By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- If the Mahoning Valley Scrappers have a face, it belongs to their mascot, Scrappy.
If the team has a poster child, it's C.C. Sabathia who pitched for them in 1999.
And if the team has a voice, it belongs Mike Pilch, the Scrappers' new radio broadcaster.
In February, Pilch, a 1997 graduate of Howland High School, was hired as the voice of the Scrappers. He is doing the play-by-play of all 76 games on radio station WNIO-AM 1390.
"Up in the booth it's the closest thing you can do to playing without actually playing," Pilch said of baseball. "It's amazing how much you actually get into a game."
After graduating from Kent State and the Ohio Center for Broadcasting, Pilch took work in Indiana for two years.
However, he yearned to return home.
Then Greg Gania, who called the Scrappers' radio action for three summers, moved on.
Weekly calls to GM
When the Clear Channel position opened, Pilch began calling Scrappers' General Manager Dave Smith weekly to apply for the vacancy.
"Greg [Gania], in the off-season, was fortunate enough to get a [Class] AA job with the Erie Sea Wolves and is now calling games in the Eastern League," Smith said.
"We're really happy for Greg to take his experience from here the last three years and take it to a really great opportunity for a young guy."
Pilch said he's ready for the daily grind, including the travel, but was handed some other duties when he first came onboard.
He made the team's media guide, handles media requests and is in charge of the host families program.
That's how it is
Welcome to minor league baseball.
"This is what I enjoy doing," Pilch said of the radio work. "I probably talk a little too much sometimes; people might want to quiet me up but that's all right. It'll be good experience."
After the games he will handle media relations and coordinate the statistics.
"I think I'm prepared for what I'm ready to do."