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.

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New Me Journey — It’s become fun to run

[This doubles as my column in the May 19 issue of The Commercial Review. I’ve added some more at the end to update since the column was published.]

For a vast majority of my life, the extent to which I ran took place on a softball diamond.

It was generally from one base to the next, maybe even two at a time. If I was lucky, I may even be able to run three bases.

And, if my teammates hit it far enough, I could circumnavigate the infield without fear of being tagged out and greet the guy at home plate with a high five for allowing me to strut around the base paths.

In short, I’m not a runner.

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Column: Line Drives — Stay is longer than was expected

[This is my column in the Thanksgiving — Nov. 25 — issue of The Commercial Review.]

This was supposed to be a stepping-stone.

My time here was going to be brief.

I’d come to Jay County, work for a year or two and then hit the road, moving on to someplace else to start over again. Work my way up the sports writing ladder.

My dream, after all, is to cover professional baseball on a daily basis.

But sometimes, plans don’t work out as envisioned.

I moved here two and a half years ago, and I never thought I would make it as long as I have.

I was going to kick-start my career — and this is a career, not just a job — gain valuable experience and then scream sayonara from a moving van as I drove into the sunset.

But something happened.
You.

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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.
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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.”
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Column: Line Drives — Tribe baseball making history, again

[This is my column in the May 14 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Following up a year in which multiple school records were set is a tough task.

So how does the Fort Recovery High School baseball team move on from the best squad in history?

Easily. The Tribe has simply put the 2014 team in the rearview and created a new legacy.

Here’s just a taste of the Tribe was able to do last season:
•Win the most games (20) in program history.
•Win the most Midwest Athletic Conference games (six) in history.
•Win 13 straight games after dropping its season opener to Celina.

There were some individual records broken as well in 2014:
•Mitch Stammen stole 27 bases, breaking Dale Griesinger’s mark of 25 set in 1949.
•Jackson Hobbs’ 0.76 ERA was a new record, besting Kevin Schoenherr’s 0.80 from 2006.
•Jacob Muhlenkamp set a new record for career games played with 96.
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Column: Line Drives — Weather not fit for the season

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

Wool socks, long sleeve t-shirt, gloves, jacket and a beanie.

Those items seem more fit to attend a sectional football game in late October or early November.

But that’s what one local sports editor — me — wore while covering a golf match Thursday.

It’s also what I should have worn at a baseball game Wednesday in Berne.

And it may be the new wardrobe for those attending prom this weekend.
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