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.” 

(H/T CoachingSearch.com

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

Dragons lose, but Siri extends hitting streak to 27 games

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 12:22 AM


            Dragons outfielder Jose Siri extended his hitting streak to 27 games Friday. He’s eight away from tying the Midwest League record set in 1977. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Dragons outfielder Jose Siri extended his hitting streak to 27 games Friday. He’s eight away from tying the Midwest League record set in 1977. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

The Dayton Dragons managed four hits Friday night at Fifth Third Field in an 8-1 loss to Peoria, but Jose Siri had one of them, extending his team-record hitting streak to 27 games.

Siri swatted the first pitch he saw leading off the first inning for a double and now owns what is believed to be the fifth-longest hitting streak in Midwest League history, longest since 2000 when Garvin Wright of Michigan hit safely in 29 straight.

The league record is 35, set in 1977 by Waterloo’s Tony Toups, who played three seasons in the Indians farm system and never made the majors.

Siri’s is the longest current streak in the minor leagues. That record is 69 games by Joe Wilhoit of the Western League in 1919.

An outfielder from the Dominican Republic, Siri is hitting .342 with 15 home runs since May 21 with a slugging percentage of .658, third in the minors over that span.

After a rain delay of just over an hour, Peoria scored twice in the first and once in the second before adding three in the fifth for a 6-0 lead, eventually denying the Dragons their first series sweep since they took four in a row from Fort Wayne from June 30 to July 3.

Dayton scored in the fifth when Siri reached on an error and came home on a two-out error in the outfield on a ball hit by Taylor Trammell.

Trammell is another hot-hitting Dragon. A first-inning single gave him a hit in 20 of his last 21 games.

The outfielder is second in the MWL with 101 hits while leading the league in stolen bases (28). The Georgia native also ranks in the top five in the MWL in RBIs (54), runs (55), triples (9) and total bases (161).

Dragons tales

• After a slow start following his promotion from Billings on June 22, Mark Collymore has settled in. Over his last six games, he is hitting .375 with a home run to raise his average from .189 to .245. Gabrille Ovalle has also rallied, going from .071 to .208. Shane Mardirosian is still looking for a groove, hitting .196.

• It was a tough Fifth Third Field debut for pitcher Alex Webb on Friday. Starting in place of ace Scott Moss, who went on the disabled list July 18 with an undisclosed injury, he lasted three innings, allowing three runs on five hits, striking out two and walking three. Peoria hit back-to-back two-out home runs in the first off Webb. He allowed his third run on a bases-loaded wild pitch.

Moss leads the MWL in wins (10) and strikeouts (119).

• Dayton’s 6-5 win over Peoria in 13-innings Thursday night snapped an eight-game losing streak in extra-inning games. The Dragons had won five of their first six extra-inning games before the slide.

• Dayton steps out of Eastern Division play when it welcomes Burlington tonight at 7 to open a three-game set. Burlington enters 12-15 in the second half and three games out of a playoff spot in the Western Division.

Misery continues for Reds, who fall to Marlins

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 11:55 PM

Marlins 3, Reds 1: Seven highlights

A high-performance ATV with a triple-barrel souvenir launcher on the back has turned in the best performance night after night at Great American Ball Park since the All-Star break. By itself, Redzilla is worth the price of admission — especially for fans who catch the T-shirts or soft baseballs it fires high into the stands.

Redzilla distracts fans for only a few minutes during a game. Cincinnati Reds fans have to watch the real show the rest of the night, and it hasn’t been pretty this week.

ROTATION NEWS: Stephenson gets another chance

The Miami Marlins had a 2-0 lead four batters into the game Friday. That was all they needed to beat the Reds 3-1 at Great American Ball Park. The game started a

“We weren’t able to do much,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We hit a few balls hard, but they didn’t go anywhere.”

Big picture: The Reds (40-56) fell a season-high 16 games under .500. They have lost seven of eight games on this homestand. They have the third-worst record in the National League.

Big play: Giancarlo Stanton scored from third on a wild pitch in the first inning as the Marlins took a 2-0 lead. That turned out to be the winning run.

NOTES: Gennett getting more playing time

Key stat: The Reds collected only four hits. It was the fifth time this season they’ve recorded four or fewer hits.

Missed chances: The Reds left the bases loaded in the fourth, and they loaded the bases with one out in the seventh and failed to score.

The Reds offense continues to slump. This was the fifth time in the eight games since the All-Star break, they have scored two runs or fewer.

“We talk a lot about just staying with the process,” Price said. “You can’t force the result. You can’t say, ‘Today’s the day I get four hits and break out of this.’ If you’re chasing hits, you end up chasing borderline pitches or pitches in the zone or pitches you don’t particularly like to hit, especially early in the count.”

Reds against the Marlins on Friday, July 21, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Better performance: Reds starter Homer Bailey allowed two earned runs on eight hits in six innings. In his previous start, he allowed eight earned runs on eight hits in four innings. He lowered his ERA from 10.13 to 8.56.

The game started one hour and 45 minutes late because of rain.

“With the delay and everything, I thought we did a really good job,” Bailey said. “Sometimes you just get beat. That’s the way it goes. ... I think it’s going to be an up-and-down battle this year. There’s not really much I can do about it. You just try to  keep taking the ball and compete with what you have that day. Today you could tell the fastball had more life as opposed to a few other games this year.”

Defensive gem: Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton threw out Marcell Ozuna at home for the second out of the sixth inning. Ozuna tried to score from second on a single by J.T. Realmuto. Hamilton recorded his eight assist, tying Adam Duvall and Melky Cabrera for most outfield assists in baseball.

Key miscue: Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett threw the ball past shortstop Zack Cozart into left field while trying to turn a double play in the seventh inning. The error allowed the Marlins to extend their lead to 3-1. Christian Yelich drove in Miguel Rojas with a single two batters later.

