Hansgen: Putting Dayton Flyers A-10 championship in perspective

Published: Friday, March 03, 2017 @ 1:58 PM

            Dayton’s Kyle Davis celebrates after a victory against Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton’s Kyle Davis celebrates after a victory against Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

When the Dayton Flyers lost to Evansville in the first round of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament in March of 1993 it capped a four-win season for the Flyers. At that time I was hard pressed to remember which four they won. (For the record, the wins came against Louisiana Tech, Loyola, Duquesne and Detroit).

Now with an outright Atlantic 10 championship under their belt and an unprecedented fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament all but assured, it is obvious the program has come a long way from its nadir under Jim O’Brien. But it was not that long ago that this season’s success seemed still far from within grasp.

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The program returned to relevance under Oliver Purnell and then Brian Gregory. Purnell’s Flyers got to the NIT in 1998 and to the NCAA tournament in 2000 and again in 2003. The Flyers went back to the Big Dance in Gregory’s first year, and in 2009, beat West Virginia for the first NCAA tourney win since 1990.

When Archie Miller arrived in 2011 he continued a string of five postseason appearances with a first-round NIT loss at Iowa.

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The following season was a step backward. Dayton finished the regular season with an 81-80 overtime loss at George Washington. As the team quietly got on the bus after the game, their season was over. They had failed to qualify for the A-10 tournament. The only hope was if Fordham could somehow win its first conference road game in eons and beat St. Bonaventure. By the time the UD bus reached the airport, Fordham had pulled off the upset. It was not so much of a celebration, as a sigh of relief that spread through the plane. Relief that the embarrassment of not making the A-10 tourney field had been avoided.

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As it was, the Flyers made a quick first-round exit with a loss to Butler. An invitation to the College Basketball Invitational was in hand, but when Miller met with seniors Kevin Dillard and Josh Benson, they showed no interest in continuing the season.

That was just four years ago.

Scoochie Smith, Kyle Davis, and Kendall Pollard were signed to come to Dayton in the fall. Eventually joined by Charles Cooke and walk-on Jeremiah Bonsu they formed a senior class that has racked up more wins than any other in school history and they’re still not finished.

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When asked to describe what that group’s signature is on the program, Miller replied with one word: “Winning.”

From nearly missing the A-10 tournament to an outright championship. There was plenty of adversity along the way, the most devastating being the death of Steve McIlvene, but this group has met every challenge head on, and more often than not prevailed.

The history of Dayton basketball is one rich in tradition, but this chapter may be the most remarkable.

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Dragons first baseman delivers game winner for 8th straight win

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:45 PM

Dragons first baseman Montrell Marshall had the winning hit in a 3-2 defeat of visiting South Bend at Fifth Third Field on Thursday, April 19, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Always athletic and tall for his age, Montrell Marshall was a natural at football and basketball while growing up in Pinehurst, North Carolina. That’s also prime stick-and-ball country; golf.

“I’m not a good golfer, but I pass by it all the time,” the Dragons first baseman sheepishly admitted.

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A solid 6-feet-5 and 215 pounds, Marshall gave up football at his mom’s insistence. “I didn’t play after middle school,” he recalled. “My mom, she was terrified of it.”

Basketball, too, is a distant memory.

Apparently headed to Auburn University to play baseball, the Reds took a chance and drafted Marshall out of high school. The rest is developing minor-league baseball history.

“It was a tough decision to make,” said Marshall, who was drafted by the Reds in the 12th round of 2014 and spent the last two seasons in rookie ball at Billings, Mont.

“I really liked Auburn. They showed me a lot of love. That’s a fun atmosphere and my best friend was going there the year after. It was a tough decision.”

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Marshall is among a core group who graduated from Billings last season to low Class A Dayton in the Midwest League. On Thursday night, his run-scoring single was the difference in a 3-2 defeat of visiting South Bend at Fifth Third Field. That was noteworthy for all the right reasons.

• It was the Dragons’ eighth straight win. The last time that happened was in May of 2011 when Billy Hamilton was setting stolen base records for the Dragons.

• The win streak has all played out at home. That’s just two wins shy of matching the home win streak of 10.

• The Dragons (8-3) previously swept home series from Bowling Green and Lake County, and now have rung up South Bend, a Chicago Cubs affiliate.

• The Dragons did not commit an error in the three-game series. It’s the first time since August of 2016 that has happened.

»RELATED: Dragons shortstop delivers a make-up play

Dragons catcher Mark Kolozsvary’s two-run single in the second inning evened it at 2-all. Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton (1-0) earned the win, going six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. He also struck out four. Relievers Luis Alecis, Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel (third save) also pitched shutout innings.

“This is fun,” Marshall said. “I don’t think I’ve ever won eight in a row. It’s a fun team.”

