Saturday, May 29, 2010

2010 MAC Tournament - Final Day!

11:20 a.m. -- Here it is folks, the final day of the 2010 MAC Tournament! As said in one of the best kids baseball movies of all-time, "Rookie of the Year", -- "this one is for the alllll the marbles... the whoollllleeee enchilada.... the whooolllle kit-and-kaboodle..." (as said by John Candy's character as the radio announcer in the movie). The winner of the re-rematch between BGSU and CMU will go on to play in the MAC Tournament Championship tonight against either Eastern Michigan or Kent State.

Once again, the team is loose as loose can be. You can only imagine the thrills running through everybody's veins upon defeating CMU yesterday, 8-3. Even at 10:30 last night when all the players are receiving treatment they were all talking about how badly they want this game and this tournament. This morning the same emotions were visible. Both teams' fanbases have filed in and the support for both teams is pretty impressive.

Without further ado (if that's how you spell it), let's get to those lineups beginning with the visiting team YOUR BGSU Falcons:

Meisler, 2b
Blanton, cf
Vaughn, lf
Spencer, 3b
Berti, ss
Galvin, rf
Duncan, 1b
Pitzulo, dh
Schlater, c

SP: Brennan Smith

Central Michigan lineup:
Faiman, rf
Emmett, dh
Teas, 3b
Theunissen, 1b
Cornstubble, c
Anderson, cf
Phillion, lf
Clark, 2b
Harman, ss

Starting pitcher: Trent Howard, LHP (4-3, 3.52)

11:34 a.m. -- We are underway here in Chillicothe on what is a somewhat cool and breezy morning, however its going to get quite uncomforatable based on morning weather reports. It is supposed to get to be a very muggy 89 degrees at some point. BGSU coaches are very glad to have the early game based on temperatures and the fact that if they win they will face off against a very depleted pitching staff for whoever it is and a team that is now playing back-to-back games in the heat after BG gets to take a nice 2 1/2 hour break (should they beat CMU).

On the field... BG's top two hitters record outs but Denny Vaughn keeps swinging a hot stick with a two-out single. He advanced to second on a wild pitch in the dirt by Howard but Spencer gets jammed and pops out to Theunissen on first base to end the inning.

Early scouting report on Howard (in this wannabe baseball analysts' mind): He doesn't seem to want to blow away people with any overpower stuff but he does have some devastating movement on his pitches. He has gotten all four batters he's faced thusfar to chase something outside of the strike zone that has broken down and away from left-handed hitters. He probably tops out in the high 80s or low 90s, but like I said, his job today will be to keep the Falcons off-balance. Bowling Green will have to have superior plate-discipline and take Howard deep into counts to force a high pitch count and tired him early. Hopefully by that time they will be able to capitalize on some hanging breaking pitches and get up early.

11:55 a.m. -- Bowling Green finds themselves down early after a walk and two wild pitches put a Chip runner on third, perfect position for a Nate Theunissen sac fly that scored a run. After walking his third batter of the inning, Smith allowed a two-run triple to give CMU a 3-0 early lead.

Smith thus far is struggling with his command, mostly low. Brennan is running on two days rest right now, something he hasn't done in the last two years. He will likely be on a short leash today with this being an elimination game and a rested Chuck Wooten, Ross Gerdeman and Michael Frank in the bullpen.

Unfortunately for BG in this mini-series between CMU and BGSU dating back to their first meeting this season, the first team to score is the team to win. That stat needs to change.

12:09 p.m. -- BG has made a call to the bullpen after Smith just seemed to not be able to find his rhythm. The nod now goes to Michael Frank, the Falcons traditional Day 2 starter for much of the season.

On his first batter he forced a 6-3 putout that scored a run after Smith allowed runners on second and third. After the ground out that scored a run (4-0, CMU), Frank has walked Emmett to put runners on the corners.

12:17 p.m. -- Frank has gotten the Falcons out of trouble, for now. After the 6-3 putout, he enduced a weak pop out to Meisler at second and a line out to right field that Galvin tracked down and fielded for the third out.

Time to get the sticks working!!!

12:24 p.m. -- Good news/bad news. Bad news is that the Falcons couldn't capitalize on a two-out double by Meisler. However, good news is that a rocket off of the bat of Dennis Vaughn clipped the pitching hand of CMU starter Trent Howard. I never wish injury upon anybody but if it is deemed that Howard can't pitch after favoring his hand coming off of the field, maybe better for the Falcons. Still 4-0 after 2 1/2.

12:31 p.m. -- T.J. Blanton just made a spectacular catch in left center field laying out and getting a face full of pellets while making an extra-base saving catch. The Falcon defense has answered the call to back up their pitcher.

On an update for CMU pitcher Trent Howard, he has come back out on the hill and doesn't appear to be having any issues with his pitching hand which was hit by a Dennic Vaughn grounder up the middle. Concerns still linger for the CMU radio crew about his ability to grip his curveball, but as I type, he strikes out Jon Berti with an off-speed pitch to retire the Falcons in the fourth.

12:42 p.m. -- Thus far, both teams are guilty are getting some good contact on the ball but hitting it directly to a fielder somewhere between the lines. For the most part aside from the three-run first inning, both teams have settled into a groove and this game has been moving right along. It's still 4-0 in the top of the fifth and BG again isn't able to find a hole to put the ball in. Howard still looks good out there on the hill for CMU, cruising through this BGSU lineup.

However, BG is now making him work and he is going deeper into counts more now than ever in this game. Hopefully the Falcons can find another hanger to take advange of.

12:59 p.m. -- BG bats have remained silent, but CMU has come out in the fifth with some fire coming from their sticks. After a hit batter and single by Theunissen, a hot shot to short handcuffed Berti and took an unfortunate hop giving the runner a chance to score and make the score 5-0. BGSU cautered the bleeding and kept the score at that.

They threaten now with a runner at second and no outs. It's time wake up the sticks!

1:10 p.m. -- FALCONS ARE ON THE BOARD!!! T.J. Blanton doubled to left field to start the inning off, but in typical BG fashion its two-out hitting that gets it done! Jon Berti hits a liner in the gap. Berti ran through the stop sign of Danny Schmitz and turned a doule into a triple sliding into third base safely. The run gets BGSU on the board, 5-1.

The triple by Berti also gives him a share for the all-time record for triples in a season with six. He and teammate Logan Meisler have a share of the record with Larry Ardnt, set in 1982.

The Falcons can't bring in Berti, but at least they have something to show for their effort in the sixth. 5-1, CMU

1:22 p.m. -- Mike Frank has done a masterful job on the mound and kept the Chips at bay with the bats while getting some great help from his 'D'. Now BGSU is threatening AGAIN after a seeing-eye single to center by Pitzulo and a walk drawn by nine-hitter Ryan Schalter. I think Howard may be hitting his wall here. His stuff isn't as sharp as it was even an inning ago. Action in the CMU bullpen as Deidrich Enns (MAC Freshman of the Year) down in the bullpen for CMU. It's gettin' crazy here now!!

1:25 p.m. -- OH YEAH BABY! TJ Blanton comes through with his second double of the day painting the left field line. One run comes around and Schlater rolls into third base. Runners at second and third with only one out and now a visit to the mound for CMU! 5-2, game now!

1: 27 p.m. -- On the first pitch, Vaughn lofts an outside pitch to deep left field. Phillion in left makes a leaping catch while fighting the sun that perhaps save a second run from coming home, but the fly out is enough to being home BGSU's third run of the game and just like that the Falcons are a serious threat to get right back into this one.... 5-3 the score. Runner on second, two out and Derek Spencer to the plate!

Pitching change for the Chips... coming in now is Enns, the MAC Freshman of the Year who has had a great season coming out of the bullpen for CMU. A lefty, he throws heat and has a great combo of off-speed stuff too. He pitched three innings in the Chips opening game of the tourney and hasn't seen action since.

1:38 p.m. -- Derek Spencer made the entire stadium gasp with a deep fly ball into center field that many thought was a goner for sure. However gravity has its way and bring the ball back down to the turf and into glove of Billy Anderson to eliminate the BGSU threat. After 6 1/2, BG now only trails by two, 5-3.

1:43 p.m. -- Pitching change for the Falcons after Frank allows two baserunners before recording an out here in the bottom of the seventh. Now on the hill, Ross Gerdeman.

Gerdeman makes an immediate impact and while Cornstuble gave himself away showing bunt early, Ross gets him to bunt right back to him and he fires to third to get the force out! Runners on first and second still with one down. How about a nice inning-ending DP??? What do ya say!?!?!

1:47 p.m. -- I think I'm baseball's Nostradomus. Guess why? Inning-ending double play, 4-6-3 tailor made! Thata boy Ross! Way to get the Falcons out of an early jam and give it up to the bats. Top of the 8th we go!

1:55 p.m. -- WE'RE ALL TIED UP!!!!! WOW! Jon Berti leads off with a single to center and Galvin gets clipped by the next pitch from Enns. With two on, Duncan tries to put down a SAC bunt, but Enns tries to go to third and throws it away! On their horses, both Berti and Galvin score and we're all tied up!!!!!!

2:04 p.m. -- FALCONS TAKE THE LEAD!!! After Meisler was walked and Blanton was hit by a pitch, it loaded the bases for Dennis Vaughn. He plants a single through the right side and two runs score on the hit. The throw to the plate was high and heads up base running and Cornstubble drop allows a third run to score, yet Vaughn was caught leaning on second base for the third out. THREE RUNS! 8-5 FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:22 p.m. -- The Chips won't go down without a fight. The Falcons let Ross Gerdeman attempt to go the duration of the game but the young sophomore from Fort Jennings, Ohio allowed the first two hitters on base with back-to-back singles. Now pitching for the Falcons, Patrick O'Brien. He has been solid and has certainly earned his chevrons as the team's closer this season. He will look for his 7th save here. Three outs away!

