By Ken DeLaat
Put a fork in them because they are unmistakably done.
Don’t get me wrong I love the Tigers and always have. Beginning at age 4 my childhood dreams were annually shattered by the dreaded Yanks who won 9 of 10 pennants those first years of my fandom before yielding to the Twins Orioles and Red Sox in the mid 60’s.
Then came ‘68 and the dominating team that screamed through the American League before staging a miracle comeback to steal a Series the Cardinals (hate that team) had assumed was theirs.
They hung around a few years, grabbing a division title in ‘72 when they lost to the A’s who were the star studded premier team of that era.
What followed was a lengthy drought as key players aged and the farm system needed to be rebuilt resulting in 11 years of unremarkable play before showing some signs of revival in ‘83 and then the magical first place from wire to wire ‘84 season that brought the second World Series title in my lifetime to Detroit.
The team stayed competitive for half a decade and lots of fun to watch, grabbed another divisional title in ‘87 then 2 years later once again allowed players to age out, lost some to free agency because they were too cheap to spend, made bad trades and even worse free agent signings while running through managers who were less memorable than the lengthy list of failed Lion coaches (if that can be imagined).
What followed was an unprecedented run of brutally bad baseball. Ineptitude lasting nearly 2 decades and featuring a 2 year record of 98-225 in ‘02-’03 an average of 49 wins a season and 112.5 losses.
Then in ‘06 Jimmy Leyland arrived, They got to the Series losing to the stinking Cardinals (hate that team) and contended all but one year during the run that culminated in 4 straight 1st place finishes in the Central and another Series appearance that ended in ‘14 a year after Leyland left.
While armed with talent they have reeked of mediocrity, been unable to put together a bullpen, displayed a dearth of spirit and today are simply not a very good team.
Again, as I said I love the Tigers, but this team this year is incredibly disappointing and not just for their spiralling tumble to the cellar where they will be competing with a rather hapless White Sox team to see who finishes there.
It’s more that with the exception of a couple of players who will soon be gone (JD and perhaps Kinsler) there is no fire on this team. They are lifeless at times and seem to be waiting for someone to do something.
And nobody does.
They are locked into some long term untradeable contracts with beloved players who have already had their best years and will be struggling to even come close to their former production.
And there is no immediate or even distant help down on the farm.
So hold on Tiger fans, it looks to be a long run of watching Cleveland, Houston, perhaps KC and nearly all of the teams in the East take part in the playoff fun we had become accustomed to.
While we watch the steady decline of a franchise that with a couple of changes might have continued to be a contender.
They likely won’t lose 119 games again as they did in 03, one game less than the record set by the first Mets team in ‘62.
But they are a long way from making us care about games in September.
So now, the Pistons are pathetic, the Wings have withered and then of course, there’s the Lions.
So sports-wise, if you're from around here there’s only one thing to say, I guess.
Diamond Lake Campground to host rider weekend
Do you have an off-road vehicle (ATV/ORV) and would like to both ride and camp? The Newaygo County Parks & Recreation Department and the West Michigan Ridge Runners ORV Club are partnering to offer an ORV Weekend at Diamond Lake County Park, just north of White Cloud.
The weekend of July 14-16 is the only weekend ATVs can be driven in the campground right to your campsite. From the Diamond Lake County Park, riders can access the ORV trail in the Manistee National Forest. In addition, the parks will offer themed activities and safety information.
The West Michigan Ridge Runners ORV Club (WMRR) will be organizing a ride on Saturday morning utilizing the shoulders of Newaygo County roads to the ORV trail which runs north from M-20 to 7 Mile Road. All vehicles must have an ORV registration sticker and drivers aged 12-16 must have an ORV safety certificate. Drivers 16-18 must have either a safety certificate or a driver’s license. To utilize the ORV trail, vehicles must be less than 50 inches wide.
“This is a great opportunity to not only get out and ride but also camp at a great campground,” said James Maike, chair of the WMRR. “We want people to have fun but also know the safety rules.”
