Our New Title Sponsor

Eugene Challenger Teammates and Fans,

As a locally owned business of over 50 years, we believe it is important to support our community. Specifically youth programs, youth athletics, and our local schools.  We understand that sports teach young athletes about more than just a game. Hard work, dedication, teamwork, failure and success are all part of the athletic experience. Sometimes these are hard lessons to learn but can remain with an athlete throughout their life. The Eugene Challengers have always represented these core values in the same way The Overhead Door Co. of Eugene-Springfield strives to be in our own business and community.

The members of the ownership team of The Overhead Door Co. of Eugene-Springfield were all high school athletes with Challenger affiliated schools, including being a part of the 1999 State Championship team.  Baseball has always been a part of our Overhead Door Family. From company picnics at Civic Stadium and now PK Park, to our own kids attending challenger camp each summer dreaming of one day becoming a Eugene Challenger themselves.

The Overhead Door Co. of Eugene-Springfield looks forward to a great partnership with the local athletes of The Eugene Challengers.

Let’s Play Ball!

Your Friends,

The Overhead Door Co. of Eugene-Springfield

Eugene Challengers gets a new winning coach

The Eugene Challengers American Legion baseball team will have a new coach this spring: Kenny Niles, a player and veteran coach, who will bring his knowledge and years of winning experience to the “squad.

“On behalf of the entire Eugene Challengers organization, we are excited to have Coach Kenny Niles as the next head baseball coach of our organization,” said Dale W. Hartley – President Eugene Challengers Board of Directors.

The Challengers Organization has a long history and rich tradition of producing quality Championship level teams and players and Coach Niles brings to the organization his own long history and rich tradition of success.

For over 40 years the Challengers organization has competed at the highest level of American Legion baseball and we look forward to many more successful years of caring on that tradition and success with Coach Niles.  Hartley said, “I encourage and invite you all to come out to our beautiful home field “Swede Johnson Stadium” and enjoy the some of the best American Legion baseball in the Pacific Northwest right here in Eugene.”

Niles is entering his 19th year as a high school baseball coach and is currently the Head Varsity Coach at Churchill High School where he has lead the Lancers to 3 straight semi-final appearances.

Niles graduated from Grant Union High School in 1993. During his time there he was an all-league outfielder and helped lead his team to a State Title. After high school, Niles played on the Central Oregon Community College Club team in hopes of furthering his baseball career. Niles had a career-ending illness and soon found a love for coaching.

Niles started his coaching career as the Head Coach of the Central Oregon Community College club team, and over the next 20 plus years he has coached at Mt. View, Bend, Grant Union, and Sisters High School and has received league Coach of the Year honors 4 times.

Before taking over the Lancers, Niles had a successful 6-year career at Sheldon High School. In 2007, he lead the Irish to the Southwest Conference title and a number #1 ranking in OSAA 6A. That team was anchored by 3 Oregon State signees and 2 players that were selected in the MLB draft. The Irish were ranked in the top 50 nationally.

One of his recent accomplishments as the Lancer’s head coach was winning the 2017 5A State Championship with a record of 29-3. That year Niles was selected to be the head coach of the South All-Stars in the Oregon All-Star Series. The South won the series and three of his Lancers received individual honors which included: Most Outstanding South Pitcher, Most Outstanding South Player, and Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament.

During his stint at Churchill, Niles has had the honor of coaching over 10 All-State baseball selections. The Lancers have rostered the 5A State Pitcher of the Year the past 3 seasons, the 5A State Player of the Year in 2017, and Niles was selected the OACA Baseball Coach of the Year in 2017. In addition, 15 of his last 20 graduated seniors have gone on to play collegiately and this year’s team has 6 college committed players already. His Churchill summer team has won the Junior State Championship in 2017 and 2018 with a combined record of 55-6.

Niles acknowledges the list of coaches that have led the Challengers organization before him is truly amazing.

When asked what it means to become the next Challengers coach Niles said, “Some of the best baseball minds around have left a blueprint of what being a Challenger truly encompasses. We will work diligently on making sure we’re creating great student-athletes on and off the field. Being part of an organization that so many people have sacrificed so much time and effort is truly a privilege to be a part of.”