2:28 -- CMU's Teas singles down the left field line and allows one run to score. 8-6 the score. Nobody said this would be easy. Now CMU belts another single to center field, 8-7. Leady warming up in the pen.

2:31 p.m. -- O'Brien strikes out Billy Anderson to get the first out. Now the double play is in order. My heart is pounding out of my chest.

2:33 p.m. -- Phillion hits a deep fly to center field... caught by Blanton... sacfrice scores the tying run. With bases loaded and now two down... Ricky Clark gets handcuffed but floats a looper into right field, over the head of a helpless Logan Meisler and the Chips somehow, come from behind and will score the game winning run. Final score: 9-8 Chips win

Friday, May 28, 2010

Women's Basketball Odds & Ends

I’ve been meaning to mention a few Falcon women’s basketball-related honors and achievements for a few weeks now, and today's the big day. Some BGSU (and former BGSU) greats have been in the news lately, and certainly deserve a mention here ...

* Former BGSU women’s basketball coach Fran Voll and one of his players, Jeanne Arnzen Gulick, were inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame over the weekend. Voll compiled an eye-popping record of 208-17 during nine years as the girls basketball coach at Delphos St. John’s High School, then came to BGSU in 1984 and went 144-60. During that time, the Falcons won three MAC regular-season championships, four MAC Tournament titles and made four consecutive trips to the NCAA Championships from 1987-90.

* Gulick, as Jeanne Arnzen, was a starter under Voll on Delphos St. John’s teams that made three consecutive trips to the state tournament, winning the Class A championship in 1977 and the Class AA title in 1979 after losing in the AA semifinals in ‘78. She played two years at Northern Kentucky University before playing her final two seasons at BGSU.

* The Delphos Herald and Marion Star each did stories on the Hall of Fame induction.

* Laura Bugher, who recently completed her four-year playing career with the Falcons, was one of three University students chosen by the BGSU Board of Trustees to receive its Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship is given to students with outstanding records of leadership, academic achievement and social commitment.

* The BGSU women’s basketball banquet was held a few weeks ago at Olscamp Hall. The list of individual award winners can be found here at I don’t have a ton to add to what’s in the release, other than to say that this was truly a special night. I’ve been to many, many banquets over the years, and being old, bitter and jaded (not necessarily in that order), I have sat through a few that have lasted far, far too long. This one, though, lasted close to three hours, but was incredibly entertaining from start to finish. All of the speakers were great, and all four seniors – Bugher, Tara Breske, Sarah Clapper and Tamika Nurse – gave very good speeches. In fact, Tamika’s speech may have been the finest senior speech I have ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of them. If I were in position to hire her for an on-air job at ESPN (or TMZ, for that matter), I would do so in a heartbeat. If anyone has video of Tamika’s speech, let me know and I’ll try to link it to this blog.

* The 2009-10 team was quite successful on the court, but the student-athletes were just as stellar in the classroom. Yesterday, I posted a release on the team’s academic accomplishments, and there are a lot of them.

* Coach Curt Miller and emcee Larry Weiss provided a few pieces of information at the banquet that you may or may not be aware of. First off, Miller announced that seniors-to-be Maggie Hennegan and Lauren Prochaska will be the co-captains of the 2010-11 Falcons. The head coach also announced that rising seniors Tracy Pontius and Kelly Zuercher, along with rising junior Jessica Slagle, will join Hennegan and Prochaska on the team’s leadership council. This group will have a say in the day-to-day operation of the team, on and off the court.

* As the banquet wrapped up, Weiss mentioned that the Falcons will open the home portion of the 2010-11 schedule with a game against Creighton on Monday, Nov. 15. He added that the Creighton game will be one of at least six non-conference games at Anderson Arena. With the Falcons assured of eight MAC games at home, that means you've got 14 more chances to see BGSU play at Anderson. Along those lines ...

* As you know, the ’10-11 season will be the last at Anderson Arena, as we are “Closing the Doors on the House That Roars.” There is still time to vote for your favorite Falcons (for volleyball and men’s basketball, as well as women’s basketball) for the All-Anderson Teams, to share your favorite Anderson Memories, and to track the progress of the Stroh Center construction. You can do any or all of those things by Clicking Here. Roll Along!

2010 MAC Tournament - Day 4

8:11 a.m. -- Man what a crappy day outside we woke up to. It was actually POURING from about 5 a.m. to about 8 a.m. this morning and just now has it downgraded to a slight drizzle. On the plus side, it's really cool (in temperature) and the heat won't be getting to anybody in game one today.

To recap last night, there wasn't much to be said between coaches, players and staff alike. Of course our illustrious equipment manager, "Scooter", has full confidence that the Falcons are winning two today to stay alive and advance to Championship Day, but we all admit its going to be a long road ahead and whoevers bullpen is the strongest will prove to guide their team to victory. The message from the coaches last night was, "This is not the time to feel sorry for ourselves. You know what we have to do now." And so it shall be...

BGSU has to win two games today to advance to the championship round, where they will have to win two more games to win the MAC Tournament title. Ball State is first on the docket this morning, and we are still scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Today starter is Cody Apthorpe (2-2, 3.62)and will face off against BSU's Brad Piatt (3-4, 7.62). Below are the starting lineups for today:

BGSUMeisler - 2b, Blanton - cf, Vaughn - lf, Spencer - 3b, Berti - ss, Galvin - rf, Duncan - 1b, Pitzulo - dh, Schalter - c

Ball State
Baumet - ss, Beemer - rf, Vitek - dh, Dygert - c, Nielsen - 1b, Claypool - 3b, Elliot - cf, Widau - 2b, Chenoweth - lf

23 mins to gametime baby!

9:03 a.m. -- The rains have stopped here in Chillicothe and although it is still pretty much and cool its a good day for baseball. The field turf is great for days like these since it soaks up water, or perhaps drains it, so that there is nothing to worry about after a hard rain.

After two batters, Bowling Green has taken advantage of a BSU error by Baumet at short and Blanton stands on second to put the Falcons in scoring position early!

9:09 a.m. -- Baumet made up for his early error. With a hit and run in effect, Spencer put a good stick on the ball but Baumet made a leaping grab to snare away a base hit from Spencer and a run from the Falcons. After a half inning, its still scoreless and its freshman Cody Apthorpe's turn to run the show from the hill!

9:17 a.m. -- The Cardinals go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first with some pretty good pitching from Apthorpe. His outfield was tested early with a deep fly to Blanton in center and Mark Galvin having to make a sliding catch in right, but a good start for the freshman who has truely earned his way into the starting rotation.

Jon Berti led the top of the second off with a single deep in the hole to short. No shortstop is going to get the speedy Berti on that play. Then the sophomore swipes second on his 28th steal of the season. It probably one of the closest plays at second on one of Berti's steals that I've seen this year but I think he got the outside of the bag before the tag came down.

9:23 a.m. -- Let me just say one thing that has been on my mind all season long... Matt Pitzulo is a machine. With runners on first and third, the freshman has just belted his 13th double of the season splitting gap in left center. Berti scored from third easily on the play. Duncan on his horse all the way from third base had a really good read on the ball dropping in the gap and beat the high throw to the plate. Now after the two-RBI double by "The BG Machine", it is 2-0 Falcons.

9:28 a.m. -- As an aside, it must be oldies day here at VA Memorial Stadium. About 80% of today's jams have been some of the best of the 1950's and 60's. This guy doesn't complain as someone that was brought up on the Golden Oldies... and if it weren't for the fact that I'm not in my home press box I most likely would have been singing and dancing to the Beach Boys that they were just playing.

9:41 a.m. -- The Falcons are really starting to get to Piatt. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Derek Spencer and Jon Berti have hit back-to-back two-baggers to left field giving the Falcons another run on the board, 3-0. Berti's shot was a liner that smack the left field wall on the fly. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a dent or permanent marking in the padding of that wall out there!

9:44 a.m. -- How about a THIRD consecutive double for the Falcons, this time by Mark Galvin!! Berti stole third on the prior pitch right before Galvin knocked a double down the left field line and scored the Falcons' fourth run of the game! Falcons offense has found their stroke today!

9:49 a.m. -- Cody Apthorpe is perfect no more. With one swing of the bat the Cardinals took away the no-hitter and shutout after a Baumet blast over the left center field fence. 4-1 Falcons.

9:57 a.m. -- Apthorpe has just gotten himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third inning after giving up the solo homerun to make it a 4-1 game. With the bases juiced after walking two batters and giving up a base knock, the freshman struck out Ian Nielsen on a high fastball on an 0-2 count to end the inning. He was immediately greeted by "team spark plug" Kevin Leady for a slap on the behind and words of encouragement as they both went back into the BGSU dugout. Apthorpe is going to be fun to watch in the coming years!

10:02 a.m. -- How about the showers of doubles the Falcons are putting on the Cardinals?! Ryan Schalter hit the Falcons fifth double (they have six hits to this point) off of new BSU pitcher Heath Riley to set up for a RBI-single by Logan Meisler (now seven hits) to put the Falcons up 5-1 in the top of the fourth inning!! The Ball State dugout has quieted down exponentially in comparison to the start of the game.

10:16 a.m. -- Apthrope gets himself out of another jam stranding BSU runners on both first and second in the bottom of the fourth inning. After four, he has allowed only three hits, but his three walks and hit batsman is hurting him and his pitch count. He is currently at 71 pitches which isn't great for four inning of work. The most pitches he has ever thrown in a game is 82 against Dayton earlier this season in their win over the Flyers.

