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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Mar. 27, 2017

Van Wert independent sports

(Please note: games/events subject to change)

Monday, March 27

Baseball: Spencerville at Van Wert (5 p.m.)

Tuesday, March 28

Baseball: Fort Recovery at Lincolnview (5 p.m.)

Softball: Delphos Jefferson at Van Wert (5 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 29

Baseball: Van Wert at Lincolnview (4:30 p.m.)

Baseball: Delphos St. John’s at Crestview (5 p.m.)

Softball: Van Wert at Lincolnview (4:30 p.m.)

Softball: Elida at Crestview (5 p.m.)

Thursday, March 30

Baseball: Fort Jennings at Lincolnview (4:30 p.m.)

Baseball: Hicksville at Crestview (5 p.m.)

Softball: Van Wert at Crestview (5 p.m.)

Softball: Lincolnview at Minster (5 p.m.)

Track and Field: Van Wert at Napoleon (Boys and Girls, 4:30 p.m.)

Friday, March 31

Baseball: Crestview at Shawnee (5 p.m.)

Softball: Crestview at Fairview (5 p.m.)

Track and Field: Fort Recovery, Continental and Cory-Rawson at Crestview Boys and Girls, 5 p.m.)

Saturday, April 1

Baseball: Bryan at Van Wert DH (1 p.m.)

Baseball: Crestview at Fort Recovery DH (11 a.m.)

Baseball: Lincolnview, Delphos St. John’s at Antwerp (11 a.m.)

Softball: Shawnee, New Bremen and Spencerville at Crestview quad (12 p.m.)

Track and Field: Crestview at Versailles Boys Invitational (10 a.m.)

POSTED: 03/27/17 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

The Van Wert Cougars opened the 2017 high school baseball season in impressive fashion by sweeping a doubleheader against Delphos Jefferson Saturday at Smiley Park.

Caleb Fetzer went the distance, tossing a one-hitter, and the Cougars defeated the Wildcats 5-0 in the first contest.

Van Wert's Caleb Fetzer (12) pitches a 1-hitter in his first outing of the year in a 5-0 win over Delphos Jefferson. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Van Wert’s Caleb Fetzer (12) pitches a 1-hitter in his first outing of the year in a 5-0 win over Delphos Jefferson. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Fetzer went the distance in Game 1, and finished with nine strikeouts and seven walks.

“Caleb threw a lot of strikes, and I’m pretty pleased with how things went,” Van Wert head coach Charlie Witten said.

The Cougars (2-0) scored single runs in the first, second, and fourth innings, and two more in the fifth. James Acquaviva finished with three RBI, and Nick Gutierrez, Jalen McCracken, Jonathan Lee, Evan Williams, and Lawson Blackmore each scored runs.

Blackmore and Gutierrez accounted for four stolen bases.

Jordan Boop had Jefferson’s (0-2) only hit of the game.

In the second game, the Cougars scored three runs in the first and never looked back en route to a 9-2 victory.  Van Wert scored three more runs in the third, two more in the fourth, and one run in the sixth inning.

Mason Carr and Gutierrez account for four of Van Wert’s 12 hits, while Williams had two RBI.

“Offensively, I thought we hit the ball well, especially in the second game,”  Witten said. “We only made one error on the day, so it was a good job defensively.”

Van Wert’s Holden Willingham pitched six innings, and allowed both runs on four hits. He struck out five batters, and walked just one. Hayden Maples pitched in the seventh, and got the save.

Brett Mahlie and Darius Shurelds each finished with an RBI for the Wildcats.

Van Wert is scheduled to host Spencerville at 5 p.m. Monday, while Jefferson will host Kalida.

Box scores

Jefferson   0 0 0 0 0 0 0–-0  1  4

Van Wert  1 1 0 1 2 0  X–5  6  0

Jefferson   0 1 0 0 0 1 0–-2  5  1

Van Wert   3 0 3 2 0 1 X–-9 12 1

POSTED: 03/26/17 at 8:59 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

ELIDA — It was a rough start to Crestview’s softball season.

The defending Division IV state champions lost to Marion Local 5-1 in eight innings, then lost to Edgerton 13-3 in Saturday’s four-team event at Elida’s Dorothy Edwards Field.

Ashley Call, Lexi Gregory, and Alyssa Gent each went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Lady Knights. Call had a double and an RBI, and Gent scored Crestview’s lone run of the first game.

