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Dear Dayton Flyers seniors: Here’s what you’ve meant to us

Published: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 10:08 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

Dear Flyer seniors,

My WHIO radio partner Bucky Bockhorn and I have had a front-row seat to watch you on the court the last four years and access off the court to get to know you better than the average fan and other members of the media.

RELATED: Dayton Flyers tournament special on WHIO-TV, WHIO radio

ARCHIE MILLER: Seniors cornerstone of Flyers program

As you prepare to enter your final days in a Flyer uniform, we thank you for what you have given us, the fans, the University of Dayton and the community.

Jeremiah Bonsu

Your dream was to play college basketball, but Archie Miller is not a genie granting wishes. The only reason he gave you a uniform is because he thought you could make the team better. You did. Not everyone saw the work you put in during practice or heard the encouragement and instruction you passed along during games, but the record of this team speaks to that. Your desire for greatness, balanced by your humility, will take you far in life.

ARCHDEACON ON BONSU: ‘They call me love’

Charles Cooke

You came to Dayton to become a better player on a bigger stage. The work you put in during the year you sat out, laid the foundation for you to be an all-conference performer. But not only did you become a better player, you became a better teammate. You impacted games by doing so much more than scoring. You stuffed the stat sheet with assists, rebounds, blocks and steals. You will make a lot of money playing basketball in the future, but I dare to say your fondest memories will be as a Flyer.

RELATED: Cooke makes big impact in two years with Flyers

Kendall Pollard

You are fearless. People in Chicago told you not to come to Dayton, but you followed your heart and your head. You were your own man making that decision and in your playing career. Your energy level impacted this team on a daily basis. Not only were the Flyers better with you on the court on game day but every day in practice. Your body betrayed you at times, but we never heard you complain.

Our favorite memory will be those moments when you would get a defensive rebound, and we knew — everyone in the arena knew — that you were going to take the ball 94 feet to the rim. You usually scored, but when you didn’t or got called for a charge, it never kept you from going again.

RELATED: Pollard playing at high level for Dayton

Kyle Davis

You may be the toughest player that we can recall being around. Toughness is not just a physical trait, and you are physically tough, but you showed the mental toughness to be a great competitor. No stat sheet will ever define your impact. You didn’t hit lots of shots, only big ones. You took on the toughest defensive assignments, smiling the whole time while you drove an opponent crazy. Bucky has always said you were the heart and soul of this team and I totally agree. Your leadership skills will make you, and those around you, winners for years to come.

RELATED: Davis has had ‘career-best year’ for Flyers

Scoochie Smith

You came to Dayton with a nickname that grabbed people’s attention, but you will leave having made a name for yourself in the rich tradition of Flyer basketball. You never missed a game and we are pretty sure you only missed one practice. Surrounded by more openly emotional guys, you were a calming force on the floor and practice. Your scoring and assists puts you in elite company at UD. You may be the best layup shooter we have ever seen, finding ways to kiss the ball off the glass in traffic with either hand.

RELATED: 5 things to know about Scoochie Smith

And we won’t remember you for your celebrations after hitting a big 3. We will remember the fact that you would always rise to the occasion to take the big shot.

PHOTOS: Senior night with the Flyers

We will miss you all, but are happy for the future you have ahead of you.

Your friends,

Larry and Bucky

Hartsock: Better luck next time for Bailey

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 10:50 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds hands the ball to manager Bryan Price #38 after being relieved in the second inning during a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

I’m not sure what’s more frustrating for Reds fans — Homer Bailey’s 2017 debut or knowing that he’s still under contract the next two years to the tune of $44 million.

The veteran right-hander sure didn’t look like the guy who breezed through three rehab starts, including one in Dayton. Of course those were against minor league hitters, not some of the Washington Nationals he faced Saturday.

“In this game, at this level, you never really know.” Bailey said. “With a line-up like that and you’re not sharp, they’re going to make you have a long day regardless of who you are.”

