The Times West Virginian

July 8, 2013

Osbourne, Bland take final swing

By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Baseball is a numbers game.

There’s 56: Joe DiMaggio’s seemingly unbreakable hitting streak.

There’s 61: Roger Marris’ home run total in 1961 and the true single-season record if you discredit the cheaters.

There’s 511: pitcher Cy Young’s career wins.

And then there’s four.

That’s how many seasons most ball players have left when they enter high school.

Few get the opportunity to play college baseball. Even fewer go pro. For the rest, it’s game over. Time to focus on school. Get an education. Or go to work. Get a real job.

But pitcher Brent Osbourne and catcher Austin Bland are two ball players who aren’t letting the numbers dictate their lives. Though both graduated from North Marion in 2012, they have continued their baseball careers into a fifth season on Fairmont Post 17 Legion.

“We didn’t want to ever quit,” Osbourne said. “We wanted to play in college if we could. Things just didn’t work out that way.”

The ball players share a special connection on the field. Bland caught Osbourne for all four seasons at North Marion.

In their senior season, the Huskies were playing Nitro High School and Korey Dunbar, a catcher ranked the best baseball prospect in all of West Virginia by recruiting service Perfect Game. Osbourne wasn’t intimidated by the eventual 39th-round pick and University of North Carolina backstop.


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