Sports and Outdoors

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wells County Extension calendar

September 30 — 4-H Horse & Pony Club Achievement Night & Carry In Meal, 5-H Park, 5 p.m.
October 5 — Girls' Night Out, Register online at
October 6 — Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Soils Judging Contest, LaGrange County, 8:30 a.m.
October 8 — Columbus Day. County Offices Closed
October 14 — Wells County 4-H Fear Factor & Awards Night, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 4 to 7 p.m.
October 27 — Wells County Health Fair, Lancaster Elementary School, 7 to 11 a.m.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Norwell Middle School teams place at invitational

The Norwell Middle School cross country teams placed second Saturday at the Wabash Invitational at Wabash. The Crusaders’ boys team scored 53 points, while West Noble was first. The girls netted 62 points, and Pendleton Heights took first place with 19 points.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pioneer Granny Doctor at Mississinewa Lake, Sept. 21

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

The public is invited to meet Millie, a portrayal of an 1840s Indiana Pioneer Granny Doctor, at Mississinewa Lake on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The event is at the interpretive shelter in Miami State Recreational Area in Wabash County.

Millie will share her knowledge of common plants and their uses in everyday pioneer life.

The event is free but the standard entrance fee of $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle applies.
For more information, visit or or call (260) 468-2127.

Mississinewa Lake is at 4673 S. 625 E. Peru, 46970.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TinCaps announce 2013 schedule

From the Fort Wayne TinCaps:

The Fort Wayne TinCaps released their schedule for the 2013 season. Coming off of the greatest attended regular season and playoffs in franchise history, the team looks to build on that success in their fifth season at Parkview Field.

"It is truly hard to believe we are already planning for the fifth season downtown," said TinCaps Team President, Mike Nutter. "It seems like just yesterday that we opened the gates to the ballpark and welcomed in our first fan. Now, nearly 300 TinCaps games and four seasons later, we've welcomed well over 1.5 million fans. That isn't a number we take lightly. We feel we owe this community an affordable, fun, family-friendly entertainment option every summer. The 2013 season will be all of that and more."

Season tickets as well as all individual ticket prices will remain the same for the 2013 season at Parkview Field.

In addition to all home game dates and times, the team also announced fireworks dates, day-of-the-week promotions, theme nights, and special entertainment. "We have an amazing 30 firework shows scheduled for 2013," said Nutter, "that is a record for us. We are also bringing back fan favorites such as Family Feast nights continuing on Mondays with a $1.00 food menu, Thirsty Thursdays with $1.00 beer, Theme Night Fridays, and Player Autographs on Sunday afternoons."

Other regular season highlights include Opening Day 2013 on Thursday, April 11th, which will include a post-game fireworks show. "Opening Day has become a tradition at Parkview Field, with sell-outs each of the last four seasons" said Nutter. "We will continue to commemorate the start of the season with unique promotions."

The TinCaps are expanding post-game fireworks dates by including shows on a record 7 Thursday nights and 4 Monday nights. The schedule also includes 8 Friday firework dates and 8 shows on Saturdays. "We saw tremendous positive feedback from our midweek firework displays during the 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons," said Nutter. "With almost 70 sellouts over the last three years there was a need to add additional shows for next season to keep up with demand."

Entertainment acts for the 2013 season were also announced, including appearances by Myron Noodleman, BirdZerk, the ZOOperstars, QuickChange, Christopher, and Jake the Diamond Dog. Additional promotional and entertainment announcements are expected in the coming months as plans continue to be finalized.

2013 Season ticket packages - Existing season ticket holders will have a priority period to renew and reserve their same seat locations for 2013. Following that period season tickets will be available to the general public.

Groups who enjoyed outings and picnics during the 2012 season will have an early period for booking an outing for next season, which will begin in the coming weeks. Groups that did not have an outing in 2012 are welcome to contact the team to be placed on a waiting list.

For more information about the TinCaps 2013 season please contact the Fort Wayne TinCaps Administrative Office at (260) 482-6400. Additional information is available online at

Individual tickets for TinCaps home games in 2013 are not yet released for sale.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Youth Ambassadors sought to document state parks and reservoirs

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

DNR is looking for enthusiastic young adults who will volunteer to document their experiences at Indiana’s state parks and reservoirs for the America’s State Parks Youth Ambassador program.