10:35 p.m. -- Apthorpe is now pitching lights out and the offense is taking it to the Ball State pitchers. Insert who you will, but BGSU has now slammed back-to-back doubles AGAIN and has put two more runs on the board. The Falcons are really taking it to the Cardinals now and I'm LOVIN' IT like McDonald's! 7-1 Falcons in the top of the 6th!

10:51 a.m. -- Ball State cut into the BG lead with a run by way of a sacrifice fly in the top of the 7th and now Bowling Green has decided to go to its bullpen. After a steller run on the hill, Cody Apthorpe's day is done after going 6.0 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs with five walks and three strikeouts. Now on the hill, sophomore righty Ross Gerdeman.

10:55 a.m. -- Aside from grazing a Ball State Cardinal, Gerdeman pitches a really nice seventh inning and walks away unscaved. Top of the 8th ... 7-2 BGSU!!!

11:11 a.m. (make a wish!) -- Gerdeman stayed in for the eighth but got himself into a bit of trouble allowing a two-run double to cut into the lead further, 7-4. Nick Bruns came in and smoked the next two BSU hitters to end the threat with some good D behind him. We'll soon turn over to the bottom of the ninth! Patrick O'Brien to enter for the Falcons to close out the game.

11:46 a.m. -- And that will do it folks... O'Brien comes in and pitches a flawless ninth inning to seal the win for Bowling Green, 7-4, over the BSU Cardinals. The Falcons advance and the Cardinals will go home packing. Bowling Green now advances to the 4pm game after achieving their 30th win of the season. They will play the Central Michigan Chippewas at 4pm. Should Bowling Green win, they will play CMU again tomorrow to earn the right advance to the Championship game. We all know what happens if they lose again...

The full recap will be provided here in the coming hour.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4:01 p.m. --

Game #2 ~ #5 BGSU v. #1 Central Michigan

After a couple hours of rest the Falcons are back at it again. Getting the start for the Falcons is another freshman, this time Nick Bruns. If you recall, Bruns has been used in two relief appearances already in this tournament but has pitched so well that he has earned himself a start. He is a guy that plays with a ton of passion and his energy alone can fuel him through five innings!

Setting the lineups for both teams:

Meisler, 2b
Blanton, cf
Vaughn, lf
Spencer, 3b
Berti, ss
Galvin, rf
Duncan, 1b
Pitzulo, dh
Schlater, c

Matt Faiman, rf
Brendan Emmett, dh
James Teas, 3b
Nate Theunissen, 1b
Dale Cornstubble, c
Billy Anderson, cf
Scott Phillion, lf
Ricky Clark, 2b
Robbie Harmon, ss

4:15 p.m. -- T.J. Blanton scored today's first run and put the Falcons up 1-0 early after his double into the right-center field gap put him on second. Dennis Vaughn singled to left, but it wasn't enough to score Blanton from second. But a balk call on CMU starting pitcher Zach Cooper advanced both runners and scored Blanton.

However, as I type CMU catcher Dale Cornstubble blasts a homer into the trees beyond left field, a solo shot that ties the game at one.

4:34 p.m. -- Still nodded up at one, both pitchers appear to be getting into a bit of a groove. Although our third base umpire today (Mike Duffy, no relation to 'Duff-Man' of The Simpson's) has called a balk on each pitcher today. Apparently the balk called on CMU was warranted as he flinched with his glove but even the CMU radio guy I'm sitting next to doesn't know what the heck Bruns did to receive his balk. I personally think he just has "Jerry West-syndrome" and likes the sounds of his own voice.

4:57 p.m. -- Oh the life of a GA taking summer classes. The beauty of baseball is that you can SID, watch the game AND do your homework that you forgot about for your summer class all at the same time. But I digress...

The activity had been pretty slow on the field. We've seen both pitchers lose some of the gas in their tanks, so this one is going to be decided by the bullpens. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Falcons tried a double steal with two outs and Jon Berti at the plate. I'm not sure if it was a missed sign but Blanton was pegged at third without contest to end the inning.

Patrick Martin is on the hill in relief for Bowling Green, taking the place of Nick Bruns who gaves three quality innings of work. You can tell he was gassing it up, but paying the price with fatigue setting in. Let's see how the R-So. lefty handles this.

5:15 p.m. -- Bowling Green has taken advantage of a CMU miscue. After a pair of BGSU runner reached (Berti and Galvin), Cooper tried picked Berti off at second but nobody was home! The ball rolled into center field and both runners advanced. With Duncan at the plate, he accidentally made contact with a high fastball from Cooper, but it was perfectly placed between first and the pitcher to give Berti enough time to fly home and score the go-ahead run. Matthew Pitzulo then hit a fly ball JUST deep enough to left field that plated Galvin on a sacrifice fly.

Bowling Green now has the momentum and Patrick Martin has a two run cushion to work with as we head to the fourth. 3-1 Falcons!!!

5:24 p.m. -- There, my homework is now done and I can give my full attention to the game. Perhaps it was just meant to be that the broadcating equipment I brought to the game to do the broadcasts doesn't work, or else this assignment would be later than it already was!

We're in the bottom of the fifth and BGSU still has a 3-1 lead. Blanton walked and Vaughn sacrifcied him to second. One down... here we go Falcons, here we go! (clap clap!)

5:32 p.m. -- On a bang-bang play at third, the Falcons got the benefit of the doubt play when Blanton went to third on a grounder in the infielder. With Blanton on third and two down, Berti grounded to short and honest to goodness unless I'm regressing in my sight again I thought he beat it out (which would have scored a run) but the first base umpire Paul Lancaster banged him out and left the entire BGSU fanbase (and even some of CMU's fan) in awe. Still 3-1 after six.

5:38 p.m. -- BG catches another break. Runners at first and second with one down and a grounder to third was fielded and thrown to second in an attempt to turn a double play. The CMU runner went in hard at second. He was called out at second on the turn and then the batter was called out due to runner's interference at second with Meisler making the turn.

This is the second time this crew has made that call this tournament, most recently earlier today when Toledo beat Kent when Kent was guilty of the interference.

However, more humorously a new phrase has been used that I may have to incorporate into my repitoire. I think it's from the BG side but is not a BG fan saying but CMU manager Steve Jaska is wearing #22... so whenever he goes out to argue a call (which he has a couple times today) he is referred to by someone as "Tooty-two"... and I like it!!!

5:44 p.m. -- Still here in the sixth inning the Falcons have forced CMU to go to the bullpen. Cooper looked like the single up the middle he allowed to Galvin caught his finger while passing by, so he has departed and on the hill now for CMU is Jake Sabol.... fresh meat!!

5:50 p.m. -- Fresh meat indeed! Matthew Pitzulo absolutely CRUSHES a Sabol offering to dead center and it clears the batters' eye nearly 400 feet away!! Two-run jack is Pitzulo's fourth of the season and man, what timing for it! 5-1 BGSU on top! after six.

6:01 p.m. -- Patrick Martin gets out of a jam allowing two runners on with two out, but he gets CMU 5-hitter Nate Theunissen to strike out swinging to set up the Falcons offense to explode again.

Oh yes, I said explode. T.J. Blanton and Denny Vaughn go yard BACK-TO-BACK for a pair of solo jobs and they extend their lead 7-1. Both were no doubters and split the gaps in left and right fields, respectively. BGSU is taking advantage of the tail end of the CMU bullpen now!

6:06 p.m. -- Mark Galvin would have hit BG's THIRD home run of the inning, however VA Memorial Stadium has a piece of signage that extends the hieght of the wall by about 4 feet and that small wall robbed Galvin of a homer, but puts runners on second and third with one out.

6:20 p.m. -- Unfortunately, BGSU cannot bring home either of the two runners home that they had on board. CMU has "chipped" into the BGSU lead with a two-run homer from Scott Phillion to make it a 7-3 game. Patrick Martin still on. Aside from that one batter, he has looked solid.

6:33 p.m. -- Patrick O'Brien on to put the nail in the coffin in this game. Top 9... here we go!

7:26 p.m. -- Patrick O'Brien does the job. He allows one single but rest you can sit'em down and close the books on this one. BGSU wins 7-3 and stays alive for another day! They will now play CMU again tomorrow, but the start time will depend on the result of the EMU/KSU game tonight. Should EMU win, BGSU will play at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. If Kent State wins, then EMU is eliminated and BGSU will play at 12 noon for the right to play KSU for the championship.

Time to work on the release! ROLL ALONG!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 MAC Tournament - Day 3

11:21 a.m. -- What a day yesterday was! You got a thrilling BGSU victory of those Ball State Cardinals, 6-4, and then a chance to rest ALL day afterward. Personally, I had a surprise visit from the girlfriend so I enjoyed some good company, some Olive Garden and a nice walk through the east side of Chillecothe, Ohio.

Despite the warnings I received on the town, it actually is pretty nice. Down the main strip (I believe its Rt. 105 or 159) there is a strip mall on each side of the road totalling maybe 25+ stores including a JCPenny's, Sears, Show Dept., Champs Sports and a nice variety of places that any small town could want. Of course, no town is without a WalMart and this includes Chillicothe... and a Super Walmart at that! :)

The city is a pretty busy place. Traffic through the town has been pretty constant and the demographic here is of an older age group, but that just means its a nice, quiet town. This could just be the economically-challenged GA in me talking but there are plenty of places to eat with lots of variety. Ponderosa Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Rooster's (very similar to BG's Frickers), Donato's Pizza (yummmm), Tumbleweed Steakhouse, NY-Penn Station... I could go on and on. Lots of options and all I can say is that we better keep winning so I can try as many of them as possible!

