The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 16, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Blashinsky very much in the game

Dave Blashinsky wears more than one hat, these days.

He spent the spring as a volunteer coach for Steve Cunha’s Edgewood Warriors and taking up a great deal of his time presently is being the head coach of the Ohio Outlaws Silver 16U Showcase traveling softball squad.

The team, which includes local standouts Lexi Zappitelli, the 2013 Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year from Conneaut, and Taylor Rowe and Sam Blashinsky (his daughter), is spending the summer traveling the country.

This past weekend, for example, the Outlaws Silver were in Philadelphia. They’ve already played a tournament in Chicago and last weekend, Dayton, where they earned a bid in the 16U USA-ASA Nationals, set for August in California.

“There are so many opportunities for girls out there,” he said by telephone from his hotel room in Philadelphia. “What I’m learning is our girls from Northeast Ohio are just like girls anywhere — they are talented, work hard and play well — but all they need are more opportunities to be seen.

“That’s what this kind of showcase team is all about — getting as many college coaches as possible to see our kids. By doing that, it opens up many doors as far as generating more and more opportunities for them.”

Not that playing the travel ball that is the norm is anything less, Blashinsky stressed.

“Not at all,” he said. “Travel ball has always been, and always will, be a very, very important part of a player’s development and it’s a great thing.

“All what we are doing is taking the same concept, but taking our girls to the tournaments and events where they can be seen by even more eyes than they would, normally.”

Apparently, it’s already paying off. One of the hurlers for the Outlaws Silver is Cheyenne Eggans. She has verbally committed to the University of South Florida — having just finished her sophomore season as a standout hurler at Mathews High School.

“Cheyenne’s exactly the kind of situation we’re talking about,” Blashinsky said. “She and the rest of the girls are being seen by more and more coaches, which give them more exposure and, in turn, perhaps more opportunities.”

One of Blashinsky’s assistant coaches on the Outlaws Silver is Pam Dreslinski. One of the best players to ever put on a uniform in Ashtabula County, the former Edgewood High School and Hofstra University star is proving invaluable, Blashinsky said.

“As we are having this conversation, Pam is having dinner with some college coaches,” he said. “And her abilities... they don’t get any better than Pam Dreslinski.”

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