Their photos, videos and blogs will be posted at, along with entries from other Youth Ambassadors from around the country. The Youth Ambassadors program is a movement to promote the outdoors to other young adults.

Applicants should be between the ages of 18 and 26.

The program is a great way for young people to share their outdoor experiences and get their writing and photographs published.

Youth Ambassadors will visit state parks and reservoirs within a defined region to photograph and blog at least once a month about events, hikes, camping, hunting, fishing and more.

The regions are northeast (Pokagon, Chain O'Lakes and Ouabache state parks, and Salamonie and Mississinewa lakes), northwest (Indiana Dunes, Potato Creek, Tippecanoe River, Prophetstown and Shades state parks), east-central (Mounds, Fort Harrison, Summit Lake, Whitewater Memorial and Brown County state parks, and Brookville Lake), west-central (Turkey Run, Shakamak and McCormick's Creek state parks, and Cagles Mill Lake [Lieber SRA] and Cecil M. Harden Lake [Raccoon SRA]), southeast (Versailles, Charlestown, Clifty Falls and Falls of the Ohio state parks and Monroe and Hardy lakes), and southwest (Harmonie, Lincoln, Spring Mill and O'Bannon Woods state parks and Patoka Lake).

Youth Ambassadors may be asked to cover specific events.

The program requires at least a one-year commitment.

Youth Ambassadors will receive an annual entrance pass for all state parks and reservoirs and free or reduced camping (when available).

Applicants must have a basic knowledge of Indiana’s state parks and reservoirs, an enthusiasm for natural and cultural resources and outdoor recreation, an ability to write in a conversational style, an ability to use a digital camera for photographs and videos, and must pass a criminal background check.

Youth Ambassadors are expected to provide their own transportation, meals and lodging (unless a campsite is available.) A digital camera will be provided.

To apply, email Ginger Murphy, Assistant Director for Stewardship at DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs, at with the following information:

• Name, mailing address and email address.
• Preferred region
• A paragraph describing an experience at an Indiana state park or reservoir.
• A paragraph explaining why you want to be a Youth Ambassador. (Include how you might approach this role.)
• A photograph that you've taken of people enjoying the outdoors or of a scenic place/view.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NMS cross country team compete

The Norwell Middle School students above recently participated in the Bellmont Conditioner. Pictured are front row, left to right, Morgan Markley, Ashley VandenBoom, Kayla Detrick, Claire Johnson; back row, Libby Kemper, Hannah Worden, Megan Theisman, Allison Topp, and Coach Scott Hanni.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A playoff approach in the batter's box

From the official site of Minor League Baseball:

Most of the 17 leagues in the Minors began their postseason schedules this week. Focusing on the five five-game playoff series at Triple-A and Double-A, this column brings an update on five top hitting prospects and their approach at the plate in September.

Pacific Coast League: Wil Myers; Omaha vs. Albuquerque
The first thing second-ranked Royals prospect Wil Myers looks for an at-bat is the fastball. He will tell you this. He will tell the pitcher this. He even told me this. He's not bashful.

"For me, if I start looking at a scouting report too much, start thinking about things up at the plate, I really psych myself out sometimes," Myers said. "I do like to know the velocity of [the pitcher's] fastball. The only thing I look for up there is the fastball and adjust to the off-speed. Every now and then, we'll talk about what he throws in different counts, but really I just want to go up there and look for a fastball."

The simple approach has proven affective. In case you haven't heard, Myers has been the Minors' best player (sorry, Dylan Bundy) if not biggest story (OK, Billy Hamilton). This can be found in the numbers, from Double- and Triple-A: a .314 average, a Minors-leading 37 home runs and those 109 RBIs. And that's with a mid-August 1-for-18 skid that dropped his Omaha average 10 points to, briefly anyway, below .300.

"I changed my approach to stay to the middle of the field. It's more mental. Whenever I think about pulling balls too much, I start rolling over on ground balls, pulling off [the ball], not able to get to the outside [pitches]." said Myers, who has also stood up in his stance to increase his power this season. "I was getting a little pull-happy in August, trying to hit too many home runs. I just want to stay through the middle of the field these last couple of weeks. That really works for me."

So does facing the pitching of Albuquerque, Omaha's first-round postseason opponent. The right-handed-hitting outfielder/third baseman was 17-for-35 (.486) against the Isotopes, and the one pitcher he didn't enjoy facing, PCL Pitcher of the Year John Ely, was promoted to the Majors this week.

