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Countless area high school coaches learned craft from Salentro

From Staff Reports

Harrison County is rich in baseball coaching talent. Some of the area's top coaches, from South Harrison's Frank Lopez to Robert C. Byrd's Felix Veltri to Liberty's assistant, Larry Ritter, owe some of what they learned to Dominick "Wig" Salentro.

Over the course of last week, these coaches and other area baseball administrators remembered Salentro, who recently passed away.

Salentro coached Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion for more than 40 years in the county and was involved with Babe Ruth World Series teams in the 1950s.

For his involvement, he recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Babe Ruth organization and has been nominated for its Hall of Fame.

"Wig was the cornerstone in the lives of hundreds of youths in the Harrison County area," Veltri said. "His dedication, enthusiasm and example have influenced not only my life but the many others who have had the privilege of playing Babe Ruth baseball under his supervision."

Although he knew the game of baseball inside and out, he also knew the value of sportsmanship, acting state Babe Ruth commissioner John Miller said.

"He worked hard to instill (the game) in his players," Miller said. "And he worked hard to make his players better people. His contributions to youth baseball in the area should never be forgotten."

Salentro was known as a giving man, Ritter said. He treated all of his players alike, regardless of racial or economic status.

"Everyone was the same in his eyes," Ritter said.

His humanity for his players outweighs what he did for the game itself, country singer and actor Mayf Nutter said.

"His positive influence in the lives of hundreds of young men ... immeasurably supersedes any mere collection of baseball statistics," Nutter said. "Mr. Salentro ignited our spirits. He enlightened our minds to a new realm of possibilities. He invigorated our emotions to pursue success by persistently dissolving those attitudes which call forth failure.

"He took me to a level well above following orders and carrying out good instruction. He empowered me to give order to my life and gave me the courage to make winning decisions on my own."

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