and Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission Executive Director Randy Gibson (left), said Lexington County is a "hotbed" for baseball. (Photo by Tom Lanahan)

Columbia Blowfish President Bill Shanahan (far right), with his wife, Vicki (center), and Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission Executive Director Randy Gibson (left), said Lexington County is a “hotbed” for baseball. (photo by Tom Lanahan)

When the Columbia Blowfish walk off the field Thursday after their game against HiPoint-Thomsville, it will not only be the final home game of the season, but also their last game at Capital City Stadium.

Blowfish President Bill Shanahan announced Monday that the team will be moving to Lexington County at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Shanahan along with Company Sports Management LLC and the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission have reached an agreement that will begin construction on a new baseball field for the Blowfish this fall and is expected to be done before the 2015 season.

Lexington County Baseball Stadium will be the new home of the Blowfish and will be built at the site of the old Lexington High School football field on Ball Park Road off of U.S. Highway 1.

Shanahan said Lexington County was always the area of focus when it came to where they could relocate.

“There was a laser beam focused right on Lexington County,” he said. “You’ve got over a quarter of a million people. It’s continuing to grow and develop. It’s a hot bed in Lexington County and they were excited about building a collegiate baseball stadium and oh by the way, the Blowfish can play there. It was a great fit.”

The estimated cost of the new stadium is $3 million, which is part of a $23 million bond for improvements to sports facilities across Lexington County. The design plans for the stadium were drafted by Quakenbush Architects and Planners, an architecture and planning firm in Columbia.

Randy Gibson, executive director of the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission, said the commission has been planning to build a new baseball stadium in the county for the past few years and that the time frame of the facility’s completion coincided with the Blowfish leaving Capital City Stadium.

Gibson said the town is eager to welcome the Blowfish as their new team.

“For Lexington, not only the town, but the county itself, Lexington County, is extremely excited to be able to have the Blowfish at our new collegiate stadium,” he said.

Gibson said the move also will help the county financially because it expands the commission’s goal of sports marketing and bringing in people from out of state to “provide a positive economic impact.”

The new stadium will have a capacity of 3,000 people and will provide an expanded concourse, bowl seating, Wrigley Field style box seats, left field lawn seating and an enclosed air conditioned hospitality club.

The stadium won’t only hold baseball games, however. Shanahan hopes to use the stadium for concerts, tournaments, collegiate and high school baseball championships and baseball camps.

“We’re excited about using that venue for more than just Blowfish baseball, which I think is great,” Shanahan said.

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