Archive for April, 2011

How Mother Nature Won The Horizon League

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Something weird happened earlier this afternoon.  As I looked up into the sky, I noticed a large bright yellow thing.  I know somewhere I have seen this object before, but not since last year.  Having bought a new vehicle in January, I am proud to say that just four months later, I gambled and drove with my window down.  The last time I attempted that, the value of my car took a hit from rain damage.

I’m not sure how to feel about this crappy weather.  A part of me wants to take up hunting, groundhog hunting.  Phil, if you are reading this, just stay in your hole next year, don’t even think about coming out.

The group of people I feel the worst for are the men and women who play baseball and softball at Youngstown State.  Actually, I feel bad for everyone trying to play baseball this Spring.  T-Ball participating children are in great danger.  They can play their first game real soon with just a couple of practices.  By the time they get the hang of it, it will be time to face live pitching.

Mother Nature has been dominant this season.  Her ERA is 0.00 in every league she has been a part of this year.  She may not be the most popular player on a baseball field, but what she says, goes, period.

Jordan Ingalls, a YSU Softball Player, earlier said, “You can’t pay attention to the weather.  It is equal for both teams to play in such unfavorable conditions.”  That interview was three weeks ago, and I think Jordan has played three games of a scheduled 13 since.

It’s an easy fix, Penguins fans.  We need to petition Dave Dravecky to donate a few bucks to his alma mater for a new domed facility.  Put it behind McDonald’s by the stadium.  Better yet, just build it and include the McDonald’s to eliminate the need to hire concession stand workers.  In the offseason, use the area for parking, indoor parking.  Sell special passes for twice as much.  With the little deck closed and students forced to park anywhere from the Covelli Centre to Federal Plaza, these parking passes will sell like hotcakes.

OK, so it was a slow sports day.

YSU Baseball Profiles: Phil Klein

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Phil Klein is tearing it up on the diamond for Youngstown State this season.  Klein has joined six other pitchers in YSU history to record 200 career strikeouts.  Just this season, Klein has been named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Week, twice.  He is the Horizon League leader with 61 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.  He has earned four of YSU’s eight wins on the year.  He struck out 13 batters against Toledo earlier in the season.  He is Phil Klein, and if you were a Major League Baseball Scout, you would already know that.  Klein will almost definitely get drafted and he has a very bright future in the sport of baseball.

Paneech: How much pressure is put on you to be a mentor to the younger guys trying to succeed as pitchers?

Klein: We have got so many young guys.  Really, we only have a couple of upperclassmen who are pitching on this team.  Things can go their way, but it isn’t consistent.  You wonder what is going through their head, not so much the physical or mechanical stuff, but rather the what if they pitch good, what is going through their heads?  We try to encourage them to think on an even-keel level to balance things out.  There are times when it looks like they get it.  Sometimes, these young guys will go out and have a really good outing, other times they get knocked around.  I can only tell them so much, they have to learn how to be consistent.

Paneech: Supposedly, 90% of your power comes from your legs.  How true is that to you?

Klein: I believe it.  In the offseason, I focus more on running than lifting.  If you don’t, you can put the ball over the plate and get hit around.  I like to think I can go for as long as I can because my legs stay fresh from the work I have put in.

Paneech: Consistency is the biggest thing with any pitcher.  You look at someone like Rick Ankiel.  He was thrown into a relief role to pitch in a postseason game and ends up missing badly with every single pitch.  How can a pitcher come unglued?

Klein: It all starts with the first batter of an inning.  If he gets on, it gets in your head.  Then he could steal, and it is further in your head.  It can snowball until you regain your focus.  By looking back at what happened, you give up a five or six run inning because the problems snowball in your own head.  It starts with the first batter of an inning and all builds one way or the other from there.

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Paneech: Do you prefer pitching from the stretch or a full wind-up?

Klein: I have no problem with either one of them.  Last weekend, I was pitching out of the wind-up and my footing just felt wrong.  I went from the stretch with no one on base because I felt more comfortable that way.  It’s a feel thing, some people have a preference, but I am usually comfortable either way.

Paneech: You are blessed to have good coaches here.  Coach Pasquale eats and breathes YSU Baseball.  Talk about how these guys are to play for.

Klein: I talk to Coach Dan [Lipari] at least once a day.  He’s a young guy but he knows his stuff.  I can come at them with anything, and that’s the thing I like most.  I can talk to any of them about school, baseball, girls, anything at all and they will be there for me.

