BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- The Ohio Valley Conference Board of Athletic
Directors and Board of Presidents have approved a plan to move the
OVC Baseball Championship to Jackson, Tenn., for the next three
years, beginning with the 2010 season. The six-team,
double-elimination tournament will be held May 26-30, 2010 at
Pringles Park, home of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, the AA affiliate
of the Seattle Mariners.
Tennessee Tech won the 2009 OVC Tournament, held in Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Ky., and advanced to the NCAA Regional for the third time in the past 13 years so coach Matt Bragga's team will be the first team to have the chance to defend its title in the new venue.
“The Ohio Valley Conference is excited to have the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, the City of Jackson and the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce as the new hosts of the OVC Baseball Championship,” said Brad Walker, Interim OVC Commissioner. “The opportunity to play games at Pringles Park and build on the student-athlete experience and community support of the event is attractive.”
The 2009 season marked the 30th year the OVC Baseball Championship had been held. The first elimination style tournament was held in 1980, most usually being played at the site of the regular season champion. Beginning in 2001 the tournament switched to a neutral site for the first time, as the last nine championships have been held at Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Ky. Tennessee Tech was also the first team to win the OVC crown in Brooks Stadium, doing that in 2001, giving the Golden Eagles the first and last titles at the site.
“On behalf of the OVC member institutions and conference staff I would like to thank the City of Paducah and the staff at Brooks Stadium for providing a great experience as the host of our tournament for the past nine years,” Walker said. “We are going to miss them, but we are excited about the new possibilities that are in store for the tournament."
Pringles Park opened in 1998 and has a seating capacity of 6,000. The venue hosted the 1999 Southern League All-Star Game and will also host that event in 2011. Pringles Park also has luxury suites, a video board and merchandise shop that will be used for the championship. More information on the stadium and the Diamond Jaxx can be found at http://westtenn.diamondjaxx.milb.com .
“We are thrilled to have been awarded the OVC Baseball Tournament for the next three years,” said Tom Hanson, General Manager of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. “Our community always does a great job in supporting major events, and I’m sure this tournament will be no different. We look forward to making this a special experience for all players, coaches, families and friends.”
Jackson, Tenn. is located 130 miles from Nashville and 77 miles from Memphis on Interstate 40.
The Ohio Valley Conference currently has nine baseball-playing institutions including Austin Peay State University, Eastern Illinois University, Eastern Kentucky University, Jacksonville State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee at Martin. Tennessee State University, a member of the OVC in all other sports, does not sponsor baseball. SIU Edwardsville, the league’s newest member, is ineligible for postseason play until 2013 due to the program’s reclassification efforts to full Division I status.