New ownership eyes major changes for Bombers

By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer

From the front office to the field, not much will look the same next year for the Dubois County Bombers.

Dubois County isn’t changing stadiums — games will continue to be played at League Stadium in Huntingburg — but the Bombers will feature a new coach (Wes Fink) and general manager (Skip Kruger) and will be controlled by a new ownership group, the recently formed Dubois County Baseball, LLC.

“It was an easy sell to 13 different individuals to put this organization together,” said Mike Uebelhor, the co-owner of Uebelhor Developments who manages the group along with John Kahle of Jasper. “The sole intent was to maintain a collegiate baseball team here in Dubois County and to provide entertainment for 400 or 500 fans an evening when they’re playing at home.”

Individuals and local business owners with interests similar to Uebelhor and Kahle joined to ensure a local presence for collegiate-level baseball; Uebelhor and the group started informal talks after the end of the 2011 season. League Stadium will undergo a renovation, with the concession stand area converted to a gift shop that will be open regularly and graphics added to further promote the venue as the site where parts of the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” was filmed.

Dubois County will also compete in a new league, leaving the Prospect League for the Ohio Valley League, which follows official wooden-bat rules and guidelines similar to those used in the Prospect League. 

The rest of the new league’s teams, all in Kentucky, will be the Madisonville Pirates, Fulton Railroaders, Owensboro Oilers, Marion Bobcats and Hoptown Hoppers.

In an effort to raise attendance, ticket prices for season tickets and single games will be lowered, and it’s expected the new prices will be decided by the end of the year; season-ticket holders will receive a flier in the mail with other announcements planned.

The new ownership also believes another shift will bring in more fans: recognizable faces.

“The biggest change is going after local talent more so than bringing in players from the west coast and the east coast,” said Uebelhor, 64, of Huntingburg. “We’ll be putting much more emphasis on contacting and securing collegiate players from the tri-state area, which is one of the major changes fans will see.”

Along that line, Fink played four seasons for the Bombers and resides in Huntingburg. Combined with more local players, Uebelhor indicated having a local guy coach the team will help generate interest. Kruger, who will be moving to Huntingburg, spent about 15 years working in marketing and operations for the DC United of Major League Soccer.

And since the Bombers won’t be making any more bus trips in excess of eight hours with all their road games in a neighboring state, travel costs will decrease; Uebelhor said the group plans to use the saved money to make the fan experience more enjoyable. It’s too early for him to share specifics, but he doesn’t expect anyone who attends League Stadium next season to be disappointed.

“We’re intending to make the ballgame more than just a game — it’s going to be an entertainment factor,” Uebelhor said. “We plan to introduce new events during the game and to make it family-friendly and to make it entertaining.”

Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com.




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com