Paneech: Having so much success at this level, are the big boys making their presence felt yet?

Klein: I filled out some paperwork for a few teams and have had conversations with some scouts.  I am trying not to focus on that yet, but rather this team and this season.  Those people cannot do anything for me while I’m in college and that kind of got in my head last season – always wondering who was watching and what they thought.  It takes you out of the present, so I will worry about all that when the time comes.

Paneech: You look at Stephen Strasburg.  He is babied along by the Nationals and then when they kind of turn him loose, he gets badly injured.  Do you think him skipping this level was a mistake?

Klein: I don’t how much of Stephen’s problems came from mechanical things or if it was coaching.  I feel like it is a benefit to work your way up because you are pitching to a better type of hitter each time you progress to another level.

Paneech: What kind of a hitter are you?  If you get to the National League, you will have to bat.

Klein: (laughs)  I would like to think I am a good hitter.  I always tell the guys that if someone gets hurt, that I will go up there and take the three biggest swings you will ever see.  I might not hit it, but I will take three big swings.  If I played in the National League, I could always become a bunter.

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Paneech: Lets talk Major League Baseball.  Who do you root for?   Who is your favorite player?

Klein: I am a big Boston Red Sox fan and Josh Beckett is my favorite player.  He struggled early, but he is back on track now and has recorded plenty of strikeouts while keeping his ERA down around 1.00.  His demeanor is even-keel and he is very intense.  I can’t stand the Yankees and two of my roommates are all about the Yankees.  It gets intense when they play each other and we throw our teams shirts on and have at it.  I don’t wish bodily harm on any Yankee players, but I do hope they make ten errors and the Red Sox score 20 runs.

Paneech: What would happen if the Yankees drafted you?

Klein: (long pause)  I’m going in there like it is any other team.  I wouldn’t ask for piles of memorabilia.  If I had to pitch against the Red Sox it would definitely be in the back of my mind that I grew up rooting for that team.  I would have to take the right approach and do my best for whoever it is I am pitching for regardless of who it is against.

Paneech: Who was the best starting pitcher of all-time?

Klein: I would have to say Pedro Martinez back in the day.  He was unreal.  I also think Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Roger Clemens were all the cream of the crop.  Those guys were so good for so many years.  These guys were good for 15 years.

Paneech: How are things going academically here for you at YSU?

Klein: I am a finance major.  I am having the toughest semester of my life right now.  I have two classes that I could spend all of my time on.  I don’t care for the accounting as much as the stock market.  The stock market is what I want to work with.  If baseball doesn’t work out, I want to go into investment banking.  They make good money.  I love it here though.  I get along with all of the guys on the team.  i don’t think I would be nearly as happy at an Ohio State where there are 50,000 people running around and there is nowhere to park.  I kind of like the size here.  I had a couple of really good classes last Fall.  I had Astronomy and Weather and really liked them.  You know what the things are but you don’t know how they work.  The worst class ever is one I have right now, it is a Financial Analysis class.  The teacher flies through everything and I don’t get it.  She might as well be speaking a foreign language.  I have no idea on some stuff in there and have been to the teachers office a few times asking for help, it is rough.

Paneech: OK, here is $10,000, how do I invest it right now?

Klein: (laughs)  I would throw a lot of it in Apple.  Steve Jobs is having some health problems, but they always have something new to give their stock a big boost when it needs one.  In three years they have returned 300% of what was invested.  They always step up.  I would spread it out though, and try to diversify your investment.

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One Word Answers:

Favorite Fast Food Order: Taco Bell — Crunchwrap Supreme and Three Soft Tacos w/ Sour Cream.

Biggest Fear: Snakes.

Worst Habit: Being a Perfectionist.

Favorite Pitch: Slider.

Best Baseball Movie Ever: Bull Durham, hands down.

Favorite Gum: Eclipse Spearmint.

Favorite TV Show: Two And A Half Men.

Best Musician Out There: Jason Aldean.

Best Christmas program You Look Forward To Each Year? Christmas Vacation.

Best Player In Baseball Who Plays Somewhere Other Than Boston: Robinson Cano.

Ultimate vacation: Australia.

Tell me What You Think of Groundhog Day: It’s a waste of time… regardless of whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow it is going to be cold anyway.  Valentine’s Day is a worthless holiday too, and I have a girlfriend.

