The Galion Graders is preparing its roster for the upcoming season.
“We’ve begun to build our roster,” said Graders general manager Mike O’Leary.
The summer collegiate wooden bat baseball team has 30 verbal commitments. O’Leary said he is working with head coach Ray Neill to finalize the list of players.
The team is looking to have some players return from last season. It will also include players from the local area and talent from the Big Ten Conference including colleges such as Ohio State and Michigan State.
“It’s a strong roster,” he said.
A player must be a current college baseball player and pay a fee to play on the team so that they can keep their eligibility with their colleges.
In 2006, O’Leary discovered a collegiate baseball team playing in another small town. After announcing the formation of the team in December 2014, the Graders started its inaugural season earlier this summer as part of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
The team was named in honor of Galion’s rich history with the industry that specifically made road graders. Many people from Galion have worked at Galion Iron Works over the years and were apart of making all these graders.
The Graders finished their first season with a record of 16-22, two wins shy of a playoff spot.
“That wasn’t a bad run at it,” O’Leary said.
Off the field, the general manager said he’s enjoyed the friendships he’s made in the community through the baseball club. He added that the team had developed its own fanbase in the first season.
“It feels great to cheer for your team,” he said.
Reach Klein 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.