By John Raffel Fishing in the Rockford area has been slow, but observers like Chris Herman of the Riverbound Fly Fishing Co. of Rockford are hoping it picks up soon. “It’s kind of slow now,” he said. “Mornings are better. Trout were doing pretty good Saturday. We were out there (below the dam the Rogue River) about 7 in the morning. They’re doing good on nymphs. Streamers are working too for bass and bike. There are steelhead in the river. About after 10 in the morning, everything shuts down. The sun comes out and it gets too hot. They can try streamers for bass and pike. Trout and steelhead are pretty much done by 10.” Herman is hopeful of better fortunes ahead. “If we get some rain, then possibly some salmon,” he said. “I hear of people getting some salmon on the Pere Marquette, which is kind of weird. I’m not sure what’s going on at the Manistee River. It’s supposed to be a good salmon run. The lake is full of salmon. If we’d get some rain, that would be good.” The Flat River, northeast of Rockford, is producing fish for those using streamers for bass and pike. Live bait always works, worms and minnow,” he said. The DNR reports that those fishing the smaller inland lakes and rivers are catching bass, bluegills, pike, walleye and a good number of catfish. The DNR added that in the Grand River at Grand Rapids, just one summer steelhead was caught recently but the catfish action is profitable, adding that channel and flathead have been caught on crawlers, live or cut bluegills fished off the wall or below the dam. Smallmouth bass were hitting on jigs and live bait in the same area, the DNR indicated noting that some keeper size walleye were caught below the dam. The DNR added that bluegills were hitting on crawlers fished off the wall. The following tip is courtesy of the DNR and Michigan Outdoor News: “Most lakes, sometime during the summer, will develop a thermocline. Understanding how the thermocline works and what it means for your fishing tactics, is important to having a successful day on the water. “Here are a few simple things to keep in mind in relation to the […]
By John Raffel It was a special day at Art Van Sports Complex on Saturday. It was Special Olympics Softball tournament day at the facility. Nick Caudle, manager of sports and training for Special Olympics Michigan, said there were about 25 teams and 350 athletes at the one-day event. “They’re mainly from the southwest region,” Caudle said. “But we do have one team from Ypsilanti.” Others were basically from the Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Newaygo, Kalkaska, Holland and Allegan areas. “Typically it’s four-team divisions,” he said. “We have a few three-team divisions and we have unified divisions which is athlete with or without disabilities playing together. We have one coach-pitch division and the rest are what we call our traditional divisions. If it’s three teams it’s a round robin. If you do four teams, winners and losers play after the first game.” A skills competition was also conducted. “We give medals based on skills of hitting, throwing, fielding and baserunning,” Caudle said. “This is the first time we’ve done it in Rockford but we do the regional every year. Last year, it was in Holland. The year before that it was in Kalamazoo. It’s a perfect facility for it.” It was a hot day but that didn’t spoil the event. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of fun,” Caudle said. “Everyone is here, they don’t really care about the medals. They’re here to play, meet some new people form new teams. They’re just being out there to have a good time.” Caudle said the Southwest Regional offices are in Byron Center.
By John Raffel It was quite a baseball extravaganza over the weekend with the Game Day USA National Championships at Art Van Complex and other area diamonds. John Binek, tournament director, said there were 101 teams competing in various age brackets from Thursday through Sunday. “It was a beautiful weekend of weather and a great facility here at Art Van Sports complex,” Binek said. “We had a good staff here and a great staff from Game Day USA. It’s been a fantastic weekend.” Binek estimates there were more than 2,000 persons at the complex for skills competition. The teams included one from Hanoi, Vietnam, which played in the 16U division. The team didn’t win but still made a name for itself during the weekend. “I think they had a great time, without a doubt,” Binek said. “We had a team in from Canada who had an excellent time as well.” Those were the only two foreign teams competing in the tournament. “Vietnam has come before,” Binek said. “I think it might have the same team that came at a younger age. The Canadian team has played in a couple of our tournaments.” For the Hanoi team, it was the same type of baseball, even though it was in America. Other teams had a unique reaction to the Hanoi squad, Binek recalled. “They were received very warmly,” he said. The competition during the tournament was impressive. But Binek was especially touched with an event Friday night at Fifth Third Park during a West Michigan Whitecaps game. “The parade of teams on the field and the teams getting announced when they got to home plate, that and between the skills competition, there were a lot of smiling faces from a lot of kids having a great time,” Binek said.
By John Raffel MCB Hit Dogs Orange was among the champions crowned Sunday in the final day of the Game Day USA national championships at Art Van Sports Complex. The tournament started on Thursday. In the 12U division, Hit Dogs defeated Diamonds 4-3 in the title game. In pool play, Hit Dogs defeated Michigan Blue Jays 8-5, West Michigan Elite Thunder 4-3 and Crystal Lake Bombers 7-1 and then lost to the Bridgeport Bombers 10-2. In bracket play, Hit Dogs defeated West Ohio Big Dogs 10-1 and Diamonds Fury 4-2 to set up the title game with Diamonds Dynamite. Dorren Audia coached the Hit Dogs who were 6-1 for the weekend. The key of the last game “was some timely hitting and great pitching from Luke Benedict,” he said. “It was fantastic.” Benedict “threw three innings Thursday, did a great job and won that game for us,” Audia said. “He came back and threw six for us (Sunday). He challenged the hitters. He didn’t walk too many guys. His curveball was working today. Whenever you can keep guys off balance like that, it’s going to help.” It wasn’t easy to single out anyone. “It was a great team effort all weekend from there guys,” Audia said. “Every single guy contributed. The pitching was fantastic.” He said it was a victory that made his team’s season. “It was a great way to end our season,” Audia said. “Like I told them before the game, not too many guys get to end their season with a win. We had an opportunity to do that today.” Art Van Sports Complex was the main site for the weekend championships. “I thought it was great,” Audia said. “The weather was fantastic. The fields were fantastic. I could not have asked for a better way to end the season.”
Jackson College congratulates the many outstanding student athletes who received academic awards for the 2014-15 school year! Three Jackson College student athletes received the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence — Caterina Giuliani of Italy, volleyball; Katherine Prevost of Jackson, women’s cross country; and Kalee Stringham of Hanover, women’s soccer. This award is given to athletes who have completed at least 45 credits with a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average. Since the return of athletics to JC 10 years ago, only one student previously has received the Pinnacle Award – this year, three are honored. Recipients will be treated to a special lunch with President Dan Phelan in honor of this achievement. “These awards show what the College as a whole does for student athletes in their experience here, not only as an athlete but as a student in helping them achieve their goals,” said Rick Smith, baseball coach and assistant athletic director. “It’s very exciting as an athletic administrator to see this with our athletes, and it brings it home when you see that they are not only doing well on the field or court, but also doing well in the classroom, meeting their goals. Coaches are doing a great job of mentoring, and as the College — Student Services and all the departments — are working to help student athletes achieve their goals while they are here. And next year, we will continue to do better.” Additional recognitions include Ethan Menefee, of Rockford, who participates in Men’s Cross Country, has a 3.49 GPA, and received the All-MCCAA and All-Conference awards.