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

Column: Line Drives — Apology nice, but not needed

[This is my column in the Aug. 27 issue of The Commercial Review.]

In sports, apologies aren’t necessary.

Coaches don’t need to apologize for being particularly hard on a player.

They want the best out of their players, and they will try to push them to become better athletes.

Players, if mistakes are made, don’t need to say they are sorry for doing something wrong.

After all, they’re just kids anyway. Kids aren’t perfect.

The blunder will be used as a learning experience, something the athlete can be sure to never do again.

Last week, I was wrong.
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

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.
Continue reading

Column: Line Drives — Weekend exciting for local athletics

[This is my column in the Jan. 22 issue of The Commercial Review.]

It’s going to be an exciting weekend in Jay County.

It’ll be a busy one as well.

The Patriots host the inaugural Allen County Athletic Conference swim meet, which begins with diving at 6 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, the swimming portion of the meet will begin at 9 a.m., and just a short walk away in the main gym the Patriot wrestling team hosts its ACAC tournament at the same time.

As it was with the conference hoops tournaments, the excitement level is high for the swim and wrestling teams to compete for conference titles.

“Conference should be a good swim meet,” said JCHS girls swim coach Matt Slavik. “Every team that’s coming in has some talent. It’s going to give us a run for our money.
The Patriot girls are favorites to win as a team, as Slavik and his girls have defeated the three other squads — Adams Central, South Adams and Bluffton — in dual meets this season.

Continue reading

Column: Line Drive — Patriots get their rematch tonight

Jay County High School sophomore Jay Houck fights to put up a shot between two Bluffton defenders in the semifinal game of the Allen County Athletic Conference boys basketball tournament at JCHS. Houck and the Patriots will square off against the Leo Lions Saturday, Jan. 17, at the StarDome in Berne.

Jay County High School sophomore Jay Houck fights to put up a shot between two Bluffton defenders in the semifinal game of the Allen County Athletic Conference boys basketball tournament Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 at JCHS. Houck and the Patriots will square off against the Leo Lions Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, at the StarDome in Berne. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

[This is my column in the Jan. 17 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Any time a team loses a close game, more often than not, it wants another shot.

The Jay County High School boys basketball team will get a second chance against the Leo Lions at 6 p.m. tonight.

But the stakes are higher.

The Allen County Athletic Conference tournament championship is on the line.

Continue reading

Column: Line Drives — Indians created a winning culture

[This is my column in the Nov. 20 issue of The Commercial Review.]

I don’t like admitting I’m wrong. I probably never will.

But sometimes it must be done.

Monday, I was wrong.

I referred to the season the Fort Recovery High School football team had was of the “Cinderella” variety.

After further review, I retract my statement.

I was off. In fact, I was far from accurate.

Continue reading