In the second game, Sydney Bowen went 4-for-4 at the plate and scored two runs, while Call had a pair of hits and Caitlin O’Hagan finished with two hits and two RBI for the Lady Knights (0-2).

Crestview will host Elida Wednesday.

POSTED: 03/26/17 at 8:38 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Four returning letter winners are expected to lead an otherwise very young Van Wert Lady Cougars softball team in 2017.

All four are seniors — Allie Hall (second base, outfielder/pitcher), infielder Allison Kennedy, Peyton Okuly (outfielder/utility player), and Olivia Profit (third base/outfielder). A fifth senior, Kateri Steinecker (shortstop/second base/pitcher and a three-time letter winner), will miss the entire season, due to an injury.

“We’ll be relying on them to help guide the team during the season, while the younger team members gain playing time and experience with each game played,” head coach Greg Steinecker said of his returning seniors.

As of now, Van Wert’s pitching staff will consist of three or four players. Hall and Okuly are in the mix, along with junior Laine Spoor, sophomore Jaden Wagner and freshmen Lauren Moore and Katie Coplin.

“With the loss of Brooke Brown to graduation and Steinecker to injury, the pitching staff will be young,” Steinecker said. “We are still working on and evaluating which ones will be stepping up to be the everyday pitcher.”

Also under evaluation by Steinecker — the projected usual lineup. Along with Hall, Kennedy, Okuly and Profit, others expected to see playing time for Van Wert this season include juniors Katlyn Dickson (catcher/third base/outfielder), Spoor (shortstop/third base/pitcher), and Grace Kline (outfielder/utility player), sophomores Drew Kennedy (second base/outfielder), Olivia Kline (catcher/first base/outfielder) and the two freshmen on the varsity roster: Moore and Coplin (pitcher/utility players).

“The team concept will be to rely on our defense and our ability to manufacture runs, and one of our goals for the team is to develop a consistent approach to each and every game,” Steinecker said.

Van Wert’s softball season is scheduled to begin next Tuesday at home against Delphos Jefferson.

The Van Wert High School varsity softball  team. Brent Gibson/for the VW independent

The Van Wert High School varsity softball team. Brent Gibson/for the VW independent

POSTED: 03/25/17 at 8:01 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY — With a wealth of returning talent and a lot of interchangeable players, the 2017 baseball season could prove to be a very successful one for the Crestview Knights.

Seven starters and 10 lettermen are back from last year’s team that finished 13-8 (6-2 Northwest Conference), and lost to Minster in the districts. Most of the returning players have the ability to play multiple positions.

Baseball photo 3-2017Crestview head coach Jim Wharton noted the entire infield returns with another year of experience.

Senior Tanner Crowle, junior Derek Stout and sophomore Brant Richardson (.234 average) are competing for time at first base, while two-year starter and senior Zechariah Simerman (.281 average) is back at second, along with senior Derek Biro. Depending on who’s on the mound, shortstop will be manned by senior Spencer Rolsten and junior Caden Hurless (.343, second team All-NWC). Hurless also will play third, with help from senior Payton Knittle (.189 average) and Biro.

“The ability of this group to play fundamentally sound, mistake-free defense will undoubtedly determine the success for our 2017 season,” Wharton said.

Looking to the outfield, Wharton has high hopes with Richardson in center field,  senior Jacob Painter (.300 average, honorable mention All-NWC) and Knittle in left field. Biro, Stout, Schumm, Alec Ingram, and Austin Habegger will also see time.

As far as pitching, Rolsten (3-2, 19 strikeouts, 14 walks, 1.55 ERA, first-team All-NWC) has the most returning experience, but others who may  figure into the rotation include Stout, Crowle, Hurless, Simerman, Painter, Richardson, Biro and junior Dylan Hicks.

Stout missed most of last season, following elbow surgery from basketball season.

“Our pitching staff will be counted on heavily to keep us in games,” Wharton said. “We feel we have a number of kids that have the ability to start on any given day.”


