OVBL semis begin on Wednesday

After more than a month of regular season action and a week of first-round playoff games, the Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League has finally reached its semifinal round.

And it’s no surprise that all four top seeds advanced after a wacky quarterfinal round, despite the home team winning just four times in 11 contests. So much for home-field advantage!

The semifinals kick into gear Wednesday when the top-seeded Wheeling Cardinals (22-2) host No. 4 seed, and defending champion, Maynard (17-8) at Patterson Field in Elm Grove. On the same night, No. 2 seed, and 2013 runnerup, Lafferty (18-5) welcomes third-seeded Weirton (15-6) to the Community Park diamond in western Belmont County. Both games start at 6 p.m.

Game two of each series switches to Firemen’s Field in Maynard and Edwin J. Bowman Field in Weirton, respectively, also with 6 p.m. first pitches. Should a third, and deciding, contest be needed, those games would be played Sunday in Elm Grove and Lafferty.

The championship finals, which is a best-of-5 series, is slated to begin Wednesday, July 9.

Maynard had to work a little extra Sunday in advancing. It needed 14 innings, a walk-off home run from B.A. Holloway and a gutsy pitching performance by veteran Mark Cisar to slip past Jefferson County, 4-2.

Lafferty tallied five runs in the fifth to rally past Marshall County.

A third Belmont County squad – Barton – wasn’t as fortunate Sunday as the Braves were eliminated by Weirton in nine innings, 5-4.

Of the four teams remaining, only Lafferty doesn’t own an OVBL title.

Visnic Still Holds a Top Spot

St. Clairsville’s Jacob Visnic, currently sidelined with a shoulder injury, continued to hold down the No. 1 position in the 70 Automatic (6-11) despite not competing last weekend at the Spring Creek ATV National in Millville, Mn..

Visnic has 115 points which is three more than Brock Van Winkle and seven over Grant Landis with three rounds remaining.

However, Visnic dropped to second in the 90 Automatic Jr. (8-11) where he trails Landis by eight points. Visnic is ninth in the 90 Shifter (8-11).

Round 7 is set for July 12-13 in New Berlin, N.Y., as The NYCM Insurance Northeastern ATV National takes over Unadilla Valley Sports Center.

According to Visnic’s father, Rob, his son should be ready to compete that weekend.

The series wraps up with stops in Buchanan, Mich., at the RedBud MX for the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC RedBud ATV National, and Hurricane Mills, Tn., for the season-ending Can-Am ATV Dirt Days at Loretta Lynn’s facility.

Good luck, Jacob!

Nate Davis Update

Sorry, but can’t provide readers with any updates on how the former Bellaire High and Ball State quarterback is faring with the Rio Grande Valley Sol in the Lone Star Football League.

It seems that no one, and I stress no one, in that so-called professional football league, cares about statistics. At least no one turns them in after games.

I think I may have stumbled across the reason.

According to a reliable source, the Sol’s ownership group did not pay the league dues and were dropped from the LSFL. It cost them a spot in the league’s championship game, something that Davis had played in the last two seasons with Amarillo.

Here’s a message for Nate, “Get out of Texas while the getting is good. There can’t be anything good coming out of there by bull … .”

By the way, I can’t remember the last time a LSFL player wound up in the NFL. Can you?

The Canadian Football League looks like a good fit for the strong-armed Davis, but are there any takers?

Stay tuned.

Collaros Update

Former Steubenville Big Red and University of Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros had a rough start to the 2014 CFL season in his debut for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Applying defensive pressure from all sides, Saskatchewan held Collaros to just 56 yards passing and 24 yards on the ground in the first half of a 45-23 season-opening victory at rainy Mosiac Stadium in Regina.

Collaros finished 19 of 33 for 159 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com