Lexington’s new baseball team will be a history-making one.
Next week, an announcement will reveal the official name of the newest team in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, which will be located in Lexington and play in the same ballpark as Lexington’s current Atlantic League team, the defending champion Lexington Legends.
But this week, the ownership group that operates both teams announced that the new franchise will feature the first female coach in Atlantic League history.
Lindsay Gardner will join the new Atlantic League team as its hitting development coordinator.
Gardner’s appointment comes in connection with the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center.
Gardner played softball at the University of Texas, with the USA National team and in the National Pro Fastpitch league.
Gardner previously served as the head softball coach at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and is also the founder of Just Dig In, a baseball and softball training company.
“I have dreamt of this day for many, many years,” Gardner said in a press release. “I am so thankful for the opportunity and I am blessed with an incredible support staff who helped pave the way for my welcoming into professional baseball.”
In November, it was announced Lexington would field two independent minor league baseball teams under an agreement announced by the Atlantic League.
Both of Lexington’s teams, including the Legends, will operate under the same ownership group, Lexington-based Stands LLC.
Andy Shea, CEO of Stands LLC, said Gardner “is the perfect person at the perfect time to join our organization as we continue to expand the footprint of baseball and softball in Kentucky and on a national scale.”
The Atlantic League is an official partner league of Major League Baseball.
In 2019, the leagues entered into an agreement that allows MLB to test experimental playing rules and equipment in the Atlantic League.
An example of this occurred during the second half of last season, when the pitching distance was increased.
”We are thrilled that one of our partner leagues is welcoming an eminently qualified individual as a coach and continuing the momentum of talented women holding on-field and player-facing roles,” said Peter Woodfork, MLB’s senior vice president for minor league operations and player development.
Gardner also previously participated in Take The Field, an annual MLB program designed to promote women in baseball operations and on-field roles.
In addition to revealing the official name of the new team Gardner will serve as a coach of, an announcement next week will also feature a new name for Lexington Legends Ballpark, which both the Legends and the new team will play in.
The ballpark will also host the 2022 Ohio Valley Conference college baseball tournament from May 25-28.
Shea has said the ballpark’s grass surface will be converted to artificial turf.