From the President’s Desk
We have just completed another successful season in the OVL! In our second year of divisional play, our playoff pairings were not set until the final day of the season. Both of our divisional champions, Owensboro and Hopkinsville, made it through the first two rounds of the playoffs and went the full three games in round three with Owensboro winning the playoff championship 2 games to 1. Owensboro was under new ownership this year and had a new name, RiverDawgs. What a way to start a new brand in Owensboro with a division and playoff championship!
We had our annual All-Star game in Hopkinsville on July 1st with the West defeating the East. All the players and coaches had a great time and enjoyed playing with players that they had competed against all season. I want to thank the Hoppers’ owners and volunteers for putting on a great venue for all to enjoy. A special thanks goes out to Jones Trucking Company along with BSN Sports of Martin, TN, The Game Cap Co., Diamond Baseball Co. and Old Hickory Bat Co. for sponsoring the game!
After the championship was completed, the OVL had two teams participate in the inaugural “Bluegrass World Series” in Louisville, KY. Hopkinsville and Dubois County played against four other wooden bat teams from across the country. There was also a team of former major league players including recently elected Hall of Famer, Chipper Jones. The team was managed by Johnny Bench, also a Hall of Famer. The Hoppers went 0-3, but the players enjoyed themselves and created lifetime memories, especially the game they played against the Louisville Stars. They played a great game, but came up short 4-0. The Bombers qualified to play the Stars in the Championship game with a record of 2-1 in pool play. The Bombers defeated the Stars in the Championship game 6-4 to become the Champions of the inaugural Bluegrass World Series! Nolan Ramsey of the Bombers was named MVP of the series. I would say that the OVL was represented very well and received a great deal of exposure. Many thanks to the Hoppers and Bombers organizations for participating and representing the OVL.
My thanks also goes out to all of the workers behind the scene; the scorekeepers, PA announcers, scoreboard operators, radio announcers, concession stand workers, merchandise table workers, grounds crew, ticket takers, ushers, video personnel, bat boys/girls, statisticians, host families and all others that make it possible to provide quality baseball to our local region and to the nation via the internet and Game Changer. I cannot leave out our Webmaster, Zach Bulliet, who stayed up late every night to post all of the games and box scores and maintained the leagues stats.
Thanks to all of the coaches and their staffs who spent their summer helping to develop the players skills and understanding the importance of why they were playing summer ball.
Also, thanks to the umpires. Without them, the league would not survive. They, like the players, spend their summers honing their skills as umpires and to make sure the game is played in the correct manner. I cannot express my gratitude enough to them for the job they do and the dedication that they have towards making the OVL one of the premier leagues in the country.
A BIG thanks goes out to the dedicated fans, sponsors, owners and advertisers. Without each of you, we would not be able to have an Ohio Valley League! Whether your team was winning or losing, you were always there giving your full support.
Before I close, I have to thank all of the coaches across the nation that sent their players to our league for us to help develop them into better players and young men. Also, thank you to Mom, Dad and family members! For some, it was the first time that your son/relative has been away from home for the summer and they are sending them hundreds of miles away to an unfamiliar town to play baseball. It also gave them an opportunity and place to spend their vacation and experience our fine Southern Hospitality! I must not leave out a first that occurred this year in our league. We had a marriage ceremony take place at home plate in Hopkinsville before the beginning of the second round of the playoffs between the Chiefs and the Hoppers! How committed to the league was that couple!
In closing, I want to leave you with one last comment. Please remember that baseball is just a game and we owe it to all of you and the players to provide the best possible environment to participate in and to build lasting memories for a lifetime.
Respectfully yours for better collegiate baseball,
Cubb R. Stokes, President
Ohio Valley Summer Wooden Bat League