Scrappers Unveil Promos

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers have announced a sampling of the promotional events to be featured for the upcoming 2011 season at Eastwood Field.

The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase (featured in the above video), will appear for the Scrappers game against the State College Spikes on June 26.  Ted will be on hand to throw out the first pitch and will be signing autographs for fans during the game.  In addition, a $20 meet and greet package is available.  Included in the meet and greet package are  a box seat to the game, a food voucher, an 8 x 10 picture and a pre-game meeting with Mr. DiBiase.

James Scott, known for his role as EJ DiMera on Days of Our Lives, will be on hand August 13 for the Scrappers – Brooklyn Cyclones matchup.  Scott will be in the house to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and to sign autographs during the game.  A VIP meet and greet package is available for $25 and includes an 8 x 10 autographed picture, a box seat game ticket, a food voucher, and the opportunity to meet Scott before the game.

Mark Saturday, May 14 off in your planner as the 2011 season kicks off with Mahoning Valley Scrappers Fan Fest Day.  The event will take place at Eastwood Field between 10-2 and marks the official date fans can purchase individual game tickets.  Fans will be treated to $1 hot dogs, soft drinks, and beer.  There will also be some good deals on team merchandise in the team store.  Fans will have a chance to take batting practice from 10-1 while children can enjoy games and face painting.

At Fan Fest, there will be open auditions from 10 -1 for people interested in singing the National Anthem.

For more information on any of the upcoming events, contact the Scrappers front office at (330) 505-0000 or visit www.mvscrappers.com.

Penguin Tidbits

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  • The Youngstown State men’s tennis team dropped a hard-fought 4-3 match to third-seed Wright State on Thursday at the Horizon League Championships. The Penguins now face Butler in the fifth-place match on Friday morning at 9.
  • The Youngstown State women’s basketball coaching staff will offer three camp formats this summer for young student-athletes and high school teams.  For individuals entering fourth through ninth grade, the staff is offering a half-day camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Monday, June 27, to Thursday, June 30. Players who are preparing for the collegiate level are invited to participate in the overnight elite camp on Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1. There will also be a team camp for varsity and JV squads on June 10 and June 12.   For more information, contact the Women’s Basketball Office at (330) 941-3004.
  • The Youngstown State softball team picked up a single game against Ohio State tonight at 7 p.m. before heading to Indianapolis for a three-game Horizon League series against Butler, April 22-23.
  • Youngstown State had eight winter sport student-athletes named to the Horizon League’s various All-Academic teams on Tuesday. The swimming and diving program led the way with three selections.  Representing YSU from the swimming and diving program were senior diver Amanda Carpin, senior swimmer Alana Kane and sophomore diver Casey Hill. It was the second straight year Carpin, a 3.95 student in Special Education, was named to the team.  Sophomore Brandi Brown was named to the women’s basketball all-academic team. Brown is the first Penguin since Lauren Branson in 2007-08.  The track and field program had four representatives named to the Academic All-League team. On the men’s side, senior Adam Kagarise was named to the squad for a third time while sophomore Jeff Hanselman earned his first academic honor. On the women’s side, senior Alisha Anthony earned her third indoor academic selection while sophomore Samantha Hamilton picked up her first track and field academic honor.
  • According to YSU Sports Information Director Trevor Parks, the No Stone Unturned Pancake Breakfast held this past Sunday was a huge success.  The paid admission is estimated to be right around 1,000 meals served, which is 3,000 pancakes.  The charity function, headed by Coach Wolford and his wife, also did well with raffles and a Chinese Auction.

YSU Football Profiles: Kevin Watts

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Kevin Watts is under pressure these days.  He can hear his receivers coach, Andre Coleman, in his sleep.  Rather than squirm from the subject, Watts was quick to inform me that he respects Coleman and that any criticism he offers, regardless of volume, infliction, or frequency – he grows from it.  Unique athletes at the college level are those who can admit such a thing.  Watts is only a sophomore going into the 2011 season, but his attitude speaks volumes about how mature he has become in just one year.  This young man has so much potential that the university named the new indoor practice facility after him.  Well, that may be far fetched, but he is developing every day in a positive way.

Paneech: What got you into playing football?

