Buzzsaws have stellar season

Post date: Aug 10, 2012 10:01:58 PM

Reprinted from Stow Sentry

August 5th., 2012


The 14-and-younger Summit County Buzzsaws baseball team ended its season on a high note by finishing as the runner-up in the double-elimination Columbiana Baseball Tournament, which concluded July 15.

For the majority of the Buzzsaws players, the Columbiana tournament fields were a little bit more than an hour drive from their Summit County hometowns of Hudson, Kent, Stow, Sagamore Hills, Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake.

For one player, each of the seven tournament games as well as all of his Buzzsaws baseball games this summer were played more than 1,600 miles from home.

At the end of May, Jose Luis Carrion Mercedes, nicknamed "Bernie," traveled to the United States from the Dominican Republic for a two-month stay in this country as part of a mission program offered by an organization called Meeting God in Baseball (

MGB is operated by two Dominican and two American men and it has local ties with Play Ball Sports Academy in Stow (

Play Ball is owned and operated by Dante Sabatucci, the head coach of the team.

Play Ball Sports Academy supports the MGB ministry through the donation of useful baseball equipment and money as a percentage of its revenues.

Earlier this year, Sabatucci came up with the idea to bring a Dominican player to the USA to connect the youth of the American and Dominican cultures through baseball. Through a series of positive events, the idea became a reality and Mercedes came to the US in May to live with a host family and to play on the team.

Mercedes stayed with the Sabatucci family in Silver Lake and the Brennan family in Copley for his first two weeks in Ohio.

He was able to attend school in Stow with the Sabatucci children, while becoming acclimated to living in the US and playing baseball with his English-speaking teammates.

Mercedes then spent the next two months with his host family, Alane and Steve Malerick of Hudson and their sons Kevin and Brian.

Steve Malerick served this year as the team's assistant coach and Kevin Malerick was a member of the team.

To round out Mercedes' American summer experience, Alane Malerick organized several outings for Mercedes and the rest of the Buzzsaws, including visits to Cleveland Indians' and Akron Aeros' baseball games, Cedar Point and Wild Water Kingdom. Mercedes also traveled to Columbus and Louisville where he visited the Louisville Slugger bat factory.

There are plans in the works to build on the success of this venture as well as the relationship between MGB and Play Ball Sports Academy. One of the projects in the works is for the Buzzsaws to take a baseball team to the Dominican Republic this fall to play in a regional tournament and to provide missionary service.

Play Ball Sports Academy's Buzzsaws baseball organization is a Christian-based high school developmental program designed to teach the players the right way to play the game. In 2012, it fielded several travel teams run by coaches from Play Ball Sports Academy, for 10- to 18 year-old boys. Tryouts for the 2013 teams take place this month.

At the end of this summer, players from the 14-and-younger team will be entering several local high schools (Hudson, Nordonia, Akron Archbishop Hoban, Akron Saint Vincent-Saint Mary and Woodridge) and one school 1,600 miles from Ohio (Lyceum Francisco del Rosario Sanchez).


Phone: 330-686-3914