Only way to sum it up is best spring ever

Only way to sum it up is best spring ever
                        

A few thoughts from the week in sports …

Best spring ever!

Those three words pretty much sum up the incredible spring sports season turned in by Wayne County high school teams and athletes.

Winning state championships, as most area sports fans probably already know, were Triway softball, Norwayne boys track and Waynedale baseball teams.

Winning individual championships at the state track and field meet were the Bobcats’ Dillon Morlock (shot put) and Colby Morlock (discus).

It’s worth pointing out collectively just how special and rare these feats were.

There are only four divisions in softball and baseball, so that means 25% of the titles came back to little ol’ Wayne County.

Only one other Wayne County school had ever even won a state title in softball: Dalton back to back from 2006-07.

Same thing for baseball, with only Northwestern ever hoisting a state title banner, and those were earned way back in 1966 and 1959.

This area may be looked at as a farm land, blip on the map by many people, but local athletes let the state know it’s pretty special here.

Diamond stars

The Triway softball team won the first state championship in program history and just the second in school history. The magnificent bowling team brought home the gold this winter.

Top-ranked Triway defeated second-ranked Jonathan Alder 2-1 in the Div. II final at Firestone Stadium in Akron on June 4. The Titans finished the season 30-2.

Having returned everyone from its 2021 state runner-up team, Triway was the clear favorite to take the title.

Waynedale was a surprise Div. III state baseball champ after its walk-off, 2-1 win over Milan Edison at Canal Park in Akron on June 12. Connor Gatti drove in Josiah Raber with a two-out line-drive single to right-center.

The Bears upset Liberty Union and MLB prospect Adam Miller 5-4 in the state semis.

The Golden Bears had graduated one of the best players in program history, Jaden Varner, after being knocked out in the district tournament in 2021.

This year’s Waynedale team started out just 1-4, but never lost again. The Bears rattled off 26 straight wins to earn legendary status and finish 27-4.

Good pitching is the name of the game in softball and baseball. That’s something both teams definitely had in common and will again next year.

The Titans will return ace Carter Wachtel, who will be a junior.

The Bears will bring back rising senior Trey Barkman and rising junior Otto Solorzano. The duo was spectacular.

Triway and Waynedale also had outstanding team chemistry, with everyone contributing. That’s a credit to the work ethic and selflessness of the players, as well as great coaches and parents.

The Bears’ win was even more amazing considering the team and entire school district were still mourning the loss of junior Deegan Bee, who died June 8 after being involved in a car accident. My prayers go out to the Bee family and friends.

State champ twice

Triway’s above mentioned two state title teams in 2022 have a common denominator: sophomore Emma Yoder.

Yoder was the individual state bowling champ as well back in March, when the Titans won the school’s first team title in any sport.

This spring Yoder was the JV pitcher and also saw time with the varsity. She scored one of the two runs in the title game after entering as a pinch-runner. With the Titans graduating seven seniors in softball, Yoder has a good shot of becoming a starter in the outfield next year and also moving into the backup pitcher role.

“Being able to be on both state championship teams this year is something that’s honestly hard to wrap my head around, but at the same time, it’s an amazing thing and definitely an experience to always remember,” Yoder said. “Both of these teams have made a huge impact in my life.”

A number of people have praised Yoder for being on both teams or asked her, “How’s it feel to win two in one year?”

“It’s pretty cool to see people realize it,” Yoder said.

The Triway bowling team will compete in the High School Nationals this weekend in Louisville, Kentucky.

All-time track greats

Not only did the Morlock brothers win state titles, but also they ranked among the area’s all-time best throwers.

Dillon Morlock’s shot-put throw of 65-4.25 broke the mark previously set in 1981 by Smithville legend Larry Kolic, who went on to play football for Ohio State and the Miami Dolphins. Colby Morlock also exceeded it with a 64-11 heave.

Dillon Morlock also wound up with the fourth best discus throw, with Colby ranking second.

Also setting all-time area track bests were Norwayne’s Jaylee Wingate (800 with 2:10.24 and 1600 with 4:48.02), Rittman’s Pyper Gibson (3200 with 10:57.67) and Orrville’s Ainsley Hamsher (pole vault, 12-9).

All totaled, around two-dozen locals broke into the top 20 on the all-time leader board stats edited by former Chippewa coach Alan Martin.

Parting shots

Wooster senior Ashton Dunlap broke one of the area’s oldest school records in the 3200 when he ran a time of 9:23. It broke a mark set by Don Kimpel in 1975.

Wooster attorney and city councilman Bob Reynolds emailed me with some more information on Kimpel after I reported on it.

Turns out Bob and his wife, Nikki, went to school with Kimpel and are still good friends.

“I was his best man at his wedding,” Bob Reynolds said. “He’s met (Wooster track coach) Doug Bennett on a couple of his visits to Wooster.

“We got a call from the regional meet shortly after the record was broken. We were able to put Ashton in contact with Don — actually ‘Dr. Don’ — and they were able to talk.”

Kimpel is a rheumatologist working at the University of Virginia. It was a neat twist to what was already a great story for Dunlap.

—The Guardians owned a 29-27 record entering a road trip June 14 that will see them visit the Rockies, Dodgers and Twins, followed by a homestand against the Red Sox and Twins to close out June. We will know by the end of the month if Cleveland is a pretender or contender (for a playoff spot, not World Series).


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