The Medford Rogues have a new mascot and, with the help of Medford elementary school students, the mascot has a name: Rowdy.
The baseball team held a weeklong contest in 14 Medford School District elementary schools to select a name for their new mascot and more than 800 entries were received from students in third through sixth grades.
Isabella Heggem, a kindergarten student from Lone Pine Elementary School, was credited with submitting the winning name. Rowdy was introduced at an assembly at Lone Pine on Friday.
"Mascots are really for kids ... to entertain kids at ball games," said Chuck Heeman, general manager for the Medford Rogues.
Heeman said names had been bandied about for the mascot, including the name "Axl Rogue," but ultimately the team wanted something that the kids could relate to, which led to the idea for the contest.
Rowdy will fit right in with the Medford Rogues' pirate theme — he's a pirate who wears a baseball outfit with the team's skull-and-crossbones (with crossed baseball bats instead) logo on his hat.
For selecting the winning name, Isabella received several Medford Rogues T-shirts and a jacket. Students and staff at Lone Pine also received free tickets for the team's first exhibition game on May 31 against the Klamath Falls Gems.
The Rogues have reached out to the community before, coming up with their identity in the fall through a "name the team" contest for the public. Heeman said he wanted the community to connect with the team as much as possible.
"Our entire goal with [the team] is to provide affordable family entertainment in the summer time," said Heeman. "Our audience is 90 percent families; we tailor everything we do to families."
The team plays on the Harry & David Field, which is currently being renovated and will ultimately include a full children's playground at the park along with a party deck, stadium seating, bleachers and an area for people to bring blankets and chairs if they so desire. That will expand the park from seating 600 to seating 2,200.
The $500,000 renovation is about 70 percent complete, according to Heeman, and the team's goal is to have the park finished by the end of April.
The Medford Rogues are the newest team in the West Coast League, which includes teams in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The league is a summer wood-bat college baseball league that draws some of the top collegiate players in the nation.
The Rogue's first league game is set for April 5.
Shannon Houston is a Southern Oregon University intern. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.