When the last out has been made and lights go off at the ballpark, Marion's Bobcats head to their makeshift dens among hosts families throughout the county.
The summer collegiate league baseball team competing in its second season in Marion has won the hearts and minds of many sports fans, but the players have truly endeared themselves with their host families. Thirteen local individuals or couples have opened their residences to these athletes, some of which are hundreds of miles from their own homes. And the bonds are growing more solid by the day.
"I never went to the ball games, but now I go," said Paula Miniard, who hosts Mike DeSanto, a shortstop from Philadelphia.
Tommy and Mary Tabor (pictured) are also enjoying their time with catcher Zach Sutton, waiting up for him on many nights after the games just to visit for a moment or two. Sutton rooms upstairs at the Tabor's Marion home, and even introduced his family and girlfriend to the couple when they came to visit the 19-year-old earlier this season.
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Bobcat den mothers (and fathers)
Most of the 24 men on the Marion Bobcats roster are spending their summer with host families around the community. Those hosts include Ronnie and Deana Nix, Bill and Sherry Frazer, Paul and Harumi Nielsen, Paula Miniard, Gordon and Carol Guess, Gary Baulos, Jim and Merl Myers, Tommy and Mary Tabor, Rev. Wayne Garvey, Sharon Murray, Rich and Mandi Gardner and George and Diane Sutton.