The weather down here has been pretty hot and muggy. Yesterday's game was probably the nicest time slot we could have asked for just because it topped out at 75 degrees by the end of our game. I went out for a job through the town this morning at about 9:15 a.m. and I can tell you its already that hot and far muggier than yesterday. Could make for an interesting day of baseball for all.

The guys are very relaxed and are having a very laid-back approach to today's game with Central Michigan (4pm). Well, the exception being Kevin Leady who at breakfast this popped a single smile and then put his game face back on as he exited with breakfast... but that's just Kevin. I've seen a couple of the guys out in the hottub resting the muscles and relaxing. Others have their families in town and have been spending time with them over dinner. As long as they are on the bus for team meal, the game and are ready to play Coach Schmitz is fairly lax with what the players do in their spare time. Don't let that fool you though, these guys are ready and anxious to WIN, and WIN IT ALL!

In speaking of the parents, they have come out in full force and have created one of the largest fan followings among all the participating schools in this tournament. I've already had comments from others in the stands such as "You're fans are WAY too peppy for a 9 a.m. game" or "Wow, are your fans always this supportive?" ... and all I can do is smile and know that BGSU perhaps has the best fans in the MAC. Thank you to all the friends, family, significant others and fans that have made the nice three-hour trip to Chillicothe to support the team!

The bus for team meal is leaving in 15 minutes and from what I hear its a buffet. This could get dangerous and there is a chance I will need to take a second jog to burn off what I intend to put on at said buffett. More updates to come later today...

1:00 p.m. -- That buffett was rediculous. Ponderosa Steakhouse has definitely killed off any workout that I had already partaken in and there may be a need for a second workout to work off what I have just devoured. Fish, chicken, meatloaf, pork, steak, salad, and a HUGE dessert tray were just a few of the options out there. There may be a small "food baby" brewing in my belly.

Now I believe it is nap time and a time to tie up a few loose ends from the media stand point before we get on the bus at 2pm. Gametime is 4pm (as long as the game prior to us doesn't run long). GET READY! ITS GO-TIME!

3:12 p.m. -- The team is out here at the stadium and we are waiting for the conclusion of the Ball State and OU game. I don't know about how the coaches interact, but the SID (sport information department) community is showing that we are pretty friendly group when it comes to our down time. Despite the fact that in about an hour we will be mortal enemies, the CMU SID (Mike Boseak) and I have been talking baseball, work and other things completely irrelevant to anything but all good talk. We're enjoying the time we get to be friendly because when that first pitch is thrown, I'll be sportin' my mean mug!

3:28 -- There are two down in the bottom of the ninth of the OU/Ball State game. Ball State leads 13-7 and now we just wait for the inevitable. Abother crop of SIDs swung in and now me and the Eastern Michigan guys are just sitting and shootin' the breeze.

BGSU players are patiently (or impatiently) waiting for their turn, but maybe for the better they wait. Its 89 degrees here now, very muggy and the turf MUST be at least 15 degrees warmer. Yes that's right, imagine playing on the surface of Doyt Perry Stadium. Thats what these guys play on this weekend and its VERY warm. BG will be sporting the brown unis today, so hopefully it won't play into any fatigue they may encounter. The boys are still loose, but they want this game bad. 30 game faces came off this bus and they won't be satisfied with anything less than a win!

4:00 p.m. -- Ball State and OU is FINALLY over and the BGSU/CMU game has been delayed to 4:30 p.m. for the new first pitch time as a result. What an end to the Ball State game though... OU comes from five runs down and makes it a three-run game. With two runners on for their slugger Eldermire, the Cardinals counter by bringing in MAC Player of the Year, Kolbrin Vitek to get the final out, striking out Eldermire to end the game.

Still trying to see where I'm located with the influx of media and broadcasters flowing in and out of the already cramped pressbox. Falcons are taking infield currently and now more than ever they look like they mean business. Time to wait and see how this will work out. We're all very anxious. I believe the next two games, which feature two of the strongest teams on each side of the bracket, will determine who you see in the championship game. After Bowling Green, EMU and Toledo will face off... and I can't tell you how many people want the Eagles to play spoiler for the second time this tournament.

4:29 p.m. -- The game started just a few minutes earlier than reported, but I'm sure no Falcon really is arguing that decision. I can't tell you as a baseball guy and a Falcon fan what kind of excitement is flowing through my body right now. I'm just as pumped as the guys are! HERE WE GO!!! (Leady induces the leadoff man to chop to Duncan at first for the first out of the game)

BGSU Lineup:
Meisler - 2b
Blanton - cf
Vaughn - lf
Spencer -3b
Berti - ss
Galvin - rf
Duncan - 1b
Pitzulo - dh
Schalter - c
Starting pitcher: Kevin Leady (8-2)

CMU Lineup:
Matt Faiman - rf (.309)
Brendan Emmett - dh (.299)
James Teas - 3b (.402)
Nate Theunissen - 1b (.405)
Dale Cornstubble - c (.323)
Billy Anderson - cf (.314)
Scott Phillon - lf (.314)
Robbie Harman - ss (.289)
Starting pitcher: Bryce Morrow

4:41 p.m. -- After one inning, both starting pitchers have given an indication that this may be a pitcher's duel. Both Leady and Bryce Morrow have struck out one and kept the other side scoreless and hitless. I know it's only one inning, the game is young and its bound to change but I like how this game is shaping up!

4:50 p.m. -- Two errors by Logan Meisler at second base (both on throws) have allowed two runs to score here in the top of the second. Perhaps I was wrong on how I like this game shaping up. Ok, I WAS wrong on how I like how this game is shaping up. As I type, Robbie Harman belts a double that hits the turf in front of Dennis Vaughn to score another. 3-0 with no outs in the top of the second.

4:54 p.m. -- Double by Matt Faiman scores two more. Ross Gerdeman heads to the bullpen to begin warming up and BG records its first out on a sacrifice bunt that moves Faiman to third.

5:00 p.m. -- The top of the second is finally over, and not soon enough. What may have been a tough-to-turn double play (6-4-3) didn't end well when Meisler's throw sailed high again and allowed a sixth run to score. 6-0 but BGSU is up to bat.

5:08 p.m. -- Bowling Green bats weren't active in the bottom of the second, but more importantly in this GA's mind is the fact that Kevin Leady just retired the Chips in order to start the third inning. That will definitely get the senior hurler some confidence back in himself as well as his defense. The left side of his infield put away ground outs while left fielder Dennis Vaughn fielded a pop fly down the line in a shady left field as well. Falcons back up and they are looking for their first hits in this inning.

5:12 p.m. -- Bats remain silent. Schalter threatened with a long slicing shot that went wide of the right field line... but just a long strike. Otherwise, Morrow is looking really solid.

5:22 p.m. -- Leady got himself into some trouble in the top of the fourth, but just as the senior tends to do he gets himself out of a jam with an inning-ending strikeout, the second he has on Nate Theneunissen. Still 6-0 after 3.5

5:25 p.m. -- Bowling green got its first baserunner of the day when TJ Blanton was hit (grazed) by a pitch, but a pair of 5-4 putouts ended any kind of momentum that the Brown and Orange were attempting to mount. Leady back out onto the mound. The real question will be how long will they let him go still being down by 6 runs... keep in mind if the Falcons lose today, they will have to play two games tomorrow (9am and 4pm) to advance to the championship round.

5:35 p.m. -- For the third straight inning the Falcons have gotten out of a bit of trouble, though this time they allowed one run in the inning and now CMU has a 7-0 lead after a big RBI double by a Chippewa player. BGSU is still looking for their first hit of the game as we head into the bottom of the fifth inning.

5:38 p.m. -- And there it is, BG's first hit. Jon Berti hit a grounder that tailed the first base line. CMU first baseman Nate Theunissen tried to smother it but somehow if found a hole through his jersey and Berti's speed stretches it into a double. After a passed ball Mark Galvin blasts a single through the middle and BGSU is on the board!!! 7-1 the score but there is still a runner on and no outs.

5:43 p.m. -- Only because I'm an easily irritable guy, I have to comment about how the CMU color analyst radio guy thinks he is an umpire with all of his hand signals and gestures that only am umpire would make. While not on the air, you can see this guy give the big "strike 3 punchout" and when he mistook a long double off the wall for a home run, he starting winding his hand in a circle, signaling home run. It's fairly humorous at times, but after about three or so occasions, its now kind of annoying. Oh, Bowling Green threatens but CMU is playing pretty good 'D' and has escaped the inning with the minimum amount of damge. After five inning, the score CMU 7, BGSU 1.

5:48 p.m. -- CMU has tacked on another run, this by clean play and a couple of hits, to extend their lead back to seven. Don't look now but Logan Meisler has starting off their half of the sixth inning with a leadoff single to center. Heart of the order coming through for Bowling Green and they are getting to Morrow for the third time tonight... anything can happen!

6:06 p.m. -- The Falcons leave two runners stranded and Morrow strikes out a pair of BG'ers (one fairly controversial call regarding how wide the outside black of the plate is) but the Falcons can't take advantage of a couple runners and still are down by seven runs after six and a half.

6:25 p.m. -- Bowling Green has had a few chances and a few base runners but haven't been able to put any runs across the plate. Patrick Martin (Oregon, Ohio / Clay High School) has come into the game to relieve Kevin Leady and has retired one Chip and walked another here in the top of the eighth.

