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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

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Copperheads Barnes

OHIO baseball team member Bryan Barnes is the Copperheads' starting third baseman.

Photo courtesy of: Southern Ohio Copperheads

Copperheads O'Neill

OHIO's Wes O’Neill was an All-Star representative for the Copperheads.

Photo courtesy of: Southern Ohio Copperheads

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Bobcats fuel Copperheads baseball


Four of the Southern Ohio Copperheads didn’t have to travel far to play summer baseball this year. In fact, they didn’t have to travel at all.

Ohio University baseball players Kory Burkhart, Bryan Barnes, Seth Streich and Wes O’Neill all chose to stay in Athens this summer and play with the Copperheads, one of 11 baseball teams in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.

O’Neill, the team’s starting shortstop,  was an All-Star representative for the Copperheads. Barnes, the team’s starting third baseman,  has seen time in the middle of the batting order. Burkhart is a crucial bench player, playing almost every spot on the baseball diamond for the Copperheads, including catcher. Streich is one of several pitcher-hitter hybrids with the third most RBIs on the team.

The Copperheads benefit from close ties with the Ohio University Bobcats -- one the largest advantages being the full use of the University’s facilities.

“We’re a little bit unique from other summer teams because we get to use a D1 facility," said Copperheads Head Coach Mike Florak. "It’s such a fantastic stadium that it really adds to the experience."

Florak's close relationship with Ohio University Head Baseball Coach Joe Carbone also has its rewards for the team.

“Coach Carbone just tells me who to take,” Florak joked of his former boss.

O'Neill was one such player recommended to the Copperheads by Carbone.

“Coach Carbone thought that the Copperheads would be a good fit for me. He said that I would like Coach Florak, and he would get along with me,” said O'Neill, a native of Mississauga, Ontario.

O'Neill is not the only one who traveled great lengths to play for Carbone and Florak; Burkhart decided to return to his home state from California, where he had been playing junior college ball, based on a phone conversation with OHIO Assistant Baseball Coach Andrew See.

Today, as Ohio University students and Athens residents, O’Neill and Burkhart, along with Barnes and Streich, play an important role with the Copperheads, helping their fellow teammates acclimate to southeast Ohio.

“I try to help out the players who aren’t as familiar with the area,” Barnes said, “I gotta show them the hotspots – cool places to hang out and eat. Chipotle’s always good, and I’ve got some of the guys trying out Big Mama’s and Jimmy Johns.”

Even the relatively new Streich recognizes his role.

“I was just a freshman this year, but I still definitely have to be more of a leader,” he said.

All four Bobcats will continue to spend their summer as Copperheads, helping the team toward its ultimate goal: the playoffs.

“That’s why I came here," said O'Neill. "They were in the playoffs last year, so I wanted to be part of a winning team."

Florak  is just happy to have his Bobcat players along for the ride.

“Those are four outstanding young men. They play the game the way it should be played,” he said.

Related Links

Southern Ohio Copperheads* OHIO baseball

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*This link takes you outside of Ohio University's website.