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Sports Today: March Madness picks, mascot supremacy, Reds make cuts and some college football

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2017 @ 10:50 AM

Have you got your bracket in yet?  

Better hurry...  

For anyone wondering, I picked UCLA as my national champion.  

I know as everyone reveals their choices today they love to be self-deprecating and say that means it is the kiss of death, but it really does feel like I am getting worse at this every year.  

For example: Last year I finally bought into the Michigan State hype ahead of time, so of course they went out in the first round.  

Other examples are too numerous to list. I have been burnt so many times over the past half dozen or so years, I really can't remember the worst of the worst.  

Two years ago, I picked a perfect Day 2 (16-0) and still had a bracket in shambles by the end of Sunday night.  

Aside from the Lonzo Ball and the Bruins, here are some other certified Hartman picks of note this year to celebrate or jeer later:  

  • I tabbed Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and Miami to win first-round games in sticking with my principle from Sunday night: Don't pick anyone who lost to Ohio State (that would be Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State, respectively. North Carolina Central already lost in the First Four).  
  • Dayton over Wichita State. Senior point guard against freshman point guard.  
  • UD vs. Kentucky in the second round would not be short on historic storylines, I'm sure, but can you imagine if the Flyers pull the upset and get a 1967 title game rematch with UCLA?  
  • I picked Xavier over Maryland based on my general, "The Big Ten was mostly garbage this year," theory. Same with Middle Tennessee State over Minnesota, although that seems to be a popular pick. 
  • Kansas State continues Cincinnati's string of disappointing tournament runs as the Wildcats get a boost from already having won a game in the First Four and the adrenaline of being on the move ever since.  
  • Also give me No. 12 Princeton over Notre Dame.  
  • National champ: UCLA. I am buying the Lonzo Ball hype. Love a star point guard, especially when he can pass to a shooter like Bryce Alford and big guy like T.J. Leaf.  
  • I've got the Bruins beating Duke in the championship game with Gonzaga and Kansas also making the Final Four. I love Duke's roster, but they've been frighteningly up and down.  
  • I know Mark Few’s Bulldogs are everyone's favorite team to doubt, but Arizona hasn't been able to break through, either. Something has to give in the Elite Eight matchup between the two of them. 

Here's the full TV schedule from CBS.  

Make sure you stick with us today as we follow all the action via our March Madness Live Blog

Just for fun, I also like to do a mascot bracket.  

That means I pick the games based solely on what would happen if the team mascots battled each other.  

This brings in some inherent issue, the biggest one being matching forces of nature against mere mortals.  

And so that’s how I ended up with Miami as my national champion in that bracket.  

The Hurricanes had a close call in the second round against Iowa State, but it stands to reason a Hurricane is larger than a Cycone and would thus overwhelm it.  

The rest of my Mascots Final Four: The Dayton Flyers, West Virginia Mountaineers and Florida Gators. 

Dayton had it easy with the comparatively primitive Wichita State Wheat Shockers and NKU Norsemen (who upset the Wildcats of Kentucky thanks to superior weaponry) then overcame two tough land-based opponents in the UCLA Bruins and Arkansas Razorbacks.  

This approach produced a few notable upsets, the biggest being the Tigers of Texas Southern over the No. 1 seed North Carolina Tar Heels. When in doubt, always go with the tiger.  

Second-seeded Louisville also went down in the first round as a Jacksonville State Gamecock would obviously handle a Cardinal, and Miami’s run included a second-round upset of No. 1 seed Kansas.  

I’ll let you know which one turns out better... 

The Reds sent a bunch of guys out of their major league camp, including Dilson Herrera.  

The infield prospect wasn't able to play the infield because of a shoulder issue, so he didn't have much of a chance to make the team as a utility man. I’m sure he will be heard from sooner or later assuming he gets healthy. 

As for the starting rotation (with Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani out to start the year), it appears Bryan Price is down to choosing from Bronson Arroyo, Rookie Davis, Tim Adleman, Sal Romano, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson to join Brandon Finnegan and Scott Feldman. 

Said Price yesterday: “I like Amir, Rookie Davis as starters, Romano is on the fence for competing for a starting spot, although I think Romano could do both. Reed and Stephenson could pitch in the bullpen and still be considered long-term starters if they don’t make the rotation.”

Hal McCoy writes Reed’s appearance yesterday was a mixed bag. 

Meanwhile, Billy Hamilton had three hits… 

Last night in high school basketball, Springfield lost to Cincinnati La Salle and Versailles (with Ohio State commit Justin Ahrens) lost to Roger Bacon. 