“As coaches, it is important that we realize the responsibility that comes with wearing that EC hat every day and getting to play at Swede Johnson Stadium. We will embrace this journey and provide a product the local community can proudly stand behind.”

When Kenny is not at the field he is in the classroom teaching Special Education at Churchill High School. He enjoys the outdoors but particularly the summer nights in Eugene. He likes watching baseball under the lights. Kenny is married to his wife Jennifer and they have a 2-year-old son, Camden Jacob (of course named after two baseball fields). Kenny’s parents live in Eugene and help tremendously with the family baseball experience. You will often see his father Roy mowing the field while his mother Gail is helping chase Camden around. Family means a lot to Coach Niles and that includes the players he coaches.

Baseball Radio Broadcasting Position

The Bi-Mart Eugene Challengers, American Legion Baseball team, is seeking a radio broadcaster to provide coverage for all of their Area 4 league games over KKNX Radio 84 this summer.  Applicants should have previous broadcasting experience and the ability to coordinate broadcasts with KKNX station personnel.  They will also be responsible for seeking and acquiring on-air sponsors.

Interested applicants should submit their resume with references and any on-air recordings or examples of their work.  Candidates will be contacted and interviewed by the Challenger hiring committee.  Please submit your resume to Eugene Challengers, P.O. Box 41408, Eugene, OR 97404.

Voice of the Challengers Retires

PaulPaul Yarbrough, long time voice of the Bi-Mart Eugene Challengers, both in the broadcasting and press box, has announced his retirement.  Paul has been an outstanding addition and representative of the Challenger organization during his tenure.  He provided the groundwork and implementation to bring the Challenger games to the airwaves and over the internet.  His broadcasts have heightened the profile of the Challengers as well as provide insightful information during his broadcasts to the Challenger faithful and listeners.  His signature line, “Welcome to between the hedges”, will live on.  He will be gone from the airwaves but not forgotten.  Please join the Eugene Challengers in wishing Paul and his wife well in their retirement.

Breaking News: Andrew Moore to report to Everett Aqua Sox

Andrew Moore, the All-American right hander who played two summers with the Eugene Bi-Mart Challengers, will report to the Everett Aqua Sox on Monday (June 15) after being drafted as the 72nd pick by the Seattle Mariners in last week’s major league draft.

The Aqua Sox are the Mariners’ Class A short-season affiliate in the Northwest League.

Moore, who played with the Challengers in 2009-10, attended North Eugene High School where he helped lead the Highlanders to the 2010 state 5A baseball championship as a sophomore.

He has spent the past 3 school years at Oregon State University where he helped lead the Beavers to the College World Series in 2013 and back-to-back Pac-12 championships (2013 and 2014).

This past spring, when Moore was Oregon State’s Friday night starter, the Beavers finished 2nd in the Pac-12 standings.

On the season in 2015, Moore had a 7-2 record and an earned run average of 1.91. In 122 1/3 innings, he struck out 111 batters and walked just 21.

In Pac-12 Conference play this season, he had a record of 6-1 and an earned run average of 1.51. In 77 2/3 innings of conference work, he struck out 69 batters and walked just 14.

By: Paul Yarbrough

 

Bi-Mart Eugene Challengers Announces 2015 Roster

Thirteen players with previous experience on the roster have been selected to play this summer for the Eugene Bi-Mart Challengers’ American Legion baseball team.

Six players from 6A Sheldon High School state champions (Tanner Zenke, Wyatt Johnson, Matt Land, Kellen Strahm, Sam Olsson and Taylor Frost) dot the 20-player roster.

There are five players with ties to Marist High School (Marcus Lydon, Tanner Cantwell, Matt Haney, Will Stewart and Dustyn Smith).

There are three players each from North Eugene High School (Tommy Ahlstrom, Dane Stapley and Jake Owens) and Churchill (K.J. Strickland, Hank Forrest and Drew Smernes).

