Shots in the Darke

 Random thoughts on a Sunday evening: 

First, congratulations to all area high school as well as college graduates!! Another step along the way of life’s journey with many more to come! 

Greenville’s Lady Wave softball team came up short in the state D-II semifinals in Akron Thursday by a 6-5 count to Tallmadge on a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jerrod Newland’s club played well—a few balls that found holes or were hit right at fielders made the difference in an otherwise outstanding season for the Green and White. Don’t worry GHS fans, the “machine” will continue to roll along again next year! By the way, Tallmadge defeated Canfield Saturday 9-1 to claim the title—makes one think that the Lady Wave might have done the same! 

The Russia Raiders baseball team returns to the state D-IV tournament in Akron to defend their 2022 title this weekend after defeating Southeastern in the regional finals. Whatever they’re doing in one of the smallest schools in the state must be working as the boys’ basketball team also made the Final Four a few months ago!  

Did you get the chance to see the video of the high school baseball game between Palmyra Macedon and Hornell in the New York State playoffs? With Hornell up by one in the bottom of the last inning and two runners on base with two outs, the P-M batter struck out, causing a wild celebration by the Hornell ball club. But wait a minute!! The catcher dropped the third strike and forgot to complete the play by throwing to first base. As the Hornell team rejoiced on the infield, the runners circled the bases as the winning run scored, giving the P-M team a district title! For all of you youth and high school players it would pay to listen to the words of all-time great Yankee catcher Yogi Berra—“it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”! 

Here’s a trivia question for all residents of Ohio’s leading agricultural areas—what is a Belted Galloway? I had no clue and am not sure if too many of you will know! 

Congrats also to three Darke County individuals on making the podium at the OHSAA Track  and Field championships held this weekend in Columbus. In D-III, Versailles’ Colton Reese finished second in the 110 hurdles with Justin Finkbine of Tri-Village earning a fourth in the same event. Ansonia’s Colleen Steinmetz placed second with a personal best in the D-III girls pole vault, trailing only Katie McFarland of Lehman Catholic.  

Kudos as well to the Marion Local boys on winning the D-III team championship and Minster’s girls finishing third in D-III along with Coldwater’s Lady Cavaliers claiming sixth. The annual gathering of the state’s best thinclads is a great spectator event—even if you don’t have a  rooting interest in an individual or team it’s well worth your time to attend at least once!! 

Breaking down the thirty-four events held in Jesse Owens Stadium (in each of the three  divisions, seventeen each for boys and girls) D-I winners had the best times, heights, and  lengths in twenty-four, D-II nine, and D-III one (in the girls shot put). The depth found in D-I is impressive, mainly due to the numbers of students and potential athletes from which to draw.

Speaking of attending an event, if you’ve never been to the Muirfield Golf Course over in Dublin for the Memorial Tournament, you need to put it on your bucket list. Beautiful and challenging course, the aura of Jack Nicklaus, an outstanding field of the world’s best golfers (missing those LIV outliers!), and only a fairly short drive away it is well worth your effort to go! Viktor  Hovland won this year’s outing in a one-hole playoff over Denny McCarthy as fan favorite Rory  McIlroy played Warner golf (terrible wedges and too many missed putts!) and faded out of  contention. 

The NFL has changed the rule on kickoffs for the upcoming season—any kickoff can be fair caught inside the 25-yard line, with the ball being placed at the 25. The main reason of course is to reduce concussions and injuries during one of the most exciting but also most violent plays in pro sports. Concussions are more than five times as likely to occur during the kickoff than any other offensive or defensive play. Purists will bemoan the change but they’re not the ones running downfield at full speed to make a block or tackle! 

Two last things—if you need something to do on Thursday evenings this summer, check out the weekly outdoor concert series in Oxford or the biweekly concerts at the YOLO park in Greenville. Great entertainment and it’s free!! We were in Oxford last week rocking out with a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band, just “Free Fallin’”! 

A Belted Galloway you ask? Drive by the corner of Bishop Road and Greenville-Bakers Store Road south of Greenville off of Route 121 and check out the cattle grazing in the field. Even a farm boy from a Jersey farm like myself was puzzled by the markings of the herd, black with a  wide white belt around the torso—another revelation for me!! Have a great week!