WEST FRANKFORT — Morthland College announced the addition of a baseball program to start competing for the 2013-14 school year. Vergennes native Dennis Bastien will be the team’s coach.

“We are very excited to announce the addition of baseball to Patriot athletics,” said Athletic Director Jay Bernhardt. “Dennis brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our program and we are very fortunate to have him.”

Bastien has more than 40 years of baseball experience at all levels. A 1976 graduate of SIU, Bastien became a minor league baseball general manager in 1977. He spent time resurrecting multiple teams across the southeast before purchasing the Winston-Salem franchise in the Class-A Carolina league, along with adding a team in the Appalachian League in Martinsville, Va. He bought and sold five more teams until 1998, when he decided to move back to Southern Illinois.

Most recently, Bastien has been the coach at Carbondale Community High School the past three years.

“For years, I have prayed for the opportunity to be blessed with the avenue to combine ministry in baseball,” Bastien said. “God has had his hand in this entire process, with President Dr. Tim Morthland, Provost Emily Hayes, (Jay) Bernhardt and I having a mutual decision for our program.”

The Patriots will call PowerAde Park in Elkville home. The park, constructed by Bastien in 2005, is a top-rated facility which mirrors many minor league and big level college ball parks.

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