"I have swung the bat pretty good against these guys," he understated. "They like to challenge hitters with the fastball. They try to get ahead in the count early. That's something I like, when pitchers try to do that."

Playoff thought: "[The Royals] have already told me I am not coming up, so I am just worried about going out and winning the PCL. Obviously, I'd rather be up there, but since I'm here, I'm really looking forward to playing in these playoffs. I have played in one playoffs before -- last year -- but this team is a lot better than the team I had last year."

International League: Tony Sanchez; Indianapolis vs. Charlotte
The first thing sixth-ranked Pirates prospect Tony Sanchez notices about his recent "feel" at the plate is his hands. They feel good.

"Lately, I have been seeing the ball well. Jeff Brandon, our hitting coach, and we have been fine-tuning my mechanics, getting me into a stronger position. My swing works all around my hands, and my hands start my movement -- that's what gets me into a good position."

In August, his third full month at Triple-A, Sanchez batted .271. He wasn't shabby in July either, hitting six home runs in 23 games. He is just 2-for-19 against Knights pitching this season, but the Indians catcher is comfortable entering his club's first September series.

"We will go over what we have seen from their guys in the past, but there's only so much you can do with a scouting report. A guy can be on or off a certain day, certain pitches will be there and certain pitches won't be. I go out trying to figure out how he is attacking me that day and go from there," he said. "For me, less is more. 'Velo' on the fastball and what his out-pitch is -- that's all I need. I think a lot of guys feel that way. The less information we have, the less we think about it, the more we just go up there and hit."

Playoff thought: We have lost a lot of talent, but we are just as strong as were earlier this season. There will be a little bit more on the line -- we're playing for a ring -- but I'll still try to drive in runs for my team and have good at-bats no matter what the game is."

Texas League: Kolten Wong; Springfield vs. Tulsa
The first thing fourth-ranked Cardinals prospect Kolten Wong does when he gets to the ballpark -- only after dressing and stretching -- is find his way to the batting cage. Actually, there's no "finding" -- he knows his way. Per his pregame routine, Wong hits off a tee before smacking "flips" from his hitting coach, Phillip Wellman. Then, whether a series is just beginning or already ending, he jumps into a hitters-only meeting.

"We'll see who the pitcher is for the day. We'll ask our coach, 'What do you think we need to be aware of?' Everyone throws out comments [like] what pitchers go to [in situations]," Wong said. "At this point in the season, we have probably faced him five to seven times already. I have an idea of how he likes to pitch me and what his pitches are."

Wong has not done as well against Springfield's first playoff opponent, Tulsa, (22-for-104, a .212 average) as he has against the field (.287). "They always come with a different gameplan. Even though each gameplan is similar, when I think a pitch is coming, they go with a different pitch," the second baseman/leadoff man said. "That's the one thing that's hard about playing in the Texas League. There are only eight teams, so you're constantly playing the same people. By the second or third series, they know what your weakness is."

Wong, St. Louis' first-round pick in 2011, has made slight adjustments to his mechanics -- specifically, altering his hand path and increasing the load into his swing -- but hasn't change much else.

"The numbers are sort of where I expected them to be," he said. "I didn't really expect to come out hitting .340 this year 'cause I knew I was going to be a lot more games."

Playoff thought: "The intensity is going to be different. There is a lot of intensity when we're playing during the season, but it's playoff time."

Eastern League: Jonathan Schoop; Bowie vs. Akron
The first thing third-ranked Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop will do when the playoffs are over is sit down and self-analyze. "I haven't had the season I expected, but once I get to the offseason, I'm going to watch a lot of film of me hitting. We got to fix something," he said. "I will be a better player next year."

Schoop, the 20-year-old Curacao-born infielder and the Robin to Manny Machado's Batman, batted .290 in 2010 and again in '11 but finished '12 at .245. He collected 39 extra-base hits but also struck out 103 times in 124 games. He too battles the information age. He wants to know the opposing pitcher's velocity, his out-pitch and more specific data (like what pitch he throws most often with runners in scoring position), and yet he wants to keep his mind quiet. He can't have it both ways. "Putting pressure on myself," he said of his woes. "When I think too much, I lose my concentration."

