Woah, so clearly there is a gap in your brief sports news on DaytonMostMetro.com from last week. What can I say? The holidays got to me, and that amount of alcohol and fireworks makes for an uncooperative writing mood. Besides, unless you wanted to read more about how the Dragons are stinking things up, you didn’t miss much. This LAST week was the money week here in Dayton so thank God I’m here to tell you! Unless you read it somewhere else first…. Here we go!
Ok ok don’t get all bent out of shape the Dragons didn’t do so bad over the last TWO weeks… They managed to even themselves out with a really great run this last week but trust me when I say the week of the 4th was best left forgotten. Also, I apologize but I’m not going to run down the 14 games I missed, so lets consider this another review on the fly week. They started out great! But a win against Fort Wayne was dashed away by dropping the other two games in that series, and what a shocker, both of them were by one run. They continued the weekend of the 4th with another 3 straight losses to the Great Lakes Loons. That is 5 in a row, even for a team on a destined collision course with rock bottom, that can be hard to swallow.
But all was not lost! In the ever blackening void that the team was traveling down, they found a light, an illumination, a 2 story glowing neon sign saying “Win a Game, second exit on the left.” Heeding those wise directions, they slammed on the breaks, did a big U-ie and hit the road for 6 straight wins, snagging two straight series from West Michigan and Bowling Green. Ok West Michigan is practically the worst team in the league, but we don’t have much room to talk right now do we? A win is a win after all, and the fresh air on the open road must have done the boys well because 4 of those games were even won by 2 or more runs. Ahh, but something about heading back into the balmy Miami Valley must have staggered them, because 2 more losses against the Loons this weekend stopped them short. (why have they played them the last 3 weeks in a row anyway?) Oh well, you can’t win them all as they say, but I am pretty sure that now marks the Dragon’s longest win streak this year.
First news on the block for the Gems. I had mentioned two weeks ago that they had delayed an expected press conference until an undisclosed date. That date turned out to be last Wednesday. At this conference the Gems finally announced their new Head Coach and General Manager, Brian Gratz. This is good news! Sort of.. I mean, as near as I can figure… from what you can tell from the guy…. Let’s say he doesn’t have a huge record to work with. Yes the Gems have definitely hired some young blood here, and some might consider it a gamble. The Gems were not exactly the league sensation that I think ownership were perhaps hoping for in their first season back. Their attendance was worst in the league (as was their record) and no amount of seriously cheap tickets or ridiculously cheap beer could seem to draw the crowds out to Hara. The solution seems pretty obvious, namely, win more games.
So can this guy win more games? It sure as hell looks like it on the surface. His college career with Penn State is fairly distinguished, winning four American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Championships as a goaltender, after which he went up to the minors playing for a variety of teams over the next 5 years, but had pretty limited play time. He has had two years under his belt as a professional hockey coach. His stats certainly don’t lie, with two winning seasons, (the second a little worse than the first) but any winning season is better than what the Gems dealt with last year, so he won’t have to soar high, just get this bird off the ground. If anyone asks where he was last year, I have heard he was coaching JV hockey at Penn State, but don’t quote me on that.
Are the Gems doing the right thing? I can’t say. Hiring someone young to take the reigns might be exactly what the team needs, hell what the City of Dayton needs, and there is always a possibility it won’t work out, but give the guy a chance to work his skills and see what he can do. He’s never coached at this level before, so hopefully the management up top will give him more than a year to prove his stuff. Welcome to Dayton Coach Grantz, we’re waiting in anticipation.
On a final note. The Gems are changing their jerseys next year to reflect a little bit more with their classics from back in the day. Personally I was a big fan of the new ones… Not sure really how I feel about these, and I would have preferred to see them bust out some real throwback jerseys a few times a year instead of completely changing their look after one season. Still, you be the judge.. No seriously, you can go vote on which one you like most but only until this Wednesday, so get crackin’.
Ok, so there have been quite a few games for the Dutch Lions as well so instead of going over a game by game, I’ll let you know how they fared and where they stand at the moment. The Lions played the Michigan Bucks two weeks that brought them a 2-1 victory, and was followed up this last weekend with two losses in Canada, ouch. First a failed comeback attempt resulted in a 2-1 loss against Forest City and on Sunday, a 2-0 loss left the Dutch Lions with no points for the week, and dropped them down to 3rd place in the league with only two games remaining. Their last home game is this upcoming Saturday at 1:00pm. Go watch them if you haven’t yet this year!
Up next is great news for the Lions. Last week they held a press conference to announce that Dayton has been promoted to the USL Championship League (formerly USL-2). In addition the Lions announced they will be creating a new women’s team to compete next year in the USL W-League. This is a pretty amazing jump after only a single year of play, but clearly the Lions administration has a specific goal in mind for their organization and the USL must clearly see them as an asset. The Lions will no longer be playing regional teams in a separate division of the PDL, but six seasoned teams from in the Northeastern region of the US. This will be more challenging play for the Lions, but it will help in just about every aspect of the program including exposure, attendance, increased skill level, etc. The Lions are on their way to create true major league athletes that could end up playing across the globe.
Did I hear rumors of them considering construction of their own stadium? Ehh, I can’t back that up, but bring it on guys!
On a brief note to the Dutch Lion’s brothers who played in the World Cup Championship yesterday, my condolences. It was a very hard fought game, with yellow cards flying every where and more flopping players than should respectfully appear on world-wide television. Both teams were playing pretty….. strongly, and though I lament the loss to Spain for our adopted Netherlands, at least they didn’t win the game off of a dirty free kick call after tripping over their own feet and falling to the ground in the most unconvincing display of pain ever televised… They set up a good run and made a good shot, end of story.
A quick note here, Cassandra Lloyd has been selected as the Horizon League Outdoor Track & Field Female Co-Athlete of the Year. The first time for a Wright State athlete as I understand it.
I’ve mentioned the last few weeks about Wright State baseball athletes picked up by professional teams, so I wanted to take the time to note that Cole Tyrell, a former Flyer who was selected in the 2010 draft by the San Diego Padres, has been promoted to their Single A club, the Eugene Emeralds, congrats, Cole, best of luck out there.
Football season is fast approaching, and Phil Steel’s College Football Preview has recognized seven Flyers to be on it’s pre-season All-Pioneer team. Since I’m completely uneducated in Flyer’s football, I guess I had better start doing some reading before September gets here shouldn’t I? Phew, there is going to be a lot to keep up with when college lets back in, isn’t there?
Well, I’m out, we’ll be back next week with more tidbits and updates on your favorite local sports, and until then, go watch a game in Dayton!