The Albany Twilight League opens its 84th season tonight with the defending league and AABC state champion Bluehawks playing league runner-up and AABC regional champ Albany Athletics at 7 p.m. at Bleecker Stadium.
The Bluehawks, then named the Blue Slate Bluehawks, snapped the Athletics’ string of four consecutive championships when they swept Albany in the best-of-five championship series last year. Both teams advanced to the North Atlantic regionals, and faced off in the title game, with the A’s advancing to their third AABC World Series.
All eight franchises from 2013 will return: the Athletics, Bluehawks, Troy Haymakers, Lids Team Sports, Albany Senators, Waterford Nationals (formerly Nolan Propane), Capital City Diamond Kings and Albany Thunder..
The league plays a 107-game schedule, ending July 19. Bleecker Stadium, Kelts Field in Waterford, Bellizzi Field, Schenectady’s Central Park, Keenholts Park and Waterford-Halfmoon High School will also serve as playing sites.
The league playoffs will immediately follow the regular season, and for the 10th time since 2000, the Twilight League will host the AABC Upper New York State Tournament on July 25-27. In the last 16 years, ATL representatives have won 15 state titles, with the Bluehawks winning the last two.
This year, the tournament will have a six-team field with teams from the Twilight League, Central-New York League and the Eastern New York Collegiate League.
The state champion will advance to the North Atlantic Regional, which will be held at Keenholts Park in Guilderland. That winner will move on to the AABC National World Series in Farmingdale.
Highlighting season-long activities celebrating its 84th anniversary, the league will host an All-Star Game following the season.