“ORVs will be permitted to drive from Diamond Lake County Park to the ORV trail and only on park roadways following the 10 mph speed limit for all vehicles,” said Parks Director Nicholas D. Smith. “This is a test run and if it goes well, we may expand access.”
Anyone interested in camping must have a reservation and they can be made by calling the campground at 231-689-1190 or online at:
The campground is located at 3351 N. Mundy Ave., White Cloud, and was formerly called Camp Swampy when it was owned by Steelcase who used it as a retreat center.
Tail Twisters Take To The Sky In The Cloud
By Tracy Kehr
Photos by Robin Rodarmer and Tracy Kehr
White Cloud Area Tail Twisters held their annual Free Fun Fly at the White Cloud Airport on Saturday, June 17th.. The side of the runway was packed with all ages of people looking up. Spectators could watch many kinds of remote control flying aircraft such as a B-17 Bomber Super Flying Fortress with a 10’ wing span, a 3D Aerobatic helicopter, a flying lawnmower and a Boomerang Sprint Jet with a 21lb thrust turbine.
This Boomerang Sprint jet screams across the sky and can reach speeds over 160 mph while powered by kerosene. If you are ever shopping at...
Eclipse Ball Tourney Welcomes All To Participate
Saturday at the Grant soccer fields
Maybe you played it at school since the game has been a part of PE classes throughout the country or perhaps the game was encountered at camp where it has become a mainstay of the activity program at summer camps everywhere.
Or you could even be a newcomer to the game intrigued by the thought of adding another entry to your activity resume.
To celebrate 40 years of playing a great game and over 23 years of being in Physical Education, Eclipse Ball will be hosting the 1st Annual Eclipse Ball Playoff Reunion on June 24th, 2017. at the soccer fields east of the Grant Middle School in Grant, MI.
Eclipse Ball is heart pumping, contagiously fun, ball and racket sport played on a volleyball court. In 1988, a game of yard badminton ended with a broken racket and a birdie in a tree. Inventor and Grant resident, Don Benson quickly came up with an alternative, grabbing a tennis racket and a vinyl play ball, making up rules as the new game transformed, with players diving, jumping, and running to keep the ball in play.
This is an open invitation from the Benson family to all who have played or want to learn to play Eclipse Ball.
To register and for more information go to www.eclipseball.com/events.
To make this event run, we are in need of volunteers. Please call (231) 834-5317 or email email@example.com.
Lions Earn All-Conference, All District Honors
Heinzman, Swinehart lead quartet of players with post-season prizes
Cooper Heinzman was selected first team All Conference and All District. Cooper, a Junior, was our leadoff hitter and batted .451 for the season and .528 in league play. Cooper was equally impressive in the field where he only committed one error all season.
“Cooper is a team leader who never takes an at bat off. When Cooper gets on base, we score and he did that 25 times this year. Cooper is a tough player who sells his body out”. ~Coach Bomay
Connor Swinehart was selected first team All Conference and All District and All District. Connor, a sophomore, batted 333 overall and 317 in league play. Pitching Connor had 2 wins and 3 and an ERA of 2.000.
“Connor was moved around in the line up a lot until he finally found his spot at number two in the batting order. Being number 2 in the line-up gave Connor lots of opportunity to drive in Cooper which he did. Connor lead the team with 18 RBIs. “Connor has a potent bat, a live arm and plenty of speed.” ~Coach Bomay
Hunter Lay was selected Honorable Mention All Conference. Hunter, a senior, batted 267 overall and 333 in league. Hunter on defense had a 958 fielding percentage.
“Hunter is a player who just makes contact and only had 11 strikeouts this year. Being a lefty he gave us many opportunities to hit and run. Hunter took ownership of first base this and worked on his defense on his own every day. Hunters off season training consisted of getting in the cage 4-5 times a week. He set the bar high for young guys coming up” ~Coach Bomay
Jarred Heideman was selected as an All District pitcher. Jarred, a Junior, was 8-4 on the season with a 2.500 ERA.
“Jarred is a pitcher that keeps us in every game he pitches. When Jarred is on the mound we have a great chance of winning” ~Coach Bomay
Newaygo Lions Season Comes To An End Against Reed City
Photos by Tammi Heideman
The post season run for the Newaygo baseball team came to an end in Morley Stanwood Regional when they fell to Reed City 5-1.
