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Long-time coach Viehmann honored with field

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By Sam Draut

For nearly a decade, Mark Viehmann provided a bridge from Little League to high school baseball for middle schoolers. The Oldham County Middle School (OCMS) coach had the baseball field at Wendell Moore Park named in his honor last Saturday as he steps away as the program’s leader.

“It’s not about me at all, it’s about these players and this community, it’s about being able to give back,” Viehmann said to the crowd gathered at the ceremony.

Started in 2008 to provide middle school baseball players cut from their high school team an opportunity to play, OCMS baseball has won 408 games, six eighth-grade conference championships and seven JV conference championships since its existence.

Viehmann was pitched the idea to start a middle school team after receiving a call from Greg Phillips in February of 2008. Both of their sons had been cut from the high school baseball team, so Phillips asked about starting their own program. Viehmann’s reponse: “Let’s go for it.”

They petitioned the school board to use the names and colors of OCMS and gained approval. Since its considered a club sport through the school, the team is entirely funded by parents and fundraising.

The transition from Little League to a full-sized field can be difficult, so Viehmann wanted to provide players an opportunity to develop before high school baseball. Winning has come along with it.

OCMS baseball has been invited to the state tournament five consecutive years, finishing third twice while reaching the final four on three occasions.

But Viehmann’s teachings go beyond the game of baseball.

“We have one goal and one team in mind, get these guys ready for high school baseball and life,” Viehmann said. “Baseball is a simple game played in the dirt, but it’s a conduit we as coaches have to teach young men about life.”

Tod Draper, who has been the head coach of the eighth-grade team for the past two seasons, will take over the OCMS baseball program. He said Viehmann has a heart of gold.

“Some people are born leaders and that is what it is with him,” Draper said. “His work ethic is unbelievable. He dedicates his time fiercely.”

Though Draper said Viehmann won’t be going away for good, he has already left a lasting impression on baseball players in Oldham County. Brody Heil and Chris Seng are two current high school baseball players that played for Viehmann and OCMS. The two seniors are committed to play baseball at the Division-I level for the University of Louisville.

He had no idea the OCMS baseball program would grow to where it is now when he started it in 2008, but called it a dream come true.

“It’s about helping these kids get to where they need to be in life and in baseball,” Viehmann said.