6:42 p.m. -- Martin retired the Chips in the eighth and after hitting a batter in the ninth, Danny Schmitz has turned to freshman Michael Frank to finish this game out. Andrew Kuns and Matt Vannett have entered the game at first base and catcher, respectively. Denny Vaughn sports some leather and some legs after tracking down a deep fly ball in the leftcenter field gap, fielding it at the warning track for the first out of inning.

6:50 p.m. -- The Falcons took care of business with Frank retiring the Chips and now leaving it up to the Falcon offense to mount a cataclismic comeback. David Borcherdt has come into the game to pinch hit and draws a leadoff walk to begin the inning on Morrow, who is on to attempt his second complete game of the season.

6:54 p.m. -- Unforuntately the comeback was not meant to be. BGSU couldn't find a hole in the outfield to be had and after Borcherdt reach base a fly out, a strike out and a game-ending ground out ends the game, 8-1 in favor of CMU.

The Falcons and the Ball State Cardinals will now meet in an elimination game tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET

In Their Own Words -- Dr. Lee Meserve Part 2

Dr. Lee Meserve has just about seen it all. With 37 years at Bowling Green, he's seen more athletic events than almost anyone. As the Faculty Athletics Representative at BGSU, he represents the department in a variety of ways. This is his second blog post on his memories of BG athletics.

Rolling Along

An additional athletics program that Marge and I began to support early on was women’s gymnastics. In the early years, Sue Simpson, wife of then gymnastics coach Dr. Charles Simpson, was a secretary in the Department of Biological Sciences, resulting in chats about the sport with which I had always been fascinated when the Olympics rolled around. Then, Cheryl Vasil (now Cheryl Christiansen, and a member of the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame) appeared as a student in my anatomy and physiology course. She identified herself as a student-athlete, specifically a gymnast, and I mentioned that my wife and I were interested in the sport and might attend a meet. This all began in 1979. We have missed few home meets since then, and have attended every MAC Championship Meet since 1983. Additionally, when it became possible to designate a portion of the Falcon Club membership to a program, gymnastics got ours with the rationale that the higher profile sports would have many donors, but a “smaller” program could use all the support it could get. This support has morphed into Marge and I being donors to the program at the Champions Circle level. Over the years we have had the pleasure of watching many talented gymnasts including the additional two who are members of the BGSU Hall of Fame (Julie Bender-Cleary and Mary Beth (Friel) Bylsma) as well as Marny Oestrang, the only BGSU female student-athlete to win an NCAA National Championship, which she did in 1999 in floor exercise. We continue to enjoy following current and former gymnasts, having just attended a reception for Jessica Guyer (BGSU ‘06) to celebrate her graduation from Wright State Medical School and her acceptance into the residency program in anesthesiology at the University of North Carolina.

Another program that we began to support in the mid ‘80s was volleyball. This began nearly by accident one evening when I went home from work to find that Marge had had a really crummy day in her medical technology position. In an effort to take her mind off her less than satisfactory day, I mentioned that I had seen a volleyball match advertised that evening, and that we had never been to one of those, although Coach Van De Walle had brought recruits interested in the biological sciences by my office to chat about our major. As appears to be the trend with us, we went to that first match and have missed few home contests since. We started attending in the era of Linda (Popovich) Nicastro, another member of the BGSU Hall of Fame. She was the setter and spark plug for the volleyball team from 1986-90. Linda was also an excellent student, this combination being rewarded by her receipt of the NCAA’s most prestigious post-graduate scholarship, the Walter Byers Scholarship, proceeds of which Linda used to attend law school. The award was made to Linda in 1990, the second year of existence of the award. In the ‘small world’ category, this spring I completed a six-year term as member (four of which I was chair) of the Walter Byers Selection Committee.

These four sports, football, hockey, gymnastics, and volleyball, pretty much made up our athletics world through the 80s. Little did we know that our deeper immersion was on the horizon as we entered the 90s.

Dr. Meserve's First Post

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2010 MAC Tournament - Day 2

8:50 a.m. -- We are 50 mins from game time on Wednesday morning and ready to kick off the 2010 MAC Tourny here from Chillicothe, Ohio. Just to recap last night, I was a bit disapointed to find out that I was misinformed about the BBQ dinner, but the dogs and burgers were still pretty darn good. After food the teams were welcomed to the MAC Awards Ceremony that featured FIVE Falcons receiving awards for their efforts in the season.

After a pretty good fireworks show that ended with a glowing "WELCOME MAC" sign lighting up from right field, the show was over and our recognized players left with their recognitions striaght for bed and an early wake up call... 6:30 a.m. (yuck)

This morning is fairly straight-laced... wake up, get your breakfast, hit the field and it's time to play ball. Ten minutes away from game time, we are having broadcasting issues but we will bring you the action.

10:00 a.m. -- BGSU tacks on one more run. Galvin led the inning off with a bunt single that landed in no-mans land to get aboard and after a ground out placed him at second and a wild pitch that moved him another 90 feet, Ryan Schlater singled to left field and scored BG's fifth run. BGSU 5, BSU 0 after 3 1/2.
9:50 a.m. -- I've tried endless to make this broadcast happen but apparently the broadcast unit that I brought with me and the internet radio station that we do business with are not compatible... our first glitch of the week/weekend. So for better or worse it appears you will not be hearing the sweet sounds of my voice this week (unless some miracle happens or I make really good friends with another broadcasting team).

On a positive note, the Falcons after three innings have a 4-0 lead on Ball State this morning. After the Cardinals finished jumping and screaming like rabid banshees in the outfield during pregame warmups, they have been pretty quiet if not silenced by Brennan Smith through three. He has three K's and has pretty good command of all of his pitches thus far.

Perci Garner really hasn't looked all that bad, but his four-run, third inning was pretty ugly. In fact, they could have been out of the inning early after Logan Meisler lined out to third base and Pitzulo tripped on his return to second base, but the throw from third was thrown into right field and kept the inning alive. After a pair of walks scored one and loaded the bases, Derek Spencer hit the gap in leftcenter and cleared the bases BGSU has a 4-0 lead on the Cardinals.

We head into the top of the fourth... Falcons are threatening again!

11:02 a.m. -- Well the wireless internet here isn't the greatest and its been coming in waves, sort of like the BG wind, but not as strong. BGSU tacked on another run to make it 5-0, but Ball State is making their run to take the lead. After a two-run fifth inning on a two-run double to the rightcenter field gap, Ball State added two more in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run homer.

The porches out here at VA Memorial are VERY short. 325 down the lines and 360 to the gaps. Baumet hit a pop up (and I do mean pop up) to right center field that is only a home run here and at BG's Carter Park (Diamond 3, not 4). Regardless, its 5-4 now. They have just taken Brennan Smith (119 pitches) off the hill after 6.2 innings of pretty good work and now its Nick Bruns' turn to keep the Cardinals at bay. Let's see what the frosh does... (excuse while I now kill this spider that is attacking my computer cord).

11:28 a.m. -- I tried posting this about ten minutes ago but the internet again has been a pretty frustrating thing to deal with today. Bruns got himself out of his first jam and a second pickle in the eighth inning. In the eighth, he gave up a leadoff single, but then struck out Claypool and induced a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. To begin the ninth inning, Ryan Schlater blasted a jackity-jack-jack that would have been gone in any ball park (except maybe the old Polo Grounds) to give BGSU a 6-4 lead as we head into the bottom of the ninth. THREE OUTS AWAY from the Falcons' first MAC Tourny victory since their opening round win over Ohio in 2008!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Live from Chillicothe - Day 1

Your friendly Graduate Assistant Ryan Gasser here again... and this time LIVE from Chillicothe, Ohio for the 2010 MAC Tournament. It's been a crazy day for players, coaches and staff alike but despite all of our crazy schedules and this being my first rodeo (unlike the great Kevin Gordon of the Sentinel Tribune), I want to try to keep everybody back in Falcon Country and those unable to be here in southeast Ohio to feel as close to the action as possible. So this week I will be posting random thoughts, comments and experiences on this blog.

6:16 p.m. -- The coaching staff elected to practice in Bowling Green today, as opposed to taking the field here at VA Memorial, which delayed our departure time until 1:30 p.m. On the way down the team was nothing short of upbeat and loose. Of course while they joked, slept and watched movies the life of a SID has me cranking out releases all 3+ hours of our trip (by the way, check out the release on tomorrow's game as well as summer baseball camp info and Dennis Vaughn being named MAC East Co-Player of the Week).

We arrived at our hotel around 5:15 p.m. and for now its just a time to unwind and relax. Later tonight the Opening Ceremonies will take place at VA Memorial Stadium and is to be followed by a Welcome Reception and barbeque meal. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty excited for the BBQ. After that, curfew is in effect because its going to be a wicked early morning. With a 9 a.m. game that means a 6:30 a.m. wake up call. Ouch!

The Falcons break the tournament in at 9 a.m. Those from home can watch the game through the ALL-MACCESS pass for a game-by-game or one-time fee OR you can hear yours truely through an internet-only, radio broadcast through Of course there is always LIVE STATS, but what fun is that? You can use those to follow along as you listen or watch.

Don't forget to check back on this blog for updates all week long!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chillicothe Bound

I’m going to ramble about baseball for a few moments here, despite the fact that I know virtually nothing about baseball. I know about great comebacks and great stories, though, and the BGSU baseball team’s story certainly has been an entertaining one this year to date.

Congratulations to the Falcons on a MAC East Division co-championship. The 2010 season marks the third-straight spring that Danny Schmitz and Company have won or shared a divisional crown.