POSTED: 03/25/17 at 7:44 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

COLUMBUS — Matchups are set for today’s State Boys’ Basketball championship games at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Division II

10:45 a.m.–-Wauseon (27-1) vs. Akron St. Vincent St. Mary’s (22-7)

Division IV 

2 p.m.–-Cleveland Heights Lutheran East (19-9) vs. Columbus Wellington (22-7)

Division III

5:15 p.m.–-Cleveland Villa Angela St. Joseph (22-6) Cincinnati Roger Bacon (25-4)

Division I

8:30 p.m.–-Cincinnati Moeller (28-0) vs. Massillon Jackson (27-2)

All four games will air live on 99.7 FM WKSD, and will stream live on The Van Wert Independent (

POSTED: 03/25/17 at 7:40 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Submitted information

The healthiest things area residents can do for themselves are to exercise regularly and lead an active lifestyle: The physical, emotional and spiritual benefits have turned even the most rooted couch potatoes into believers!

For those not inclined to self-motivate when it comes to breaking a sweat (you know who you are) and even those who never miss a workout, a fitness club membership is a great way to stay on track. And it can make an exercise program even more enriching.

From swimming pools and low-impact cardio equipment to classes designed specifically for older adults, fitness clubs are full of variety and camaraderie, and they’re not just for the 20-somethings anymore.

SilverSneakers logo 3-2015Nothing will sink a workout routine faster than people forcing themselves to do a workout they dread. Fitness centers are full of diverse ways to burn calories and build muscle. From cardio and weight machines that let people watch TV while they exercise to group classes like yoga, swimming, dancing, and cycling. Using different machines and varying a workout also helps people work more muscles, which improves results and the quality of workouts.

Fitness centers are usually full of people. Some love to exercise and others drag themselves there for all the right reasons. Being surrounded by other people in the same boat can inspire people to work harder, try new equipment, and to keep coming back. And fitness professionals are on-hand to answer questions, help those working out to learn to use equipment properly, and show them how to perform exercises safely.

Most fitness centers open early and close late, so even the busiest early birds and night owls can fit in a workout. Bad weather = no workout? Nope! Snow and ice, thunder and lightning, negative wind chills, or triple digits; no matter what extreme weather wrecks an outdoor workout, conditions are always perfect inside the fitness center. And maintaining consistency will ensure people sustain their results and healthy habits, rain or shine.

Attending group classes is another great way to switch up a routine and to meet new people. Many fitness centers offer SilverSneakers classes designed specifically for adults of all fitness levels. Classes range from cardio and strengthening to yoga and water-based exercise, and many groups organize social events outside of class. Before participants know it, they’ll actually be looking forward to taking classes with their new friends

People need people! Being socially active boosts a person’s emotional health, cognitive function, and immune system, and it can help people live longer. And if they socialize at the fitness center, they’ll improve their physical health while they’re at it. Making friends at the gym can also motivate people to get there and enrich their life outside of the gym.


POSTED: 03/24/17 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: Lifestyles, Sports

Van Wert independent sports

COLUMBUS — The Delphos St. John’s Blue Jays, who were outscored 21-0 in the third quarter, fell to the Cleveland Heights Lutheran East Falcons 50-25 in Thursday’s Division IV state semifinals at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Robby Saine led the Blue Jays (21-5) with 10 points, while Lutheran East’s Jordan Burge led all scorers with 16.

In Thursday’s second Division IV semifinal game, the Perry Commodores lost to Columbus Wellington School 68-47.

Perry (24-4) led 18-13 at the end of the first quarter, but the Jaguars outscored the Commodores in each of the three remaining quarters.

Perry’s Orion Munford led all scorers with 19 points.

Lutheran East and Columbus Wellington will meet for the small school championship at 2 p.m. Saturday. That game, along with three other state title games, will air live on WSKD 99.7 FM, and will stream live on The Van Wert Independent (

Box scores

Delphos St. John’s             8      5     0   12–-25

Lutheran East                     9      7   21   13–-50

Col. Wellington School    13   19   20   16–-68

Lima Perry                         18     5   15   16–-47

POSTED: 03/24/17 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

After losing eight lettermen to graduation, starting pitching and solid middle of the field defense will be key factors entering the Van Wert Cougars’ 2017 baseball season.

“Even though we graduated a lot of good baseball players from last year’s team, we expect to stay competitive this year,” head coach Charlie Witten said. “Our current group of players had a great summer and look to improve as the year progresses.”

“We lost a lot offensively from last year, and we will need younger players to step up on offense for us to be able to score runs,” Witten added.

