Black Bears Conversations: Playing in West Virginia


GRANVILLE, W.Va. – For most of the West Virginia Black Bears players every year, the season they play in Granville is their first time being in the state of West Virginia.

I sat down with a couple players for our final Black Bears Conversations story, and asked them what playing in West Virginia has been like.

ETHAN PAUL: “It’s beautiful, it’s way more green than I thought it would be. Really hilly. And, obviously, I had never been to West Virginia, but the town by itself is really spread out. And (Morgantown is) a beautiful town by itself. I’ve really enjoyed driving around and seeing the town, and being able to meet the people here, and just get to know the landscape and stuff.”

“I love it here. It actually exceeded my expectations for sure. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but the people out here are awesome. They’ve all been really nice, all around the city and stuff. And I couldn’t have asked for a better host family, too. They’ve been awesome people to stay with.”

Blake Sabol, Black Bears outfielder

ETHAN PAUL: “The back drop is really nice. You look out and you see university in the background, and all the trees and stuff. It’s been good to play here. It’s been a great atmosphere. From what I can see, the university kind of rallies around the sports teams here, and that’s something that’s definitely similar to Nashville and Vanderbilt. So that’s been nice to see. Even though class isn’t in session you see the billboards, and there’s just that atmosphere. And people asking about the sports, and stuff like that. So that means a lot to be here.”

Cheat Lake (Photo via Ryan Decker / WBOY)

BLAKE SABOL: “We don’t have that much free time during the season, but there was an off day where we went out on Cheat Lake. We took a pontoon boat out there. That was a lot of fun. We got to spend a day in the sun. A couple of us got fried out there, though. I think there’s a couple still recovering from some sun burns. As far as having a good time and experience out here, we’re doing just that.”

JARED TRIOLO: “Probably the field. It’s a nice playing surface. And the fans for sure. They usually pack this place pretty good, so, it’s a lot of fun to play in front of them.”

“Single-A baseball, you don’t always have the most fans, or an intense atmosphere. And here we have up to 1,000, maybe even more, every night. So, it’s been a lot of fun to go play in front of some fans that appreciate professional baseball, cheer for you through good and bad. You can’t always find that every level you go to, so that will be something I definitely miss.”

Ethan Paul, Black Bears shortstop
Black Bears mascot Cooper giving a fan a hug at a game earlier this season. (Photo via Ryan Decker / WBOY)

BLAKE SABOL: “I’ll definitely miss everything about here. I think literally everything about the situation out here has been awesome. I have great teammates that I get along with well. And it’s been a lot of fun being here.”

You can find all of our previous Black Bears Conversations pieces with Matt Gorski, Paul (link), Sabol (link), Triolo (link), and on manager Drew Saylor, on our website, or by clicking on the links.

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