Age no problem in this league
Here is the motto of the Perantinides and Nolan Silver Hawks baseball team in the over-48 Northeast Ohio Masters Division of the Roy Hobbs Baseball League:
"No one gets out of the game of life alive. You either die in the bleachers, or on the field. So, You might as well come out on the field and go for it."
Or, as Ange Ford, the Silver Hawks' 56-year-old third baseman, a Hubbard native and Ursuline High graduate, explains it:
"No. 1, I don't want to grow up. There is no future in it, and at my age instead of getting the red Corvette, necklace and toupee, I'd rather be doing this [to] keep me young."
Because, he declared, "I love the game of baseball more than any other sport, and this is just an excellent opportunity to continue to play."
And, "My wife [Margie] is always looking for ways to get me out of the house, and this works out pretty well."
4 YSU grads on team
Ford, who now lives in Sagamore Hills and operates Docu-Systems, Inc., is one of four area natives and Youngstown State graduates with the Silver Hawks, who are playing "for the love of the game," Ford proclaimed.
The others are Paul Perantinides (age 58, from Campbell), an attorney from Bath who is co-sponsor, manager and player coach who usually catches; Don Leshnock (56, Ursuline), pitching ace from Columbus; and Dave Adams (60, Woodrow Wilson), a right-fielder from Northfield who also doubles as the team's statistician and photographer.
Perantinides and Ford were fraternity brothers at YSU, and both attended the Cleveland Indians fantasy camp in late 1990s; while Ford and Leshnock were in the same graduating class at Ursuline.
Leshnock also was a YSU mound ace, pitched several years for the Toledo Mud Hens in Class AAA and appeared in one major league game with the Detroit Tigers in the 1960s. In fact, he is one of only 150 major league players who appeared in just one game, and his particular story is related in the book, "Once around the bases."
Cut out of cornfield
The Silver Hawks (7-4), with a 27-player roster, are one of 18 teams in the over-48 NEO circuit, and play some of their games at the Field of Dreams in Vickery, a two-field complex cut out of a cornfield located between Sandusky and Fremont.
The Field of Dreams was created by Bob Gray of the Oak Lumber Company, who pitches for the Toledo Thunder, a member of the Over-48 NEO loop.
Ford said Perantinides can play almost any position, and is one of the fastest runners on the team, while Leshnock still throws a variety of effective pitches and is very durable.
"[Leshnock] pitched back-to-back compete games in a doubleheader this year in 90-degrees stifling heat," said Ford. "His arm is in good shape. He was as strong the second game as he was the first game.
"To show you how much he loves the game, he lives in Columbus and drives up to wherever the game is [on our schedule]."
Adams eyes Tribe camp
Ford said Adams is in his first year with the team. "He joined the team primarily to get in shape for the upcoming Cleveland Indians fantasy camp in January in Winter Haven, Fla.," said Ford.
Adams, a 1969 YSU graduate and a retired chemical engineer with EI duPont, said the fantasy camp will be a two-event celebration.
"I am going to the camp to celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary and 60th birthday. This is a present from my wife."
Adams reported that Leshnock sports a 6-1 record with 65 strikeouts in seven games, while Leshnock and Ford are among the team's top hitters at .553 (21-for-42) and .410 (16-for-39), respectively.
Another YSU connection to the Silver Hawks is Stan Cipka, a 67-year-old pitcher from Tallmadge whose two daughters were swimming standouts at YSU.
XJohn Kovach is a sports writer for The Vindicator. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.