Ashley Marinacci has enjoyed a pretty good softball career while playing at St. John Central, Bethany College and countless summer leagues.
However, the soft-spoken Irish and Bison graduate is quick to credit one person for her success - Ben Taylor.
"I go back to eighth grade with Coach Ben," Marinacci said Friday afternoon while standing in the outfield of Ben's Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Complex in the Elm Grove section of Wheeling. "That's a lot of years. He helped coach my high school team.
A FUNDRAISER to help raise funds for Ben’s Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Complex in Elm Grove is ongoing. Ashley Marinacci, above, is in charge of the event.
"He had a huge part in where I am at right now," she added. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be where I'm at and I wouldn't know nearly all the stuff that I know now.
"It's funny because you talk to someone at a tournament somewhere and mention something, and people look at you like, you knew coach Ben? They knew what you were talking about because he knew all kind of people."
Marinacci and her Under-23 summer team which Taylor coached - the East Ohio Power - have decided to give back to the softball guru, who passed away in January after a long illness.
The team, specifically Marinacci and Magnolia's Kayla Brill, are selling black wrist bands with Coach Ben inscribed in red and green thread. They are $8 each.
"We're doing this for Coach Ben because of all he did for us," she said.
All the proceeds from the sales will go to help further enhance Ben's Field.
"It's just a little way to give back to him for everything he did for us as a team," she continued. "To help make his field better ... there's no better way for Coach Ben."
Marinacci is currently a graduate assistant at his college alma mater. Last year she worked with the outfielders, but this season she will get to work with the infield.
"I'm hoping to carry on things that Coach Ben taught me and help my kids learn the same things."
So, what does she want to do in the future?
"I'd like to be a head coach some day. If I could get to be as big as Coach Ben that would be awesome because everyone knew him, even if you go miles and miles away."
It sounds like she hasn't forgotten where she came from.
To purchase a wrist band or wrist bands, contact Marinacci at (740) 296-4668 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Condolences Go Out
I'd be remiss if I didn't wish my very best to a good, dear friend, Travis Clark.
The former cagefighting world champion is dealing with the recent death of his mother, who had a long battle that she just couldn't overcome.
I never had the opportunity to meet his mother, but I could bet that she was a fighter just like her son.
Good luck in the future, Travis.
I'm sure you will be focused and your mother will be looking down on you in every fight.
Kristen Hetzel's sponsor for the World Duathlon competition only supports her bicycling, and not multi-sport events. So, the Wheeling Central grad is left with a considerable expense for the event in Nancy, France, in late September. Donations and/or sponsorships for a local athlete for a world event would be greatly appreciated.
A 50/50 raffle will be held to help, but at a $4,500 price tag, that's a lot of tickets to push.
If interested, contact Robwhetzel@aol.com
North can be reached at email@example.com