OVL 2018 Postseason Update

John Bruce Elected OVL Commissioner

The OVL board of directors met in Madisonville on August 18, 2018, and faced a host of decisions in preparation for the 2019 season.

The major decision was the election of John Bruce as the new OVL Commissioner. Bruce, formerly the General Manager of the Hoptown Hoppers, succeeds Cubb Stokes, who notified league members shortly after the conclusion of the 2018 season that he would not be returning as commissioner for the 2019 season.

The complete slate of OVL officers for the 2019 season will be:

John Bruce, Commissioner/President

Vic Evans, Vice President

Tricia Noel, Secretary

Mike Smith, Treasurer

Other OVL Meeting News:

In addition to electing new officers for 2019, the teams voted to make the following changes for the 2019 season:

  • The teams voted to adopt the NCAA Ten-Run “Mercy Rule” to end blowout games early.
  • The teams voted to suspend the annual All-Star Game for the 2019 season due to scheduling concerns surrounding the possible addition of a new team for the 2019 season. (Stay tuned for more news concerning possible league expansion!)
  • The teams voted to move the center point of the league from Marion, Kentucky, to Madisonville, Kentucky, thereby shifting the geographic territory of the league slightly to the east. This change may open the door to a further expansion of teams  on the eastern side of the OVL footprint.

Cubb Stokes Retires As OVL Commissioner

The following is a statement from OVL Commissioner Cubb Stokes concerning the 2018 season and his plans for the future:

August 6, 2018

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

NOTE: The Madisonville Miners thank Commissioner Stokes for his leadership of the Ohio Valley League during his tenure. He has done an outstanding job. Cubb is welcome at Elmer Kelley Stadium any time. Enjoy whatever comes next, Cubb – you’ve earned it!

2018 Season Wrap Up

RiverDawgs Win Playoff Championship

The Owensboro Riverdawgs won the 2018 OVL playoffs by defeating the Hoptown Hoppers two games to one in the championship series.

The Miners congratulate the RiverDawgs on their outstanding season, winning both the East Division pennant and the Championship Series.

Miners Head Coach Franklin Bush Named Montevallo Assistant Coach

We are excited that 2018 Miners Head Coach Franklin Bush got a new coaching job at the University of Montevallo, although that means he will be unable to coach the Miners for the 2019 season.

We want to thank Coach Bush, as well as 2018 assistant coach Caleb Ledbetter and pitching coach Andrew Mercer for their efforts this season. We enjoyed having them in Madisonville for the summer and wish them nothing but the best as they move forward in their coaching careers. We are proud to have them as permanent members of the Madisonville Miners family!

For more information on Coach Bush’s new job at Montevallo, see the following press release from the University of Montevallo:

Montevallo, Ala. – University of Montevallo head baseball coach Chandler Rose has named Franklin Bush as the new assistant coach, replacing former assistant coach Daniel Furuto.

Bush spent last season as a volunteer assistant coach for the Falcons and spent this past summer as the head coach of the Madisonville Miners of the Ohio Valley Collegiate Baseball League.

After working with Bush for a season Coach Rose knows that the Falcons will be able to build on last season’s success with the stability that Bush’s promotion will bring to the program.

“I’m really excited to hire Coach Bush,” said Rose. “He did a tremendous job last year as our volunteer assistant and earned this opportunity. He brings a great work ethic, commitment, and energy to the program. I know he’ll do an awesome job for the players and help us continue to build on the success we’ve had.”

Before Montevallo, Bush spent a year at the University of Buffalo as a volunteer assistant coaching the hitters and infielders.

Bush also worked as an assistant coach for his alma mater Blackburn College for one season.  While coaching the hitters at Blackburn, Bush helped five players earn All-Conference honors and two earned All-Region.  Under Bush, the Beavers were ranked second in the conference in hitting statistical categories.

Bush also spent a season coaching hitters and infielders for the Wellsville Nitros of the New York Collegiate Baseball League.  The Nitros led the league in hits, runs, RBIs, extra-base hits, slugging percentage, and batting average under Bush.  He also helped guide five All-League hitters and earned one national Hitter of the Week.

A three-year starter at Blackburn College, Bush batted a career .305 batting average and boasted a career-best .360 batting average in his junior season.  Bush was named Most Valuable Player and earned All-Conference honors during his time with the Beavers.

Bush earned his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from Blackburn College in 2014.  In 2015 Bush graduated from Auburn University with a Master’s degree in Adult Education.

Regular Season Concluded; Playoffs Start Friday Night

Regular Season Wrapped Up Wednesday Night

The Miners closed out the 2018 regular season with a 5-1 loss in Hopkinsville on Wednesday night. The loss gave the Miners a 14-25 final regular season record and a fourth place in the OVL West Division.

Hopkinsville finished with a 21-20 regular season record and won the OVL West Division by 1/2-game over the Paducah Chiefs, who finished the season at 21-21.

The Owensboro RiverDawgs won the OVL East Division with a 28-14 overall record. The Dubois County Bombers finished second in the East at 25-16 overall.

(Multiple teams had games late in the season that got rained out, and the calendar did not allow for all teams to complete the planned 42-game regular season schedule.)

We congratulate both the Hoptown Hoppers and the Owensboro RiverDawgs on their respective regular season division championships.

Playoffs Start Friday Night in Hoptown

Madisonville will face top-seeded Hoptown in Round One of the 2018 East Division Playoffs beginning Friday night, July 20.

The two teams will play a best-of-three series, with the Hoppers hosting Game 1, the Miners hosting Game 2 on Saturday night, July 21, and Game 3 (if necessary) moving back to Hoptown on Sunday night. Games 1 and 2 will both start at 7pm CT. If Game 3 is necessary, we will post the start time as soon as it is confirmed.

#2 seeded Paducah will play a best-of-three series about #3 seeded Fulton on the same nights. The winners of the two series will face each other in another best-of-three series next week for the East Division Playoff pennant.

The East pennant winner will face the West pennant for the 2018 OVL Playoff Championship late next week. The two teams will also play a best-of-three series.

All Miners playoff games will be available on the GameChanger app, and our home game on Friday night will be audio streamed on our Teamline page.

Member of the Ohio Valley Summer Collegiate Baseball League