Three coaches who guided their teams to outstanding seasons and one of the Ohio valley's premier pitching aces comprise the 2012 All Times Leader Baseball Team.
St. Clairsville's Tom Sliva; Bellaire's John Patrone and Bridgeport's Ted Downing are honored as T-L coaches of the year while Red Devils' senior mound ace Sam Vincenzo captains the 2012 unit.
Here are capsules for this year's all-stars:
SAM VINCENZO, St. Clairsville - Primarily known for his uncanny talents on the mound, St. C.'s Potomac State (Junior College) signee compiled a 6-3 record, good for a sterling 1.83 earned run average. Vincenzo was at his finest in the postseason, recording back-to-back 15-strikeout performances, including one in the Red Devils' regional semifinal win over Frankfort Adena.
"What can you say about Sammy's pitching ability? He's easily one of the finest to come through our program," Sliva advised. "What probably was lost in the shuffle was his equal ability as a hitter."
Vincenzo compiled a .380 average, scoring a team-leading 31 runs. He totaled 35 hits, including eight doubles and three triples, driving in a dozen teammates. He also participated in the prestigious 2012 Mizuno Baseball Series at Chillicothe.
ZACK DORNON, Barnesville - Here's how veteran Barnesville skipper D.J. Butler described this senior's value to the Shamrocks' program: "Zack Dornon is the best hitter I've ever coached." High praise indeed. "Zack was a major player in our team's success during an outstanding career," Butler continued. "Whether on the mound or in the field, Zack seemed to always get it done."
Dornon was a .477 hitter this spring with the ability to hit for power. He was also a consistent base-stealing threat. On the mound, Zack posted a 4-3 record, opposing the likes of Bellaire and Linsly.
IAN WELLS, Barnesville - The 'Rocks' multi-sport standout compiled a 4-1 pitching mark this spring and doubled as a reliable infielder at first base. "Ian was huge for us on the mound this spring," Butler advised. "And he was very consistent at first base. Just a totally well-rounded player."
Wells, a lefty-swinging big man, hit .300 and was an imposing figure at the plate for opposing pitchers. "There's a good reason why Ian is moving on and will play at the next level," said Butler of Wells' recent decision to play both baseball and football at Bethany College."
NICK MCMAHON, Bellaire - A four-year letterman for the Big Reds, McMahon was a major player in the Red & Black's multi success of the 2012 campaign. Nick compiled a .356 batting average, collecting 26 hits. On the mound, he was an intense competitor, earning the victory in Bellaire's OVAC title-winning contest. "Nick really came on strong as the season progressed," Patrone advised. "He's a true leader who served as an excellent role model for the younger players coming up in our program. He had the ability to put us on his shoulders in big games."
SPENCER BADIA, Bellaire - This Big Reds' standout already has an impressive resume after just concluding his sophomore season. Badia led John Patrone's OVAC 3-A winning Reds with a .451 batting average. He also drove in 21 runs. "Spencer was very consistent at the plate. Always a tough out for opposing pitchers," Patrone remarked. Out of 100 plate appearances, Badia went down swinging just three times. On the mound, the sophomore posted a 4-3 mark and recorded two saves. "Though he just finished his sophomore season, Spencer already possesses outstanding leadership skills," Patrone added.
JOSH MALESKY, Buckeye Local - The Panthers' senior toed the rubber in a majority of his team's biggest games. "His numbers certainly don't indicate Josh's true value to our program," said Buckeye skipper C.J. Becese. "Josh wanted the ball in every big-game situation. He really responded in the postseason, beating Indian Creek then coming back with a great outing against Edison."
At the plate, Malesky hit at a .338 clip, collecting six doubles and driving in 16 teammates. This fall, Josh continues his diamond career at Grove City College in western Pennsylvaina.
NICK PATRONE, Bellaire - Another young gun in the Big Reds' attack, Nick was one of the area's most versatile athletes with the ability to play a number of positions. "Whatever we needed Nick to do, he responded," said his father/coach. "He really had to come of age as a freshman and sophomore and Nick was able to achieve that."
Patrone was another of the Big Reds' mound aces, getting the call in a number of big matchups. "Pitching was our team's biggest strength this spring and Nick was a big reason for our success," the Reds' skipper advised.
KOREY PIATT, Monroe Central - The Seminoles' four-year letterman capped a productive prep career under skipper Ryan Rosnick. "Korey's finest asset may be his versatility," Rosnick stated. "He played a number of positions and played them well."
On the hill this spring, Piatt fashioned a 5-4 record with a sharp 2.10 earned run average. "Korey's record would indicate he didn't always benefit from great run support," Rosnick added. "We sent him to the mound against our toughest competition."
Piatt produced a .280 batting average. "Korey started slow (offensively) but really came on strong late in the season," Rosnick added. "He definitely got his share of clutch hits."
BAILEY MCGRATH, Bridgeport - Impact player. That's how Bulldogs' skipper Ted Downing described this high-achieving freshman who played a major role in the program's revival. "Bailey was consistent throughout the entire season," Downing offered. "He led in in several offensive categories and gave our team a huge boost."
McGrath also served as a relief pitcher for the 'Dogs and displayed excellent potential. "The young man has a great future in our program," Downing added.
KODY KUBANCIK, Shadyside - A four-year standout with the Tigers, Kubancik was a valuable member of the Orange roster under skipper Mike Meintel. "We asked Kody to handle catching duties and he excelled. We also asked him to play another tough position at shortstop and he handled that equally well," Meintel stated.
Kubancik was just as reliable at the plate where he was a .383 hitter. The senior collected 31 hits, including 11 doubles and a triple. In 81 at-bats, Kubancik only struck out three times. "That speaks volumes for how tough an out Kody was," Meintel said. "He set the bar high for the younger players coming up in our program."
