A growing collegiate summer baseball league is expanding into Henderson as the Henderson Flash was selected as the eighth member of the Ohio Valley League on Saturday and will begin play inJune 2017.
“We are excited to have Henderson join the league,” said league President Cubb Stokes. “Henderson has a good baseball history and will be a good addition because of its proximity to the University of Southern Indiana and the University of Evansville.”
The team, which will play a 40-game schedule in June and July, will have a roster of college players from junior college to NCAA Division I levels.
Clay Bolin, who is the owner and president of the Henderson Flash, began the process of formulating the team almost a year ago. “It’s been a lot of work on the front end,” he said. “Now we are ready for the fun to start as far as putting the pieces in place to put a team on the field.”
Henderson will join seven other teams in the league which had its beginnings in 2004.
Because of its expansion, the league voted to split into two divisions. Henderson will compete in the East Division with the Owensboro Oilers, the Dubois County Bombers of Huntingburg, Indiana, and the Muhlenberg County Stallions.
The West Division teams are the Fulton Railroaders, the Paducah Chiefs, the Madisonville Miners and the Hopkinsville Hoppers.
Muhlenberg County and Paducah were new additions to the league in 2016.
“Our goal is to get to 10 teams,” Stokes said. “Two years ago, we were at five. Paducah and Muhlenberg were two good additions last year. We are about 99 percent sure that we have another team coming on board in 2018 and we are working diligently on bringing a 10th team into league in 2018. We are growing, so I think that’s a sign we are doing something right.”
Henderson is another community in the OVL with connections to the Kitty League, a professional Class D minor league that existed in the region from 1903 to 1955. Owensboro, Madisonville, Fulton, Paducah and Hopkinsville also fielded Kitty League teams. Their nicknames are throwbacks to their Kitty League history.
Bolin said he chose Flash as his team’s nickname because of its strong ties to the community as the nickname of the former Henderson City High School.
The Flash will play its 20-game home schedule at Henderson County High School’s B.T. Wayne Field.
Fans can expect to see a high level of play in the wooden bat league, Stokes said. “It will be a level of baseball that they’ve never seen. They’ve seen good high school baseball and semi-pro baseball. Some of these college players could make it to the major leagues.”