On the mound, the Cougars (16-6, 7-2 Western Buckeye League in 2016) will lean on senior and two-time letterman Caleb Fetzer (6-1, 64 strikeouts, 19 walks, one save, 1.59 ERA last season), and letterman sophomore Lawson Blackmore (2-0, 15 strikeouts, two walks, 0.70 ERA in 2016).  Likely to join the pitching rotation will be junior Holden Willingham, with sophomore Hayden Maples also in the mix.

Baseball photo 3-2017Up the middle, Nick Gutierrez (.356 average, 12 RBI, and 19 runs scored) returns at shortstop, and three-time letter winner Mason Carr (.328 average, 19 runs scored) will be the center fielder.

Senior letterman Cade Chiles (.375 average) is back to play second base, and, when he’s not pitching, Fetzer (.323 average, 21 RBI) will spend time at second and third base.

Willingham will see time at third base for the Cougars, and sophomore Nathan Temple is slated to play first base.

Catching duties will be split between junior Storm Pierce and Maples, with freshman T.J. Reynolds seeing time there as well.

Junior James Acquaviva will patrol left field and junior Jonathon Lee will play right field. Also in the outfield rotation: sophomore Jalen McCracken, juniors Darius Eddins and Tristen Wehner, along with spot duty by senior Evan Williams (.231), who will mainly serve as the team’s designated hitter.

Witten expects a competitive WBL title race this season.

“Defending champion Defiance, Wapakoneta, and Celina should be the favorites to win this year, but other schools have the potential to compete for the league title as well.”

Weather permitting, the Cougars will open the season this Saturday with a non-conference doubleheader at home against Delphos Jefferson. The first game is scheduled to begin at noon.

“We will need to do all of the little things right in order to have a successful season,” Witten said. “Our pitchers will have to throw strikes and our defense will have to make routine plays.”

POSTED: 03/22/17 at 7:01 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Two area teams are in, while two others missed going to this week’s State Boys’ Basketball Tournament in Columbus.

On the strength of Friday’s 44-43 regional championship win over Mansfield St. Peter’s, Midwest Athletic Conference member Delphos St. John’s (21-4) will take on Cleveland Heights Lutheran East (18-9) in the Division IV state semifinals at 5:15 p.m. Thursday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

The winner will play for the small school title against Northwest Central Conference member Perry (24-3) or Columbus Wellington School (21-7) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Perry won two regional games, after assistant coach and head football coach Herb Lane died in a traffic accident.

BasketballA second MAC member played for a spot in Columbus, but fell short. Marion Local (18-9) lost to Archbold 48-24 in Saturday’s Division III regional championship game at the University of Toledo.

Western Buckeye League member Elida just missed a trip to the Division II State Tournament. In Saturday’s regional championship game at Toledo, the Bulldogs pushed Wauseon to overtime, but fell 54-45.

Here are the matchups and the schedule for the State Tournament.  All 12 games will air live on WKSD 99.7 FM, and will stream live on The Van Wert Independent (

Thursday, March 23

Division II

  • 10:45 a.m.–-Wauseon 26-1 vs. Columbus Eastmoor Academy (22-6)
  • 2 p.m.–-Akron St. Vincent St. Mary (23-5) vs. Trotwood Madison (25-2)

Division IV

  • 5:15 p.m.–-Delphos St. John’s (21-4) vs. Lutheran East (18-9)
  • 8:30 p.m.–-Wellington School (21-7) vs. Perry (24-3)

*Note–-1996-1997 Lincolnview Lancers will be honored at halftime of the 8:30 p.m. game.

Friday, March 24

Division III

  • 10:45 a.m.–-Cleveland Villa Angela St. Joseph (21-6) vs. Fairland (24-1)
  • 2 p.m.–-St. Bernard Roger Bacon (23-4) vs. Archbold (22-5)

Division I

  • 5:15 p.m.–-Pickerington Central (26-2) vs. Cincinnati Moeller (27-0)
  • 8:30 p.m.–-Lakewood St. Edward (23-5) vs. Massillon Jackson (26-2)

Saturday, March 25

  • Division II finals–-10:45 a.m.
  • Division IV finals–-2 p.m.
  • Division III finals–-5:15 p.m.
  • Division I finals–-8:30 p.m.

POSTED: 03/20/17 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: Sports