Watts: I started playing at five years old.  I had an uncle who played at Ohio State as well as an uncle who played at Akron.  My dad was the pee wee coach, so it is in my blood.  My first year, my father put me at offensive end, I wanted to fight him every day.  After that, I played quarterback in middle school and switched to slot at Middletown High School here in Ohio.  We scored 68 points in a game, we upset Colerain, we upset Cincinnati Moeller.  It’s a smaller school, but we did pretty good there.

Paneech:  Coach Coleman and Coach Wolford are having a hard time figuring out why the receivers are dropping balls this Spring.  Do you hear these guys in your sleep?

Watts: (laughs)  Coach Coleman is a good coach who is very passionate about what we do.  He sees so much potential with this group and when we don’t do everything we can, he knows we can do more and step it up.  He is always on us, but I feel myself getting better as a result.

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Paneech: How close are you with your fellow Penguins having only known them for a year or so.

Watts: We are definitely a pretty close group.  Dominique Barnes helped me out a lot last year and was in a similar situation by playing when he was a freshman.  He likes his records (laughs), but he has been a great person to look up to.  I would feel fortunate to get my name somewhere up there, or even close to what he did while he played.

Paneech: What are you studying here at YSU?

Watts: I am working toward a Special Education Major.  Everything is going really good right now and I am in the field working with kids at local schools.  That’s a lot of fun right now, I enjoy it.  The toughest class I took here was a Classical Music course.  It was rough to listen to that music like Bach and Beethoven all of the time.

Paneech: I am proud of the football team’s activity level on Twitter.  How did all of that start and what drives you guys to Tweet so much?

Watts: Twitter was something I installed on my phone when I got here last year.  When I got it, I noticed that nearly the whole team was on there Tweeting.  We mess around with each other and pick with each other on there.  For us, it is more fun than playing video games.  I follow Chad Johnson and like what he Tweets.  Dominique Barnes is the most famous person who follows me (laughs).  I would like to meet Donald Jones on there.  He is a guy I definitely want to meet that might be able to give me some pointers.

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Paneech: It’s now 6:00.  How will you spend the rest of your evening?

Watts: I’ll grab a shower when we finish and then grab something to eat.  After that, I will go to the dorms, call my parents and talk with my family for a little bit.  After that, I do my homework and get ready for my classes the next day.  When all that gets done, I get on Twitter for a little bit!

Paneech: Are you happy with your choice to attend Youngstown State University?

Watts: Yes, I am very happy here.  This football staff is a bunch of winners who are up front with everybody on this team.  They tell us exactly what we need to do to get better.  I love this staff.  Coach Wolford, Coach Montgomery, and Coach Coleman all get their points across when you are not doing what you are supposed to and they will work with you to make it right.  This is really a great staff.

Paneech: Who is your best friend on the team.

Watts: I’m close with Jordan Thompson and Josh Garner.  We are from the same area so we ride home together and travel back together.  The Florida guys…  [Adaris] Bellamy is my boy, he’s a funny guy.  Him, Jelani [Berassa], all of those guys from Florida talk and act different.  Boat [Jamarious Boatwright] always comes up with these clever nicknames for himself.

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One Word Answers

What Do You Order at McDonalds: Two McDoubles, Medium Fry, Large Hi-C.

Favorite TV Show: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Song On Your ipod People Wouldn’t Believe: Incomplete by Sisqo.

Biggest Phobia: Losing My Parents.

Worst Habit: Biting My Nails.

NFL Receiver You Want To Play Like: Percy Harvin   - he does it all.

Favorite Drink: Red Gatorade.

Favorite Snack: Fruit Snacks thanks to my little nephew.  He gives me one when he has a bag, now I love them.

Toppings on A Pizza: Extra Cheese and Sausage.

Pen or Pencil: Pen.

Favorite Movie: Ali.

Total Yards Prediction For The Season: If I am returning punts, I will have to say at least a thousand yards total.

ZZ Top And Lynyrd Skynyrd To Rock Youngstown May 22

You can flip a coin to decide which band, ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd, would be the headliner for the Rebels & Bandoleros Tour which will be making a stop in Youngstown on May 22.  These are two of the premium bands to pioneer a hot Southern Rock movement which blossomed in the late 1970′s and carried over into the 80′s.

“These bands are big time for Youngstown,” commented Eric Ryan, director of the Covelli Centre.  ”There are a few tickets left, but the response has been tremendous and we anticipate a sellout.”

