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Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

Sidelines: 10 area teams seek baseball regional titles

BLADE SPORTS WRITERS

In addition to Clay and Anthony Wayne in Division I, eight other area teams are still alive and heading for regional baseball tournament semifinals tomorrow.

At Galion in Division II, ninth-ranked Defiance (26-4) faces a tall task at 2 p.m. tomorrow against top-ranked Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit (26-2), which won D-II state titles in 1999 and 2004.

In last year s regional, both highly ranked teams appeared headed for a showdown for the title, but Walsh Jesuit was upset in the semifinals by unranked Norton, which then upset Defiance.

In Division III at Elida, fourth-ranked Northwest Ohio Athletic League champion Patrick Henry (27-2) will try to derail the Cinderella tournament ride of Suburban Lakes League member Woodmore (17-10) in a 5 p.m. semifinal tomorrow. That game will follow the 2 p.m. matchup between Fairview (23-5) of the Green Meadows Conference and eighth-ranked Canton Central Catholic (26-3).

Four area teams make up the Division IV regional field tomorrow at Patrick Henry, where veteran coach Chris Hardman is on a mission to get Ottawa Hills to the state final four for the eighth time, all but one under him.

The Toledo Area Athletic Conference champion Green Bears (21-6), who lost an 18-inning marathon to Edgerton in last year s regional semifinals, will take on eighth-ranked Stryker (23-6) of the Buckeye Border Conference at 2 p.m.

Ottawa Hills won a Class A state title under Hardman in 1986, was state runner-up in 1992, 1996 and 2001, and lost in the small-school state semis in 1973, 1988 and 2002.

The 5 p.m. semifinal at PH has Kalida (17-7) of the Putnam County League battling Tiffin Calvert (17-7) of the Midland Athletic League.

Regional finals in all divisions are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.

Largely because of a union contract technicality, girls basketball coach Ken Koperski will not return to his post for an eighth season at Northwood.

As a non-union, non-teaching employee at Northwood, Koperski s year-to-year contract, which was non-renewed each year by policy, was terminated May 12 when a union teacher applied for the position, met the qualifications, and was hired by the Northwood administration.

Geoff Milewski, a science teacher at Northwood, is the new coach, subject to approval by the Northwood school board.

The athletic director [Ken James] and principal [Joe Gagel] felt that they were contractually obligated to assign the job to that teacher, said Koperski. I understand his position and the parting was amicable.

Anthony Wayne rose to the occasion this spring in the Northern Lakes League.

The Generals finished first in all five spring sports baseball, softball, boys tennis, boys track and girls track, the Generals proved to be the best in the NLL. All five spring teams closed out the regular season winning NLL championships.

I think the kids have been fantastic, AW athletic director Paul Holan said. I thought we could have been among the top in all of them [spring sports], but I didn t think we d win all of them. That s pretty special.

Junior Ashley Heyman, a member of St. Ursula volleyball team, has verbally committed to attend Ball State.

Heyman helped the Arrows win the Division I state championship in 2004, finish as state runner-up this past fall and compile a D-Irecord 57-match winning streak.

Heyman also carries a 4.07 grade-point average, and plans to study chemistry and physics.



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