And, what a great way for nine seniors to end the home portion of their careers. If you’re reading a blog entry here at (and you obviously are), you probably already know that BGSU swept Buffalo over the weekend. The final pitch of the third win saw one of those seniors, Derek Spencer, hit a walk-off homer for a 9-8 win over the Bulls. I can only imagine the thrill of the Falcons’ nine seniors after pulling out such a win on ‘Senior Day,’ and there’s no better way to end the home portion of your career than by homering on the final pitch of your final game there.

Obviously, no team is immune to the injury bug, of course, but it seems like Schmitz and pitching coach Rick Blanc see a top player from the prior season’s pitching staff get sidelined each year. Off the top of my head, they’ve seen guys like Frank Berry and Matt Malewitz – players who undoubtedly figured in the coaching staff’s plans – go down with injuries over the past few years. (I’m sure there have been other key players who have been injured in the past couple seasons, but as I mentioned earlier, I know virtually nothing about baseball). Somehow, though, the Falcons manage to persevere and overcome such injuries.

Things didn’t look so great for the pitching staff – and the team as a whole – about a month and a half ago. On April 10, the Falcons suffered a 32-10 loss to Ball State. Those 32 runs, now surprisingly, are the most a BGSU team has allowed in a game in school history. That loss dropped the Brown and Orange to 8-17-1 on the year, and left BG at just 2-6-0 in MAC play.

Since that time, however, BGSU has gone 20-4 overall, including a 16-3 record in conference play. The Falcons now meet that same Ball State team again, this time in Chillicothe in game one of the MAC Tournament. This season has already been a success, but the Falcons would like nothing more than to add a few more wins to the ledger and make their stay at VA Memorial Stadium (that’d be the site of said MAC Tournament). The tourney begins at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

If we’ve learned anything, we’ve learned that MAC baseball is about as unpredictable as can be, and there will be seven other teams battling for a title in Chillicothe. But, if there’s one other thing I’ve learned, it is never to count these Falcons out.

A Great Time To Be A Falcon!

With Derek Spencer’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday afternoon, the Bowling Green athletic department earned its eighth Mid-American Conference championship in the past three years. I keep a document updated with conference championships through the years and as I plugged baseball in today, I came to the realization that we are witnessing one of the greatest eras of BG athletics and the only other times that compare are the early 1980’s and the early 1990’s. So I thought I’d take a look back, but first, let’s look at the conference titles in the past three seasons:

2007-08: Baseball (32-20, 16-8 MAC); Football (8-5, 6-2 MAC); Women’s Basketball (26-8, 13-3 MAC)
2008-09: Baseball (28-22, 18-8 MAC); Men’s Basketball (19-14, 11-5 MAC); Women’s Basketball (29-5, 15-1 MAC)
2009-10: Baseball (28-21-1 currently, 18-9 MAC); Women’s Basketball (27-7, 14-2 MAC)

I haven’t done the research fully but I doubt any other MAC school can claim a conference or division title over the past three years in each of the (arguably) three highest-profile sports in the conference – Football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball.

Going back through the years, the early 1990’s was the last time Bowling Green had anything close to a run of championships like that.

1991-92: Football (11-1, 8-0 MAC); Volleyball (29-5, 15-1 MAC)
1992-93: Football (10-2, 8-0 MAC); Women’s Basketball (25-5, 17-1 MAC); Softball (34-18, 26-9 MAC); Volleyball (30-8, 17-1 MAC)
1993-94: Women’s Basketball (26-4, 17-1 MAC)

And then probably the most impressive stretch came in the early 1980’s, highlighted by a school-record six league titles in 1982-83 and, of course, the 1984 hockey national championship.

1980-81: Men’s Basketball (15-12, 10-6 MAC); Women’s Cross Country; Women’s Track and Field
1981-82: Women’s Cross Country; Ice Hockey (27-13-2, 20-7-1 CCHA); Gymnastics (7-4 overall)
1982-83: Men’s Basketball (21-9, 15-3 MAC); Women’s Cross Country; Football (7-5, 7-2 MAC); Men’s Golf; Ice Hockey (28-8-4, 24-5-3 CCHA); Gymnastics (11-6 overall)
1983-84: Women’s Cross Country; Ice Hockey (34-8-2, 22-4-2 CCHA)

All in all, it’s definitely not a bad time to be a Falcon!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BGSU Baseball at Kent State - Game 3

1:03 p.m. - Welcome everybody to today's blog... something new I'm trying as I multi-task with the live blog on another page, but what the heck. First pitch has come and gone for today's game (starting lineups to come in the next post) and Meisler is aboard with a leadoff walk.

Starting Lineups:

For Kent State (31-21, 15-8)... Humphries, CF Klafczynski, RF Gallas, LF Shaw, 3B McMillen, 1B Lyon, DH Rider, SS Campbell, 2B Hindel, C

For Bowling Green (24-21-1, 14-9).... Meisler, 2B Blanton, CF Vaughn, LF Spencer, 3B Berti, SS Galvin, RF Duncan, 1B Pitzulo, DH Schalter, C
Sunday May 16, 2010 12:51

1:08 p.m. - After Miesler's walk, he reached second stealing on a hit and run... he reached second base avoiding the tag on the fielded ball by the KSU shortstop, while Vaughn was retired at first for the second out, but with a runner in scoring position Derek Spencer struck out for the third out of the inning. Bowling Green is looking like they want to hit the cover off of the ball, but so far KSU starting pitcher Kyle Hallock has 2 Ks on the day.

Kevin Leady (6-2, 4.35) is getting the start for the Falcons today as we head into the bottom of the first, 0-0.

1:13 p.m. - Kevin Leady mows down the Golden Flashes in their first at-bat and got some phenomenal help from left fielder Dennis Vaughn. On a Ben Klafczynski fly ball that kept trailing toward the left field corner, Vaughn climbed the ladder and made a leaping catch at the wall for the second out. Leady then forced KSU standout Anthony Gallas to strike out on a check swing from some nasty off-speed, breaking stuff. 0-0 after 1!

1:25 p.m. - You have to love "Danny Schmitz-ball... aka 'small ball'... Jon Berti draws a walk, is sacrificed to second base and then steals third JUST before Clay Duncan hits a sacrifice fly to score Berti from third. Time and time again it works! The Falcons continued to threaten with a two-out double from freshman sensation Matthew Pitzulo, but the Brown and Orange could not drive him home. Falcons take an early lead, 1-0, and the momentum currently resides with the Falcons... Kevin Leady (easily the most animated player on this team) will do his part to make sure it stays that way!

1:34 p.m. - Each team is sharing its displeasure with the strike zone with the home plate umpire. BGSU is far more verbal, and for good reason. The strike zone looks to be the size of a Post-It note today. Kent State ties the game on a pair of timely base hits and after two, we are all nodded up at one.

1:54 p.m. - Throughout the day you may hear about a "Baseball Retrieving Black Lab"... it is my "distraction of the day" which you'll hear more about later.

BG in the top of the third puts runners on but cannot bring them around... Kent State on the other hand put runners on second and third and a Gallas singled to right to score one run (2-1). A muff by Berti on a tailor-made, inning-ending double play, gets one but not the second and another run scores in the meantime... 3-1 KSU after three.

2:03 p.m. - BGSU threatens once again, putting runners on second and third following two walks but Logan Meisler's hard hit doesn't get past the KSU first baseman and the side is retired with two left one. 3-1, going into the bottom of the fourth.

2:06 p.m. - One-two-three go the Flashes. Bowling Green sported some nice defense in that frame. First from Jon Berti who fielded a ground ball deep in the hole at short. He backhanded the play and threw off his back foot in time to get a "fleet-footed" David Lyon. Then Kevin Leady fields his own position with a sharp comebacker that he stabbed off of the turf and threw to first to end the inning. Lets see if Blanton, Vaughn and Spencer can get it done with the bats now...

sidenote: the Famous Black Lab Baseball Retreiver now has competition. A little boy has beaten the dog to a foul ball once in the last inning and now a second dog has entered his territory to get in the game.

2:23 p.m. - Falcons again get runners on, but not around. Leady responds with another 1-2-3 inning and we are still at 3-1 after five innings.

another sidenote: Another foul ball landed out of play. The famous Black Lab and a little boy converged on the ball. At first, the little kid conceded the ball to the dog after the it looked like it was on a mission to get it. But after the dog overran the ball, the little kid swooped in a got the it! I'm starting to believe this famous dog is a bit overrated as I've now seen him get beat twice by his human opponent.

2:28 p.m. - Kyle Hallock's day is done, but maybe they shouldn't have pulled him. Into the game for the Flashes is Ryan Mace. He allowed a deep deep deep deep double to right field off the wall to get the scoring started. Schlater pounds a hard hit to first which was knocked down but had no play on the ball, leaving runners at the corners. Meisler gets the clutch run-scoring hit to get the Falcons within one... another pitching change for the Flashes... STAY TUNED!

2:43 p.m. - WOW WHAT AN INNING! Five runs for the Falcons in the top of the sixth!!! Pitzulo starts the inning off with a deep double off the right field wall. Schlater plucks a single into the OF putting runners on the corners. Meisler then put a single into right, scoring one (3-2). After their second pitching change of the inning, the Falcons continued to ROLL ALONG! Schalter scored on Blanton's single, followed by a second RBI single by Dennis Vaughn to take the lead (4-3). An error in the field by KSU would have ended the Falcon inning, but Evan Campbell at second threw a shirt throw under the glove of McMillen at first. Blanton was on his horse and hustling the whole way around the bases and scored from second on the play. The five-spot gives the Falcons a 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the sixth.

2:46 p.m. - Leady's streak of consecutive batters retired ended at NINE on a single up the middle by McMillen. Oh well... he still got the next batter for the third out and takes a 6-3 Falcon lead into the seventh inning!

