Lexington will soon have a new baseball team — in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League (GLSCL).
The team will begin play June 12 at Carleton, Mich., and open at home June 16.
Ken Jackson, who started the Champions indoor baseball facility and the non-profit Kentucky Baseball Club (KBC), said the GLSCL team also will be a non-profit organization. Players will pay to participate. Although that amount has not been set, Jackson said typical fees around the league range from $350 to $750.
“We hope to bring a good brand of wood-bat collegiate baseball,” said Jackson, whose playing career at the University of Kentucky was cut short when he was struck by a car.
The GLSCL, with nine of its 11 teams based in Ohio, was established in 1986. The league is affiliated Major League Baseball and the NCAA. Only college-eligible players who have taken classes are eligible. (Incoming freshmen and players whose collegiate eligibity ends this spring are excluded.)
Former Lexington Catholic and UK pitcher Adam Revelette is general manager of the unnamed team. Revelette, who also played in the Minnesota Twins organization, was somewhat handicapped in the ongoing process of assembling a team because players normally commit to GLSCL teams in September. Action to secure a franchise didn’t get started until December.
“Adam’s done a great job of pulling together what we think will be a really competitive team,” Jackson said. “Next year, when we have a chance to plan, we can be beyond competitive. There’s a lot of good players around here.”
Revelette said the team will play at Henry Clay High School.
“It’s probably one of the best parks in the state high school-wise, the entire Ohio Valley region,” Revelette said. “It will instantly be one of the better facilities in the Great Lakes League. That’s not a knock against the Great Lakes League. It’s a tribute to how well (Henry Clay) has kept it up. The surface is second to none, probably, in the city. It rivals UK and the Legends’ park.”
Most players will commute from home. Revelette has signed 21 players, half of whom play more than one position, and expects to add five or six more. League rules permit as many as 30 players. Of those in hand, all but two live within commuting distance. A “host family” has been assigned to the two players needing a place to live.
Early signees include OF Dalton Henzman (Lexington Christian Academy, Middle Tennessee State University); IF Ben Hartley (LCA, Union College); IF-C Logan Jackson (Tates Creek, University of Cincinnati), and C Michael Schornick (Lexington Catholic, Georgetown College).
Revelette also has twins Gardner and Jon Wes Adams signed. Out of Lafayette and now at Asbury University, both brothers are right-handed pitchers. Gardner also plays third base, while Jon Wes can catch and play shortstop.
Bobby Wright, an assistant coach at Otterbein College, will be the team’s head coach. He will be assisted by Josh Franklin, who played at Catholic and Georgetown, and now is an assistant at Lindenwood University. Former UK player and current Catholic assistant Lee Rogers will be the pitching coach.
Wright and Revelette were teammates on the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League.
Jackson says that most of GLSCL players with established teams come from the Big Ten and Mid-American conferences, as well as the Northeast. Lexington will be the southern-most club and figures to draw players from larger in-state schools next year.
Although ticket prices have not been finalized, $75 for 20 home games is Revelette’s estimate, or $5 per game. College and Henry Clay students would be admitted free.
Jackson sees the team as a natural progression for KBC players. According to Jackson, KBC has produced 110 college players over the last four years, including a first-round draft pick, two second-rounders, a Team USA selection and a USA alternate. He’s hoping that the some 135 families involved in KBC will help support the wood-bat team as “a lot of those kids will be feeding into it.”
In addition to honing player skills, Jackson says he has support from local schools, including UK, Transylvania and Midway, to use the new team as a feeder program for sports management students. Interns will be doing much of the day-to-day operations.
Not including first-season start-up costs, Jackson says the annual budget is expected to range from $60,000 to $75,000. The biggest cost will be transportation. There will be some hotel stays, but most of the away games are within daily driving distance.
Jackson is assembling a board of directors that he hopes will number 20-to-40, and that he hopes will be made up of season ticket-holders.
Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League (all teams based in Ohio except for Lexington and the Lake Erie Monarchs) – Cincinnati Steam; Delaware Cows; Grand Lake Mariners (Coldwater); Hamilton Joes; Lake Erie Monarchs (Carleton, Mich.); Lexington; Licking County Settlers; Lima Locos (Spencerville); Southern Ohio Copperheads (Athens); Stark County Terriers (Canton); Xenia Scouts.
The GLSCL is a member of the National Alliance of Summer College Baseball. Other leagues in the Alliance are the Cape Cod, Valley Basell, New York Collegiate, Cal Ripken Collegiate, Florida Collegiate, Atlantic Collegiate and Southern Collegiate.
“Adding Lexington as the newest team in the Great Lakes League will be a tremendous boos for the growth of the league and the expansion of baseball in Central Kentucky,” Mike Childers, a member of MLB’s scouting bureau, said in a team press release. “Lexington has become a hotbed for baseball talent in recent years and this level of collegiate competition will only add to the growth of the sport.”