GALION — The future looks a bit cloudy regarding the Galion Graders, a summer collegiate level team that calls Galion home. The team will not play in 2022, but hopes to return to the field in 2023.
Graders joined the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League in 2015. Besides the 2020 season being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Graders have been active in the GLSCL since joining. Galion finished 12-29 in 2021, which was last place in the North Division.
“2022 season: the league allowed us to use our option of going dark for a season,” Galion Graders general manager Mike O’Leary said. “They allow that to every league member one time.”
The Graders GM pointed out that the GLSCL did it for a couple of reasons.
“They kind of asked us for a couple reasons. One, we had an unbalanced schedule. The other reason was to reorganize and get things moving smoother going forward,” he said.
This year the league is operating with an even number of 14 teams. Galion sitting out helps them achieve that balance.
A change in O’Leary’s life is also having an impact. His baseball career is going in a different direction.
“I’ve had the opportunity to go back on the road as an umpire. After last summer, getting back into that, I kind of just made a personal decision I wanted to spend my time doing that,” O’Leary said.
The ultimate goal heading into 2023 is simple with the change: “Finding some people who are better interested in continuing the Graders on.”
O’Leary was thankful for the impact the team has had on the Galion community since 2015 — something the team plans to be a part of in 2023.
“As an organization I think we have had really good support from the community, as large of a fan base of perhaps any community our size in the league.
“They’ve been behind us financially. The Galion YMCA and Avita, along with many others. Prints and Paints, McMullen brothers, they have all been greatly supportive,” O’Leary said.
While you will not be able to enjoy a Graders baseball game this coming summer, that may not be the end. O’Leary sounded postive the Graders will be back in 2023.
“We’re looking to put a team back in 2023, that’s the most important thing,” O’Leary said.