The Versailles girls and defending champion Alter are part of the OHSAA state tournament this weekend in Columbus… 

And finally if you’re hankering for some college football, Miami University coach Chuck Martin had an interesting message for his RedHawks as they got their spring drills underway. 

“Spring is a little time to be selfish and hone your game and try to get as big a piece of the pie for next fall. If everybody does that and works on their game, we’re going to become a lot better team, and we’ll work on the roles in the fall.” 


The RedHawks are coming off a 6-7 season in which they nearly knocked off Mississippi State in a bowl game. 

CJ tops Waynesville, earns shot at regional title

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 8:24 PM
Updated: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 4:04 AM

            Chaminade Julienne’s Mark Barhorst looks back at Waynesville second baseman Cory Clark after stealing second base during their Division II regional semifinal at Mason on Friday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Garrett Wissman has pitched better games this season by his reckoning. He’s also had better days at the plate, but none of the games he played this season for Chaminade Julienne High School’s baseball team match the combined effort he put together Friday.

Wissman pitched six innings of three-hit, one-run ball before tiring in the seventh and drove in two runs with two hits, leading the Eagles to a crisp 4-1 win over Waynesville in a Division II regional semifinal at Mason.

DIVISION I: Lakota West earns trip to Final Four

DIVISION II: Ross blanked by DeSales in regional semi

DIVISION III: Carlisle falls in eight-inning heartbreaker

“He’s been our big guy all year,” Chaminade Julienne coach Mike Barhorst said.

CJ (21-4) earned its first trip to a regional championship game since 2014. The Eagles will play Columbus DeSales in a contest scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday at Mason.

DeSales advanced with a 9-0 win over Ross in Friday’s first game at Mason. Thursday’s inclement weather pushed the semifinals and final back one day.

Junior shortstop Ryan Peltier and Wissman’s younger brother, sophomore second baseman Nick Wissman, drove in Chaminade Julienne’s other two runs with sacrifice flies, and the Eagle defenders were sharp while turning in an errorless game. Garrett Wissman credits CJ’s tough schedule with keeping the Eagles on their toes.

“We had tough games against Butler and Tippecanoe at the end of the regular season,” he said, referring to CJ’s last two losses. “That got our competitive level up. It forced us to focus on offense and defense.”

“That’s what we’ve been preaching for the past 4, 5, 6 years — throwing strikes and playing solid defense,” Barhorst said. “We always say, ‘If we can keep the other team from scoring, we’ll figure out a way to score some runs.’ I would say that was one of our best games of the season for sure.”

The only miscue was Garrett Wissman’s wild pitch on strike three with two outs to Spartans senior catcher Luke Moore in the fifth. Moore reached first base, but Wissman regrouped to get sophomore left fielder Cam Anderson swinging and finish the rare four-strikeout inning.

He allowed a leadoff single to Waynesville senior right fielder Micah Spille in the seventh and walked the next batter, senior center fielder Mason Callahan. Dickerson brought in Peltier, who was 8-0 with 43 strikeouts and a 1.03 earned run average, to face the top of Spartans coach Ryan Hill’s lineup.

Peltier responded with two strikeouts and a fielder’s-choice grounder for his first save of the season

“Wissman’s been pretty good for a few years,” Hill said. “We knew that going in. We hit a couple of balls right at people, but we couldn’t string hits together like we had been doing. When you can throw a couple of pitches for strikes, that’s baseball in a nutshell. We thought if we got into their (bullpen), we’d have a shot, but Peltier has a good arm too. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of it.”

CJ snapped a scoreless tie with a two-run third. Waynesville sophomore third baseman Drake Stiles and Moore bumped into each other while trying to make a play on sophomore third baseman Cameron Benoit’s deft one-out bunt. Benoit hustled to third base on senior center fielder Mark Barhorst’s perfect hit-and-run single through the hole into left field, Peltier’s sacrifice fly on the next pitch.

Garrett Wissman followed with a double, beating the throw with a headfirst slide into second base as Barnhorst scored from second for a 2-0 Eagles lead.

Waynesville (23-7) got on the board in the fourth on senior first baseman Tommy Isaacs’ leadoff double and Anderson’s two-out double.

The Eagles padded their lead with a two-run sixth that started with a leadoff single and stolen base by Peltier. Garrett Wissman drove in Peltier with a single and went to second on the throw home.

Hill replaced left-handed starter Brady Stone (7-4) with senior sidearming left-hander Jake Oakes, who uncorked a wild pitch behind Nick Wissman, allowing Garrett Wissman to move up to third base. He scored on Nick Wissman’s sacrifice fly.

