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WRITER: Joe Simon

Sports writer’s farewell thoughts

There was never a moment during my childhood where I considered being a writer, not even a sports writer. All I cared about were sports, and my goal was the NFL or Major League Baseball. There wasn’t really a Plan B, not until college hit, and flag football and slow-pitch softball were the only sports I was playing. As a struggling sophomore in college, an English professor named Alyssa Lenhoff brought to ...

Columnist’s book all about angling

Jack Wollitz has written more than 1,700 opinion pieces about fishing and the outdoors. Not surprisingly, the longtime Vindicator columnist used those articles as the foundation for his recent book “The Common Angler: A Celebration of Fishing,” which hit the shelves May 11. While those stories were the basis for the book, they weren’t the inspiration. His passion stemmed from something else — the ...

Kohler leads South Range to regional

LEAVITTSBURG — For the most part, South Range’s Bree Kohler is a coach’s dream. One of the top players in the area, Kohler is a dominant pitcher, elite hitter and a team leader for the Raiders softball team. South Range coach Jeff DeRose is elated to to have her. However, Kohler didn’t take her coach’s advice on Thursday in a Division III District final at LaBrae High School, and believe it or not, ...

‘Rollercoaster’ season ends for Eagles

HUBBARD — The first postseason game for the Hubbard baseball team was a lot like their regular season: all over the place. The Eagles endured an epically bad first inning, rallied twice to get back into the game but struggled toward the end of a 12-4 loss to Lakeview in a Division II sectional first-round matchup. Hubbard went down 4-0 in the first inning, when Bulldogs’ starter Nick DeMonica tossed an ...

Raiders ready for a run

South Range coach Jim Hanek didn’t realize it at the time, but saying he likes the baseball IQ of his Raiders was a dangerous statement. One of the team’s smartest players is Ohio State recruit Trey Pancake. The senior catcher was a freshman when the 2018 South Range team won a state title, and his wit and experience have him thinking another one is a possibility. “Honestly, I think our potential is a ...

Expansion by OHSAA is puzzling

It takes a lot for a high school coach to use scathing remarks in an “on the record” conversation. When it does happen, the quotes usually come during an emotionally-charged moment right after a game. So, when coaches had time to think about the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s decision to expand the postseason in football, and they still chose to sound off, it was clear how they felt about the ...

Expanded playoff move draws criticism

WARREN — The Ohio High School Athletic Association was excited on Thursday to announce the expansion of the high school football playoffs from eight to 16 teams in each region. Some area coaches weren’t so enthused. The OHSAA expanded the number of playoff qualifiers to 16 schools per region and will allow higher-seeded teams to host the first two rounds of the postseason. There will not be byes for any ...

Phillips, Penguins face many challenges

This probably wasn’t an easy decision. Then again, the Penguins had their reasons. The Youngstown State football team chose to end its season without playing the final game — a rescheduled contest — last weekend against North Dakota. It made sense to most, except for maybe the Fighting Hawks, who were on the playoff bubble (they made the postseason anyway). Still, YSU had had enough. The Penguins ...

Strange season ends

YOUNGSTOWN — An odd, somewhat frustrating season came to an abrupt end for the Youngstown State football team Wednesday. The Missouri Valley Football Conference announced the cancellation of the Penguins’ final game, which was set for Saturday against league rival North Dakota. According to a statement by the MVFC, the Penguins, who played more league games than any other team, “determined earlier today ...

YSU game canceled Saturday

YOUNGSTOWN — An odd, somewhat frustrating season came to abrupt end for the Youngstown State football team Wednesday. The Missouri Valley Football Conference announced the cancellation of the Penguins’ final game, which was set for Saturday against league rival North Dakota. According to a statement by the MVFC, the Penguins, who played more league games than any other team, “determined earlier today they ...