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It is with great excitement that Rich Baseball Operations announced that Leighann Sainato has been named General Manager of the West Virginia Black Bears. In her sixth year with the Black Bears organization, Sainato becomes just the second GM in Black Bears history!

Sainato becomes the first woman general manager in the MLB Draft League and in the history of Rich Baseball Operations (comprising of the Black Bears, the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, and the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals). There are currently seven female GMs in Minor League Baseball’s 120-team player development system.

Rich Baseball Operations has also promoted Craig McIntosh to Black Bears Director of Ballpark & Team Operations. The Black Bears return to Monongalia County Ballpark for the 2022 Home Opener on Tuesday, June 7 against the Frederick Keys (7:05 p.m.).

“We are thrilled to have Leighann as the next general manager of the Black Bears as her dedication, passion, and ability to connect with our great fans will help us to continue to provide the absolute best sports and family entertainment experience in town,” said Mike Buczkowski, President, Rich Baseball Operations. “Both Leighann and Craig have been with the Black Bears for a number of years and have developed into tremendous leaders, positioning our organization for many successful seasons to come.”

Sainato enters her sixth year with the Black Bears organization, first joining the team in 2017 as a community relations assistant before being promoted to Ticket Operations and Public Relations Manager before the 2019 season. Under Sainato’s leadership, the team has seen a sharp increase in group and hospitality sales, while also expanding the club’s season ticket holder benefits program. She also oversaw the club’s merchandise and marketing efforts, with significant growth across the club’s social media outreach, and assisted in the club’s transition to the MLB Draft League prior to the 2021 season.

A native of Morgantown, Sainato has four degrees from West Virginia University, with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and history (2009), a juris doctor degree from the College of Law (2015), and a Master of Science degree in sports management (2019).

Congratulations to both Leighann Sainato and Craig McIntosh! We cannot wait until Tuesday, June 7th when the West Virginia Black Bears take the field for their home opener! Season tickets for the West Virginia Black Bears are on sale now, choose any seat and pay one flat price! Click here to become a season ticket holder!