Starting their third summer, the B2 Bulls baseball program has a local flavor with county and Madison players on rosters.
From the county, Johnny Anservitz of Lakeside; Frank Sloan and Brendan Freeborn of Edgewood and Mike Ferl of Conneaut are on the U18 team.
Will Walker, of Edgewood, is on the U16 roster.
Also, Jakob Hallett, Will Henderlich and Tyler Newton are on the U14 team, while Eddy Gvora Nathan Yarnell play on the U11 squad. They are all from Madison.
B2 now has six teams — from U11 to U 18 — which is an increase from three.
It’s something U18 coach and B2 founder Zak Blair said he is proud to have accomplished.
“The kids are growing as players and becoming better young men,” said Blair, a Jefferson graduate. “People want to be a part of what we’re doing. We teach them to work hard, to have discipline and see the result of both.”
B2 consists of U11, U13, U14 (two), U16 and U18 squads with players also from Lake and Cuyahoga counties.
“We have a 12,000-square foot facility in Wickliffe,” Blair said. “We needed a bigger space. This has turned into something special.”
In early June, the U18 team reached the semifinals of the Midwest Challenge, finishing third.
Last weekend, they participated in Perfect Game Top Gun Invitational in St. Louis, going 3-1.
“It’s the way they go about their business,” Blair said. “Win or lose, kids can grow. They need to be around a positive environment.”
The U18 team is 11-4 on the season with five tournaments remaining, including out-of-town trips to Columbus, Wright State and Indianapolis.
Eleven players on U18 roster have committed to play in college on scholarship and two are going on visits next week to Missouri and Tennessee.
“B2 has helped me in many ways, but some major things I’ve learned is you never know who is watching and when they’re watching,” said Anservitz, who is going to Mercyhurst for academics and to play baseball in 2019-20. “You always have to give 100 percent effort and that goes on and off the field.
“I’ve also learned that you should always play like it’s your last rep. You never know what could happen, so you have to take advantage of each moment because one day you might regret it.”
Sloan, who helped the Warriors to a Division III regional semifinal run in the spring, is set to attend Lake Erie College and play baseball in the upcoming school year.
“Coach Blair has expectations for his players to be the best they can be as a player and person, and he’s not afraid to push you to be the best you can be,” he said. “He’s helped me as an individual by telling us how a baseball player should act with respect.”
Blair said the coaches are crucial with each team.
They include Benji Jarabeck and Matt DiDonato (an Edgewood graduate) leading
the U11 team; Jordan Taylor and Paul Serra, U13; Joe Iveljic and John Ramski, U14; Chris Bryant, Bill Christopher and Jeff Kotlar, U14; Jim Savel Sr.
and Jim Savel Jr., U16 and Blair and Dave Blair, U18.
“It starts with them,” Blair said. “We have 14 guys on staff with more than 200 years of experience. It’s unbelievable what these kids are able to learn.”
Blair said the players and their families also play an important role in the program.
Offseason workouts start in November and remain inside until the weather breaks, which is unpredictable in Ohio.
“We do 30 to 50 lessons per week,” Blair said. “We’re invested in their kids. It’s not just about baseball.”