Clean up the sports editor’s notebook

Nov 17 – It’s time to clean up the sports editor’s desk.

There are always articles that stumble across the Republican Herald sports department that don’t get the full attention they deserve. Especially during busy times of the year, like the final weeks of the Fall Sports playoff games.

They deserve your attention as local sports fans. They’re important enough that we probably should have made bigger stories about them if we hadn’t made an effort to cover our local teams playing for championships.

So let’s clear the plate with some local sports news you need to know:

All Star Time

A pair of fall athletes will be hosting all-star competitions for their standout seniors in the coming days.

The Schuylkill League Volleyball Coaches All-Star Game is tonight at 6 p.m. at Martz Hall in Pottsville. Players are divided into four teams that play a game of 30 against each of the other teams in a round-robin format.

See page B2 of today’s issue for listings for the event. The event is free and a concession stand will be available. Come and see some of the league’s top volleyball players once again.

The Lehigh Valley Health Network SCFCA All-Star Game will be held on Wednesday, November 23 at Schuylkill Haven Rotary Field. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m

The senior stars’ annual north-south football game is coordinated by the Schuylkill County Football Coaches Association. Nativity’s Pat Mason is the South’s head coach, while Tamaqua’s Sam Bonner will lead the North.

More information about the game will appear in the newspaper next week.

Share knowledge with students

Monday night was a tough game for Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham, who conceded a costly penalty late in the fourth quarter stemming from the Eagles’ first loss of the season, a 32-21 setback against the Washington Commanders on Monday Night Football .

About 14 hours later, Graham shook off that frustration to spend time with Tyler Dean’s seventh-grade counseling class at Schuylkill Haven Area Middle School via Zoom.

The 13-year-old NFL veteran participated in a program called Community Tuesday with Character Playbook sponsored by Everfi, an online mentoring program Dean uses for his classes.

Community Tuesday is a virtual event inviting area middle school students to participate in a discussion with an Eagles player. In Character Playbook, students make decisions in real-life scenarios such as: B. navigating social media, reflecting on their emotions, and building healthy relationships with their peers.

Dean’s Schuylkill Haven class of 22 students was one of several groups that attended Tuesday’s Zoom session, where the Super Bowl 52 hero discussed topics including mental wellbeing, conflict resolution and violence prevention. One of Dean’s students even got a chance to ask Graham a question.

Fantastic opportunity for a couple of teenagers to interact with an NFL star.

Busy week for World Series Champion

It’s been quite a busy month for Orwigsburg native Andrew Ball, who graduated from Blue Mountain in 2007.

Ball, 33, was hired just under a year ago as the Houston Astros’ assistant general manager after serving as the Los Angeles Angels’ director of baseball operations from 2016 to 2021. He won a World Series ring in his first year at the club.

Contacted by phone on Wednesday, Ball said he was in Philadelphia for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series and was allowed to attend the Victory Parade in Houston after the Astros won the series 4-2 against the Phillies. “It was a pretty cool experience,” he said.

In the two weeks since then, however, it’s been chaos as the Houston front office suffered a massive convulsion and Ball was basically one of the last men standing in a busy and key period of Major League Baseball’s offseason.

General manager James Click, whose contract expired on October 31, was fired just days after the title celebration. The same was true for assistant GM Scott Powers, while another assistant GM, Pete Putila, left the company to become general manager of the San Francisco Giants. Click arrived in Houston from Tampa Bay in 2020 after former general manager Jeff Luhnow was fired from the Astros following the sign-theft scandal.

According to published reports, Ball and Bill Firkus, who was recently promoted to assistant general manager, handle the day-to-day running of the team. But owner Jim Crane, who is a very “hands-on owner” and is heavily involved in the team’s baseball decisions, essentially ran the show, opting to reinstate manager Dusty Baker on a one-year deal and negotiate a new three-year deal on $34.5 million with reliever Rafael Montero and talks with right-hander Justin Verlander, who has left his contract and is a free agent.

According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, Crane said he likely won’t hire a new general manager until the new year. ESPN’s Jeff Passan published a story Tuesday detailing the entire mess.

“It’s kind of cliche to say it’s been a rollercoaster ride, but it feels like it,” Ball said. “It’s been a wild couple of weeks.”

Let’s hope things work out for Ball, who also previously worked for the Tampa Bay Rays, was baseball operations manager for the York Revolution, and was an associate scout for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Whether that’s in Houston or elsewhere remains to be seen.

Unfortunately a quiet exit

Official winter sports preseason practice begins Friday, and basketball, swimming and wrestling regular seasons begin Friday, December 1st.

When the Blue Mountain girls’ basketball team begins practice Friday, the Eagles will have a new leader for the first time in 17 years.

Rose Carper, assistant athletic director and physical education/first aid instructor at Blue Mountain High School, was named the Eagles’ new head coach in June, replacing Ruth Weidman. Carper previously served as an assistant coach on the Blue Mountain Boys basketball team.

Weidman did not retire or leave the position alone. When the district released the position, she reapplied but was rejected for the position.

In the end, there was no real fanfare surrounding the decision…it appeared as a paragraph in the June 25 issue of this paper as part of a longer story by the Blue Mountain School Board. The sad part is that it’s a quiet ending to one of the greatest coaching careers in Schuylkill County girls’ basketball history.

Weidman was the Schuylkill County high school girls’ basketball coach for 31 seasons, the first 14 at Nativity, the last 17 at Blue Mountain. She finished with a career record of 613-237 (0.721 win percent), which is third all-time behind Paul Gross (754) and Ron Rhen (675) on available records.

Weidman posted a 353-84 record at Nativity from 1991 to 2005, winning two PIAA Class A titles, three PIAA silver medals, five District 11 Class A championships, three District 11 runners-up, four Schuylkill League titles and two Schuylkill League runners-up finishes. Their Golden Girls made the PIAA playoffs all 14 seasons and went 35-12 in state playoff games.

She went to Blue Mountain for the 2005-06 season and compiled a 260-153 mark with the Eagles that included three PIAA appearances, the Class 5A crown at District 11 in 2020 and four trips to the Schuylkill League playoffs. In her 31 seasons she only had two losing campaigns, 2012-13 (8-14) and 2020-21 (7-12).

Weidman didn’t just coach basketball. While at Nativity, Weidman also served as the school’s girls’ softball coach for 17 seasons – she coached Nativity to the Class A title in District 11 in 2003 – coached golf for three seasons and was the school’s athletic director. During this time, she also coached field hockey in Hamburg and led the Hawks to a PIAA state championship.

Weidman was also Blue Mountain’s athletic director for several years and still teaches physical education/health at Blue Mountain Middle School.

Congratulations on a great career Ruth.

change of coach

Some other coaching changes around:

Jordan Lehman is the new boys’ basketball coach at Pine Grove, replacing Frank D’Agostino III, who resigned after last season.

Lehman, a Pine Grove graduate, has resigned as head baseball coach at Tri-Valley after leading the Dawgs to back-to-back District 11 titles. That position remains vacant after the Tri-Valley School Board presented a decision to hire a coach at its October meeting.

Pottsville graduate Kevin McFarland was hired as the new boys’ basketball coach in Hamburg on Monday.

Blue Mountain baseball coach Bill Dobrolsky has resigned after coaching the Eagles to the Schuylkill League title last spring. Jarrod Kramer, the son of former head coach Tom Kramer and assistant to Dobrolsky, has been named the Eagles’ new head coach.

Contact the author: [email protected]; 570-628-6026; @pubsportsboss on Twitter

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