On the board: The Reds trailed 2-0 when Billy Hamilton drove in Scott Schebler with a sacrifice fly in the third.

Old faithful: Marlins starter Jose Urena started every inning by spraying a mouthful of water high into the air on the mound. Urena (8-4, 3.78) allowed one earned run on three hits in six innings.

Looking ahead: Robert Stephenson (0-2, 8.03 ERA) returns from Triple-A to start for the Reds at 7:10 p.m. Saturday. The Marlins counter with Chris O’Grady (1-1, 5.23).

Former Flyer Brian Roberts to play in Europe

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 7:07 PM

Who is Brian Roberts? 10 facts about UD Hall of Famer

Former Dayton Flyers guard Brian Roberts will play in Greece next season, according to multiple reports.

Roberts, 31, will play with Olympiacos B.C. in Piraeaus, Greece. That’s just southwest of the capital, Athens.

This will be the first time Roberts has played in Europe since 2012, when he helped lead Brose Basket Bamberg to its third straight national championship. He started his professional career in 2008-09 in Israel.

RELATED: Tom Archdeacon on Brian Roberts

Roberts appeared in 41 games with the Charlotte Hornets last season, averaging 3.5 points, 1.3 assists and 1. rebound. Roberts made his NBA debut in 2012 with New Orleans. In five NBA seasons, he appeared in 314 games and averaged 6.6 points.

NCAA NEWS: Tournament change should be good for UD

Roberts played for the Flyers from 2004-08 and is the fourth-leading scorer in school history (1,962 points). UD inducted Roberts into its hall of fame in February.

ALSO IN EUROPE: Oliver to return to Slovenia

Roberts visited the University of Dayton this week to help out at a basketball camp.

Waynesville football: Top 7 players in Spartans history

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 12:09 AM


            E.L. Hubbard photography Waynesville quarterback Luke Creditt runs for a touchdown against Milton-Union in the first half at Waynesville Friday, Oct. 21, 2011.
E.L. Hubbard photography Waynesville quarterback Luke Creditt runs for a touchdown against Milton-Union in the first half at Waynesville Friday, Oct. 21, 2011.

Best known for the annual Sauerkraut Festival, the village of Waynesville has produced its share of football talent over the years. The Spartans have fielded a team on the gridiron since the mid-1960’s and have been part of the Fort Ancient Valley Conference, the Kenton Trace Conference and the Southwestern Buckeye League.

Here’s who we consider the all-time seven best football players at Waynesville High School. Have something to say about this alphabetical list? Email your comments to sports@coxohio.com.

»MIAMISBURG: Top 7 all-time Vikings

»TROY: Top 7 all-time Trojans

»PIQUA: Top 7 all-time Indians

»FAIRMONT EAST: Top 7 all-time Falcons

Location: Waynesville

Affiliation: Southwestern Buckeye League, Buckeye Division

Division: Division V, Region 20

Coach: Scott Jordan

2017 season opener: at Bethel-Tate, Aug. 25

»RELATED: Top 7 all-time players at Xenia, Coldwater, Beavercreek, Alter, Centerville, St. Henry, Valley View and Wayne

1. Bo Bradley-RB/LB-1971: A bruising two-way player who was the Spartans MVP his junior and season seasons. The running back/linebacker was an All-Dayton area performer and All-American honorable mention.

2. Joe Bradley-RB/LB-2000: Like father, like son…Joey Bradley is one of only two Spartans to rush for more than 5,000 yards in his career. Bradley ran for nearly 18-hundred yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore. A bruising inside runner like his father Joey ran for 39 career touchdowns and was named second team all-state.

3. Luke Creditt-QB-2011: Easily the most prolific passer in Waynesville football history. Creditt threw for more than 43-hundred yards in his two seasons in orange and black. He led the Spartans to a 10-0 season in 2011 and the top seed in Division 4, region 16.

4. Eric Florence-QB/DB-1969: The early years of Spartans football was highlighted by this three-sport star. Florence was a stand-out performer on both sides of the ball, throwing touchdown passes and taking them away. He still holds the school record with five interceptions in a 1967 game against Kings. Florence was an all-state catcher and ended up playing baseball at Miami University.

5. Rob Kallage-QB/LB-1990: One of the best athletes to suit up for the Spartans. Kallage was the Southwest District Back of the Year in 1989 and named second team all-state. A three-year starter at quarterback and linebacker, Kallage was also one of the state’s best baseball players and played college baseball at Florida International.

6. Seth Millar-RB-2009: Waynesville’s all-time rushing leader with 5,458 yards, Millar ran for 74 scores in his four year career. Small in stature, Millar did most of his damage running outside the tackles. Seth shares the school record for longest touchdown run, a 95 yard scamper in 2007 against Carlisle. He ran for six scores in a game twice in his career.

7. Russell Winsted-RB/LB-1983: Ranks third all-time on the Spartans rushing list with 2,783 yards on the ground. Winsted also anchored the defense at middle linebacker. He was named second team all-state his junior year when he led Waynesville to their first playoff game. Winsted scored 30 touchdowns in that 1981 season. He was slowed by health issues his senior season.

Special Mention

Tim Williams-K-1989: A kicker usually isn’t among a school’s all-time best, but Williams certainly deserves to be on the list. He booted a state record 57-yard field goal in 1988, a record that stood for more than a decade and remains among the top five longest in state history. Williams also kicked a 51-yarder his freshman season. He went on to handle the kicking duties for four seasons at Ohio State.

Honorable Mention— Kirk Kennedy, C/LB/P, 1982, Harry Whittamore, RB/DB, 1967, Tom Workman, FB/DL, 1968, DuWayne Rains, RB/DB, 1981