Bailey said he felt fine physically, during and after the game. Reds manager Bryan Price said that’s a topic that really shouldn’t be an issue going forward.

“I think the sooner we get away from treating these guys coming back as “rehabs” the better off we are,” Price said. “I don’t want to look at Finnegan, or Homer, or Desclafani when he comes back and say this is an extended part of his rehab … they’ve done all of their rehab.”

Brandon Finnegan rehabbed his sore shoulder and will come off the disabled list and pitch Monday in St. Louis when the Reds face the Cardinals in a make-up game.

As for Bailey, he will go back out Thursday at Great American Ball Park hoping a second chance will be sweeter.

“I have no excuses,” Bailey said. “I just didn’t pitch well today…that’s all I can say.”

Clutch hits elude Dragons in loss to Captains

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 10:52 PM

            Dragons outfielder Jose Siri celebrates his home run with Gabriel Ovalle in Saturday’s loss to Lake County. Ovalle’s walk preceded Siri’s seventh-inning blast. NICK FALZERANO / CONTRIBUTED

Jose Siri’s bat continues to sizzle, but the rest of the Dayton Dragons’ lineup couldn’t come up with that clutch base hit Saturday night.

Dayton lost 6-2 to the Lake County Captains at Fifth Third Field in front of an announced crowd of 8,440. Dayton fell to 42-31 overall and 1-2 in the second-half Midwest League season.

A Lake County team that ranks 14th (out of 16) in runs scored and 15th in batting average strung together a patchwork of runs against four Dayton pitchers. The Captains scored two in the third inning, one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two more in the eighth.

Dayton pulled within 4-2 in the seventh on Siri’s eighth homer, his third in five games. The two-run shot to left also scored Gabriel Ovalle, who drew a two-out walk.

Siri has seven hits in his last 14 at-bats. Five have gone for extra bases with three doubles and two home runs. He also has four RBIs and four runs in that span.

Dayton left nine runners on base against Lake County starter Luis Jimenez and reliever Justin Garza, who combined to hold Dayton to six hits. The duo walked five as the Dragons stranded nine, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Dayton starter Wennington Romero (3-4) pitched five innings and allowed six hits and three runs. He struck out six and walked one. Jesse Stallings and Aaron Fossas combined to give up seven hits and three runs in three innings. Joel Kuhnel pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.

Game changer: When Jimenez took the mound.

The right-hander scattered four hits and struck out eight in six innings for the win. Three of Dayton’s hits off Jimenez were doubles, including two leading off an inning, but Jimenez left them stranded. He threw 61 of his 89 pitches for strikes.

Jimenez, who struck out a season-high 11 against Fort Worth on June 13, struck out the side in the third. During a stretch between the third and fifth innings Jimenez struck out seven of nine. Overall, eight different players struck out against Jimenez.

He picked up his first win (1-2) and lowered his ERA to 4.68.

Dragons tales: The Dragons managed six hits against Lake County, and they tried to make the most of them. Five went for extra-base hits. Tyler Stephenson had a pair of doubles, including a leadoff hit in the fourth that landed at the base of the center field wall 402 feet away. He also had a one-out double in the sixth. John Sansone doubled to lead off the second inning and Michael Beltre had a two-out triple in the seventh.

Luke Wakamatsu homered in the fourth to extend the Captains’ streak with a homer to 16 straight games. Lake County entered Saturday ranked second in the Midwest League with 75 home runs, three behind leader Quad Cities. Todd Isaacs also homered in the fifth for Lake County.

On deck: Dayton lefty Scott Moss (9-2, 2.37 ERA) has been rock solid through 14 starts. The Reds’ fourth-round pick in 2016 leads the Midwest League in wins and strikeouts (95). In his last start on June 16, Moss allowed two hits, one run and struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings in a 4-1 win against Fort Wayne.

The Captains are scheduled to send lefty Tanner Tully (2-5, 3.68 ERA) to the mound. The former Ohio State University pitcher makes his fourth start for Lake County.