Dragons catcher Mark Kolozsvary makes a putout. The Dragons defeated visiting South Bend 3-2 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Thu., April 19, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dragons tales: Wednesday was shake-up day for the Reds with the firing of manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins. Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said that wasn’t a hot topic among players.

“We don’t address anything with them,” he said. “They’re aware of what’s going on, but it doesn’t affect us much of what’s going on here. I don’t want them thinking about stuff. I want them concentrating on games and to get better.”

Reds special assistant Eric Davis, with the Dragons for practice and the game, declined to address Price’s firing.

• The Dragons took a roster hit Wednesday when closer Sarkis Ohanian was promoted to high Class A Daytona. Taking his place was former Dragon Dauri Moreta, who had been in extended spring training.

»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton

Ohanian (1-0) had four appearances, collecting two saves and a 5.40 ERA. Moreta was at his best during the Dragons’ postseason last year. In his final 16 appearances he had a 1.85 ERA and earned a save in two playoff wins. He didn’t allow a run in four playoff games.

• The Dragons are at Fort Wayne for a three-game series beginning Friday, then at Lansing for a four-game series. Their next home game is Friday, April 27 to start a three-game series against Fort Wayne.

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


Dayton at Fort Wayne, 7 p.m.

WONE-AM (980)

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Hartman: Firing Bryan Price shows winning might actually matter to Cincinnati Reds

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:19 AM

Bryan Price reacts to loss to Cubs

Turns out losing games actually does have consequences in Cincinnati. 

That’s reassuring, I guess. 

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The Cincinnati Reds firing Bryan Price might not make them better, but at least he will no longer be able to make them worse. 

I wanted Price to work out as the team’s manager, and I don’t want to celebrate anyone losing their job. 

He seems like a good man who knows baseball. I hope he lands on his feet, and I believe he will. 

But he had to go. 

Dusty Baker (Price’s predecessor) did some great things to help close the door on a decade-plus of losing, but he had taken the Reds as far as he could with his managerial style (good) and lineup-building foibles (bad).

Price, the architect of a great pitching staff under Baker, made as much sense as anyone to get the job four years ago. 

He stumbled out of the gate with a flawed team, but he showed some progress as the manager even as the roster got worse and injuries multiplied. 

Certainly making a change after last season would have been justified, but sticking with him wasn’t the worst idea, either, considering he had not really had much to work with and there was reason to think the Reds would be better this season. 

With a 3-15 record, they are not, of course. 

» MCCOY: Groundhog day for Reds, who lose 2-0 again

So far, this has looked like one of the worst Cincinnati teams ever, in fact, and Price blew multiple games last week with bizarre late-inning decisions. 

The manager doesn’t swing the bat and he doesn’t make the pitches (or throw the ball over Joey Votto’s head), but he’s in there for some reason, right? 

This team needs new direction. 

They needed to do something to shake up the clubhouse before losing became a way of life for another summer on the riverfront. 

After players’ managers like Baker and Price, perhaps a good ol’ fashioned butt kicker could do some good. 

We shall see if Jim Riggleman is that man. 

If not, well, we’ll see next year if it’s someone else. 

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Cincinnati Reds fire manager Bryan Price: Social media reacts

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:41 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Reds manager Bryan Price calls a play during a game against the Cardinals on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff
Reds manager Bryan Price calls a play during a game against the Cardinals on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff)

The Reds on Thursday fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins after the team got off to a disastrous 3-15 start to the season.

Here’s a sampling of reaction to the news on social media:

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Bengals open, close 2018 season on the road

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 7:59 PM

            INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 31: Jarveon Williams #39 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 31: Jarveon Williams #39 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals will open the 2018 season at Indianapolis and end it at Pittsburgh.

The schedule, which the NFL announced tonight, has the Bengals playing three of their first four and three of their final four on the road. That means the team will play six of eight at home from Week 5 through Week 13.

The Bengals only have one primetime game, which comes in Week 2 on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.

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The league also finalized the dates and times for the preseason games.

The Bengals will play host to the Chicago Bears at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 before playing back-to-back road games at Dallas at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, and at Buffalo at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. They close the preseason at home against Indianapolis on at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.

Fourteen of the 16 regular-season games begin at 1 p.m. The two exceptions are the Thursday game against Baltimore in Week 2 (8:20 p.m.) and the Week 14 road game at the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m.).

Here is the complete 2018 regular-season schedule:

Sept. 9: at Indianapolis

Sept. 13: BALTIMORE (Thursday night)

›› See who Jay Morrison has the Bengals taking in his latest mock draft

Sept. 23: at Carolina

Sept. 30: at Atlanta

Oct. 7: MIAMI


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Oct. 21: at Kansas City

Oct. 28: TAMPA BAY

Nov. 4: Bye week


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Nov. 18: at Baltimore


Dec. 2: DENVER

Dec. 9: at Los Angeles Chargers

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

Dec. 16: OAKLAND

Dec. 23: at Cleveland

Dec. 30: at Pittsburgh

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