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Friday, June 4th, 2010

Marker excited to manage Mariners

By Ryan Hines
Another exciting season of Grand Lake Mariners baseball is ready to jumpstart the summer months in Celina as college players from 19 different schools will call Jim Hoess Field home for the next two months.
Players began to arrive at their host family homes on Thursday and will soon begin playing exhibition games in preparation for the 40-game Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League campaign.
The Mariners host Portland in an exhibition doubleheader on Sunday at 2 p.m. for first-year manager Joe Marker.
Marker, the Director of Baseball Operations for the U.S. Baseball Academy, shouldn't be a stranger to local baseball fans as he has coached eight seasons at Russia High School, nine at Greenville High School and has led the Greenville Legion/Connie Mack team (GTI Sluggers) for 23 seasons.
Even though Marker has coached baseball for over two decades, he knows things will be a little different in the GLSCL.
"I am looking forward to the challenge of coaching in the GLSCL. With coaching high school, you get those kids for four years, but with the Mariners, you get players from all over and you have to get them to gel as a team in a short amount of time because we play for only two months," said Marker. "Guys come here to play for the summer from good programs and expect to get better. They have a passion for the game and this league is about development.
"Some guys will be swinging wooden bats for the first time in a competitive game and it will take some time for guys to adjust to the wooden bats," added Marker. "This league is a good baseball league with a lot of tradition and I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Marker will have plenty of help to try and mold the Mariners into a GLSCL contender this year with the help of five assistant coaches.
Travis Miller pitched seven years in Major League Baseball and will be designated as a pitching coach for the Mariners along with Jeff Hahn, who was the head coach for Fort Recovery High School this past spring. Bart Davis (head coach at Eaton) will be the Mariners' third base coach while helping with the infielders and hitting while Larry Gray (head coach at Tri-County North) will be the first base coach and help instruct the Grand Lake catchers and hitters. Cory McGuire will also aid the coaching staff by instructing the outfielders and hitters.
"We have a lot of baseball experience on our coaching staff and we are all looking forward to getting to know the players and help them develop into better players while they are here," said Marker.
Marker has already helped develop a pair of players on the Grand Lake roster as his sons Jordan and Cale will play this summer for the Mariners, Jordan for the second consecutive year.
"It's a neat opportunity to coach my sons and it makes it easier on my wife and myself because they will be playing at the same field and we won't have to miss seeing them play this summer," said Marker.
Marker has also made it a priority to bring former high school Grand Lake area baseball standouts back to play for the summer. Celina (John Bonvillian), Coldwater (Cory Klenke, Sam Slavik), Parkway (Jensen Painter), and St. Henry (Nick Bruns) along with Versailles (Jon Richard and Jordan Liette) will all be represented on the 2010 Mariners roster.
"There are a lot of great baseball programs around this area and I think it's nice to have some local players on the team," said Marker. "I think that having the local kids on the team helps to energize the crowd a little and it gives fans a chance to see these kids play again after their high school days."
In addition to Bonvillian, Slavik and Jordan Marker, there will be three other former Mariners (Ryan Richter, Ryan Schlater and Jared Hoying) that have returned for a second straight summer to play for Grand Lake.
"It's important to have some players back from last year to help with leadership early on and to get other players accustomed to the league and to the area because they are here for two months," said Marker. "There will be players from different towns and states that will have to adjust to living here and playing baseball on a daily basis."  
Last season the Mariners were one of the best teams in the GLSCL with a 25-10 record (second place) and Marker is focused to keep Grand Lake near the top of the league standings.
"The goal for us is to win as many games as possible and to help develop these players into even better players," said Marker. "We will play everyone early on and then let the players develop their roles as we get more familiar with what our strengths are. We want to be in the league hunt in June and then try to go out and win it in July."

Mariners Schedule:
6  Portland (Exhibition-DH)  2 p.m.
9  Geneva (Exhibition)  7:15 p.m.
11  at Xenia  7 p.m.
12  at Delaware  1 p.m.
14  at Lake Erie  7:15 p.m.
15  Xenia  7:15 p.m.
17  Portland (Exhibition)   7:15 p.m.
20  at Southern Ohio (DH)  5 p.m.
22  Lake Erie  7:15 p.m.
24  Lima  7:15 p.m.
26  Licking County (DH)  4 p.m.
27  at Hamilton  7:05 p.m.
29  Hamilton  7:15 p.m.
30  Lake Erie  7:15 p.m.
1  Cincinnati  7:15 p.m.
2  at Lima  7 p.m.
3  Lexington (DH)  4 p.m.
4  at Stark County (DH)  3 p.m.
6  at Hamilton  7:05 p.m.
7  Xenia  7:15 p.m.
8  Delaware  7:15 p.m.
9  at Lima  7 p.m.
10  at Cincinnati  7:05 p.m.
11  at Delaware  1 p.m.
13-15  All-Star Break
17  Stark County (DH)  4 p.m.
20  Hamilton  7:15 p.m.
21  Delaware  7:15 p.m.
22  at Xenia  7 p.m.
23  at Lake Erie  7:15 p.m.
24  at Lexington (DH)  1 p.m.
25  at Licking County (DH)  1 p.m.
26  Delaware  7:15 p.m.
27  Cincinnati  7:15 p.m.
28  Lima  7:15 p.m.
30  at Cincinnati  7:05 p.m.
31  Southern Ohio (DH)  4 p.m.
Home games are played at Celina's Jim Hoess Field at Westview Park.
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