Amazingly, ZZ Top has the same lineup it had 40 years ago.  Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard have beaten the odds of longevity and persevered into a few new decades as a trio.  Gibbons and Hill grew the trademark beards in 1977 when the band was taking a break between touring and the next album.  In 1983, Eliminator was released and MTV gave the band heavy rotation for their concept videos featuring some very pretty women.

This band has sold 50 million albums worldwide, 25 million in the US alone.  For all of their great accomplishments, the band was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.  These guys are legendary and will live long beyond the mortal man as they have definitely carved their likeness into pop culture.

Speaking of leaving a mark on pop culture, Lynyrd Skynyrd takes a backseat to nobody.  Just in the last couple of years, bands on the way up have borrowed from the legendary group.  Kid Rock used the melody of Sweet Home Alabama to get himself a big #1 hit.  Shinedown took on Simple Man, and on and on.  Those Van Zant boys sure know how to write a good song.

There is so much history with Skynyrd.  They named their band Lynyrd Skynyrd after a stringent gym teacher named Leonard Skinner who had a policy against boys with long hair.  The 2006 Hall of Fame inductees are still pounding the arenas.  The only original member who remains is Gary Rossington.

Skynyrd has endured despite tragedy.  On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered airplane ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed.  Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest in Gillsburg, Mississippi.  Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact; the other band members suffered serious injuries.

Johnny Van Zant, and his brother, Donnie of 38 Special, carry the torch for the loss of Ronnie.  Johnny is in the current touring group, he just wasn’t an original member.  This band took ten years off  before deciding to give it a go in 1987.  Their music is absolutely unique and can be heard and recognized at any time.

Maybe that is what makes this twin bill on May 22 so special.  Both of these bands have a trademark sound that the average music fan can identify.  If you want good, original, from the heart Rock & Roll, this would serve as a can’t miss show.

Despite Poor Weather, 39th YSU Red – White Game Shows Major Potential For 2011

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Remember when you were a kid and believed that March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb?  Inclement weather has dominated Spring 2011 thus far and Groundhog Day is turning into a bigger commercial farce than Sweetest Day.  The good news is that despite sloppy playing conditions, the 39th Annual Red-White game happened, and the play was anything but sloppy.

Both offense and defense took turns shining on both sides of the ball.  The White team raced out to a 17-0 lead and held on for a 24-14 victory.  Sophomore running back Allen Jones ran for 159 yards, but the real story is the White defense holding the Red offense, which is the first-team starting offense, to just 14 points.

Before the game started, Coach Eric Wolford ran over to the home sideline and started a comical rant.  Looking at me, he said, “It’s beautiful out here today, good day to get some sun.  I’m gonna work on my tan, should have brought my lotion.  Did you bring any I can use?”

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The White team reached into their bag of tricks on the very first play of the game.  Torrian Pace took a pitch on an apparent sweep right.  Pace, doing a good job showing a run, threw the ball downfield to Pat White.  White had to come out of the end zone to catch the ball at the one as it was slightly under thrown.  On the next play, Pace tallied on a one-yard touchdown to put the White ahead, 7-0.

Patrick Angle hooked up with White (above) in the corner of the end zone on a ten yard corner route to put the White team ahead, 14-0.  A dropped pass in the end zone would force the White group to settle on a David Brown 25-yard field goal to jump the lead to 17-0.

Jamaine Cook put his Red team on the board when he powered in from two yards out for six points to cut the margin to 17-7.  Earlier in the drive, Cook ran 22 yards on a 4th-and-1.  Kurt Hess also contributed on the drive as he would find Andre Barboza on a 4th-and-6 for 22 more yards to get to the White’s two yard line.

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With just under four minutes to go in the first half, Cook broke what looked to be a long run but was stripped of the ball by Josh Lee and Donald D’Alesio recovered the loose football to secure the 10-point lead to halftime.

On the second offensive play of the second half for the White team, Jones raced 94 yards to pay dirt, which would be the only points of the second half for the White.  The Red would later got the ball back and went into two-minute mode in a second half that featured a continuous clock.  Hess had a nice drive connecting with Barboza twice and David Rogers once before hitting Adaris Bellamy on a swing pass that would go 23 yards for a touchdown to cut the White lead to 24-14.

