Bengals new DE awaits chance at redemption

Published: Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 8:28 PM
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2012 @ 8:28 PM

            Cincinnati defensive end Jamaal Anderson signs autographs after practice Monday in Cincinnati. Anderson, a former No. 1 pick of the Atlanta Falcons, will start in place of the injured Carlos Dunlap.
            Nick Daggy

In the days leading up to this year’s NFL Draft, the sports website Bleacher Report ran a list of the biggest draft busts in the history of each franchise.

For the Atlanta Falcons, the choice was Jamaal Anderson, a defensive end out of Arkansas who was selected eighth overall in 2007 and recorded a mere 4.5 sacks in four seasons before the team released him.

“I didn’t put up the numbers that I was projected to, and because of those production numbers I was let go,” Anderson said Monday, three days before he gets to face his former team as the starting left defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals because of injuries to Robert Geathers and Carlos Dunlap.,

“It is ironic,” Anderson added. “But I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

After signing with Indianapolis in 2011 and making just one start, Anderson agreed to a free-agent contract with the Bengals in March. The move reunited him with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who held the same position with the Falcons when they drafted him.

“Jamaal got picked so high in the draft that didn’t he live up to expectations,” Zimmer said. “When you get picked that high, you better be a pass rusher. He’s a good left end, a first- and second-down player. And when you move him inside in the nickel, he can do some things.”

The previous working relationship with Zimmer was a big reason why the Bengals offered Anderson a contract.

“It’s like if you could take a kid that you coached in college and draft him into the NFL,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “He doesn’t have to learn anything new, so the learning curve is eliminated and now you’re just talking about physical stuff.

“It’s great for an NFL guy to apply himself and use his athleticism so he’s not slowed at all because he’s unsure about what to do or how to do it.”

Lewis and Zimmer also said Anderson’s character was a big reason for adding him to the roster.

A sociology major and academic honor roll student at Arkansas, Anderson is fluent in sign language and always eager to help the deaf community. He showed that in April when he was in town for Bengals minicamp. While staying at the Westin Hotel, his wife noticed there was a large contingent of deaf people across the street at Fountain Square and pointed it out to Jamaal, who went down and started mingling with the American Sign Language group that was staging an event known as a Silent Take Over.

“I just went around and tried to interact with as many people as I could,” said Anderson, whose father, Glenn, was rendered deaf in the 1950s when he was struck with a case of pneumonia at the age of 9.

“I was born into it, just from small stuff and being around the deaf community at college,” Anderson said. “Whatever I didn’t know, he would just show me.”

Glenn Anderson is a professor at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and a former board of trustees president at Gallaudet University, a federally chartered institution for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington D.C.

Jamaal worked with the Indiana School for the Deaf during his one season with the Colts, and he has reached out to do the same at St. Rita’s School for the Deaf in Cincinnati.

But for now, the most important sign for him to convey is the one that says he is returning to Atlanta a better player than when he left.

“I’ve definitely become more studious,” he said. “That was one of the things I probably learned between my second and fourth year in Atlanta, was definitely getting in, watching a lot of video, understanding not only my position in the scheme but overall what the concept was and why I was doing that for a particular reason.

“It feels good to go back and play where you started, but I’m not going to get over-hyped about this game,” he continued. “Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me there. I can’t look at the past. All I can do is continue to look forward.”

Lebanon girls handle Mason, earn another trip to Final Four

Published: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 4:20 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 7:12 PM

The Lebanon softball team poses for a photo Sunday after beating Mason 7-3 in a Division I regional championship game at Kings. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

The road north will once again be traveled by Lebanon High School’s softball team.

The top-ranked Warriors earned their fourth Division I state tournament berth in six years by defeating Mason 7-3 in a regional title game Sunday afternoon at Kings.

“It’s definitely worth all the hard work we’ve been putting in,” said Lebanon junior catcher Molly Osborne, who was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs. “You breathe a little bit, and then you remember we’ve got to go to Akron.

“I think this is the year. I feel so good about this team because each and every one of us means so much. You never know who’s going to be the next run or who’s going to get that hit or make that play. It’s really great because you know that anyone 1 through 18 can do that.”

The Warriors (29-3) also made it to state in 2012, 2014 and 2015, but they’ll be seeking their first championship in Akron.

Lebanon will meet North Canton Hoover at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday at Firestone Stadium. Elyria and Gahanna Lincoln will square off in the first semifinal at 10 a.m., and the winners will play for title on Saturday at 10 a.m.

“Looking at the trophy and everyone’s smiles, it’s such a great feeling knowing that we’re all going up to Akron to try to do something that we haven’t accomplished,” said Warriors senior left fielder Chloe Allen, who walked twice, doubled, singled and plated a run.

