OVC Baseball tournament set for venue change in 2017

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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For the past seven years, the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament has been held at the Ballpark in Jackson in Jackson Tennessee. Its new location for the 2017 and the 2018 seasons will be in Oxford, Ala.

The tournament has been around for 38 years, beginning in the 1980 season with most of the tournaments being held on the campus of the regular season OVC champion. It switched to the neutral site of Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Kentucky in 2001.

The six teams that make the double-elimination tournament this year will be playing at Choccolocco Park run by Oxford Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees sports complex.

In 2016, the OVC softball tournament was held in Oxford on the campus. The Eastern softball team was in the OVC tournament this past year, but the Eastern baseball team has not reached the tournament since 2014.

Eastern struggled last year going 15-39 overall with a conference record of 8-22, but one positive aspect to come out of the season was the impact that the younger players made on the team.

Juniors Joseph Duncan and Cale Hennemann were two of the Panthers’ top hitters in 2015. Duncan was a regular starter in the outfield for Eastern in 2015 and hit .332 for the season. Hennemann was a regular starter at second base in 2015 and hit .312 on the year.

The Panthers’ pitching staff struggled for much of the season, but the biggest concern last year was having strong hitting in games that the pitching was strong and visa versa.

Most games would go to the late innings, and that is when the Panthers struggles would result in a loss.

Once the season gets rolling in the spring, if the Panthers can carry over their strong hitting and the pitching staff has strong outings, the Panthers may find their way to Oxford in May

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]