Chaminade Julienne 002-002-0—4-7-0

Waynesville 000-100-0—1-4-0

WP — Garrett Wissman (4-0); LP — Brady Stone (7-4); S — Ryan Peltier (1). Records: C 21-4, W 23-7

Wildcats Smith, Scott sweep highs, long jump in D-I regional

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 9:38 PM
Updated: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 12:19 AM

Springfield junior Dyier Smith won the 110-meter high hurdles during the D-I regional track and field meet at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium on Friday, May 26, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dyier Smith has been stacking up the championship hardware since he first pulled on his navy blue jumpsuit with “WILDCATS” emblazoned on his chest. But you wouldn’t know it.


Sure enough, the junior standout hurdler added more championship memories by winning the Division I regional track and field 110-meter high hurdles Friday night at Welcome Stadium. His 14.63 clocking into a slight wind zoomed him past the best of the Southwest District and into next week’s season-ending state meet at Columbus.

So how did he celebrate? With a shrug.

“I came here to go to state,” he proclaimed. “I just ran fast enough to get first. That’s cool. State is the most important.”

No argument in that assessment. The top four in each event qualify to the D-I state meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium next weekend. A storm canceled all running semifinals on Wednesday, so Friday’s finals were an untraditional two heats in all events and placers were based on best times.

DREADED 5TH: Nothing worse than that, unless it’s twice

Smith will be joined by equally talented junior sprinter Quincy Scott. He endured the cruelest fate Friday, placing fifth in the 100 in a clocking that had to be extended an extra digit (11.137) to separate him from fourth-place finisher Jordan Campbell of Lebanon (11.132). Worse, he also was fifth in the 200 (22.36).

CAN’T BEAT THAT: Snapped tibia? No problem

However, Scott soared a career-best 23 feet, two inches to win the long jump Wednesday. That gives Springfield two great shots at high-end state hardware.

“My heart was beating so fast down there in the blocks,” said Scott of the 100, who trailed the entire field midway through and did well to place fourth in his heat. “I was like, man, I’m just trying to focus.”

RUNNING ON PLENTY: It’s payback time for Shawnee 4x800 girls relay

Springfield had the jets to compete at this level in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays but shoddy baton exchanges and finally a dropped handoff negated those chances. That’s not uncommon and has fueled the two speedy juniors to return to this meet in all those events next season.

“We would have loved to be here in the 4x1, but we’ll do with what we’ve got,” Scott said. “We’ve got the hurdles and the long jump and we’ll work with that at state.”

• Cedarville won the 4x400 relay (3:25.66) and anchor Davin Gruet also placed first in the 400 (50.12) during the D-III regional on Friday at Troy’s Memorial Stadium.

Sophomore teammate Brandon Pollock was third (51.08) in the 400. Both Gruet and Pollock also ran on the third-place 4x200 relay (1:31.82).

Catholic Central’s Addie Engel was third in the 1,600 (5:09.77) and 3,200 (11:31.21).

Like Dayton, the top four also advance to the D-III state meet.

FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton


West Michigan grand slam in 12th sinks Dragons

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 10:46 PM

            Dayton Dragons pitcher Wennington Romero got the start against the West Michigan Whitecaps on Friday at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons lost in 12 innings, 7-5. GREG BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

The Dayton Dragons aren’t concerned with being the best team in minor league baseball. They just want to be the best in the Midwest League.

They had a chance to do both Friday night. Dayton opened a four-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Field in an East Division showdown.

It was a battle through 12 innings until West Michigan’s Josh Lester unloaded on a 1-2 pitch, sending a moon shot to right field for a grand slam that broke a 3-3 tie and eventually beat the Dragons, 7-5, after Bruce Yari answered with a two-run shot in the home half.

West Michigan retained minor league baseball’s best record (out of 120 teams) at 33-14. Dayton, which entered Friday tied with Lehigh Valley of the International League for the second-best record, dropped to 31-16.

More important, the Dragons dropped two games behind the Whitecaps in the East Division.

The top two teams in the division qualify for the postseason at the end of the 70-game first half. The Dragons haven’t won a first-half championship since 2007 and haven’t reached the playoffs since 2011.

Game changer: After stranding a Whitecaps runner at third to end the top of the ninth, the Dragons missed an opportunity to win in the bottom of the inning.

Cassidy Brown drew a lead-off walk and Luis Gonzalez pushed a perfectly placed bunt past the pitcher’s mound for an infield single. Hector Vargas hit into a fielder’s choice that got Brown out at third and T.J. Friedl struck out. Jose Siri loaded the bases on an error at second base. But the threat ended with Taylor Trammell’s strikeout.

