That familiar cry of summer will ring out later this week when the 2012 Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League gets under way.
The first contest will have defending league - and tournament - champion Weirton hosting Barton on Edwin J. Bowman Field in downtown Weirton Friday. The first pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
THE 2012 OVBL season gets under way Friday when defending champion Weirton hosts Barton. The league has expanded to 11 teams this season, six from Ohio and five from W.Va. Pictured are managers for their respective teams. From left, are: Adam Vincenzo (St. Clairsville), Bill Timko (Barton Braves), Aric Robbins (Marshall County Monarchs), Laney Simone (Maynard), Eric Sperlazza (Weirton Red Dons), Frank Kovalchik (Warren Township Pirates), Ed Geisel (Wheeling Yankees), Mike Coyne (Shadyside Casket Makers) and Dane Koch (Neffs Athletics). Simone is serving as league president this season, with Koch as vice president. Not pictured are Ron Zavolta (West Liberty) and league treasurer Cory Delguzzo.
In addition to the aforementioned participants, the league has grown to 11 teams this season and will also include Maynard, Neffs, St. Clairsville, Shadyside and Warren Township on the Ohio-side, while West Virginia teams will be Marshall County, West Liberty, Wheeling Cardinals and Wheeling Yankees.
There are two new teams, Marshall County, which will be called the Monarchs and will play their home games at John Marshall High School's Monarch Field. The team is managed by Aric Robbins. The Wheeling Cardinals are also back in the league after sitting out last season.
"We're glad to see the league keep on expanding," said league president and Maynard manager Laney Simone Sr. "The league is getting better and better each year."
League vice president Dane Koch, who also serves as Neffs' skipper, echoed Simone's thoughts.
"This league is getting better with each season. There are a lot of good ballplayers playing this season."
Weirton swept Barton in the best-of-5 championship series last summer, winning by scores of 8-1, 4-2 and 4-3 in nine innings.
"We had a good summer," Weirton manager Eric Sperlazza said. "The guys played well and we're looking forward to trying and repeat."
All but three of the teams have submitted rosters already.
A look at each team follows:
BARTON-The Braves lost a couple of significant players in Mike Kolvek, George Laase, Darrin Young and Tanner Werkman from their 19-8 squad.
However, manager Bill Timko has assembled a roster that includes holdovers Ryan Kreiter, Nick Rocchio, Dustin Hynes, Chris McIntyre, Jonathan Duncan, Mike Muklewicz, Tom Pasco, Mike Michelli, Nick Koval, Kirk Smolenak, Joel Atkinson and Chris Leasure.
Timko has also added former Barnesville standouts Tyler Kurtz and Jourden Yager along with Wes Rataiczak (Shenandoah), Greyson Loweecy (St. Clairsville), Anthony Rocchio (Bellaire), Jordan Barbina (Union Local), Chris Milhoan (St. Clairsville) and Derek Miller (Linsly).
MAYNARD-Was eliminated by arch rival Barton in the semifinals. Finished with a 17-8 mark after winning 12 of its first 13.
Maynard has a good nucleus of returning players including Mark Cisar, Chase Ripley, Cody McCormick, Derek Cisar, Ryan Jarvie, Laney Simone Jr., Travis Stevens and Roger Herbert.
New to the team are Max Schimmel, Caleb Meyer, Pec Schmitt, Derrick Phillips, Mike Androsko, Justin Curry, Josh Jackson, Mike Barreca, Justin Sabo, Matt Comer and Kody Willis.
NEFFS-The Athletics finished 11-10 last summer and barely missed advancing to the semifinals, losing to West Liberty in three games.
Koch has assembled a roster that is bolstered by a bunch of former Martins Ferry standouts, including Josh Nagel, Fred Owens, Clay Francis, Matt Masarick, Brandon Leonard, Michael Roach, Jordan Murry, Josh Wells, Jon Nagel and Cliff Francis.
The remainder of the Athletics include Steve Splenda, Clark Kasprowski, Darby Waller and Zack Smith.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE-St. Clairsville has undergone a change in managership as Adam Vincenzo takes over for Bob Sabo.
Most of the roster is made up of former St. C. standouts in T.J. Sliva, MacKenzie Koehler, Jared Clovis, Sam Vincenzo and Casey Tennant.
Four players from Steubenville have committed to play, those being Jordan Meyer, Anthony Pierro, Dom Garay and Darin Heatherington. Myron Jellison and Ethan Tobin, a pair of former Union Local stars, and Tyler Butler and Nathan Carpenter round our the roster.
SHADYSIDE-The Casket Makers were a surprise team last summer as they finished 8-13, but lost their last six games.
The roster is basically the same as last season and includes Mike Coyne, Nathan Butts, B.A. Holloway, Mark Bonar, Ross Palicka, Kraig Kubancik, Logan Hudson, Matt Wallner, David Bonar, Patrick O'Donnell, Heath Brooks, Jeff Campbell, Chris Crow, Chad Taylor, Kody Kubancik and Vince Stemkowski.
New to the team is former Bellaire standout Levi Crozier, who played for Maynard last season.
WARREN TOWNSHIP-The River Pirates had a rough inaugural season last summer, compiling a 2-16 mark.
They lost their first seven outings, and their last seven.
The 2012 roster is basically the same with Buckeye Local names like Josh Baxter, Derek Supanik, Sean Kovalchik, Mike Kovalski, Chris Heaton, Dom Vinci, Logan Taylor, Matt Spencer, JD Sokolowski, Cameron McKim, Shane Bishop, Brandon Borkoski and Bobby Spence.
Rounding out the roster are Todd Heitz, CJ LaRoche, Brandon Metz and Zack Liddle.
WHEELING CARDINALS-The Cardinals won the tournament title a couple of years back, but sat out last season.
The roster includes Doug Brown, Justin Cunningham, Rocky Dobbs, Sean Edge, Aaron Fonner, Andrew Henry, Steven Jeffries, Andrew Keane, Kyle Phair, Dominic SanFelippo, Tony SanFelippo, Eric Schneider, EJ Schramm and Ricky Szeligo, who serves as the manager, but it currently on a tryout with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League.
WHEELING YANKEES-The Yankees finished 7-15 last summer, but had trouble fielding players at times, which resulted in three forfeits.
Their roster stacks up like this: Eric Bartsch, Brennan Binni, Doug Boyd, Kollin Campanizzi, Scott Donohew, Jim Elliott, Mark Geary, Kody Geisel, Eddie Geisel, Tom Haluscak, Tyler Harto, Trent Jochum, Todd Kresavic, Jeremy McConnaughy, Donnie Murray, Jesse Nixon, Xavier Nolan, Shawn Selmon, Matt Sutphin and Darryck Yoho.
No rosters were submitted by Weirton, Marshall County and West Liberty by The Times Leader deadline Saturday night.
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