The Sand Gnats may be headed to Columbia, but Grayson Stadium won’t be empty next summer after all.

The city has found a new baseball team.

This one is in the Coastal Plain League. With teams in Virginia, North and South Carolina. The season runs from late May to August, and consists of college players learning how to hit with wooden bats.

Savannah will be the 12th team in the league, and the owner will pay the city $20,000 in rent for approximately 30 home games played in Grayson next year.

“I think this will provide the public the entertainment they are looking for,” explains Joe Shearhouse, Leisiure Services Director. “To say we’ll make money, I don’t think we made money on the Sand Gnats. So it’s a quality of life, a good substitute for the Sand Gnats.”

Shearhouse says the shorter baseball schedule allows the city to play more high school and college baseball games at the stadium, and look for other “entertainment options.”

The new team is about to sign a three year lease, and isn’t asking for any upgrades to Grayson.

Shearhouse says that’s unlike every other team in the MLB Minor League system.

“So if we had $25-30 million I think we could do that. But every one of those professional teams mentioned is there a chance for renovations in the next year or two years. And that’s not possible. This one fits because this stadium is workable for this team without any renovations.”

The new team is about to sign a three year lease, for $20,000 a year, that’s only $5000 less than what the Sand Gnats paid to rent out Grayson for a full season.