The Dragons squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the bottom of the seventh after pushing across one run. Trammell reached on a dropped third strike, Yari bounced a one-out single over first base and Brown loaded the bases on a four-pitch, two-out walk. Gonzalez drove in Dayton’s first run after getting hit by a pitch. But the threat ended with a Vargas fly out to right.

In the bottom of the eighth, Friedl led off with a double down the right-field line. Siri followed with a single to right. Trammell drove both in with a two-run triple into the gap in right-center, tying the game at 3-3. Yari hit into a fielder’s choice that saw Trammell thrown out at home.

Dragon tales: Second baseman Brantley Bell is batting .309 over his last 33 games, which has raised his average from .133 to .275. He had a multi-hit game Friday.

Tyler Stephenson extended his hitting streak to eight games and Friedl, who homered three times in Thursday’s doubleheader, extended his hitting streak to seven games. Trammell and Gonzalez share the Dragons’ longest hitting streak of the season at nine games

On deck: Left-hander Ty Boyles (0-0, 4.26 ERA) gets the start for the Dragons on Saturday as the four-game series continues at Fifth Third Field. West Michigan goes with lefty Greg Soto (4-0, 1.26). The game is scheduled to start at 7:07 p.m. and airs on Dayton’s CW (26).

H.S. Results for 5/26: Minster moves on in regional tourney

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 10:42 PM

An early lead was all Minster baseball needed thanks to a dominant performance from Aaron Ernst in a Division IV regional semifinal on Friday.

Ernst threw a complete game three-hitter and Minster moved on with a 6-1 win over New London.

Minster will face Leipsic on Saturday at Patrick Henry with a bid to the state tournament on the line.

Boys Tennis

State Tournament: The Miami Valley doubles duo of Joe Keller and Reece Quigley were eliminated in the first round of the state tournament on Friday.



Regional Tournament

Thursday’s Results

Division I

At Cincinnati

Lakota West 3, Centerville 1

St. Xavier 4, Fairfield 1

At Bowling Green

Strongsville 3, Perrysburg 2

Division II

At Bowling Green

Lexington 5, Jonathan Alder 2

Maumee 7, Padua Franciscan 1

Division III

At Elida

Clear Fork 2, Ottawa-Glandorf 0

Eastwood 5, Archbold 4

At Chillicothe

Wheelersburg 4, Zane Trace 3

At Xenia

Carlisle 2, Cin. Country Day 0

Cin. Hills Christian Academy 6, Fredericktown 1

Division IV

At Lancaster

Toronto 2, Danville 1

Waterford 6, South Webster 3

Friday’s Results

Division I

At Cincinnati

Lakota West 2, St. Xavier 1

At Canton

Mentor 3, Aurora 1

Jackson 6, Walsh Jesuit 0

At Cuyahoga

Medina 8, Avon 7

At Dublin Coffman

Olentangy Orange 5, Hilliard Darby 0

Gahanna Lincoln 11, Big Walnut 0

Division II

At Ohio University

Athens 9, Marietta 8

At Zanesville

Steubenville 7, Indian Valley 1

At Mason

St. Francis De Sales 9, Ross 0

Chaminade Julienne 4, Waynesville 1

At Bowling Green

Maumee 2, Lexington 0

At Hudson

Tallmadge 3, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 1

Canfield 2, Chagrin Falls 0

Division III

At Elida

Clear Fork 10, Eastwood 0

At Massillon

Champion 9, Lutheran West 3

Chippewa 1, Crestview 0

At Minerva

Hiland 10, Martins Ferry 0

At Xenia

CHCA 2, Carlisle 1

Division IV

At Hamler

Minster 6, New London 1

Leipsic 8, Edon 2

At Springfield

Russia 8, Fort Loramie 4

Newark Catholic 5, Tri-County North 4

At Lorain

New Riegel 2, John F. Kennedy 0

Dalton 4, Western Reserve 0

At Lancaster

Toronto 11, Waterford 1


Regional Tournament

Thursday’s Results

Division II

At Tiffin

Oak Harbor 5, Clear-Fork 1

Keystone 9, Napoleon 3

Division IV

At Greenville

Franklin Monroe 7, Riverside 2

Friday’s Results

Division IV

At Kent

Mathews 6, St. Thomas Aquinas 3

Lucas 2, Hillsdale 1

Boys Volleyball

Regional Tournament

Thursday’s Results

Alter 3, Edgewood 0

Fenwick 3, Carroll 2


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