Sidney football standout commits to Mid-American Conference school

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 8:41 PM

Another day, another college commitment from a Sidney High School standout.

On Saturday, defensive tackle Devan Rogers announced on his Twitter account a verbal commitment to the University of Toledo.

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound senior was a first-team, Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division honoree last season. Rogers finished fifth in the conference with 108 tackles and had 4.5 sacks.

Rogers is the No. 64 prospect in Ohio in the Class of 2018 in the 247sports composite rankings.

Bailey blasted for eight runs, Reds lost, 18-3

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 7:53 PM
Updated: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 7:53 PM

There is no such thing as a one-man cavalry.

Anybody who expected pitcher Homer Bailey to come charging over the hill on a great white horse to save the Cincinnati Reds isn’t dealing with reality.

The much-awaited and much-ballyhooed return of Bailey to the Reds rotation finally happened Saturday afternoon in Nationals Park, but if you blinked you missed it.

It is one thing to make three scoreless rehabilitation appearances in the minor leagues. It is quite another thing to transfer it to the major leagues.

BAILEY’S RETURN TO THE major league mound lasted only 1 2/3 innings against the Washington Nationals and he was charged with eight runs on six hits and three walks. He faced 14 hitters and nine reached bases and three walks.

It was not realistic to expect Bailey, who last started a game in late August of last year, to pitch a three-hit shutout. It will take time for him to grab command of his pitches, it will take time for all the rust to evaporate, it will take time for him to build stamina.

It was only Bailey’s ninth start in the last three seasons because he has undergone three elbow surgeries. His last was this February to remove bone chips.

But, indeed, it was painful and awful to watch as the Reds went on to lose, 18-3, their 13th loss in their last 14 games.

THE FIRST TWO NATIONALS reached base in the first inning when Bailey gave up a single to Trea Truner and a walk to Brian Goodwin. Both scored on a double by Ryan Zimmerman for a 2-0 Washington led in the first.

It was plug ugly in the second when six Nationals scored and Bailey left the game after his 61st pitch in only 1 2/3 innings.

Michael Taylor opened the second with a single and was bunted to second by pitcher Joe Ross. Trea Turner singled for a run. Goodwin walked. Zimmerman also walked to fill the bases and Daniel Murphy ripped a three-run double to the right rield corner. Anthony Rendon doubled for a another run and Bailey’s day was done.

Lisalverto Bonilla replaced Bailey and quick gave up a doube to Matt Wieters for another run that was added to Bailey’s total and it was 8-0.

Amazingly, two of Bailey’s five outs were strikeouts and both were Bryan Harper, Washington’s best hitter.

AND ANOTHER PITCHER WHO has resided on the disabled list for most of the season returns to pitch Monday. The Reds have a one-game stop in St. Louis Monday to make up a rained out game and it will be pitched by Brandon Finnegan.

The Nats didn’t stop after their assault on Bailey. They continued their rampage against Bonilla, scoring four in the fourth when the Reds made two errors and Michael Taylor clubbed a two-run home run, his first of two homers. The Reds have given up home runs in 17 straight games, a club record.

Blake Wood pitched the eighth and gave up four runs and four hits — the first five he faced reached base on four hits and a walk.

Before it mercifully ended, the Nationals had 18 runs, 19 hits and were 12 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Trea Turner had five hits and scored four runs. Daniel Murphy had four RBI, Michael Taylor had four hits that includeded two home runs as he scored four and drove in three as Washingotn’s No. 8 hitter.

The Reds didn’t score until the sixth when they scored one run and added two in the eighth.

Billy Hamilton was 0 for 20 when he punched his first of two hits. Patrick Kilvlehan, batting for Joey Votto, homered in the sixth inning for the Reds first run. And he was 2 for 2. Scooter Gennett had two hits and Tucker Barnhart had two hits.

But the Reds fell 15 runs sh