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The Frederick Keys’ first season of unaffiliated baseball — and their first game action of any kind since 2019 — is set to start May 24, the team announced Tuesday in releasing its 2021 schedule.

No longer a Baltimore Orioles farm team after the minor league baseball model was restructured, the Keys will play their inaugural campaign in the six-team MLB Draft League, which features prospects from across the country who are hoping to get selected in the major league draft.

Frederick, which didn’t play at all in 2020 after the minor league season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, opens its 68-game season on the road against the Trenton Thunder in New Jersey on May 24.

The first of the Keys’ 34 home game at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium is slated for 6:30 p.m. on May 26 against the West Virginia Black Bears.

Other teams in the Draft League are the Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers, the State College (Pennsylvania) Spikes and the Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Crosscutters.

While the Major League draft occurs in July around the All-Star Break, the Draft League plays through mid-August. The MLB Draft League season is roughly half the length of the season the Keys used to play as a High Class-A Orioles affiliate in the Carolina League. That season typically ran from April to September.

“Over the past year this terrible and tragic pandemic has definitely presented many challenges and hardships for all us in our attempt to live anywhere close to a normal life. The health and safety of our fans, attendees, and the community at large is certainly paramount and our top priority moving forward for 2021,” Keys general manager Dave Ziedelis said in a press release from the team.

“The Keys will be strictly following all CDC guidelines, protocols, and safety measures to produce and insure the safest possible experience for all involved while also following and adhering to all executive orders and relating restrictions as per Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, and City of Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor.”

The Keys are planning to have 14 firework dates in 2021. A full Keys promotional schedule including giveaways, celebrity appearances and other plans for 2021 will be announced at a later date.

Frederick Keys 2021 Home Schedule

May 26, West Virginia, 6:30

May 27, West Virginia, 6:30

June 2, Mahoning Valley, 6:30

June 3, Mahoning Valley, 6:30

June 4, Mahoning Valley, 7

June 5, West Virginia, 6

June 6, West Virginia, 1

June 11, Mahoning Valley, 7

June 12, Mahoning Valley, 6

June 13, Mahoning Valley, 1

June 18, Trenton, 7

June 19, Trenton, 6

June 20, Trenton, 1

June 25, Trenton, 7

June 26, Trenton, 6

June 27, Trenton, 6

July 4, Williamsport, 6

July 5, Williamsport, Noon

July 6, West Virginia, 7

July 7, West Virginia, 7

July 8, West Virginia, 7

July 20, West Virginia, 7

July 21, West Virginia, 7

July 2, West Virginia, 7

July 27, West Virginia, 7

July 28, West Virginia, 7

July 29, West Virginia, 7

July 30, Trenton, 7

July 31, Trenton, 6

Aug. 1, Trenton, 6

Aug. 10, State College, 7

Aug. 11, State College, 7

Aug. 12, Trenton, 7

Aug. 13, Trenton, 7

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