WV Black Bears season begins with trip to Mahoning Valley
Home opener set for Tuesday, June 7
MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - The MLB Draft League’s second season gets underway this week with its six programs. Morgantown’s West Virginia Black Bears are ready to build upon what was created in the team’s first year in the league.
The Black Bears begin the season on the road with a four-game series at the home of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers before returning to Mon County Ballpark next week for the home opener against the Frederick Keys.
The Black Bears don’t return a large number of players from the 2021 team - only two - which is a struggle from a team-building and culture standpoint. The team does have Mountaineers bolstering the roster for a second year, additions that help the newer faces of the program.
“They bring comfort. They’ve been here, they know the area. Even the kids who were here last year, I’ve kind of leaned on them to show the new guys how things work, how the league works,” team manager Jedd Gyorko said. “These kids from around here, the West Virginia guys will be great. They bring that comfort level, they’re used to the area. They can show kids how to get around, show them the good places to go to. Stuff like that.”
With how quickly the season begins in June, it’s nearly impossible to get much work in prior to the first pitch of the season.
“You want to have all these practices. You want to have all this time to mold the kids but what happens in the games is what matters. Anyone can be a good practice player, but we get to see them straight into game action,” Gyorko said. “We’re teaching them as they’re going through games, which is different than a lot of colleges. You go through a whole fall with the kids and you’re doing this and doing that, teaching them as practice is going on. Here, they’re battling for their lives. They’re out there trying to get drafted. They’re trying to make that next step.”
Jimmy Galusky returns to the staff, this time as the hitting coach, while Bethany College head coach Justin Thomas’s role lies in pitching.
“I think as a coach, personally, you’re a life-long learner,” Thomas said. “I want to help all these young men, but I’m here to learn some stuff too, and that’s what I look forward to.”
The Black Bears face Mahoning Valley Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Eastwood Field.
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