For Shadyside’s Gorrell, it’s all about the kids

SHADYSIDE — If one were to prick Bob Gorrell Jr.’s arm, there’s a good chance the blood that oozes out would be Orange and Black.

He’s Shadyside through and through, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for his town, or the youngsters that live in it.

“I was born and raised here and never left,” said Gorrell, a 1995 Shadyside High graduate.

Gorrell Jr. spent most of his prep years fixated on baseball. Although he dabbled in basketball and track, being on the diamond brought him the most joy.

“From the time I was born I had a ball in my hand,” he chuckled. “My dad played and I followed in his footsteps.”

Bob Gorrell Sr., aka Bushwacker, is more than just a father for the younger Gorrell, he’s a mentor, confident and man who provided the inspiration for the type of work he does today. That being serving his community in a variety of porting roles.

“I just remember being down at the little league fields and playing with all my friends and just learning the game and enjoying in,” Gorrell Jr. said.

“Everything I do down there (at the ballfields), it doesn’t matter how much time I spend. At the end of the day, to hear those children laughing means the world to me. I’ll do anything to make that happen.”

Although he spends most of his afternoons working as a Union pipefitter, Gorrell Jr. has no problem coming home and spending a large part of his off time devoting it to youth sports. It’s a trait instilled in him by his father, who did so for years, and continues to do so.

“Watching him made me realize what the game meant and that hard work pays off,” Gorrell Jr. said.

Gorrell Jr. serves as president of Shadyside youth baseball and softball and also is VP of all-Ohio Valley softball (Ben Taylor League). That group encompasses many communities in the area including Warren Township, Martins Ferry, Shadyside, Bellaire, Barnesville, Union Local, River and Bridgeport.

Gorrell also coaches two different softball teams that include his daughters — Abygail, 13, and Emma, 9.

“It’s very challenging,” Gorrell Jr. admitted. “But I look at it as one of these days they’ll be older so I’ll enjoy it now and live in the moment. Before you know it, it’ll be over.”

Although he has a full plate, Gorrell Jr. wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s baseball and softball from the time I wake up until I go to bed,” he said.

Especially this time of the year. And even in the fall it’s busy, as he works with a team that competes in a league at Elm Grove’s I-470 complex.

“I see them come in and graduate and excel at the next level and that really warms my heart and puts a smile on my face,” he said of the players.

Gorrell Jr. believes he’s simply paying it forward, something his father taught him is the right thing to do.

“The hard work, the respect and giving your all to your community and your town — tradition,” he said.

“I always tell everyone, it’s for the kids.”

If you know of someone in sports in the Ohio Valley whom I could feature as an Ohio Valley Unsung Hero, drop me a line at or via Twitter @RickThorp1