Russ Kent: Thus far, it’s been a perfect spring!

As I write this column Thursday evening, Galion’s spring varsity sports teams are perfect.

The tennis team is 1-0, the track team is 2-0; the baseball team is 2-0 and the softball team is 4-0.

I’m pretty certain none of these teams will go the entire season without a blemish on their won-loss record.

But for how, it’s pretty darn impressive.

It’s especially impressive after fall and winter sports season that didn’t have quite as much success as Galion High School sports fans would like.

So kudos to tennis coach Tom Pawsey; kudos track coach Todd Roston; kudos baseball coach Phil Jackson and kudos softball coach Doug Hunt.

I’m not real familiar with any of these teams. I know most of the baseball coaches. I covered Roston when he was in high school. I’ve been acquainted with Pawsey for years through one sport or another and through covering his sons.

The team I’m least familiar with — I’ve never met the coach nor most of the players — is the team I may be rooting for the most.

I played a lot baseball a lot while growing up. I played tennis daily for several summers — mostly as a way to waste time before the Heise Park pool opened — and I was on the track team through my junior year in high school.

I’ve never played fast-pitch softball.

I played men’s slow-pitch softball for four or five years.

But that game in no way resembles the kind of softball played by high school girls For one thing, when I watch high school softball, there are no fat, out-of-shape, balding men in too-tight coaching shorts hanging out in dugouts with hidden coolers of beers and cigars. I’m also guessing that not once has this girls softball team — win or lose — headed out to The Place at Gala Lanes to drown their sorrows, or toast their victories.

No, the brand of softball played by high school athletes is quick and fast and powerful and exciting.

And it takes a lot of practice.

That’s the one thing I know Galion High School’s girls softball team. These girls love to practice, because they want to be good.

I can count on one hand the weeks this winter when I did not see some high school softball player on the Heise Park softball field either playing catch, practicing their pitching, taking batting practice or gobbling up ground balls hit to them by a supportive parent.

These girls want to get better. And t’s paying off.

I graduated from Galion High School in 1978. And except for my one experience at high school wrestling practice, written about in a recent column, I’ve never seen a bunch of athletes work so hard in the off-season to make themselves better.

Kudos Lady Tigers. Keep up the good work.

Oh and some special accolades to Galion’s Jerry McElhatten, who last year — in good weather and bad — spent hours at the softball field scraping old paint, applying new paint, raking, moving dirt and more. He sometimes had help. But most of the it was just Jerry and his brushes and rakes and brooms and scrapers.

He is just one, of many, who volunteered their time, and are still doing so, to make Galion City Schools’ athletic fields the envy of a lot of other communities.

And that’s one more reason I love living in this community.

Ok Tribe, here we go again!

Speaking of spring sports, and the upcoming summer that could arrive any day now, followed by another bout of winter, the major league baseball season starts Sunday.

It’s not full-blown yet, but I’m feeling a little Tribe Fever.

Last year I never really believed in this team.

I jumped on the band wagon late, and I felt like I wasn’t entitled to enjoy the Cleveland Indians’ success as those who had a lot more faith in April, May, June, July and August that I.

Therefore, I didn’t enjoy their October run as much as I should have.

I’m not making that mistake again.

I’m already on the band wagon, and the season is still not … quite … here … just … yet.

All my life, I’ve been waiting for the Cleveland Indians to win a World Series.

I’m still waiting, and last year they came … oh, so very close.

So, is this the year a World Series Champions pennant is raised on the shores of Lake Erie?

Will my early band wagon jumping pay dividends.

As Daniel Bryant, one of my favorite pro wrestlers says: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Most prognosticators are picking the Chicago White Sox to repeat.

But there are a few — like me — who favor the Tribe.

Last year we were so close, and our best non-pitcher only played a handful of games all season-long. Well, Michael Brantley is back this year, and the Tribe go the best bargain of the winter when Edwin Encarnacion signed to play in Cleveland.

Those two guys, and one of the best pitching staffs in the majors, are just the ticket Cleveland needs this season.

I’m not the first to predict a Tribe win in the World Series, but I’m the first who writes a column for the Galion Inquirer.

And the other winner is …

I would love to see South Carolina and Oregon in the finale, with the Gamecocks riding their defense to an NCAA championship.

I’d love to see it. But it’s not going to happen.

Tonight, Gonzaga, South Carolina, North Carolina and Oregon begin their final run for an NCAA championship.

The first game — South Carolina vs. Gonzaga — tips off at 6:09 p.m.

I’m picking Gonzaga. It’s time for the Bulldogs to shake that huge monkey off their back. It will be a defensive battle — which is my favorite kind of game to watch — with Gonzaga winning by 8 points.

The second game — Oregon vs. North Carolina — tips off at 8:49 p.m.

Oregon is more fun to watch. But I predict the Ducks’ season ends tonight.

Roy Williams and the Tar Heels will win by 15 points.

On Monday night, North Carolina takes control in the 17 half and wins by 17 points.

You heard it here first.

Wynford at Galion scrimmage. Photo by Don Tudor. at Galion scrimmage. Photo by Don Tudor.


Russ Kent

Inquirer Editor



Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer, Morrow County Sentinel and Bellville Star. Email him at [email protected] with comments or story ideas.