If Tyler Rubasky has a problem to solve, he definitely has time to solve it.
For each practice session and game day, Rubasky, manager of the Washington County Pony All-Stars, makes just over a two-hour drive from Elkins, Virginia, to get to the fields.
So every new wrinkle, every shift in position, and every other little problem that can pop up with 13- and 14-year-olds gets a glimpse into Rupasky’s mind to prepare his players for the Pony League World Championship, which begins Friday at Le Hayes. Bonnie Field.
“I live in Elkins, Virginia, so the ride takes about two hours and 15 minutes,” Rupasky said. “What do I do for 2 hours and 15 minutes? I think how can we improve. I thought about riding but I thought this would be a great experience. Driving a lot at times, but the people around me were very supportive.”
Rubasky is a graduate of Hazelton High School and the University of Waynesburg. For the past two years, Rupasky has served as coach for Davis and Elkins.
“We’re well-balanced,” Rubatsky said. “I think we’re already starting to gather.”
The players on this team are flexible and multi-talented. Everyone can play, the team has three strong candidates, and there is more than enough speed to put pressure on the opponent’s defense.
“We’re finally trying to play the baseball team,” Rupasky said. “How do you make runs? How are we going to execute? What are the things that we have to work on to get the job done? But at the end of the day we’re going to win the Pony World Series and then these guys get on with their careers. I don’t want an immediate fix. I want it to be something they can afford.” with them for the rest of their careers.”
All players from the Founders League.
Strength is the foundation of the Washington County All-Stars lineup, and none is better than Anthony Giorgi. And nothing is longer either.
“I joke all the time with Anthony Giorgi,” said Rubatsky. “It’s like a 6-4 but I swear it grows a few inches every time I see it.”
LJ Zidek is another player who puts the racket pipe on the ball. He can play all outside positions but starts mainly in the center of the field.
Zedek graduated from the Beaver Valley baseball organization and played on the Washington Rebels’ travel team.
It’s a fantastic organization,” said Zedek, who is in the Trinity School District. “They have great coaches and great training. They have a good history.”
Zidek played for Turturice and Associates in the Founders League.
Nico Patrajas, who has appeared through youth leagues in Cannesburg, said he knows the secret to winning games in this World Series.
“The throw wins games,” he said. “Do not hit.”
Sam Stout plays catcher and first base. It is interchangeable with Patragas. He is the only player to appear through the McGuffey Youth Leagues on the roster.
“I’m a contact guy, I just try to put the ball into play,” Stout said. “I see a lot of speed in this team. That puts pressure on the defense. You have to do plays.”
On the court, Ian Miigyanko and Zach Shrader mostly played third base and four players – MJ Marushak, Hayden Stack, Ben Taczak and Cayden Laskosky – mixed and matched on short position and second base.
Three players – Giorgi, Stout and Patrajas – can handle first base. The outer areas are filled by either Matt Kokan, Dominic Canale, AJ Andronis, Sam Wade or Sebastian Shulsky.
They all participated,” Rubatsky said. “You never know what is going to happen. First of all the first four men can walk in. You have to go out and get him and someone else has to be prepared.”
For Rubasky, the focus is on the team.
“I think it takes a whole team effort to win matches,” he said. “You have to have the right attitude and believe that you will win everything.”