Column: Line Drives — Four years hold special memories

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

Four years.

Saturday marks four years as sports editor of The Commercial Review.

I didn’t expect to be here this long.

No, that’s not to say I don’t want to still be here — I do — nor am I on my way out the door.

If you don’t mind, I think I’m going to stay for a while longer.

I just never thought I’d hit four years.

I thought I’d put in a year or two and move on. It’s the epitome of small-town, community journalism — get a foot in the door, gain experience, go elsewhere.

But I don’t want to.

And I’m glad I haven’t.

It’d be hard for me to imagine not being around to see the culmination of the high school athletic careers of four local athletes.

Four years ago I came to Portland not knowing what I was getting myself into.

Four years later, the class of 2017 is the first group of student-athletes I’ve gotten to cover all the way through high school.

There are four in particular whose careers have stuck out the most.

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Column: Line Drives — Changes coming for Jay sports

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

Change is on the horizon.

On Monday, the IHSAA will announce its new sectional alignments for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

While most may have hoped Jay County would drop to Class 3A in terms of boys and girls basketball, when the governing body announced enrollment numbers March 31 that was not the case.

Carmel, the largest school in the state, has an enrollment of 4,830. Jay County has 1,108 students.

Jay County is the third smallest school in 4A for boys and girls basketball. Only South Bend Washington (1,001) and Guerin Catholic (738) are smaller. Washington opted for a higher enrollment classification while Guerin Catholic, which won the Class 3A state championship in March, was bumped up to 4A because of the tournament success factor.

But change is still coming, as the Patriot baseball and softball teams dropped to 3A and will now be the biggest school in the class.

I’ve never been good at predicting the future. I’m in the wrong career if I was skillful at doing so.

I will try my best, however, to project what I think will be new sectional alignments for the Jay County baseball, softball, football and volleyball teams. I do not see the boys and girls hoops teams as well as both soccer squads changing.

The football and volleyball teams will have slight changes to their sectional opponents. The baseball and softball teams will have an entirely new lineup as they return to 3A for the first time since 2007. That is also the same year the JCHS baseball team won its last sectional championship.

So, here goes.
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Column: Line Drives — Oddities make watching more fun

[This is my column in the May 15 issue of The Commercial Review.]

As the saying goes, you can watch baseball (or softball) every day and see something new each time.

Just this season, I’ve seen things I have never seen before — either as a player, as a fan or as a reporter.

Some of them are flukes, and others are just dominating performances at the plate or on the field.
At the very least, they’re impressive accomplishments.

The most recent is the 13 runs the Fort Recovery baseball team scored in the second inning Wednesday against Lincolnview to win the Division IV sectional title, 15-0.

I’ve been witness to some gaudy line scores in my time, but I have never seen 13 runs scored in one inning.

FRHS senior Blake Boughman hit two, two-RBI singles in the inning as the Indians batted around twice. Some players aren’t able to get three at bats in a game, and Kyle Schroer almost had three in one inning.

To put it lightly, it was an offensive show.

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Column: Line Drives — Being cat isn’t always good

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

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

Many times, I’ve been the cat — figuratively of course.

Especially when it comes to watching sports injuries.

I watched the video of the compound fracture Louisville’s Kevin Ware suffered in the NCAA Tournament last year numerous times.

The knee injury University of Miami running back Willis McGahee sustained during the 2002 BCS National Championship against Ohio State was something I watched over and over again also.

It was a must that I watch when Anderson Silva fractured his leg during his UFC fight too. My Twitter timeline was peppered with people talking about the injury and I had to see the incident.

With all three of those gruesome injuries, my curiosity got the best of me. They were injuries I should have never watched.

I wish I wasn’t the cat.

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