Column: Line Drives — Being in right spot is half the battle

[This is my column in the Dec. 29 issue of The Commercial Review.]

“Awesome picture.”

“Great photo.”

“Perfect shot.”

Those are just a few of the comments I’ve gotten in the last couple years on photos I’ve taken.

But I’ll admit: Getting those pictures has more to do with Lady Luck than it does my abilities as a photographer.

Half the battle behind a good sports photo is being in the right place at the right time.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Column: Line Drives — Question from a fan was a surprise

[This is my column in the Nov. 19 issue of The Commercial Review.]

It was a question that caught me off guard.

Saturday in Monroeville, the Jay County High School girls basketball team had just finished beating the host Heritage Patriots.

It was the second win in as many games — also the second game I covered this winter sports season — and the eighth consecutive regular season Allen County Athletic Conference victory for Jay County.

Usually I’m the one asking the questions following a game. Sometimes, I even catch the athletes off guard with one of my inquiries.

The table was turned Saturday.

Continue reading

Column: Line Drives — Indians deserved playoff game

[This is my column in the Nov. 12 issue of The Commercial Review.]

It was more than two decades in the making.

The Fort Recovery High School football team hosted its first playoff game in program history on Friday.

There is a certain buzz that surrounds football games on Friday nights, and what happened in Fort Recovery last week was special.

Even before arriving at Barrenbrugge Athletic Park, the pomp and circumstance was in full force.

Pop-up canopies were peppered throughout town, grills fired up and the smell of tailgate food permeated the air.

It was hard not to get caught up in the moment.

Nearly an hour before the game started, the home side of the stands was just about half full.

It was easy to see the implications of the game.

Continue reading

Column: Line Drives — Jay not a team for others to overlook

[This is my column in the Oct. 23 issue of The Commercial Review.]

This was supposed to be the year.

It was going to be the season the Jay County High School volleyball team finally broke through and won the program’s first sectional in more than a decade.

All the pieces were in place.

It returned its top five players from last year in seniors Abby Wendel, Kylie Osborne and Ava Kunkler, and juniors Lizzy Schoenlein and Abby Barcus.

A fourth senior, Emilie Walter, and a host of other players — juniors Britlyn Dues, Alli Campbell, Katie Lyons, as well as sophomores Chloe Trissel and Kaelyn Weaver — were hoping to build off the most wins (24) in the two decades Fred Medler has coached the Patriots.

After a devasting loss to Homestead in the sectional semifinal last season, Jay County had its sights set on returning to the sectional championship match for the second time in three years.

Continue reading

Column: Line Drives — Mentality led to turnaround

[This is my column in the Sept. 24 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Some time ago, Fort Recovery High School football coach Brent Niekamp knew the Indians were about to make a big turn.

It was 2011, to be exact. The Tribe had gone 4-6 that season — the third consecutive year with a losing record after going 5-5 in 2007.

“There was something about those guys,” said Niekamp, who has been leading Fort Recovery since 2005. “We played with a lot of toughness. We didn’t get intimidated by anybody.

“You could tell there was a different way that we played.”

Although the Indians had lost 21 games in three years, the margin of defeat was getting smaller each year. They were fighting back. They were playing well.

It just didn’t turn into many victories.
Continue reading

Column: Line Drives — Playing multiple sports is best

[This is my column in the July 30 issue of The Commercial Review.]

John Smoltz, one-third of arguably the best three-man pitching rotation in the history of Major League Baseball, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

During his speech, he touted those who helped him throughout his baseball career.
But he also had a message for young athletes and their parents regarding Tommy John surgery.

“It’s an epidemic,” said Smoltz, who to date is the only HOF member to have had the procedure. “It is something that is affecting our game. It is something that I thought would cost me my career.

“I want to encourage the families and parents that are out there to understand that this is not normal to have a surgery at 14 or 15 years old. You have time. Baseball is not a year-round sport. You have an opportunity to be athletic and play other sports.”

Continue reading

Column: Line Drives — Tribe’s leader calm, relaxed

[This is my column in the June 3 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Ask anyone on the Fort Recovery High School baseball team and they will give you the same answer.

“Laid back.”

“Relaxed.”

Take one look at the guy, and it is easy to see what they mean.

Watch him in action, manning the coaching box down the third base line or nearly walking on the field to give his defense instructions, his knowledge for the game shows.

What he’s done in five years leading the Indians has earned him the respect of his peers.

“I can’t say enough about Jerry Kaup,” said St. Henry coach John Dorner following his team’s 2-0 victory May 8 against the Indians. “What he’s done with this program here, to be (then) No. 1 in the state … He has done a tremendous job with this program and I wish him luck.

“I think (Fort Recovery) can go a long way in the tournament this year.”
Continue reading