OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The Old Orchard Beach Surge will open their second season Friday night at The Ballpark, but in a new league.

The Surge will play the Sullivan Explorers at 6:30 p.m. on Opening Night of the Empire League, a four-team independent league that formed after the North Country Baseball League folded.

The Surge finished third last year in the NCBL. They are joined in the Empire League by the Watertown (New York) Bucks, the Explorers (from Sullivan County, New York) and New Hampshire Wild (Rindge, New Hampshire).

Five players return to the Surge from last year’s team, including Alan Carey, the Opening Night starter.

“It helps,” said Carey. “It will keep my nerves calm having had that experience here last season.”

Surge Manager Scott Nathanson said it’s important to have some returning players, even if the league’s goal is to have players promoted to a higher minor league level.

Twenty-five players were promoted from the NCBL last year, including 10 from the Surge.

“Some of these guys were fan favorites last year,” said Nathanson of the returning players. “They were out in the community, did a lot of activities out there before and after the games. It’s important to have continuity.”

Outfielder Jacob Fabry will serve as the team’s player-coach, a new league designation this year. “My job is to show the younger guys the ropes,” said Fabry.

“Many of them are from college so I will help transition them from metal bats to wooden bats, to playing every single day and being able to be successful on and off the field because now you’re receiving a paycheck.”

The team will play a 55-game schedule, with 38 of them at The Ballpark. Tickets will cost $5.

The Ballpark will also be the site of the league’s all-star game this year, on July 2 at 7 p.m. It will be preceded by a Home Run Derby at 3 p.m.

The league championship series will be played Aug. 2-4.

“This is another opportunity for these guys,” said Alex Markakis, the general manager of the Surge.