WATCH: Dayton Dragons celebrate the moment they made the playoffs

Published: Sunday, June 18, 2017 @ 6:06 PM

Inside the locker room on a big night for the Dragons in Ft. Wayne

The Dayton Dragons blew off some steam in the locker room in Ft. Wayne on Friday night after earning a spot in the Midwest League playoffs for the first time since 2011.

The Dragons started the weekend road trip with a magic number of two to lock up second place in the Eastern Division in the first half of the season.

Luis Bolivar’s team cut that down to one with a win over the TinCaps on Friday night, then they had to wait in the locker room before finding out that South Bend had lost their game.

The players were keeping tabs on the South Bend game on their cell phones and the locker room erupted in cheers and high-fives when they got the good news.

With nothing left to accomplish, the Dragons lost the final two games in Fort Wayne. Dayton finished with a 41-29 record in the first half, including a league-best 25 wins at home.

The Dragons will face East Division champion West Michigan in the playoffs in September in a best-of-three series. Dayton will host the first game with games two, and three if needed, on the road.

The Midwest League has an unusual playoff system that matches the top two teams in each division in the playoffs and those teams are not eligible to win the second half race.

This will be the seventh time the Dragons have made the playoffs. They have never advanced past the second round.

The second half of the season opens Thursday night at Fifth Third Field with Lake County in town for a four game series.

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Bengals sign final two draft picks

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 5:11 PM


            Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard practices at AT&T Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. David Jablonski/Staff
Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard practices at AT&T Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. David Jablonski/Staff

The Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday signed both of their third-round picks, defensive end Sam Hubbard and linebacker Malik Jefferson, to four-year contracts.

The signings mean all 11 picks from the 2018 draft class are under contract.

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Hubbard (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) played in 40 games with 22 starts at Ohio State. He recorded 116 tackles, including 29.5 for loss and 17 sacks. The Cincinnati native (Moeller High School) also had one interception, three passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Jefferson (6-2, 236) played three seasons at Texas, appearing in 34 games with 30 starts. He registered 233 tackles, including 25.5 for losses and 12 sacks, to go along with six passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

›› RELATED: 5 reasons to buy stock in John Ross in 2018

As a junior last season, he led the Longhorns with 110 tackles, including 10 for losses and four sacks, and was named Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, first-team All-Big 12, second-team All-American (AP) and a semifinalist for the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

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Dayton Dragons past and present moving up in Reds organization

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 4:41 PM

Dragons OF Stuart Fairchild. The Dragons defeated Lake County 10-9 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Staff Writer
Dragons OF Stuart Fairchild. The Dragons defeated Lake County 10-9 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(Staff Writer)

The Dayton Dragons announced a handful of roster moves Thursday as the Cincinnati Reds promoted multiple prospects within the organization. 

Outfielders Stuart Fairchild and Randy Ventura were promoted from Dayton, the Reds’ low Single-A affiliate, to Daytona, their advanced Single-A squad. 

RELATED: Reds make pair of roster moves prior to series with Cubs

The Dragons also added pitchers Tyler Buffett and Dauri Moreta from Billings and outfielder Malik Collymore from Greeneville (Billings and Greeneville are rookie-league affiliates) while activating outfielder Andy Sugilio from the disabled list and pitcher Andrew Jordan from the inactive list. 

Fairchild’s promotion is notable from an overall organization standpoint because he was one of the most highly thought of players the Reds drafted last June. 

According to reports, the Reds also promoted outfielders Jose Siri and T.J. Friedl from Daytona to Double-A Pensacola. 

Siri and Friedl both had outstanding stints for the Dragons last year. 

This season, Friedl hit .294 with three homers, 10 doubles, 35 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 64 games for Daytona. He posted an on-base percentage of .405. 

Siri, who began the season on the disabled list with a thumb injury, played 30 games for Daytona this season and hit .261 with one homer, nine doubles, nine RBIs and nine steals. 

Interestingly, outfielder Taylor Trammell — another 2017 Dragon — has put up better numbers than either of his teammates who were just promoted. 

Trammell is hitting .301 with six homers, 25 RBIs and nine steals. 

Trammell is the team’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, ranking him four spots ahead of Siri. 

Fairchild is No. 10 while Friedl is No. 14. 

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Cincinnati Reds make pair of roster moves prior to series with Cubs

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:40 PM

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 28: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Joey Votto #19 after scoring against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 28, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. MLB players across the league are wearing special uniforms to commemorate Memorial Day. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Staff Writer
PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 28: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Joey Votto #19 after scoring against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 28, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. MLB players across the league are wearing special uniforms to commemorate Memorial Day. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)(Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Reds made two changes to their roster prior to the start of a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs. 

