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Published: Tuesday, 5/24/2005

Start at City League disadvantage

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Top-seeded Start will be handicapped a bit as it approaches the City League baseball playoffs tomorrow at Scott Park.

Because the Spartans, Ohio's fourth-ranked team, defeated St. John's Jesuit 7-3 in Friday's Division I district championship game at Skeldon Stadium, coach Rich Arbinger will not have the luxury of using either of his top two pitchers in a 5 p.m. CL semifinal against Whitmer. He will also hold out a third pitcher for insurance.

Arbinger will be saving No. 1 starter Aaron Stewart (9-0) and No. 2 starter Jason Moulton (5-1) for D-I regional play Friday against Avon Lake (19-6) at Shelby, and for a potential regional final. Arbinger said he will save either senior Wade Anderson or Justin Gillespie as a regional backup.

"It's tough to win both the district and the City championship," said Arbinger of the nearly annual timing conflict. "Even when we won the state in 2000 we didn't win the City."

The Start-Whitmer matchup was moved up from Saturday to accommodate Start's Friday regional game. The Panthers handed the Spartans their only loss in a 10-1 league slate.

Central Catholic will face St. Francis de Sales in the other CL playoff semifinal Saturday at noon at Scott Park. Central will likely start pitcher Brad Hays, while the Knights are expected to go with 9-0 ace Joe Perzynski. The City League championship game is scheduled for noon Monday at Scott Park.

City League No. 1 singles champion Mike O'Connell of St. Francis and his chief CL rival, James Davis of St. John's, have received their Division I state tournament draws for Friday's competition in Columbus.

O'Connell, a senior and the district champion, will face Kettering Fairmont senior David Peyton, a No. 4 seed from his district.

Davis, a senior and the district runner-up, will take on Cincinnati St. Xavier junior J.T. Torbeck, a No. 3 seed.

If O'Connell and Davis advance through the 16-player, single-elimination bracket, they would not meet until the state championship match or the third-place consolation round.

Joining O'Connell and Davis at state will be the St. John's doubles team of junior Dustin DeLelles and sophomore Tyler Sbrocchi, who will face senior Brad Seymour and junior Craig Lods of Chillicothe. The Titan pair enter as a No. 2 seed. The Chillicothe team is a No. 3 seed.

City League softball champion Notre Dame Academy and runner-up St. Ursula Academy each passed their Division I district semifinal tests against Northern Lakes League foes Southview and Northview, respectively, last week, and those victories created an all-CL district final between the two Catholic-school rivals.

After losing three straight times to Notre Dame - 1-0 in 10 innings in last year's CL playoff semifinals, 2-1 in 10 innings in this year's league game, and 1-0 in the City championship game on May 16 - SUA, the defending D-I state champion, finally broke the string and rallied with two outs in its final at-bat for a 3-1 victory over the Eagles Friday at Rolf Park.

The Arrows' reward? Another NLL opponent.

St. Ursula (26-2) will face Perrysburg (23-5) at 5 p.m. Thursday at Clyde High School.

In addition to the St. Ursula softball team, Arrow athletes from three other sports are still involved in tourney action.

The lacrosse team plays a regional game in Akron tonight; the eight members of the track team will compete Thursday and Saturday at the Division I regional meet in Amherst. And the SUA crew team travels to Princeton, N.J., for a national tournament Friday and Saturday.

Rogers senior hurdler/sprinter Darryl Elston and Libbey junior sprinter Danyelle McGary highlight the list of top City League track and field athletes heading to Division I regional competition Thursday and Saturday at Amherst Steele High School.

Elston, who won the 110 and 300 hurdles and the 200-meter dash and placed second in the 100 at the City League meet on May 13 at Bowsher, won the same three events at Saturday's district meet at St. Francis. For good measure, Elston ran a leg on the Rams' winning 1600 relay team.

McGary, the 100, 200 and 400-meter CL champion last year and the 100 and 400 league winner this year, captured district titles in the 100, 200 and 400 Saturday. She was the state runner-up in the 400 last June.

The Division II regional meet for Northwest Ohio is set for tomorrow and Friday at Lexington High School, and the Division III meet for Northwest Ohio teams and individuals will be held tomorrow and Friday at Fostoria High School.

The top four regional finishers in each running and field event in each division advance to the state meet June 3-4 in Columbus.

Unlike Ohio, Michigan high school athletes have just one regional meet for their four divisions leading into the state meet. Individual athletes can also earn state berths based on reaching standard qualifying times and distances during the season.

Regionals were held around the state last weekend, and some Southeast Michigan athletes claimed regional championships.

In Division 1, Bedford's Alex Folk won the 1600 in 4:23.1, and teammate Logan Lynch claimed the pole vault title with a school-record vault of 15 feet. The Kicking Mules girls team also produced a pole vault champion as Shari Harmon cleared 10-3.

Monroe High had two boys champions, with Kris Evans winning the 400 in 49.8 seconds and Kenny Wassus taking the 3200 title in 9:28.0.

In Division 2, the Monroe Jefferson girls won the regional team title with 115 points, paced by victories from Bekah Smeltzer in the 800 (2:25.7) and 3200 (11:42.9), and from Alicia Hoffman in the 1600 (5:11.3). The Jefferson boys got titles from Bryan Phinezy in the shot and discus.

In the Division 3 meet at Erie Mason, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central swept the boys (134 points) and girls (127) team titles. Respectively, the Falcons and Kestrels got individual titles from John Kipf (high jump), Kevin Walters (110 and 300 hurdles), David Brent (800 and 1600) and the 400 and 1600 relays, and from Mary Bellino (800), Anne Bellino (1600) and the 1600 and 3200 relay teams.

Other D-3 regional girls champs included Blissfield's Kristi Henricks (shot put), Lexi Esterline (high jump) and Linsey Forche (3200) as well as the Royals' girls 800 relay team; Ida's Mandi Halstead (discus); and Dundee's Sonja Peters (300 hurdles). Other D-3 boys firsts went to Dundee's Jon Griggs (shot put), and Erie Mason's David Hartford (pole vault) and Alex Russeau (3200).

In the Division 4 meet at Grass Lake, Whiteford got firsts from Keagan Puse (110 and 300 hurdles) in the boys meet, and from Chelsea Keeling (100 and 400) as well as the 3200 relay in the girls meet. Keeling was also second in the 200 and long jump.

Contact Steve Junga at:

junga@theblade.com

or 419-724-6461.



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