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Hess (above) finished the game 11-19 for 139 yards and a touchdown.  His big target of the day was Barboza who hauled in four Hess aerials for 69 yards.  For the White, Pat White was the top receiver with five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Kyle Sirl had eight tackles, three for a loss, for the Red.  Sirl and Ethan Stark recorded a pair of sacks each.  Obinna Ekweremuba had seven tackles to lead the White team, with two of those stops resulting in yardage losses.

The honorary coaches stayed dry as they were sitting upstairs in the enclosed press boxes.  Chatting with Eric Ryan, Tim Ryan, and Harry Meshel before the game started was enjoyable.

Last year, with very favorable weather, the Red-White game was Wolford’s coming out party.  There was a good crowd and a festive atmosphere.  This year, the luster may not have been as bright, but there were still people in the stands.  Conversely, the level of football played last season at this time, was a group of guys trying to grasp a system.  This year, it was mostly returning players who knew the system trying not to get hurt on a sloppy field.  Should be a great season and Wolford has things where they need to be at this point, the conclusion of Spring Football.

YSU Softball Profiles: Jordan Ingalls

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Jordan Ingalls is enjoying playing softball, liking the college experience of Youngstown State, and keeping her dreams and her goals on different paths.  She has twice been named Horizon League Player of The Week already this year and has paced the team offensively as the most consistent Lady Penguin.  Ingalls, a junior, takes a respectable stance on family, academics, and her approach to a game she loves.  She was good to interview, commenting that the questions she answered were not what she would have expected, that it was a fun conversation that she enjoyed.  Likewise.

Paneech: Are you and Sarah Ingalls both from Bolivar, New York?  Are you cousins, sisters?

Ingalls: (laughs)  We are related distantly.  Her great, great, great grandfather and my great, great, great, great grandfather were brothers.  Those brothers were cousins of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s father, Charles.  I had no idea that Sarah and I were related until my freshman year.  They came out to McCune Park saying they were my distant relatives and e-mailed me.  That was crazy in itself, and the following year, she ended up being on the team.

Paneech: How did you get started with softball and have you always been an outfielder?

Ingalls: It’s kind of an interesting story.  My dad was always really into sports and I was the only girl in the house besides my mom, so we were all really into sports.  My dad used to take me to the high school games when I was young and I saw the pitchers.  Being left-handed, shortstop was kind of out, so I tried the whole pitching thing.  I pitched my entire life and when I came to YSU, I pitched and played the outfield.  It’s crazy how you end up in places you never thought you would end up.  I am a completely different athlete now then when I came in.

Paneech: Who  is your favorite Major League Baseball Team and player?

Ingalls: I would say the Pirates are my favorite team.  I really don’t have a favorite player, but I used to really like Jack Wilson.  I have always been a Pirates fan because of my dad, every year we are hoping that they can turn it around.

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Paneech: Do performance enhancing drugs exist in women’s softball?

Ingalls: It’s hard for me to imagine that happening in this sport.  When I look at friends and players I know from their teams, from our team, I would think never in a thousand years.  If you look at the overall spectrum, you wonder, could someone be doing that?  You would like to think that there is no abuse in softball.  Optimistically, I don’t think so.

Paneech: What is your approach to hitting.  Do you look for a certain pitch or do you attack what you see?

Ingalls: Most of hitting for me is strictly mental.  When I came in as a freshman, I was very aggressive and wanted to hit.  I want to hit so bad that sometimes I chase a pitch that is not my pitch.  After last year, I really worked in the cage on hitting in pressure situations and with runners in scoring position.  When you look at a good hitter, you can’t just look at the batting average because getting the job done is not always the result of a base hit.  In a smaller spectrum, you don’t have to get a hit every single time.  You analyze the situation and do what has to be done.  If I think too much, chances are bad I can help the team.

Paneech: What would you think about moving baseball season to August and football season to March since the weather has changed so much and three quarters of your season is dictated by Mother Nature?

Ingalls: I’ve never heard that before.  I think when you are an athlete, you go out and you want to play.  I hate seeing a game get cancelled for anybody.  The weather can’t be changed and when you are freezing, it should not prevent you from winning a game.  You can’t think about it.  When we played Loyola earlier this year, it was freezing.  It’s a mental game,  you are cold, but so is everyone else.

Paneech: The football and basketball players at this university are Twitter maniacs.  Do you partake in Twitter or Facebook?

Ingalls: A lot of the players on the team have Twitter and some get into it more than others.  There are a couple of girls on the team that it is every two seconds they are Tweeting.  I have an account but hardly ever use it.  I check it for scores.

