Press sports editor gets NABF’s John Benedict Award

The National Amateur Baseball Federation has awarded Press Sports Editor J. Patrick Eaken with the John Benedict Journalism Award for his work designing and laying out NABF publications.
It is the second time Eaken has received the award, receiving it in 2004. He also won the NABF Award of Merit in 2006 for his involvement in running tournaments.
Eaken is a board member and public relations director for the NABF and has been involved with summer collegiate baseball since the late 1980s, first as assistant general manager of the Bowling Green Breeze of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, then under the guidance of Detroit Tigers scout, the late Lou Laslo. The Breeze franchise was owned by the late Clifford Duncan, a successful Wood County businessman and one-time Minor League player for the Columbus Clippers.
In 1999, Eaken and Rocky River businessman Doug Lamb founded the Erie Shores Collegiate League, which stretched across northern Ohio and into western Pennsylvania, and Eaken was the GM of the Maumee Bay Buccaneers from 1999-2005.
In 2004 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Eaken won the bid for the NABF College World Series, which has been held in the Toledo area ever since, now hosted by the City of Toledo recreation department under tournament director Aaron Myers, a Waite graduate and NABF board member.
Myers and Eaken have traveled across the country annually to make sure the tournament stays in the Toledo area. Destination Toledo has continued to provide financial and marketing support over the past 15 years. In 2020, the CWS was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The NABF CWS and Northwest Ohio summer college teams have seen dozens of future Major League players pass through the area, including MLB World Series MVP David Freese (then a third baseman with the St. Louis Cardinals), former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani and current Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (Genoa/University of Akron), among others.
The BG Breeze during its six years saw five players find their way into the Major Leaguers and dozens of minor leaguers, including former University of Toledo coach Cory Mee (Notre Dame). The Breeze was coached by then-Penn State coach Joe Hindelang, Bowling Green State University coach Danny Schmitz, current Anthony Wayne coach Mark Nell and current Elmwood coach Kyle Reiser, a Pemberville native and Eastwood graduate.
The NABF, founded in 1914, is a member of USA Baseball, and NABF executive director Charles Blackburn Jr. sits on the board of USA Baseball, which shares offices with Major League Baseball in New York City. The NABF is headquartered in Crofton, Maryland and Eaken will receive his award at the annual banquet in Youngstown next month. Visit


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