It was another fantastic spring season in the area for all athletes. Track record boards were blown up all over the place, both baseball teams made strong tournament runs and a pair of jolly teammates made the state tennis match. The highlights are endless. It’s a blessing to bring you their stories. That said, here are my 2015 Spring Golden Ticket awards.
Male Athlete of Spring Season
Clyde Yoder – Hiland Baseball
The senior dealt and dazzled all season as the Hawks’ main man on the bump. He sent many hitters back to the dugout with their heads down and knees weakened. Malone University is getting an absolute gem of a pitcher with a polished pitching style. The Div. IV Player Of The Year was just plain nasty this spring. Yoder was the most dominant player in his sport this season and maybe for the whole sports year. We’re not the only media that is giving the Clyder props at the end of the season.
Female Athlete of Spring Season
Roxy Dunn – Garaway Track and Field
Winning a state title once is a special feat. Do it twice, you’re a legend. Garaway’s two-time Div. III pole vault champion defended her crown in spectacular fashion with an undefeated season, not losing one meet she was a participated in. She is made of medals. Dunn is on her way to Akron University where she’ll join men’s pole vaulter Shawn Barber, a freshman, who won the indoor national championship. So Dunn will fit right in.
Best Team of Spring Season
Andrew Rodhe and Ethan Meyer – West Holmes Tennis
The fun-loving duo of Rodhe and Meyer can rip a backhand down the line and deliver a show-stopping line on stage. There was now acting going on though when he two made it to the state tennis meet. Rodhe and Meyer have an infectious attitude win or lose. Dave and I played them a couple sets and they beat us badly. The didn’t really talk much on the court, but had a certain telepathy which was good enough to beat us old scrubs.
Spring Season Game Changer
Cassie Thomas – West Holmes Softball
For the last two seasons every time Cassie Thomas comes to the plate everyone looks at each other and says, here comes a hit. Then she cuts a hit over the infielders head and races to first. If you give her first, you might as well give her second. Thomas is the all-time leader in stolen bases in West Holmes softball history. Opposing coaches cringe at the site of the lefty digging in at the dish. They know their in for a world of hurt. Thomas was the perfect lead-off hitter spraying hits everywhere, drawing walks and terrorizing base paths.
Spring Lifetime Achievement Award
Connor Troyer – Garaway Track & Field
Although he didn’t get a chance to run at the state meet due to injury, Garaway senior Connor Troyer blew away the area competition this year and the last four. Regularly at track meets, Troyer would beat other teams in points all by himself. Troyer is the guy that all other fast kids think they can beat until they race him. He’ll be a Purple Raider at the University Mount Union in the fall as a part of the juggernaut football program.
Spring Hustle Award
Savannah Rogers – West Holmes Softball
Need a sacrifice bunt? Rogers had three in one game this year. She was also usually seen creating dust clouds on the infield with her slides into bases. Just a sophomore, but led by example with her tenacity and will to get dirty. Top gear is the only speed at which Rogers plays the game. She’d run through a wall for her team. A center field fence may be more appropriate. Rogers patrolled center field on high alert for the Lady Knights all season. That’s where doubles are going to go to die for the next two years.
Spring Season In Your Face Award
Ally Aleshire – Hiland Softball
During a week this season Ally Aleshire was en fuego. In just two games “Double A” had seven hits, drove in six runs and swiped four bases. The impressive out pour offense including a home run. Oh, and in the circle she picked up both wins and fanned 13 batters. It takes players months to put up those numbers, she did it in four days.
Good Sportsmanship Award
Kelsey Mast – Hiland Softball
Need encouragement? Perhaps a pep talk with Kelsey Mast would get you going. Her up-beat attitude and knack for leadership will make Mast a tough one to see walk away from the volleyball and softball teams at Hiland. The OHSAA should be proud of student-athletes like Mast. Mast kept her demeanor light and positive at all times.
Spring Coach of the Season
Mark Fowler – Hiland Track & Field
The Hiland boys won its first district track championship and will get to put a banner in the Reese Center this year. Coach Mark Fowler is the big reason why. Fowler also mentored three boys to the state meet and two came home with All-Ohio honors. The last five years with Fowler at the helm has impacted the progress for the program highly.
Play of the Spring Season
Triple Play West Holmes Baseball vs Lexington
With no outs in the bottom of the seventh and the bases loaded, West Holmes’ Levi Jones bounced into a 6-2-5-4 triple play. The runner at second base just never ran, making him a force at third base and the runner from first retreated making him the final force out. We’ll never see that again. Ever. The Knights went on to lose the game in extra innings to Lexington.
Game of the Spring Season
State Track Meet
The best event of the year, hands down. Keep in mind I wasn’t at the Hiland baseball regional baseball games. Witnessing the local athletes succeed on the highest level and watching smiles light up on the podium is inspiring. When the wheel chair athletes come down the stretch and the whole stadium claps to cheer them on the goose bumps flow. We got to see the boys’ Div. II pole vault and 1600 meter run state records be re-written and a 4×400 finish that will be remembered at the State track meet for eons.
Madison Kandel – West Holmes Track and Field
Kassidy Reidenbach – Garaway Softball
Natalie Martin – West Holmes Softball
Brayden Chaney – West Holmes Track and Field