OVBL season just a few weeks away

The United States Marines are always looking for a few good men.

Laney Simone is just looking for one good sponsor for the 2013 Ohio Valley Baseball League, not that the past several haven’t been!

The upcoming season is less than three weeks away and, as of last week, the OVBL president hadn’t secured a major sponsor.

“We’re taking open bids. No sealed bids,” Simone said Thursday. “We’ll take the highest bidder. I have a couple of people who have expressed an interest, and hopefully we’ll have something in place at least a week before the first game.”

Anyone interested is urged to call Simone at (740) 635-0312. The last three sponsors have been Steele and Cook Insurance, United Dairy and LaRoche Tree Service, respectively.

According to Simone, the wooden bat league has 11 teams again this season, but there has been a change. Lafferty is back after a brief absence. The Dodgers will replace the St. Clairsville Titans.

In addition to Lafferty, also comprising this summer’s league are the defending champion Barton Braves and fellow Ohio-side squads Maynard, Neffs A’s Gang, Shadyside Casket Makers and Warren Township Pirates. West Virginia teams include the Weirton Red Dons, Wheeling Cardinals, Wheeling Yankees, Marshall County Monarchs and West Liberty Hill Toppers.

“I think this should be a competitive season,” Simone noted. “I think there are a lot of good teams out there with a lot of good, young players.

“I’ve always said that there is no easy game in the OVBL,” he added. “I think Warren Township proved that last year against Weirton. You’ve got to be ready to play every night.”

Simone said that each team will play a 20-game regular-season schedule, which includes two byes.

“I think everyone was happy with the schedule,” he continued. “I didn’t see anybody that looked like they were in distress and anything like that with it.”

The regular season will begin Friday, May 10 and run through June 24. The top eight teams will make the playoffs, which will begin Thursday, June 27 and be completed before the annual Jamboree in the Hills week-long celebration takes over Belmont County’s full attention.

Visnic Off to Fast Start

St. Clairsville native Jacob Visnic is off to a great start as the ATVA Motocross Series has two weeks of racing in the books.

Visnic captured a pair of first places last week at Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tn. He won the 70 CVT 8-11 age division after finishing second in the first moto and claiming the second moto. he earned 30 points.

He then returned to the track later in the day and won the 90 Auto 8-11 age group. He finished third in the first moto before winning the second to earn 30 points.

Visnic will return to the track on April 27-28 at balance MX in Oakland, Ky.

Ohio North-South Hoops

Two area basketball players will be in Columbus today, taking part in the annual Ohio Basketball Coaches Association North-South Games at Capital University.

Shadyside’s Karli Bonar will play for the South in the Division III-IV game, which tips off at noon. Bonar is the state of Ohio’s all-time leader for career 3-point goals with 350. She was a two-time first-team all-Ohioan and will attend the University of Findlay to play hoops next season.

River’s Brett Price – a third-team all-Ohio selection – will represent the Pilots in the Division III-IV boys game, which will tip off at 3:45 p.m.

Price helped guide the Pilots to the Division IV regional in Canton after they knocked off then two-time defending state champion Hiland in the district final at Meadowbrook. Price scored better than 18 points a game.

St. Clairsville’s Dan Monteroso was chosen for the Division I and II game, but withdrew because the Red Devils celebrated prom Saturday night and the players are required to report to Columbus that night.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com