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Sunday, April 01, 2012

TVS Fastpitch 2-0

Twin Valley South fastpitch got their season started on the right foot with a pair of wins to start the season.  But South was a little anxious as their pitching ace, Emily Froment, was recovering from a hip injury. Their first game was a rainout, giving her additional time to heal.  The team has done well with her on the mound.  And she has drawn the notice of the University of Dayton – who has given her a scholarship.  But they did not know how she would perform in the first few games – would it be a nagging injury that would keep her on the bench?  And South has limited numbers this season, so they can ill afford any injuries.
The 4 year starter was able to take the mound against Dixie, but only pitched the first 3 innings.  Dixie had a rough time making contact with the ball, and could not generate much offense against Froment.  She would get 7 strikeouts in her brief mound appearance.   South placed battery mate Katie Strazheim on the mound next.  She would pitch the next 4 innings and earn the win.  Strazheim had 6 strikeouts and only allowed one walk. 

South on the other hand, was able to get runners on base, but couldn’t cross the plate. At the end of 5 innings it was a 0-0 tie.  Dixie threatened in the top of the sixth, but good defensive play by South kept the runners from crossing the plate.  Now it was time for South to pick up their bats. Froment reached base first, then Strazheim also hit  a single.  South finally got on the board when Cayla Hartley cleared the bases with a double.  South went on to  load the bases and scored some insurance runs to break the game open.  South finished out strong and earned a 5-0 win.

Coach Robinson commented after the game, “I was a little frustrated with our hitting early on in the game.  We weren't making the adjustments that were necessary to get solid hits.  Finally in the 6th inning, we started keeping our weight back and waiting on the pitch to get to the plate, then exploded through the ball.  Of course, hitting is contagious, so once our first batters started being successful, everyone else started coming to the plate with more confidence.  That's when we were able to string together the hits necessary to score the runs.
On Hartley, “Cayla had an exceptionally good game.  She turned a double play on a bunt attempt, by throwing the runner out going to third.  She also made a couple of tough tag plays on batters, one time preventing a run from scoring.  She also was the batter who drove in our first two runs of the 6th inning with a double.  She's been a great leader so far this year.

Next up for South was the Brookville BlueDevils.  In this game, a healthy Froment pitched the distance – accumulating 14 strikeouts.  But as they did in their first game, South was slow to get their motor running on offense.  Brookville was able to bunt effectively and were able to score.  So South was playing from behind.   Strazheim did crush the ball with a solo home run shot in the second inning to put South on the board.  

But South had their best inning in the 5th when Strazheim(who would be 3 for 3 at the plate) reached first on a single.  Then Leanne Johnson hit a double to score her.  The next batter, Angela Nushawg walked and a sacrifice fly by Kaylee Rivers scored Johnson while a single by Ali Robertson scored Nushawg. This inning was the difference in the game as South was able to earn a 6-4 victory.

Coach Robinson, “This was a great come-from-behind victory for us.  We've had some issues in our scrimmages with wanting to shut down when things weren't going well.  Tonight, we proved that we are capable of fighting through adversity and doing what it takes to win.  We started out slow tonight in every aspect of the game.  Mentally, we weren't sharp, and we were being impatient at the plate.  Once we settled in, we played with a lot more confidence and poise.  Brookville was a very good hitting team; they bunted well and forced us to come up with some good defensive plays.  I thought our girls responded well to the pressure.

New Football Coach Takes Helm at Dixie

Coach Tarpley elected to step down as coach of Dixie football.  During his tenure, he has returned Dixie football to a measure of respectability.  Before 2010, Dixie had not had a winning football season since 1983. That changed with a 7-3 record that earned Tarpley coach of the year honors in Division 5. Implementing a spread offense and an aggressive defense, Dixie football improved under his watch.  Being the smallest school in the SWBL Buckeye division, the Hounds are a potential underdog in every league game.

So Dixie had some big shoes to fill in the off season.   This past week Sam Watson was selected to be the next head football coach at Dixie.  He is very familiar with the Miami Valley area having played his high school under Jay Niswonger at Valley View. He is very familiar with Dixie as he was assistant coach before moving up to head coach.  After graduation, he attended college at Otterbein where he was a 3 year starter. Returning from college, he went to Valley View this time as an assistant coach. 

A side note: Dixie is not the only local school filling an open head coach position.  Three time state Champion, Jay Niswonger is stepping down as football coach at Valley View.  He will be an offensive coordinator at Wilmington College.  I have heard that a replacement has been selected, but is waiting upon confirmation by the school board.

Coach Watson then left Valley View and went to Dixie where he was an assistant for coach Tarpley. So having been an assistant at Dixie he will have a good feel for the program and already knows the players.  That will give him a big head start as he prepares for his first year as head coach at Dixie. He is also on staff at Dixie so that gives him contact with the players on daily basis.

Having both played and coached under the spread offense I asked coach Watson what his plans were, “I am going to gear the offense towards the capabilities that our players have, the spread is certainly an option – but not the only one.  The same with the defense, we are going to gear that towards the strengths of our players. We will be aggressive, our defenses have always done that. ”

 About being the smallest school in the league, “Our kids know that, it’s nothing new and they are ready to accept that challenge.”

Coach Watson has already taken over the weight and conditioning program in December, “I’ve had good attendance. Every kid that is not in a winter or spring sport has been attending the weight room.  Then we have also had great attendance from kids who are doing another sport.  The activity level is high and they are all working hard in the weight room.”

Assistant Coaches, “We had one coach leave and go to West Carrollton, which is great for him.  And of course my slot is open – so we are looking to fill two positions.  We are evaluating the whole staff to see how we can optimize their abilities.”  

So look for some changes in Dixie football this coming fall. It will be advantage to have a coach that is already familiar with the league, the school, and the kids.  There will be some changes in philosophy and structure of the offense and defense.  But the amount of turmoil will be much less than if a totally new person was brought in from outside, so once the staff is set, it will be easier to for Coach Watson to introduce his brand of football to the Dixie Greyhounds.  Good Luck next fall!