Patriots’ Menarchek makes his college choice

South baseball player signs with Ohio Valley U.

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South’s Ben Menarchek, pictured here taking a pitch against Roane County earlier this year, will continue his baseball career at Ohio Valley University.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg South two-sport athlete Ben Menarchek is headed not far from home to continue playing baseball on the college level as last week, he committed to NCAA Division II Ohio Valley University in Vienna.

For Menarchek, he “decided to go to OVU, because I really like the coaching staff (headed up Chad Porter). I felt like I was at home, with how they run things. And I thought it was a great opportunity to be able to play in front of my family, because that’s important to me.”

On the academic part of college at OVU for Menarchek, “to be honest, in the summer when they were looking at me, I was unaware that they had a pre-med program,” he said.

“But when I found out that they had one when I visited at OVU, I got really excited and thought it was too good to be true.”

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Menarchek related that the Fighting Scots’ staff “put me as a top target for their program, because they’re losing veteran outfielders and my primary position is outfield. So I thought it (OVU) would be a good spot for me.”

Menarchek will play baseball his fourth — and last — season at South come spring, as he soon will be doing in basketball too next month for the Patriots.

He has played both basketball and baseball “through all the years growing up.”

But he stated there was no question about his favorite sport of the two, saying succinctly, “I love baseball.”

Menarchek was a Class AAA second-team all-state outfield selection last season when he hit .458, tops for South and the fourth-best batting average in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Even though right field is his “favorite” outfield position in baseball, Menarchek had played in the infield “my whole life. And then beginning my sophomore year, I found out that I could really compete for a spot in left field, and the first game, I got a chance, went 3-for-3 and had that starting spot since then.”

He acknowledged that his hitting “is probably the main reason OVU had a lot of interest in me, because I’ve had good numbers over the years.”

Last season, Menarchek batted fifth in the South lineup for head coach Matt Null, “right after our big sluggers,” he added, as the Patriots went 21-8.

This past summer as well, Menarchek played baseball for Herb Academy. “We played 24 games in six tournaments, but they’re like showcases too where college coaches come to see us play,” he said

“It was just me and my friends, Todd Burner and Bryce Eagle who play at South with me. We’ve had a travel team for about five years, and we decided to play with the Herb. We had a good summer and really made an impact with the program.”

For his South baseball senior year next spring, Menarchek noted that although the Patriots “lost basically our whole pitching rotation, we do have a lot of kids coming up. Plus, Todd and I are going to step up and pitch this year, and we have a couple sophomores and a couple juniors who can throw the ball.

“But hitting-wise, we’ll be as good as ever.”