Schoop's physical goals at the plate are two-fold: Keep his swing short and find a way to hit the baseball with the thickest part of his bat's barrel. He rarely accomplished both against the Baysox's first September stumbling block, Akron. The Aeros limited the right-handed hitter to 13 hits in 62 at-bats, or a .191 average. At least they no longer boast starter Steven Wright, who was traded midseason (to the Red Sox organization.

"That was the key guy for them, because he threw like 85 [mph], but he had the knuckleball and a good slider," Schoop said. "I actually liked the challenge of facing him."

Playoff thought: "We don't want to change anything just because it's the playoffs. We'll treat it like the normal season."

Southern League: Chris Owings; Mobile vs. Montgomery
The first thing fifth-ranked D-backs prospect Chris Owings worked to fix last instructional league was his timing and vision. He and Arizona hitting coordinator Alan Cockrell found a remedy in a good old-fashioned leg-kick to get Owings' stroke going.

"I have carried that through this season," the right-handed hitting shortstop said.

Owings, a first-round draftee in 2009, began 2012 for a second tour at the Class A Advanced level, where he would bat .324 with 11 longballs in 59 games. In 69 since at Double-A, his numbers have come down some. He went 13-for-58 (.224) against Montgomery and batted .263 with six homers overall. One pitcher he's glad he won't have to prepare for: former Biscuits ace Alex Colome.

"We're going to have a meeting before the series starts, but I have my notes from facing these guys throughout the year," he said. "More mental notes on what their game plan is. I like to keep things simple but also have a plan on what they got. Velocity isn't too big of an issue. Knowing pitches is more important."

Playoff thought: "It will be a little bit better atmosphere, but we have played Montgomery a lot since I've been up here."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tennis & horseshoes to debut at Hoosier Outdoor Experience

From the Department of Natural Resources:

Tennis for kids and family horseshoes will be part of the Hoosier Outdoor Experience this year for the first time.

The fourth annual event is coming to Indianapolis’ Fort Harrison State Park, Sept. 15-16. Last year, an estimated 20,000 reveled in the more than 50 hands-on outdoor activities at no cost to them for entry or participation.

The “10 and Under Tennis” activity is being offered by the United States Tennis Association, which will supply trained instructors on special temporary courts. The activity is designed especially for kids. Participants will be eligible for a free one-year USTA Junior Membership, a $20 value. For more information, see

Horseshoe pitching is being offered by the Speedway Horseshoe Leagues/Indiana Chapter of the National Horseshoe Pitching Association. Temporary pitch areas will be set up, with hands-on pitching for the whole family.

Just as the approximately 50 other activities, participation and admission is free.

The Hoosier Outdoor Experience, which runs 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, is presented by the DNR and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. The goal is to introduce people to outdoor activities they may have never tried.

Online advance registration at is requested. Watch for event updates at that website or at

Sign up to volunteer at For questions about volunteering, contact volunteer coordinator Cheryl Hampton, (317) 233-1002, or Leah Kopp, (317) 234-1064,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

NMS boys cross country team place at invitational

The Norwell Middle School boys cross country team continued its early season success by placing 2nd at the Manchester Invitational Saturday. The Crusaders tied with Westview Junior High, but they lost the tie-breaker to place 2nd.

Above, Austin Boucher leads the way for the Crusaders, cruising to a win in a time of 10:19. Noah Steffen finished behind him, taking 2nd.

Dustin Haiflich placed 7th, finishing in 11:11. Quentin Middleton placed 12th with Caleb Kohler, Garrett Weybright and Greyson Mishler closely following in 15th, 16th and 19th places to complete the varsity runners.

The Crusaders had three additional runners place within the top 30, earning ribbons: Caleb Torson, Nick Tarr and Reilly Stauffer.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Extension calendar

September 4 — Wells County Extension Homemakers Executive Council, 12:30 p.m.; Wells County Extension Homemaker's Presidents Council, 1 p.m., Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton
September 6 — 4-H Livestock Committee Meeting, Community Center, 7 p.m.
September 10 — Wells County 4-H Association, Community Center, 7 p.m.
September 11 — 4-H Frozen Food Order Due at County Extension Office
September 11 — Extension Homemaker's Fall Program Fair, 3-4 p.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m., Community Center, 4-H Park
September 13 — Area Purdue Council on Agriculture, Research, Extension & Teaching, Green Plains Ethanol Plant, Bluffton, 6-8:30 p.m.
September 18 — Bluffton Street Fair Ag Exhibits — Entry between 8 a.m. and noon. City Gym