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Summer Fun: Baseball — The Grand Old Game

Local baseball available in many sizes.

Baseball is as much a part of summertime as swimming, outdoor cookouts and family vacations. Three area minor league teams are located within reasonable distance for those Northern Virginia area fans that want to spend an evening or afternoon at an intimate ballpark.

One of the locals – the Potomac Nationals – is affiliated with the hometown major league team, the Washington Nationals. Potomac, a high level single-A team and member of the historic Carolina League, plays its games at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge. The Potomac ball yard will be the place to be over the Fourth of July weekend when the minor league Nats play 6:35 p.m. games on both Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4 against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The holiday weekend baseball treat is being billed as “Food, Fireworks and Fun.” For $24, fans will receive a game ticket, enjoy a pre-game, all-you-can-eat picnic, and take in a postgame fireworks extravaganza on both nights. Call 703-590-2311.

Two other great minor league baseball options this summer are Baltimore Orioles affiliates — the Frederick Keys (single-A, Carolina League) and the Bowie Baysox (double-A, Eastern League). Both ball clubs play in gorgeous, 10,000-seat ballparks.

The Keys, located at 21 Stadium Drive in Frederick, captured the North Division title during the first half of the Carolina League season. The season’s second half began on Thursday, June 24 when Frederick played the Winston-Salem Dash. Tickets to Keys games run from $5 to $11 and there is a Fun Zone playground facility for children. So, shake a key chain and enjoy a team in which the mascot is a coyote named “Keyote.” And, by the way, Frederick hosts Potomac for three games July 7-9. Call the Keys at 301-662-0013.

The Baysox play their games at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie. A short trip down 50 East going towards Annapolis, then onto 301 North, will get you to the friendly confines of the ball park, located at 4101 Crain Highway.

A fan favorite at Bowie is the annual “Super Hero Night,” set to take place Sunday evening, July 11 at 6:05 p.m. Fans, young and old, can dress as their favorite super heroes. Super fireworks will follow the game. And, yes, real live super heroes will be available for autographs. The Baysox opponent that night will be the dastardly Trenton Thunder. Call the Baysox at 301-805-6000.

Want some other high caliber baseball options? How about some college summer league ball with the Alexandria Aces and the Herndon Braves, both members of the wooden bat Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League? The Aces play at Four Mile Run Park, located at 3700 Commonwealth Ave., in Alexandria. Check out the Aces at alexandriaaces.org. And visit the Braves at herdonbraves.com. The Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League is composed of college players from around the country looking to improve their games during the off season. The CRCBL uses wood bats, helping players adjust to the game at the professional level.

It’s still easy to take in a major league game, hop on the Metro and head down to the Washington Nationals Stadium. www.nationals.com.