Shots in the Darke

A little over a quarter of the Major League Baseball season has been played so let’s check in with the Boys by the River, your Cincinnati Reds. David Bell, who was just tossed from two of three games over the weekend with the Yankees, finds his club ranked 17th of 30 teams in batting average at .244; 28th in home runs with only 35 dingers; and 28th in pitching with an ERA of 5.10. A few bright spots for the Reds have been outfielders Jake Fraley and TJ Friedl  (unfortunately currently on the Injured List), newly called up to the majors shortstop Matt  McLain, Jonathan India at second base, and, just to name someone from the pitching staff,  Graham Ashcraft (there have already been 22 hurlers take the mound so far this year!). 

Evidently Joey Votto will be spending most of what could (and should) be his last season with the wishbone C on his cap on the Injured List. Possibly a fairly strong candidate for the Hall of Fame, the Canadian has been slow in recovering from last fall’s shoulder surgery. With  a 19-27 record there is still hope for the Reds as they are only 5.5 games out in the weak NL  Central division—you would still have to be the eternal optimist to realistically think this team  can put together a winning record the rest of the season! BTW, what do you think of the all black Community Connect uniforms the team will be wearing for every Friday home game? I think my opinion depends on the hats, socks, and shoes worn with them—as my wife Kathy says, it’s all about the accessories! 

Did you have a chance to watch the PGA championship played this week in Rochester, NY?  Played in a variety of weather conditions the tournament burnished Brooks Koepka’s record as a three-time PGA champion to go along with two US Open titles. And how about 46-year-old club pro Michael Block finishing in the top fifteen following a hole-in-one and miraculous par save in the last few holes of the final round Sunday? 

Speaking of Rochester do you realize that it’s been 72 years since the NBA title trophy was won by the 1951 Rochester Royals? Here’s a trivia question for you sports aficionados—what ever became of the Rochester franchise and where is it located today? Answer and much more to follow! 

Speaking of the NBA the powers that be at both the television networks and league headquarters must be dying a thousand deaths at the thought of a Miami Denver championship final series. Think they aren’t pulling for a big-market and tradition rich meeting between the Celtics and the Lakers? 

High school softball moves to the regional level this week—congratulations to D-II champs the Lady Wave of Greenville (15 of the last 17 years) and D-IV winners Russia and Covington.  Sweet Sixteen berths for all three, best of luck in advancing to Akron and the state semi-finals! 

Track and field also starts regional competition this week with many area athletes advancing from the district levels. Area individual girl champions include Addie Klosterman of GHS in the 

D-I high jump; in D-II, Versailles’ Cassandra Bomholt in the high jump, Heidi Stammen in the  pole vault, Margaret McGlinch in the disc, and Tori Tyo in the shot put. 

In D-III Covington’s Carlie Besecker took home the 400 title while teammate Elyza Long claimed the 3200. Tri-Village had two stand atop the podium with Halle Bell the 300 hurdle champ and Adalynn Hines winning the long jump. Ansonia’s Olivia Schmitmeyer won the high jump and taking the pole vault was Colleen Steinmetz.  

In boy’s district action Versailles’ Colton Reese won both the 110 and 300 hurdles in D-III while Covington’s Asher Long led the field in the 3200, T-V’s Tanner Printz claimed the long jump, Arcanum senior Eain Parks took the shot, Newton’s Seth Coker the 800, and a trio of Ansonia thinclads took home top honors with victories by Brayden Bromagem in the 400, Matthew Lee in the 1600, and Garrett Stammen in the disc. Again, good luck at the regionals and a trip to Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus! 

The Rochester Royals, citing dwindling attendance, moved to Cincinnati in 1957 where they resided for 15 years. The Cincinnati Royals included such all-time greats as Jack Twyman and Wayne Embry. But the real stars of the team were the incomparable Oscar Robertson and  Jerry Lucas—the duo together were first-team NBA in ‘65, ‘66, and ‘68 and both were selected  to the NBA’s all-time greatest fifty players list. Robertson later captured a title with the ‘71 Milwaukee Bucks while Lucas won a ring with the ‘73 New York Knicks. Be sure and take the time to look up the complete stories of these two superstars! 

Without backing for a new arena, in 1972 the Royals franchise moved to Kansas City and became the Kings, sharing home venues for a time with Omaha. Since 1985 the Kings now call Sacramento home! The Rochester Royals have thus become a footnote in league annals along with other such teams as the Fort Wayne Pistons and the Syracuse Nationals! Have a great week!