2:5 p.m. - Leady is on a roll... Falcons go 1-2-3 in their half of the seventh and Leady returns the favor. Flashes go 1-2-3 with the 7-8-9 hitters. Still 6-3 FALCONS!

3:00 p.m. - Falcons had a runner after Meisler went opposite field with a single but Blanton popped a bunt into the air. It was fielded and thrown to first to double up Meisler at first. Vaughn followed with a fly ball to center field to end the inning. Same score as we head to the bottom of the 8th.

3:12 p.m. - KSU puts two on the board before Kevin Leady records an out... Patrick O'Brien comes in and shuts down KSU's 4-5-6 hitters!! 6-5 Falcons... its tight but the plot only thickens as the game grows older!

3:22 p.m. - BGSU is not happy about that two-spot KSU put up. So what do they do? They answer by scoring a run and knocking out their newest reliever. Clay Duncan blasted a double into the left center field gap, scoring Jon Berti. New pitcher (victim)... Brennan Glass, who pitched in Friday's game. Stay tuned...

3:28 p.m. - The Falcons loaded the bases and scored on a wild pitch from Glass. After that, Bowling Green goes down but adds two to their lead and is back up on top by 3 going into the bottom of the 9th... last ups for KSU

4:13 p.m. - My apologies for not updating this blog quicker but when the game ended, we had some comotion up in the pressbox and requests coming from all directions, so the blog kind of got lost in the shuffle. The long and short of it, Patrick O'Brien went 3 up, 3 down in the bottom of the ninth to complete the win for Bowling Green! 8-5 final and the Falcons take back a share of the lead in the MAC East!!!

More details will come in the game recap that will be published on

Thanks for following along... hopefully we'll do something like this for other critical games this season leading into the MAC Tournament.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Five Minutes With... Derek Spencer

On this long over due edition of Five Minute With... catches up with one of the key players responsible for the Falcons' season turnaround while also turning his own season around in the process. Derek Spencer has belted multiple hits in six of his last seven games with a total of 13 RBI over that span. He has raised his batting average 110 points from March 23 and now stands above .300 for the first time all season.

An Oregon, Ohio native, the senior third baseman has only been held hitless twice since the beginning of the Falcons' turnaround beginning on April 11. Since then, Spencer and the Falcons have a 15-2 record and have an overall mark of 24-19-1 and a MAC East best 14-7 ledger.

Now learn more about the man under the cap as Derek Spencer let's us in on his world between and outside of the lines.

Thursday MAC Softball Tournament Blog

Bowling Green Assistant Athletics Director for Athletic Communications Jason Knavel will be blogging during the softball team's trip to Akron for the MAC Tournament. Follow along here throughout day one of the tournament.
8:14 a.m. - At this moment, BGSU's softball game against Ohio is still scheduled to start at 11 a.m. The team is just about to leave the hotel for breakfast and then to Akron's indoor facility to warm-up for the game. Somehow, both of yesterday afternoon's scheduled games got played so everything is on schedule as long as the rain stays away. I'll keep you posted here and on twitter ( if anything changes.

10:21 a.m. - Last night's final softball game ended about 1:30 a.m. and our dedicated press box workers are a bit tired this morning. The field, though, looks great and the weather looks like it could hold off today (at least for this first game). I'll have BG's lineup posted in a few minutes.

10:46 a.m. - Bowling Green's lineup for today: Hannah Fulk (ss), Rachel Proehl (dp), Karmen Coffey (lf), Paige Berger (2b), Susan Sontag (rf), Zada Lines (p), Missy Bowman (1b), Melissa West (3b), Lindsay Arney (cf), Adrienne Dick (c)

10:49 a.m. - Along with following right here, the live stats are available at:

10:58 a.m. - Hannah Fulk and Paige Berger received their MAC awards prior to today's game as yesterday's ceremony was canceled due to the poor weather. Falcons have hit the field for the start of the game.

11:01 a.m. - Ohio's No. 2 batter, Paige Kemezis, reached base four times yesterday (homer, double, two walks) and she ripped a one-out double down the left field line just past a diving Melissa West at third base. She then moved to third on a stolen base. But Zada Lines got Shalene Petrich to pop up to short and struck out Emily Wethington on a change-up to end the threat and the Falcons get through 1/2 inning scoreless.

11:13 a.m. - BG let a great opportunity get away in the bottom of the first. Hannah Fulk punched the first pitch through the right side of the infield and then Rachel Proehl sacrifice bunted. Her bunt went back to the pitcher who turned and fired to first but the second baseman was late getting over and the throw sailed away. When the dust settled, BG had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out but Emily Wethington buckled down after that. She got Coffey to pop out to the catcher trying to bunt, struck out Paige Berger, and got Susan Sontag to pop out to second.

11:17 a.m. - BG turned a fairly rare 3-6 double play in the top of the second as Deanna Hartsough hit a shot down the line that Missy Bowman snagged, tagged first and threw down to Hannah Fulk to get the runner out moving from first to second. Lines has been pretty effective through the first two innings, getting a couple of strikeouts.

11:25 a.m. - Melissa West popped up to short with 2 outs in the bottom of the second but the shortstop dropped the ball. Unluckily, West had run already turned past first base expecting the ball to be caught and got stuck in a pickle between first and second. She was tagged out sliding into second and the threat ended. So far Ohio has two errors in two innings but BG has not capitalized.

11:38 a.m. - Rachel Proehl worked her way into scoring position in the bottom of the third with a two-out single and a wild pitch that moved her to second, but the Falcons could not get the clutch hit to push her across. We are still scoreless through three. The prevailing thought was that this could be a 9-8 type ballgame but so far both pitchers have gotten outs when they needed them.

11:42 a.m. - Ohio manufactured a run behind the speed of Shalene Petrich. She singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then stole third base. Adrienne Dick's throw was short and bounced into left field, allowing Petrich to come around and score to make it 1-0 Ohio.

11:44 a.m. - Back-to-back doubles by Ohio's Lauren Gellerman and Deanna Hartsough have made it 2-0 Bobcats in the top of the fourth. Coach Salsburg comes out to settle down Zada Lines.

11:56 a.m. - Susan Sontag brings the BG faithful to its feet with a bomb over the centerfield wall to cut the deficit to one run at 2-1. Zada Lines then reached on an error and the Falcons are trying to rally.

11:59 a.m. - Melissa West with a two-out single right up the gut to put runners on first and second with two outs. Courtney Cox pinch hit but she struck out to end the rally. The Falcons, though, have brought some life to the BG faithful.

12:07 p.m. - Melissa Bott on to pitch for BG and Ohio manufactures another run in the top of the fifth on a lead-off walk, a sac bunt, a ground out that moved up the runner to third, and an infield single. Bott gets the third out on a strikeout and the Falcons trail 3-1.

12:19 p.m. - BG tried to rally again as the Falcons got two runners on but were unable to push any runs across. Rachel Proehl reached on an error and Paige Berger walked but Susan Sontag struck out to end the inning.

12:32 p.m. - The Falcons tried to rally with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, getting a walk from Melissa West and then pinch-hitter Haleigh Bielstein ripped a single to right field to put runners on the corners. Lead-off batter Hannah Fulk stepped to the plate but was out in front of a change-up and grounded out to third to end it.

12:43 p.m. - Ohio adds a critical insurance run in the top of the seventh with a walk, a single, and a couple of sac bunts to make it 4-1. BG will come to the plate needing a big rally to keep the season going.

12:52 p.m. - BGSU goes down 1-2-3 in the seventh and the Falcons' season comes to a close. Despite a 13-29 overall record, the Falcons exceeded preseason expectations when they weren't even picked to make it to the MAC Tournament and finish last in the MAC East. It was a solid "rebuilding" season for the Falcons. Good luck to the team's two seniors, Karmen Coffey and Susan Sontag!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday MAC Softball Tournament Blog

Bowling Green Assistant Athletics Director for Athletic Communications Jason Knavel will be blogging during the softball team's trip to Akron for the MAC Tournament. Follow along here throughout day one of the tournament.
11:03 a.m. -- I've arrived at Firestone Stadium in Akron just in time for the first pitch of the game prior to BGSU/Kent State. No. 4 seed Ohio and No. 5 seed Central Michigan are playing and the Falcons will play one of these teams tomorrow. Keep checking back for the latest updates as the day rolls along!

11:25 a.m. -- Just a reminder that live stats that can be viewed online via the MAC Website. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. and the MAC awards ceremony will follow afterwards in which the league will name the All-MAC Team, the All-Freshman Team, and various Player of the Year specialty awards. We'll have a complete release on any BGSU honorees on later this evening.

12:35 p.m. - Both Kent State and BG softball teams arrived at Firestone Stadium in the last 15 minutes. The first three innings of the opening game flew by but it has slowed considerably since the start of the fourth inning. Both Ohio and Central Michigan have left the bases loaded at times but CMU has built a 7-3 lead. Although Coach Salsburg was conversing with Kent State Coach Karen Linder for a few minutes, there is no truth to the rumor that Salsburg is going to fill out Kent State's lineup and Linder is going to do the same for BG. It would, however, make for an interesting ballgame.

1:14 p.m. - We are set for a 1:35 p.m. start time now. Central Michigan defeated Ohio 9-5 in the opener so the winner of this game will play CMU tomorrow and the loser will play OU. Starting lineup for the Falcons today looks like this -- Fulk (ss), Proehl (rf), Coffey (lf), Berger (2b), Sontag (dp), Lines (p), Bowman (1b), L. Arney (cf), Dick (c).