TYLER STRAMA, Martins Ferry - The Purple's big bopper batted a robust .353 for Anthony Reasbeck's Riders this spring. He also achieved five victories on the mound. "Tyler drew the starting assignment in most every big game we played," Reasbeck disclosed. "The kids behind him felt confident with Tyler on the mound."
At the plate, Strama cranked out a home run, two triples, four doubles and 20-plus singles. "Tyler also had a knack for coming through with the big hit when we needed it," Reasbeck added.
BRANDON PRICE, River - The Pilots' Price was right most every afternoon on the diamond. "Brandon was the picture of consistency. Just an all-around excellent player," advised Pilots' skipper Ed Trifonoff. "He was really a clutch hitter and struck out just six times all season."
Price led River in batting average, hits, runs batted in and stolen bases. Defensively, he made nearly every play in centerfield. "Brandon made some difficult plays look easy," Trifonoff added.
Price also took to the mound as a senior and the four-year letterman responded with several big-time efforts. "Brandon participated in the OVAC All-Star Game and deservingly so," Trifonoff added. "He was a great player her for four years."
D.J. BUSBY, St. Clairsville - At the plate or in the field, this steady senior was a season-long achiever for Tom Sliva's regional championship-qualifying ball club. "D.J. made all the routine plays and made the difficult one look easy at shortstop," Sliva advised. "He possesses exceptional range and has a very accurate arm. At the plate, Busby batted .343, collecting 33 hits and knocking in 27 teammates as St. C.'s clean-up batter. "One of the best players to come through our program," Sliva added.
CORY KOTOPKA, St. Clairsville - The Red Devils' left fielder enjoyed a banner senior campaign, leading his team with a .418 batting average. He also paced the Saints in home runs (5); triples (4); and runs batted in (29).
"Cory got nothing but better as the season progressed," Sliva offered. "He came through with a number of clutch hits during our postseason run. Cory has the right approach at the plate with great hand-eye coordination. He also played a solid defensive role for us in the outfield."
TED DOWNING - Following back-to-back one-win campaigns, Downing assumed control and guided the Black & Blue to 10 victories this spring.
"Most of that is attributed to our kids buying into the program and making a daily commitment to learn the game,' Downing explained. "I like the direction our program is headed. We return several players which hopefully, translates into more victories as we move forward."
CODY GILLESPIE, St. John Central - This four-year starter for the Green went out in a blaze of glory following a superb senior campaign under Irish skipper Tim Blue.
"All-around, Cody was our best player. He enjoyed a very productive career at St. John's," Blue advised. This spring, Gillespie was 4-5 on the mound. He authored a pair of no-hitters and combined on a third. "Cody basically threw two pitches but his curve ball could be very effective," Blue described.
Gillespie was just as effective at the plate, compiling a lofty .425 batting average. He collected 32 hits and a team-leading 33 runs batted in. "Obviously, Cody will be difficult to replace," Blue added.
TYLER MCGARY, Union Local - A four-season letterwinner under Rich Mercer at Morristown, McGary batted .438 this spring, leading the Jets in hits along the way.
"One stat which stands out regarding Tyler is the fact he struck out a total of only 12 times his entire career. That's pretty amazing," Mercer noted. "Most of that is due to the fact Tyler played with the same passion and desire every single inning."
McGary also played numerous positions for UL, including first base, shortstop, the outfield as as a consistent pitcher.
DREW TUBAUGH, Beallsville - Only a junior, Big Blue skipper Terry Jarrett still referred to the Devils' pitcher/shortstop as "the old man of our team. We were very young and Drew was our only 11th grader so he took on a leadership role by necessity."
The 5-10, 170-pound Tubaugh did so impressively, swinging the bat at a lofty .398 clip. Drew drilled 12 doubles and also clubbed five triples. "He's just a very fine all-around athlete," Jarrett added. "Drew was an impact player for us and we're looking forward to his return next season."
RASHEEN MITCHELL, Harrison Central - The Huskies multi-sport star enjoyed a stellar spring for coach Justin Clifford. "We gave Rasheen the ball in two of our biggest games and he came up huge," Clifford remarked. "Though we lost 1-0 to Edison, Rasheen pitched a terrific game. He also beat a very good St. Clairsville team."
When not on the hill, Mitchell patrolled centerfield and also started at first base. "Wherever we needed him, Rasheen was there. A total team player," Clifford added. At the plate, the lefty-swinging junior hit a robust .410, hammering three round-trippers. "Rasheen's one of the most versatile athletes in the valley," Clifford added.
DALTON RUTTER, Harrison Central - The Huskies' talented outfielder enjoyed a productive sophomore campaign - both in the field and at the plate.
"Dalton was our leadoff hitter. When he got on base, good things usually happened," Clifford described. "He hit .360 for us which we considered outstanding for a young player his age."
Clifford added Rutter's defensive skills also were noteworthy. "Dalton made virtually all the routine plays. He covered lots of ground both in center and left fields. What's great is, he still has two full varsity seasons remaining."
PATRONE - The Big Reds improved by leaps and bounds this spring, culminating with an OVAC 3-A championship. "Were we a little ahead of schedule? Maybe so," Patrone pointed out. "But we had some smart kids who enjoy playing the game and they were anxious to keep moving our program forward. It was very enjoyable coaching this group. Our goal is to keep improving and see where that's able to take us in coming seasons."
SLIVA - Concluding his 10th season as Red Devils' skipper, Sliva guided St. C. to a second consecutive regional appearance. The Devils came up one run short of winning a regional title.
"More than anything, it comes down to our kids believing in themselves and making an off-season commitment to become better players," Sliva indicated. "I think our guys realized they can never be satisfied. That's the philosophy we've always attempted to subscribe to.'
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org