We have some year-end awards to announce: Jesse Cole is the Coastal Plain League executive of the year; Ray Sayre is the Southern League’s groundskeeper of the year, and Brian Boesch is the Carolina League broadcaster of the year.
Cole is the managing partner for the Gastonia Grizzlies and Forest City Owls, while also serving as president of Team Cole and Associates — the management firm that operates the Martinsville Mustangs.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named Executive of the Year,” said Cole. “The credit goes to the staff of all three teams. I could not accomplish any of this without them.”
The Gastonia franchise broke the Grizzlies’ attendance record in 2014 with 54,543 fans making their way to Sims Legion Park. Add that to Martinsville and Forest City and his staff attracted over 130,000 fans between the three parks this season. A major drawing force for fans of all three teams, in addition to baseball itself, is the unique entertainment offered by each.
“We believe in providing a great show and service more than anything,” Cole explained. ”We focus on making the game fun for everyone, evident by having a Director of Fun [Emily McDonald] on staff.”
Cole joined the CPL in 2007, originally working as the Gastonia Grizzlies’ general manager before expanding his management to Forest City and most recently Martinsville, where he has helped turn around a franchise that was in jeopardy of continuing to operate just two years ago. After only two seasons, Team Cole and Associates has transformed Martinsville into a profitable organization and recently reached a new five-year agreement with the City of Martinsville to keep the team operating in the CPL for years to come.
“We are thankful to the league for giving us the opportunity to take over the operations in Martinsville,” Cole said. “It has been a definite turn around. We knew we needed to find a way to offer affordable fun entertainment, and with the help of the amazing staff in Martinsville we have done that. It is a testament to how much the city believes in what we can accomplish.”
Sayre is director of sports turf management for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League). Sayre also won the groundskeeper honor in 2013.
“It is truly an honor to get this recognition two years in a row. Maintaining our field is a year-round process and it takes the work and dedication of many people. I am thankful to be part of this talented and supportive team that helps me present such an amazing playing field,” said Sayre. “It is wonderful to know our hard work and fantastic playing field is appreciated by the Southern League, managers and umpires.”
Sayre has been with the Wahoos since the team’s inaugural season.Sayre grew up in Lexington, Kentucky where he began his turf career working on the athletic fields for the University of Kentucky. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in Turf Grass Management. Before making the move to Pensacola, Sayre worked for several minor league teams including the Louisville Bats (Class AAA; International League), the Greenville Drive (Low Class A; Sally League) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Low Class A; Midwest League).
Boesch is the play-by-play broadcaster for the Winston-Salem Dash. He garnered the most votes among the CL’s lead broadcasters and broadcast assistants.
Boesch, 24, is concluding his third season with the Dash after one-year stops with the Burlington Royals (rookie, Pioneer League) and the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League). During his college career at Ohio University, he served as a play-by-play broadcaster for the school’s baseball team and the sideline reporter for the football team.
In addition to his work with the Dash, the Medina, Ohio, native is a studio host and producer for IMG College in Winston-Salem. Over the last two years, he has worked with the University of Kentucky IMG Sports Network. Boesch is the host of “Wildcat Wrap-Up,” the network-wide, 60-minute postgame show, which follows all men’s basketball games. He was on the air for this past April’s National Championship Game.
“This award would not be possible without the support of the Winston-Salem Dash and the Chicago White Sox,” Boesch said. “These two first-class organizations have allowed me to grow as a broadcaster, and I am incredibly thankful to all those who have helped me along the way.”
“I want to thank our coaching staff, players and front office team for a wonderful season,” Boesch continued. “Also, I must recognize the broadcasters in the league, all of whom I respect greatly. This award means that much more because it came from a great group of hard-working, talented play-by-play broadcasters.
Former Wilmington Blue Rocks play-by-play voice John Sadak took home the inaugural award in 2012. Sadak is in the midst of his second season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Class AAA; International League) after working with the Blue Rocks from 2006 to 2012. Last year, Carolina Mudcats broadcaster Darren Headrick, a co-creator of the yearly recognition, was the honoree. Headrick, like Boesch, is in his third season in the Carolina League.
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