School is out for the summer and for most, that means freedom.
For Grove Pitching Coach Drew Osborne, summer means traveling to Ohio to work with the Xenia Scouts baseball team. The Scouts are part of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League, which is made up of twelve teams from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Ontario, Canada.
The Scouts joined the league in 2009. Since then, the team has had thirteen players go on to the major leagues, including 2015 team member Kevin Merrell of the University of South Florida, who went in the first round to the Oakland Athletics.
The Xenia Scouts won the title of Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League Champions in 2016, ending the season with a 27-15 record. However, the end of the 2018 season resulted in the Southern Ohio Copperheads of Athens, Ohio winning the Championship title, defeating the Saginaw Sugar Beets 7-2 and 10-8.
Coach Osborne will primarily be working with the team’s pitchers and defense, but will fill any need that the team has. On the spiritual side, Osborne will disciple the team by leading devotions, develop a Christian perspective and build relationships with the community, opponents and anyone who they come into contact with. The team will also host camps for local children and activities in the local churches.
The team is led by head coach Victor “Bubba” Cates, who has most recently coached at The University of Tennessee Martin. Joining Osborne in the Assistant Coach position is Taylor Hargrove. Garrett Baker rounds out the staff at Pitching Coach.
"I feel like this is not only a great opportunity for me personally, but I think it will benefit all of our program as well because I'll be working with high level players and coaches for the summer. It's not everyday you get the opportunity to work for a retired D1 coach of twenty years and a staff with collegiate and professional experience," said Osborne.
The season will kick off on the road for the Scouts on Tuesday, June 4, at McBride Stadium, the home of the Richmond Jazz.
An Opportunity for Osborne
While at church, Osborne heard a sermon on stewardship, which was described as using one’s talents, abilities, passions, time and opportunities for ministry instead of selfish means. The following Tuesday, Osborne fielded a call from Athletes In Action, or AIA, to coach, saying that the had received a recommendation for Osborne.
Osborne had been affiliated with AIA since he played at Southwest Baptist University and has been coaching since 2006. The organization had decided that Osborne would be a great fit for the GLSCL and called to present him with the opportunity of working as an assistant coach for the summer.
While preparing for the weekly Sunday School lesson, Osborne and his wife considered the offer. The lesson was on opportunities that God provides based on abilities and talents.
“My wife and I both took these things as a sign that God wanted us to go to Ohio this summer. I told my wife that I’ve been blessed as a coach and a teacher and that I felt like this is what we were supposed to do this summer,” said Osborne.
With his wife’s agreement, the two began laying out the plans of how to bring about the opportunity. As it turns out, Osborne will travel first to get settled, followed by his wife and children shortly after. The job is until the end of July, meaning Osborne will return to Grove for the 2019-2020 school year.
An Interesting Background
Osborne was the son of missionaries, who served in the Philippines. This afforded him an unusual start in the sport of baseball, as there were no t-ball or coach-pitch leagues in which to learn the game. Instead Osborne played catch with his father with a softball.
Upon the family’s return to the States, Osborne was ten years old. That is when he began playing organized sports. In high school Osborne participated in four sports: football, basketball, track and baseball.
“[I] have always loved baseball,” said Osborne. “When we moved to Missouri, I started playing travel ball and I excelled at it. I loved the opportunity to play every day.”
Osborne’s travel team played more than eighty games during the summer months.
Post-high school, Osborne continued to play at Southwest Baptist University as a Bearcat. It was during his time with SBU that Osborne became involved with AIA. AIA is part of Campus Crusade for Christ and Osborne played with AIA for three summers, including one tour overseas to Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The other summers were spent in the New York Collegiate League and the MINK League (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas).
For the past twenty-seven years, the game has been a part of Osborne’s life, thirteen playing and fourteen coaching.
“I loved the opportunity to use baseball as a too to minister and share the gospel as well as making a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Osborne. “The best part of the job is being able to go to the ballpark everyday and share the Gospel. When I was in high school, I asked God to give me opportunities in baseball to use as a tool to impact on our world. This is an answer to a prayer and an opportunity God has blessed me with.”
For more information or to follow Osborne’s travels with the team, visit www.xeniascouts.com.
Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League 2019 Teams
Cincinnati Steam - Cincinnati, OH
Galion Graders - Galion, OH
Grand Lake Mariners - Celina, OH
Hamilton Joes - Hamilton, OH
Lake Erie Monarchs - Flat Rock, MI
Licking Country Settlers - Newark, OH
Lima Locos - Lima, OH
Muskegon Clippers - Muskegon, MI
Richmond Jazz - Richmond, IN
St. Clair Green Giants - Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
Southern Ohio Copperheads - Athens, Ohio
Xenia Scouts - Xenia, OH