BATESVILLE — Baseball superfan Faron Blessing has worked his way up the ranks to become the Ohio Valley Region state commissioner for Indiana.
The Batesville man has been involved with the youth baseball program here for nearly 23 years.
Before moving from Point Pleasant, W.Va., in 1989, Blessing was one of the league directors there and coached his oldest son, Brandon. Brandon continued to play in the Batesville youth program while his dad assisted with coaching, then joined the board in 1992.
“Almost every league has grown in the range of two to four teams, 24-40 kids, over what it was initially when I started. There were a couple of major changes that we implemented while I have been on the board.”
One was “changing the player uniforms to actual Major League team replica uniforms. They cost less for the league, plus the joy and pride the kids had the first couple of years was something you’ll almost never forget. When the kids were talking and thinking they were actual players from their favorite teams, it was great. Most grown-ups wouldn’t think it was such a big deal, but it was so gratifying knowing that you somewhat made a difference,” the Batesville resident reports.
“Another major milestone ... was getting the Batesville baseball program chartered with the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken organization back in the fall of 1997. This move allowed the various Batesville league all-star teams the chance to play in the National Sanctioned Tournament Trail very similar to the Little League World Series you see on TV.”
He served as the Southern Indiana Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken District 4 commissioner for several years. “Then, due to the growth of Babe Ruth chartered leagues throughout Indiana and the fact this state had a much greater number of chartered leagues and teams than most other states in the Ohio Valley Region,” Indiana was split into three separate regions, northern, central and southern.