“This is definitely a job that needs to get done. We’re going up with a purpose, and hopefully we’re going to come home with some rings.”

Senior Alexis Strother provided some insurance Sunday with a two-run single in the sixth after the Comets (26-4) had cut the gap to 5-3 with two runs in the top of the inning.

Strother started and went five-plus innings in the circle for Lebanon. Taylor Lewis came on in relief and recorded two outs, then Strother retired the last four Mason batters to secure the win.

“All of us were so nervous yesterday and wanted to get to play,” said Strother, with the regional final postponed Saturday by a wet outfield at Centerville. “When we didn’t get to play, we were kind of upset, but we came out here and all the nerves were just gone. We came out with hot bats … and every single defensive player had a big role in helping me in the circle.”

Grace Gressly (2-for-3, two RBIs) and Ashley West (double, two runs) were among the offensive leaders for the Warriors against Mason ace Elle Buffenbarger.

“I have a lot of confidence in our lineup top to bottom, but we also have a lot of respect for Elle Buffenbarger,” Lebanon coach Brian Kindell said. “We really took some quality at-bats today. We did hit the ball hard, but we had timely hitting with our speed kids on base and things like that. The lineup flowed well.”

Olivia Popovich, Zoe Bishop and Hannah Lea had RBIs for the Greater Miami Conference champion Comets, who advanced to Akron last season and were looking for their fifth trip to state.

“It was a special year, but this is not what we had planned, so we’re disappointed for sure,” Mason coach Liann Muff said. “We had two goals this year. One was to go undefeated in the GMC, and they checked that off their list. Secondly, they wanted to win state, so this hurts. It’s going to hurt for a while. I told them I have no magic words to say except for the fact that I am the proudest coach of this group of young women.”

The Comets are losing four seniors: Buffenbarger, Brooke Rice, Meg Hubbard and Emma Niehaus.

“The example set by these seniors for these underclassmen … it is an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to play with girls like Elle Buffenbarger and Brooke Rice,” Muff said.

Rice lined a shot off Strother’s shin in the seventh inning. The play went as a 1-5-3 out, and on her way back to the dugout, Rice stopped to hug Strother and make sure she was OK.

“Me and Brooke have been friends for about three years now,” Strother said. “I wasn’t expecting her to come up to me because of the rivalry, but she’s a good friend. I knew she didn’t want me to be hurt.”

Muff wasn’t surprised by Rice’s sportsmanship.

“I see that every day,” the Mason coach said. “The level of respect that we have comes from our coaching staff and our seniors. That is who Elle Buffenbarger and Brooke Rice and Meg Hubbard and Emma Niehaus and Mason softball (are) to a T.”

The Comets dropped a 2-0 decision to the Warriors in early April. It’s two programs that have grown accustomed to butting heads at the regional level.

“We know everything about them, they know everything about us,” Osborne said. “So it’s just about getting down to the details of fielding the ball and making the plays, seeing the ball and hitting the ball, and not worrying about the environment around us, which is insane.”

“It’s never going to be pretty when you play Mason,” Kindell said. “There’s going to be ups. There’s going to be downs. They’re going to make plays. They’re going to have base runners. Elle’s going to strike some people out. But I thought from beginning to end, we were pretty solid today. Even after we fell down 1-0, there was really no panic or concern.”

Strother and Lewis combined on a five-hitter for Lebanon, striking out two and walking four. The Warriors have become known for shuffling pitchers during a game, so Sunday’s maneuvering wasn’t abnormal.

“Taylor threw awesome when she came in there. (The home-plate umpire) just wasn’t really calling her screwball, which is her best pitch,” Strother said. “There’s not much we could do about that, so we had to go back to me so I could get ’em with my curveball and changeup. I’ve kind of been struggling with my changeup this year, so being able to mix speeds helped a lot.”

Both coaches felt the pitchers dealt with a tight strike zone. Buffenbarger gave up nine hits while totaling three strikeouts and five walks.

“Our pitcher has a ton of movement on her ball, and we rely on that,” Muff said. “She didn’t get corners all day. Maybe it was both ways, but you can’t lay it over the middle of the plate against such a potent offensive team like that, and she was absolutely forced to do that today.”

The bottom of Lebanon’s order was pivotal. West, Gressly and Osborne were standouts in the 6, 7 and 8 spots. And the Comets failed to retire Allen all day in the leadoff position.

“Elle’s such a great pitcher,” Allen said. “Her rise is something I knew I had to lay off or she would dig me in an 0-2 hole every time. Her first pitch was there, so that’s the one I usually tried to hit.”

