A former Ohio Valley baseball standout has taken over the Staunton Braves in Virginia. George Laase, a Buckeye Local and Fairmont State alumni, takes the reins of the Braves, which reside in the Shenandoah Valley Baseball League.
The VBL is one of eight summer leagues NCAA-sanctioned and known for high caliber college ball players from around the country, including Laase at one point in time.
After playing in the 2003 season, he returned to assist in 2004, 2007, and 2012. Many of the players, which come through the VBL ranks, go on to the minor and major league levels with notables such as Aubrey Huff, Mike Lowell, and Javier Lopez previously playing in the big leagues.
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On the field, Laase began here in the valley as a standout three-sport athlete for the Panthers of Buckeye Local. After graduating, he moved on to the Fairmont State University where he set a standard of his own carrying a career .408 batting average, with 14 home runs, 30 doubles, and seven triples, 105 RBI's, crossing the plate 140 times himself and reaching base .542. He was just the 10th player in FSU history to surpass the .400 batting average mark and one of the most solid second baseman the program has tenured in its history.
Now, along with the position of head coach at Robert E. Lee High School, Laase can now immerse himself in baseball year round which anyone who knows "Georgie" can attest to his love of the game after five minutes.
The Braves' owners, Boyd and Kay Snyder, have come to know Laase throughout his playing days and years prior which leave them with no reservations handing the program over to the prep coach.
"He's a sincere, dedicated, hard-working individual," Boyd Snyder said. "He really is. He loves baseball and he knows baseball."
The Braves, who have endured two sub .500 seasons, turn to the Ohio Valley local to help bring back winning ways to the organization.
"I'm going to bring a hard-work attitude, which I've always brought. It's a lunch-pail attitude. I know the tradition," Laase said. "I know what people expect around here. I know that Valley League championships do matter to the people of Staunton."
The Braves look to add a seventh championship to their resume as the 2013 season gets under way after the spring collegiate season. "Staunton Braves baseball, the Snyders, the City of Staunton and especially the Shenandoah Valley Baseball League, it's always been something that's meant so much to me and my family," Laase said.
Muklewicz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org