KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Kingsport Axmen have been named the 2021 Appalachian League Organization of the Year. During their inaugural season, the team introduced theme nights to the Kingsport community, grew their attendance from the previous year and completely formed a brand-new team mid-season.
The community was a big factor in the outlook of the Axmen’s organization. The 2021 season introduced theme nights like Margaritaville Night, Sandlot Night and an appearance from the Amazing Tyler which enhanced the fan experience in the Kingsport market. Overall, attendance grew 37% compared to the 2019 season with an average of 1,228 fans inside the ballpark each game. On June 30, the Axmen saw their highest game attendance at 3,216 fans.
Kingsport Axmen general manager Steve Brice stated, “This award means a lot for multiple reasons, but personally the biggest reason being that it shines light on the entire organization. We had an amazing intern class this season, as well as a great group of game day staff. Our fans were great and supported us from day one continuing to do so throughout the entire season. Another reason this honor means so much is that it was voted on by our peers in the league who have all worked tirelessly throughout the season and knows what it takes to be successful.”
Not only did the play matter on the field, but off the field too. The Axmen players visited the Miracle Field and made two visits to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital during the season.
At one point this season, the club was informed that the Axmen players and on-field staff would not be completing the season as scheduled. Roughly 24 hours after the announcement, a new team was formed and playing games just a day later. The organization was determined to continue the season not only for the fans, but also for the nine other clubs in the league to ensure their schedules remained intact.
“In over 20 years, I’ve never experienced anything like the year we had in Kingsport. The adversity that Steve Brice and his team faced this past summer was extremely challenging however, they met these challenges head on and handled it with a smile on their face.” Chris Allen, Boyd Sports president, commented. “We are extremely thankful for the front office members as well as the game day staff for seeing this season through. To the coaching staffs that came in and helped save the season, and of course the fine young men that helped us continue to play, we simply couldn’t have done it without you. It was refreshing to see young men play the game they love, with so much excitement and enthusiasm. For that, I cannot thank each of you enough!”
Information on the Kingsport Axmen can be found at axmenbaseball.com or by calling (423) 224-2626.