Ready or not, fall sports season is starting

Ready or not, fall sports season is starting

A few thoughts from the week in sports …

Ready or not, the OHSAA fall sports season will get underway in a couple days.

The first official day of coaching will begin Aug. 1 for most sports.

That means lots of running, conditioning and hopefully plenty of water consumption for athletes.

For football teams, it’s the start of the dreaded two-a-days for schools that still use that format.

Every year it seems like high school athletes follow better off-season regiments, so official team practices shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Over the course of the summer, athletes do things like attend camps far and wide, follow school or personal workout programs and play in leagues.

Multi-sport athletes work on their craft in two or three sports over the summer.

Summer break always goes by fast, though, and by Monday athletes and coaches will be back at it full go.

—Football scrimmage dates will range between Aug. 5-13.

The opening Friday Night Lights action will take place Aug. 19, which is a little earlier than some years.

Openers include Orrville at Wooster, West Holmes at Triway, Ashland at Norwayne, Dalton at East Canton, Waynedale at Tusky Valley, Cleveland Central Catholic at Smithville, Northwestern at Keystone, Black River at Hillsdale, Chippewa at Mapleton and Rittman at Strasburg.

West Holmes has dropped from Div. III to IV and should be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. The Knights went 14-1 in 2021 and had the best season in school history before falling to eventual repeat champ Chardon in the Final Four.

Wooster (7-6), which won a pair of playoff games, remains in Div. II.

Many area teams are in Div. V, Region 17: Norwayne (8-4), Orrville, Smithville, Triway (7-2) and Waynedale. Nearby Coshocton and Garaway also are in this region.

Div. VI includes Dalton (11-3), Chippewa, Loudonville, Northwestern and Rittman.

The lone area Div. VII team is Hillsdale (7-5).

Mullins inducted into CWRU HOF

Congrats to Chad Mullins, a 2007 Waynedale graduate, who was recently inducted into the Case Western Reserve University Hall of Fame.

Mullins, a 2011 CWRU graduate, was described in his HOF biography as the most dynamic offensive threat in the history of the CWRU baseball program. He was the D3baseball.com Player of the Year and first-team ABCA All-America honoree as a senior after ripping a school-record 71 RBI while batting .437 with eight home runs. He holds CWRU career records for batting average (.409), hits (263), doubles (61) and RBI (185) while ranking third in HR (21).

Reader comments

I received some interesting comments following my July 23 column on the MLB All-Star Game and visiting out-of-town ballparks.

Alan Martin of Doylestown emailed: “Hey Aaron, I just read your article about watching MLB in other parks. Rik Goodright and I took Amtrak to LA for the 1984 Olympic Track and Field Trials and went to games at Dodger Stadium and saw the Tribe vs. Angels at The Big A. At the Tribe game, we sent a note to Joe Tait to read on the TV broadcast, and my parents taped it and still have it! Mike Hargrove was playing first base when Joe read it!”

Alan’s email brought back a lot of memories of watching Hargrove, aka “The Human Rain Delay,” for his rituals between each pitch, as well as listening to Tait and Bruce Drennan call games on WUAB-TV 43.

Rusty Wilson of Wooster messaged: “The MLB All-Star Game this year was one of the worst I’ve seen in all my years! So many players with sub .260 batting averages. Go back to original team uniforms per player, and FOX coverage of the game was bad. I miss the '80s ASG as well.”

Rusty made some good points. I agree the uniforms were terrible! It’s just another way to try to make extra money on jersey sales.

Baseball in general needs to make some changes, like lowering the pitcher’s mound. There are way too many strikeouts and low batting averages. The shifts take away hits too. For how long the games last, there's not a lot of action where the ball’s actually in play and runners are going first to third. Too often it’s a strikeout, walk or home run.

Parting shots

By the time you read this, the NFL may have decided how long Browns quarterback DeShaun Watson will be suspended. Or maybe they won’t. Media members may have speculated sources tell them Watson will miss 4, 8, 12 or 16 games.

I’ve seriously tried to tune out all of the talk radio and print media speculation on how long Watson will be suspended for his off-the-field misbehavior or which quarterbacks the Browns will sign.

It’s all a mess because whatever the punishment, the NFL Players Association will immediately compare it to previous suspensions. They’ll probably make a good point that other players — or owners — were let off the hook with far lesser punishments. It’s a controversy that won’t go away.

Aaron Dorksen can be emailed at aarondorksen24@gmail.com.