Kindell said it’s a special feeling to go back to the Final Four, but he knows the task will be taxing. Lebanon lost to Hoover at state in 2012 and 2014.

“It’s tough winning games up there,” Kindell said. “We’re going to have to have a good week of practice and just work on getting better. Nobody has to do anything spectacular. We just need to stay within ourselves and let the strength of the team work. We’re going to go up to Akron and let it fly.”

Mason 100-002-0—3-5-0

Lebanon 032-002-x—7-9-2

WP — Alexis Strother (10-1); LP — Elle Buffenbarger (23-4). Records: M 26-4, L 29-3

Denver sportswriter criticized for tweet about Indy 500 winner

Published: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 3:14 AM

Takuma Sato of Japan celebrates after winning the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on  Sunday. He  became the first Japanese driver to win the race at the iconic Brickyard.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A Denver sportswriter has apologized for an insensitive tweet about the winner of the Indianapolis 500 being from Japan.

>> Read more trending news

Terry Frei of the Denver Post tweeted that he was “very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend,” the New York Post reported.

Frei’s tweet came shortly after former Formula One driver Takuma Sato captured Sunday’s race at the Brickyard, becoming the first Japanese winner in the race’s history.

 The tweet caused an immediate backlash on social media, with Twitter users criticizing his post as insensitive.

“Really just a monumentally stupid tweet,” wrote the band, The Mountain Goats. “Congrats.”

Frei later deleted his tweet and apologized.

“I fouled up. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I said when I said it. I should have known better and I regret it,” he tweeted.

WATCH: Opponent fires baseball at Dragons player during benches-clearing brawl

Published: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 11:23 PM

The Dayton Dragons played another extra-inning game Sunday night and suffered a similar result in a key Midwest League game against West Michigan.

The Whitecaps scored in the top of 10th to prevail 2-1 and remain atop the Eastern Division standings. It’s the fifth extra-inning game in the last seven for Dayton and its fourth consecutive extra-inning loss. The Dragons (32-17) fall two games behind the Whitecaps (34-15).

The game was marred by a brawl in the sixth inning that resulted in the ejection of Jose Siri and Whitecaps shortstop Danny Pereria. Siri singled to center and then stole second while Taylor Trammell was at the plate. Siri slid into second on the steal just ahead of the throw and stayed on the ground while umpire James Folske made the call.

Pereria appeared to step on Siri’s left ankle after the call, and Siri jumped up and complained to Folske. Siri then charged Pereria a few seconds later and swung at him. Both dugouts and bullpens quickly emptied, and the two teams largely engaged in a pushing and yelling match — except for one incident.

During the brawl, West Michigan relief pitcher Eduardo Jimenez threw a ball at Dayton reliever Jesse Stallings. Jimenez ran out from the visiting dugout in right field, and after reaching the brawl near second base, he fired a ball at Stallings’ leg. The incident appeared to happen out of the view of either Folske or home plate umpire Jason Johnson. Jimenez was not ejected.

After play resumed, Trammell and Tyler Stephenson hit into routine outs to end the inning. The game was delayed for an hour in the seventh due to rain, which appeared to cool any leftover emotions by the players.

Sellout streak continues: The Dragons’ sellout streak continues. Saturday’s game was the 1,200th consecutive sellout at Fifth Third Field, which is the all-time sellout record for any professional or amateur sports organization. The Dragons have owned the record since surpassing the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011.

Dragons tales: Siri kept his hot hitting streak going before his ejection. Aside from his sixth-inning single, he also hit a home run to center field in the third inning that tied the game 1-1.

Siri is 12 for 26 (.461) over his last seven games.

• Starting pitcher Andrew Jordan had his best outing of the month. He allowed four hits and one earned run with three strikeouts in six innings. 

On deck: Dayton and West Michigan will wrap up a four-game series on Monday afternoon. Reds reliever Tony Cingrani will start for the Dragons in a rehab assignment. Eudis Idrogo (2-1, 2.36) is scheduled to start for the Whitecaps.

Dayton hosts South Bend (31-18) for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.

Dynamo blank Syracuse, remain in first place

Published: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 12:16 AM

The Dayton Dynamo added to their win total Sunday with a 1-0 shutout of Syracuse FC at Roger Glass Stadium.

Dayton forward Matt Kinkopf scored the lone Dynamo goal in the 44th minute. It was the second goal of the season for the Hamilton native.

The Dynamo remain atop the NPSL East standings with a 4-0-1 record. Dayton will next be on the road for a Friday night NPSL match against the Erie Commodores.