Scott Schebler was placed on the bereavement list and replaced by fellow outfielder Phillip Ervin, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville. 

Schebler, who has been on a hot streak since moving into the leadoff spot, will be inactive for at least three days but no more than seven. 

Without Schebler, interim manager Jim Riggleman put shortstop Jose Peraza at the top of the order for game one against the Cubs. 

The team also sent down struggling reliever Wandy Peralta, who has a 19.10 ERA in his last 10 appearances

Kyle Crockett was called up from Louisville to take Peralta’s place. 

>>RELATED: What’s gone wrong with Wandy Peralta?

A left-hander from Virginia, Crockett was a fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2013. 

He appeared in 107 games for the Tribe (all as a reliever) from 2014-17 with a 3.44 ERA. 

This year for Louisville he has a 4.00 ERA in 23 relief appearances. He has struck out 23 and walked five. 

Ervin began the season with the Reds, hitting .211 with three RBIs and five runs scored in 16 games. 

The 2013 first-round pick is hitting .221 with no home runs, 10 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 27 games for the Bats. 

In addition to those moves, the Reds released Tony Cruz, who was with the Bats.

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Cincinnati Bengals: 5 reasons to buy John Ross stock in 2018

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:13 PM

Bengals’ wide receiver John Ross catches a pass defended by cornerback William Jackson during organized team activities Tuesday, May 22 at the practice facility near Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Staff Writer
Bengals’ wide receiver John Ross catches a pass defended by cornerback William Jackson during organized team activities Tuesday, May 22 at the practice facility near Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Bengals might have answered a lot of questions during the offseason. 

They revamped the offensive line, experienced lots of turnover on the coaching staff and added some players who could give the defense a different look. 

>>RELATED: A return to the playoffs? Bengals headed in right direction

They also found out what a healthy John Ross looks like, at least in shorts and a helmet. 

The true test of the his being “back” will come when the pads go on, of course, but there is reason for optimism at this point the 2017 top 10 pick will look like a top 10 pick in 2018. 

1. Ross definitely has the right attitude.

At times last season the first-round pick out of Washington seemed frustrated. He was understandably down about his inability to contribute. 

In contrast, he was upbeat when talking to reporters this spring. 

“Sitting out so long last year and not being able to participate the way I wanted to, it just feel like a new year, a new person and kind of like the old me before I finished my last year of college,” he said Jun 14. "I’m starting to feel better every day and learning every day.”

2. He wants to be more than a speed merchant. 

After breaking the NFL combine record for fastest 40-yard dash time, Ross became known first and foremost as a guy who can pick ‘em up and put ‘em down. 

He showed in minicamp he can do more than take the top off the defense, catching short passes and streaking all across the field. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “Last week I made a play on the defense and the offense is jumping up and down going crazy. It’s not just running by somebody and people saying, ‘He can run.’ That gets pretty old pretty quick, so just trying to one of those spark plugs for the offense to get ‘em going and getting everybody to go crazy and seeing everybody have a good time.” 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 04: Wide receiver John Ross of Washington runs the 40-yard dash in an unofficial record time of 4.22 seconds during day four of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Staff Writer)

3. Offensive changes should help him. 

When Ross was drafted, his impact was anticipated in the simplest of ways: Two deep threats are better than one, so having Ross line up on the opposite side from A.J. Green could really put defenses who want to provide coverage help to Green’s side a dilemma. 

Bill Lazor’s overhauled offense should utilize Ross in multiple ways, though, and his intent to turn up the tempo will create more opportunities for everyone because the Bengals are likely to run more plays. 

4. He has the confidence of his coach. 

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis insisted in March he liked John Ross as an all-around football player despite his “redshirt year.” 

He reiterated his happiness with the youngster after an impressive first day of OTAs.

“I think his upper body looks way different,” Lewis said. “I think he’s maturing as a man, and he’s developing as a man physically.

“Last year he didn’t have any offseason of weight training whatsoever or virtually nothing or anything of substance so this was the first time over the last six weeks that he’s had an opportunity to do those kind of things.” 

“John grew up in Long Beach, Calif., so I have no question about his confidence,” Lewis said. “I know where he went to school, I know where he grew up and I know the block he lived on. I don’t worry about John and his confidence. You have to be confident just to walk every day.”

5. Ross always felt Lewis had his back, anyway.

“I just feel like a lot of people see it like last year he was a villain in my story, and I don’t think that was the case, but it’s good,” Ross said to hear Lewis praising him in the press
“When you do good things, people notice and they say good things about you. I think it’s a testament to how hard I’ve worked in this offseason so basically I’ve just got to continue to do that, not so much to hear it but to help.” 

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