Root, root, root for the home team


The Scrappers opening game brought out a sea of locals to enjoy the ideal weather as they cheered on the team against the Jamestown Jammers.

“I think it’s going to be a good game for opening night,” predicted George Prvonozac of Warren at the start of the game.

Nearby 4-year-old Wyatt Anderson could be seen leaning over the rail to peer at the players on the field. His mother Cylynda Anderson, 42, of Sharon, Pa., said they came prepared for rain since the previous day’s rain interfered with a Pirates game that Wyatt attended with his father.

“(It’s going) good. It’s beautiful out. I kept watching the weather for rain,” Cylynda Anderson said.

Wyatt wasn’t alone in his enthusiasm. During one of the periods between innings a team of tiny baseball players took the field to compete in a hula hoop competition. The 13 boys, ages 6 to 8, were recently named the “Trumbull County American League Champions” with a record of 11-0 in their pee-wee division. Tyler Gania, 28, one of the Champion team’s coaches, said the boys were enjoying the well-deserved night of fun.

“We’re in the tournament now and decided to take the night off,” Gania said.

Proud mother Jennifer Kusmierek said her son Joseph, 6, was only in his first year of pee-wee baseball.

“I think they’re having a blast,” she said.

While the boys were enjoying the fun zone play area, a trio of women from Johnston were shading their eyes from the sun. Eula Opel, 93, admitted she had no idea how the game was going on the field but was enjoying herself nonetheless. Out to the game with her daughter Lana Opel, 62, and their friend, the women had come to hear Lana sing the national anthem with her quartet.

“I think it went well,” said Eula Opel.

Lana Opel said the Chord of Appeals quartet has sung the anthem for the opening game for the past five years. Another veteran to the Scrappers games, Karen Conklin, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Red Cross, was off of work and out for the night.

She said her family has hosted Scrappers players at their Liberty home for the last 10 years. This year, pitcher Cole Sulser from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire is staying at her house. While he didn’t play in the opening game, she said he is hoping to have some field time in the next one.

“We started because we wanted to give back to the community,” she said.

Conklin said she really appreciates the local field for its opportunity to offer affordable family fun.