There are two players with ties to Willamtte High School (Matt Hubbs and Justin Guldager), and one (Austin Crowson) from Monroe High School.

Three of the players (Smith, Smernes and Guldager) return to the team after a year of college.

The Bi-Mart Eugene Challengers open their 2015 campaign with a doubleheader at 5 p.m. Thursday vs. the Willamette Valley Titans at Swede Johnson Stadium at Garry Selby Field. They return home on Friday for a 6 p.m. game against the Mid-Valley Rockets.

CHALLENGERS OPEN 40TH SEASON THURSDAY

The Eugene Bi-Mart Challengers will open their 40th season on Thursday.

The Challengers will play host to Area 4 league rival Willamette Valley Titans for a non-league doubleheader (2 7-inning contests) starting at 5 p.m. at Swede Johnson Stadium at Garry Selby Field.

Thursday’s action will usher in a new coaching era for the Challengers as Josh Riley takes the reins from Todd Zeigler who stepped down after six seasons following the 2014 campaign. Riley has been an assistant coach with the club for the past two summers. He will be assisted in 2015 by Shawn Peterson and Mitch Karraker.

The Challengers will open Area 4 league play on Tuesday, June 16, when Roseburg Doc Stewarts visit Swede Johnson Stadium for a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. Both of those games can be heard in the Eugene/Springfield area on KKNX AM-840 (streamed worldwide at Radio84.com).

Former Eugene Challengers Coach Lees Named Head Baseball Coach for Washington State

Marty Lees, who spent four summers as the head coach of the Bi-Mart Eugene Challengers, was named the head baseball coach at Washington State on Wednesday.

Lees, who coached the Challengers from 2000-2003, has been an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State the past 3 years after spending 11 successful years on the staff at Oregon State where the Beavers won two national championships during his tenure.

A native of Lakeview, Ore., Lees had a 4-year record of 185-78-2 (.682 winning percentage) with the Challengers. He also coached at Oakridge and Harrisburg high schools before joining the staff at Oregon State.

Congratulations Coach Lees!

Eugene Challengers Games Broadcast on KKNX

Radio station KKNX AM-840 returns for its fifth season as the radio home of Eugene Bi-Mart Challengers baseball.
Most of the Challengers’ Area 4 league games will be broadcast live on the Eugene/Springfield station (and streamed around the world at Radio84.com).
In addition to the league games and all post-season action for the Challengers, the always attractive non-league game at the T. Gerding Construction Marketmen in Corvallis will be carried live near the end of the regular season.

Veteran broadcaster Paul Yarbrough begins his fifth season as the team’s radio play-by-play announcer and his seventh as the lead public address announcer.

Yarbrough recently completed his fourth school year as the public address announcer for North Eugene High School athletics, including football, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball and baseball. He also is the lead PA announcer for Sheldon High School baseball and volleyball and South Eugene High baseball.

His baseball public address resume now includes the AAA Legion Northwest Regional, the AAA Legion state tournament, along with the A Legion state tournament and the annual Best of the West event held at Swede Johnson Stadium at Garry Selby Field.

A 38-year journalism and broadcast veteran, Yarbrough ended his newspaper career at The Register-Guard in 2009. He worked for 25 years at the Santa Barbara News-Press, and spent three seasons as the radio play-by-play Voice of UC Santa Barbara Division 1 basketball.

Yarbrough resides in the River Road area.

2015 CHALLENGER RADIO SCHEDULE

Tues., June 16, vs. Roseburg (2), 6 PM

Sat., June 20, AT Medford (2), 5 PM

Tues., June 23, vs. Grants Pass (2), 6 PM

Fri., July 10, AT Roseburg (2), 6 PM

Sat., July 11, vs. Willamette Valley Titans (2), 6 PM

Wed., July 15, vs. Medford (2), 5 PM

Sat., July 18, AT Grants Pass (2), 6 PM

Wed., July 22, AT Corvallis, 7 PM

July 25-26, Super Regionals

July 29-Aug. 2, State tournament, Salem

Aug. 6-10, West Regional, Cheyenne, Wyo.

Aug. 14-18, World Series, Shelby, NC