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Fayette Country Baseball League prepared for fresh start

| Saturday, May 17, 2014, 12:31 a.m.

The Fayette County Baseball League is back.

Most teams in the league begin play this coming week, but less than a year ago, the future of the FCBL was in doubt.

“I'm excited to get started if we can get the weather to cooperate,” Mill Run coach Ray Orndorff said.

Last year, it wasn't the weather that derailed the league. Prior to the start of the postseason, several problems were brought to light, including a failure of some members of the league to pay their dues. Another problem was a failure by some teams to turn in final rosters by the deadline. Several teams, including Mill Run, decided it would be best not to participate in the playoffs, and the league canceled the playoffs entirely.

Orndorff and the rest of the league are eager to put last year's problems behind them.

“What happened last year is over,” Orndorff said. “We met all fall and winter to rectify it.”

During the fall and winter meetings, it was decided that more league members should be involved in the operations of the league. For a number of years, Dan Kupets, who has served as league president since 1999, was tasked with handling most of the league's off-field issues.

“We kind of wanted to develop a distribution of duties, because whatever was being done, I was doing it,” Kupets said. “It was getting to be a lot of work for one person.”

Kupets said that his main responsibility will be the interpretation of league rules.

In addition to Kupets, Mitch's Bail Bonds (Charleroi) manager Ryan Encapera is the league's vice president and is in charge of the schedule, specifically rescheduling games that are rained out or otherwise postponed. Carmichaels coach Richard Krause will be the league secretary and is in charge of media relations. Orndorff will serve as league treasurer and first-year California High School baseball coach Nick Damico has been named the league statistician. Tom Sankovich is the league's commissioner.

“There are more people involved now in the running of the league,” Sankovich said. “The people that owed their money have paid, and I think the league is on solid footing.”

Sankovich is pleased with the distribution of league responsibilities.

“They've got good baseball guys (running things) and I think it is great for these guys who get out of high school and college and want to continue to play baseball,” Sankovich said.

The FCBL is a wooden-bat league, and this year will comprise seven teams representing Carmichaels, Dunbar, Charleroi, Mill Run, Belle Vernon, Perryopolis and Hopwood. Each team plays a 24-game regular season, and the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs, which consist of two best-of-five semifinal series and a best-of-five championship series.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at jblack@tribweb.com.

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