Hunter Lay went 1-for-3 at the plate as he led the team with one run batted in. Jarred Heideman pitched three innings, giving up five runs, three hits, and striking out two.
“We had one bad inning where Reed City scored 4 runs on a couple of our mistakes,” said Lion Head Coach Jerry Bomay. “We had a good run with a very young team starting only one senior.”
“We expect to contend next year both in league and the State Playoffs.”
Fremont lost their semifinal matchup with Whitehall 5-1. The Vikings captured the District title and will move on to the Cadillac Regional where they will face Sault Ste Marie in the opening game beginning at 10 am.
White Cloud lost to Morley Stanwood in their semifinal game 5-2. The Mohawks went on to lose in the finals to Newaygo.
Muskegon Oakridge outscored their opponents 31-2 in sweeping through their District including a 13-0 win over Grant. The Eagles begin Regional play in Cadillac Saturday at 10 am. When they go up against Kalkaska
Whitehall defeated Fremont 10-1 before falling to Chippewa Hills in the finals. The Warriors also head for Cadillac Saturday to take on the Eskimos from Escanaba at noon.
Newaygo was defeated by Kent City 12-3.
Cloud falls just short in District final
On Saturday the WC girls started the day facing Morley Stanwood for the 6th time this year, having won the first 3, but dropping the last 2. With both teams scoring in the 1st, the game remained tied until the 4th when WC plated 6 runs and closed the deal with 4 more in the top of the 6th for a 11 – 1 win. Hannah Brown had 3 hits and 3 RBI’s, followed by Meghan Sutherland with 2 hits including a double and 2 RBI’s while Jordan Bulk and Madison Smith each had a pair of RBI’s. Hallie Schulz scattered 3 hits to pick up the win.
The victory put WC in the finals facing Kent City where they held onto a 1 run lead until the bottom of the 3rd when the Eagles scored all 4 of their runs. WC came back with 2 in the top of the 5th only to fall short by a 4-3 final. Hallie Schulz had 3 hits and an RBI, Elexis Plotts had 2 hits and an RBI and Hannah Brown added a double
Kaastra Races To All-State Honors
Fremont Four compete at State
From Coach Cliff Somers:
"We sent the 4x800 relay team of Sam Kaastra, Ben Schmidt, Cole Hamilton, and Matthew Zerfas. Sam Kaastra and Ben Schmidt also competed in the 3200 meter run.
"The 4x800 relay team ran their best time to finish in 19th place with a time of 8:12.59. Ben and Cole really stepped up, running their best splits of the season by over 2 seconds each.
"Sam Kaastra earned All-State honors in the 3200 run, finishing 5th. He ran a great race, staying close enough to the lead pack to be able to make a move in the second mile and start to pick off athletes as they started to struggle. He finished with a 9 second PR in 9:30.99. Ben Schmidt finished 16th with a time of 9:44.5."
Lions Moving On
Newaygo uses pitching, timely hitting to secure District title
By N3 SportsTeam
The hosts brought some the hardware Saturday as Connor Swinehart and Jarrod Heideman picked up victories on the mound courtesy of strong defensive play and an opportunistic offensive output.
Andrew Goodin, Nick Simington, Jarred Heideman, and Cooper Heinzman drove home the runs in the semi-final to give Swinehart the support he needed for the 7-2 win.
The final saw Morley holding a 3-2 advantage before two big innings by Newaygo put the game out of reach. The Lions scored three times in the 6th and came back with 3 more in the 7th to secure an 8-3 victory and move on to regional play next Saturday June 10th at Morley Stanwood where they will face Reed City in a 10 am game.
Simington, Goodin, Swinehart and Noah Graff each collected a pair of hits.
We had a hard time figuring out (Dayne) Edgerly early going in the game,” said Coach Jerry Bomay. “He is a tough pitcher and kept us pretty quiet most of the game, but in the 6th inning our bats came alive and we started driving the ball hard. I am proud of these young men. They never gave up.”