1:48 p.m. - Hannah Fulk, who leads the MAC in walks, tried to earn another one to lead off the game. She had the count full and took what appeared by most to be ball four. She got rung up though and KSU pitcher Kylie Reynolds, one of the best pitchers in the MAC, went on to strike out the side -- all three looking. We've got a WIDE strike zone in the early going.

2:00 p.m. - Kent State has apparently figured out the mystery that is Zada Lines. Lines threw a one-hitter against the Golden Flashes Sunday but three of the first four batters have hits today and Kent State leads 1-0 early and is threatening to add to that.

2:07 p.m. - Zada Lines worked around trouble in the first to give up just one run. Kent State had bases loaded with one out and got a batter to foul out to third and then picked up a strikeout on full count with two outs.

2:13 p.m. - Kylie Reynolds has nasty stuff as a pitcher. I'd like to know how many catcher's mitts they've gone through this year because she is popping the mitt with some of these pitches. But she's also just wild enough that she keeps you on your toes. She's thrown one pitch off the backstop and been a bit inconsistent in finding the strike zone, but when she does, she's tough to hit. That being said, Zada Lines breaks up any thoughts of a no-hitter with a two-out single. Lines has been the hottest hitter on the team lately and has hits in nine of her last 14 at-bats. Despite that, Reynolds gets out of the frame and gets another strike out looking for her fourth in the first two innings.

2:29 p.m. - BGSU struggled defensively during the bottom of the second, throwing the ball around and letting runners advance. When the dust settled, Kent State scored three runs to take a 4-0 lead. Karmen Coffey finally stopped the bleeding with a tough catch right in front of the left field fence for the third out.

2:39 p.m. - BG threatened in the top of the third as Lindsey Arney reached on an infield single, followed by Hannah Fulk reaching on a fielder's choice when the shortstop chose to try to record an out at second and was late on the throw. After that, Rachel Proehl had an excuse-me infield single to load the bases. But Karmen Coffey struck out swinging and Paige Berger lined out to short to end the threat.

2:47 p.m. - Amy Hair hits a one-out bomb for Kent State to give the Golden Flashes a 5-0 lead. Coach Shannon Salsburg went to Melissa Bott in the pitching circle after that at-bat and Bott promptly retired two straight batters to get through the third.

3:02 p.m. - In 1 2/3 innings pitched, Melissa Bott has looked really good. She's given up just one walk and Kent State hasn't gotten the ball out of the infield. The Falcons, though, are running out of time to rally. Three innings left and down 5-0.

3:24 p.m. - Kent State scores three times in the bottom of the fifth to pick up the 8-0 win. We'll have plenty more on later, including All-MAC announcements.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beyond The Boxscore -- T.J. Blanton

Periodically on the blog, we have some of our student-athletes answer a few questions that you won't find answers to in their bio. Today's guest on the blog is BGSU senior baseball player T.J. Blanton.
What is your favorite moment in your athletic career? Hitting for the cycle my junior season of high school at Warren Steller Field where the BGSU Baseball coaches were in the stands and noticed me for the first time. Without that day I may have never became a Falcon and got to experience some of the success we have had the past 4 seasons.
Who is your biggest idol? My brother Jeff
Where did you grow up? Sandusky, Ohio -- or Cedar Point for those unfamiliar
What is your favorite childhood memory? I had a red power wheels battery powered Jeep that I drove around the block thinking I owned the neighborhood.
If you could play any other sport other than you are playing here, what would it be and why? Football, I was player of the year in Ohio for my division my senior season as quarterback
What are three items you can’t live without? cell phone, computer, TV
What is your favorite game that you’ve played in your career? This season against Eastern Kentucky, 4 hits 3 were homeruns and 7 RBI, one homerun was inside the park and the most exciting part was robbing a homerun in center field in the same game.
What is a fun fact about you that not many people know? I have a twitch (or more that I like to shake things) that if you are around me long enough you will get used to, and the first time you see it you will think I am crazy. It still cracks up some of the senior guys and they have seen it for 4 years.
What is your major and why did you choose it? Health Science and I have been accepted into the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at Toledo.... (I know Toledo right), but I will forever be a Falcon. I chose to be a physical therapist to help people get back to a healthy lifestyle, as I have been fortunate enough to have some pretty good therapist keep me healthy and get me back competing.
If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be and why? I would be Bill Gates and write a check to T.J. Blanton for 4 billion dollars. Obvious reasons for wanting this.

Jack Carle Column on Damon Beck

Jack Carle of the Sentinel-Tribune wrote a really nice column on Damon Beck. It's pretty obvious why Jack chose the profession he did, because he tells Damon's story much better than I could've. I'm guessing the column will run in today's (Tuesday's) Sentinel, but Jack was kind enough to send it to me. Here it is ...

Damon Beck didn’t make a great discovery that would change mankind.

Nor was he an explorer taming the wilds of the west, or the first man on the moon.

Yet he was a pioneer, going places where very few had gone before, but many have gone since.

Beck died of cancer last Thursday at age 60.

For 18 years, from the mid-1980s into the 2000s, Beck was one of the foremost women’s college basketball reporters in the nation.

And he worked right here at the Sentinel-Tribune, and we were a better newspaper for his efforts.

“Damon was ahead of the curve, and through his efforts the Sentinel-Tribune was ahead of the curve in the coverage of women’s college basketball,” said Dave Hackenberg, who is currently the main sports columnist for the Toledo Blade. “I don’t know how many writers were covering women’s teams, home and away, at that time, but it wasn’t many. Damon forged a national reputation for his work back then and did it very well for a long time. He was tough competition for the rest of us who covered the MAC (Mid-American Conference).”

A Bowling Green State University graduate and a former staff member of the student newspaper, the BG News, Beck sought us out about covering the women. At the time we were publishing about five paragraphs and the box score on women’s games.

He thought the women deserved more, and he was right.

Beck was able to put a face on the women’s game when it was basically in its infancy and chronicled the Falcons through four different head coaches.

He made sure they were known as the Falcons. The use of ‘Lady Falcons’ drove him crazy.

“In 1990, Damon wrote a very insightful article lamenting the fact that so many people in the media and elsewhere called the BGSU women’s basketball team the ‘Lady Falcons,’” said Dr. Janet Parks, a former professor at BGSU. “He did a great job of explaining why our women’s team should be called, as he put it, “the Falcons, period.” For many years, that article was required reading in my sport management classes. It helped students understand the power of language in sport.”

Beck went through the highs with coaches Fran Voll and Jaci Clark, the lows during Dee Knoblauch’s tenure and the start of the rebuilding under current head coach Curt Miller.

“Damon had a passion for BGSU women’s basketball. He helped spread the word about our program even before our championship years. Damon was more than a sports writer covering our team, he was a friend of our program,” Miller said.

Beck had a passion for the Falcons. They were “his” team and he got to know the players off the court, along with their friends and families.

He was able to put a face on the players for our readers. His reporting gave our readers more than statistics. He provided insight into the players and the games.

And the players appreciated his efforts.

“Damon was always a kind and familiar face in the press room after a tough game,” said former Falcon Sara Puthoff, who is in the BGSU athletic hall of fame. “He was very sincere and passionate about his work and truly cared about the players he interviewed.

“He had a way of making you sound intelligent in the paper, even though you know it didn’t come out of your mouth that way. I appreciated all of Damon’s kindness and caring words during my time on the Bowling Green woman’s basketball team.”

While he was able to get close to the players and their families, Beck was able to maintain his objectively in game stories and features. He knew that the place for his opinions were in his column.

“Damon Beck was a huge ingredient in spreading the news about an exceptional program we were generating at BGSU in women’s basketball,” Voll said. “Damon took it upon himself with the encouragement of Jack Carle and all the fine folks at the Sentinel-Tribune to let the university community know that something special was taking place within the athletic department at the university.

“Damon took things even further as he reached out on both the regional and national level to let the sports world know that women’s basketball was a great game played with great players as he took his place as a national poll voter and gained a solid reputation as an authority of women’s basketball.

“No one had more influence on the BGSU women’s program from outside of the university than Damon Beck,” Voll added.

Many times during Beck’s first years covering the program, he was one of the few reporters in the post-game press conference. There might be a couple of student reporters and maybe a television station, but Beck carried the interviews.

His work became noticed on the national level by Mel Greenburg, who had started a women’s college basketball poll and Beck became a voter. When the Associated Press took over the poll, Beck continued to be a voter on the rankings and for All-American teams. His comments and opinions were taken seriously by many in the world of women’s basketball.

“Not only was Damon a great writer, he was a great person,” said Mike Cihon, who is the women’s basketball contact for Bowling Green’s athletics communications department. “He always seemed to enjoy covering the BGSU women’s basketball team, even in down seasons. Whether the Falcons were battling for a MAC championship or battling for eighth place, the quality of Damon’s work never varied.

“He was very much a friend of the program, and truly cared about the players, coaches and support staff as individuals.”

Beck’s kindness, love of sports and connection with young people went beyond his coverage of women’s basketball.

He was a coach in the Bowling Green Pee Wee baseball league for a number of years.

He was always gracious and kind to children of his neighbors and friends, many times taking them for a treat or giving small presents, like state quarters.

Beck also helped a number of college students, showing them the way to cover sports.

“I remember learning the ropes from him and how in awe I was of his connection to the entire program,” said Matt Schroder, who worked for the BG News and the Sentinel-Tribune. “Fran and the other coaches, players, even fans all knew him. And as a college kid, I thought Damon was God-like the way everyone knew him (and loved him!) at those games.”

In recent years the thing I’ll remember most about Damon was how his face would light up when he talked about his granddaughters, Shelby and Kelsey.

He touched many lives and will be missed by all.