OVBL?nears postseason; Homecoming set in Barton

The Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League is winding down as the regular-season finales will be played Sunday.

The playoffs begin Tuesday with the top eight teams – out of 11 – qualifying for the postseason.

Defending regular-season, and tournament, champion Weirton has been perched atop the standings for most of the summer, but the Red Dons are far from being a consensus pick to repeat.

St. Clairsville, Barton, Neffs, Maynard, West Liberty and the Wheeling Cardinals will all have something to say about who emerges victorious later this month.

Tuesday’s quarterfinals, which are best-of-3 series, could prove quite interesting, depending on what happens tonight and Sunday.

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It will be Homecoming Weekend at Henning Field in Crescent as the Barton Braves will honor some of its former players, starting tonight.

The Braves will host the Wheeling Yankees tonight at 6 o’clock in “Retro Night.” All Braves players and coaches will wear Barton Braves throwback uniforms. In addition, it is Fan Appreciation Night. All fans wearing official Barton Braves merchandise will receive a 50-cent discount on all beverages all night.

On Sunday at 1 p.m. against Maynard is Dedication Day. The Braves will dedicate the season to Mary E. Kapina.

According to Barton manager Billy Timko, the Braves will also honor recently retired pitcher Mike Kolvek, who will throw out the first pitch. His long-time batterymate, Darrin Young, will be on the receiving end of the ceremonial toss.

Timko said the game will have a playoff atmosphere with a public address system to introduce the players and keep the fans alerted as to what is going on.

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There has been a lot of moaning and groaning the last couple of weeks, both by players and managers.

It seems that there are a few teams that have not made up postponed games, and have no intentions on doing so.

I have a problem with that!

The Times Leader has gone out of its way to help the OVBL by publicizing its games and publishing the standings. With that said, the reporting of games has almost dwindled to nothing. Games are played, but no results are provided to The Times Leader, or the league’s website.

That’s disturbing!

I’ve been covering the OVBL for the past 5-6 summers. I enjoy the action and it provides some entertainment during the dog days of summer.

However, while the quaility of players and play have been staples this summer, there are some teams that, in my opinion, don’t really care any more.

Sure, it’s fun while you are winning, but if a team had the drive to enter the league, it should at least fulfill its schedule of games, no matter what the wins and losses look like.

On the Ohio side of the river, all six of the teams have done a respectable job of playing their games and reporting them. The same can’t be said for the five on the other side of the water.

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The OVBL went away from its commissioner-led league this summer, opting to utilize a president (Maynard’s Laney Simone Sr.) and vice president (Neff’s Dane Koch). However, it doesn’t matter who is in charge if the others don’t follow protocol.

In the perfect world, which we all know will never be a reality, all 11 teams would play their 21-game schedule as scheduled, barring some unforeseen circumstances. Then the playoffs would begin.

However, how can some teams only play a handful of games and get into the playoffs?

Simone and Koch have had their fair share of headaches, not only with their own teams, but with the other nine in various degrees. I commend them for keeping their cools during some very hot times.

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Play ball!

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