Saturday, the 13-year-old team begins play in the World Series in Louisiana.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Chuck Olenych has seen a lot of change in baseball in his life. Olenych quickly remembers playing in the Uptown Little League when he was 6 and later catching on the Youngstown State University team in the mid-1970s coached by Dom Rosselli.
Now Olenych, 49, is coaching the Youngstown 13-year old Babe Ruth team that will play this weekend in the World Series in Abbeville, La.
A Chaney High School graduate, he never got out of Youngstown as a young player and a long road trip for his college team was to Cleveland State.
His 13-year olds have just returned from a 768-mile trip to a regional in Menomonie, Wis., and are sleeping in their own beds for the first time in a week.
Thursday, they will fly from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, arriving at 3:46 p.m., and will drive 120 miles northwest to Abbeville.
"They have hearts of gold," Olenych said of his players who come from Youngstown, Boardman, Austintown, Hubbard and New Castle, Pa.
After coaching in the Mill Creek Little League for about 10 years, this is his first season in the Babe Ruth League.
"When we went onto it, we stressed we are a team," he said. "Everybody has a role on the team."
He quickly added that he's from the Red Angelo-school, crediting the long-time Chaney football coach for his attitude.
There are two five-team pools in the World Series and the local team knows its first four games.
First game Saturday
Saturday at 11 a.m., Youngstown plays the New England regional winner and Sunday they meet the Southeast team at 11 a.m.
Monday, they take on Pacific Northwest at 11 a.m. After a day off Tuesday, Youngstown will play the Louisiana state champs Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
In the other pool are Pacific Southwest, Midwest Plains, Mid-Atlantic, the Southwest and a host squad.
Single-elimination semifinals begin Aug. 15 and the championship game will be Aug. 17 at 1 p.m.
There are 13 players on the squad, so everyone has an important function.
The players are Mike Olenych, Jesse Moses, Matt Katich, Clayton Ruminski, Frank Rosile, Chris LaCivita, Tony Brunetti, Mike Hoelzel, Corey Collins, Nick Turco, Matt Wier, Frank LaRubbio and Dan Ronci.
The team is 8-0 in postseason play, registering 4-0 marks at both the state and in the regional where they outscored four opponents, 23-7.
"I really stress the team thing," Olenych said. "Baseball is a team game."
Coaches are Charly Olenych and Don Brunetti.