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Paneech: Who is your best friend on the team and why?

Ingalls:  Kristina Rendle. I’m nervous for next year when she will not be here.  We came in together and we know everything about each other.  I have such a good friendship with her that it is hard to think about coming to practice and her not being there.  We are like a package deal – it’s always Joradan and Rendy, Jordan and Rendy.  We help each other to get better by pitching to each other, we run at the exact same speed, she will push me and be honest with me.  She’s a great person to be with on or off of the field.

Paneech: What other sports did you play besides softball?

Ingalls: I played golf, my dad is a really good golfer, and I still play today and probably will for the rest of my life.  That will be the first sport that my kids play.  I love basketball, played soccer, and participated in track and field when I was younger.  I went to a really small school so anything you could get your hands on was fun, there just wasn’t much else to do.

Paneech: How is the school part going here?  Have you chosen a major yet?

Ingalls: I’m studying physical education to teach and have wanted to do that since kindergarten.  People come here and change their major four times and I don’t need to worry because I know what I want to do.  I substitute teach in New York because you can while you are going to school for it.  It doesn’t get old and I enjoy going to the classes.  The worst class I took here was weather with Buckler.  It was awful.  I was a freshman still learning how to study.  I had to learn what the temperature was in Arkansas if a low pressure system was moving North.  It was a nightmare, and I got a C in it.

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One Word Answers

Favorite Hat: I wear a visor.

Typical Fast Food Order: Jimmy John’s #11 Country Club with barbecued chips and Diet Coke.

Biggest Phobia: Snakes.

Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds.

Worst Habit: Chewing my gum too loud.

Best Baseball Movie Ever: Fever Pitch.

Dream Vacation: Ireland.

Favorite Musician: Lil Wayne.

Toppings on A Pizza: Whatever anyone wants, I like everything.

Favorite Holiday: Christmas Eve.

Special thanks to Ron Stevens for the photographs. The weather that Jordan doesn’t mind kept me away, but Ron had a few he let me use!

Phil Klein Named Horizon League Pitcher of The Week

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Youngstown State senior baseball player Phil Klein has been named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Week for the period ending April 10, the league office announced on Monday.

Klein (Gahanna, Ohio) pitched seven strong innings against Butler on Saturday to win his fourth consecutive start. He held the Bulldogs to four singles and three walks while striking out 10 batters. He allowed just one unearned run after Butler had 15 runs and 18 hits the previous night.

He retired the first nine batters he faced and struck out two batters in three of the first four innings. A passed ball assisted with Butler’s run in the fourth, and Klein worked out of a first-and-third jam with one out in the seventh to help YSU keep a 2-1 lead. He got batter Zach Sizemore to miss on a squeeze and start a rundown, and he struck Sizemore out looking to end the inning.

Over his last five starts, Klein has a 1.32 ERA in 34 innings. He has allowed just five earned runs and struck out 40 batters. Klein leads the Horizon League with 54 strikeouts in 46.2 innings.

Klein was also recognized as the League’s Pitcher of the Week on March 21.

Klein and the Penguins have a busy week ahead with five games in five days. YSU plays at Kent State on Tuesday at 3 p.m. and hosts the Golden Flashes at Eastwood Field on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Penguins will start a three-game series at Valparaiso on Friday.

Kim Klonowski Horizon League Player of The Week

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Youngstown State senior Kim Klonowski was named the Horizon League Player of the Week for April 11, the league announced on Monday.

It marks the third time in the last five weeks a Youngstown State player has garnered the award from the league, and the fourth time this season that a YSU player has received a weekly honor. Junior Jordan Ingalls, who will be featured in a Paneech.com Profile later this week, was named the player of the on March 21 and March 28, and freshman Casey Crozier was named the pitcher of the week on Feb. 28.

Klonowski batted .467, went 7-for-15 on the week, crushing her first two home runs of the season, driving in four while recording a hit in four of the five contests.

Youngstown State went 4-1 last week, collecting a key road series win at UIC over the weekend. Holding a 19-14 record, the Penguins sit just one victory from their first 20-win season since 2006.

In the Penguins’ doubleheader versus Toledo, the senior belted her first homer of the season in a 10-0 rout that capped the sweep. Her second long ball of the week came in the opener of the League series on Saturday, helping push Youngstown State to a 6-3 win over UIC.