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Leading Off > 25
New rules for bats changing face of power game
Dorman tennis standout rallies from injury
Passing competitions set the stage for fall success
> 15 > 20
Upward Sports breaks ground on new era Next Level: Muzika duo share special bond
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NEWS & NOTES FROM THE LOCAL YOUTH SPORTS SCENE
Bulldogs’ Cabe II-4A Athlete of the Year GAFFNEY’S DAVIDSON EARNS MALE HONOR >> Boiling Springs softball ace Taylor Cabe was named Region II-4A Female Athlete of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to the Class 4A state championship. Cabe, a senior pitcher who will play at Harvard next season, posted a 29-1 record. She struck out 267 and had an earned-run average of 0.479. She was also selected to the NorthSouth All-Star team and received all-region and all-state honors. Gaffney multi-sport star Shaq Davidson was named the region’s Male Athlete of the Year. The junior starred for the Indians in football, basketball and track. He led Gaffney to the Class 4A football championship at quarterback and won a region title as a member of the 4x100 relay team.
The Cage indoor baseball and softball training faciility is now located at 170 Tradd St.
THE CAGE RELOCATES TO WESTSIDE >> The Cage indoor baseball and softball training facility recently relocated to a 12,000-square-foot location at 170 Tradd Street, just off Warren Abernathy Highway in Spartanburg. The new facility includes batting cages with state-of-the-art pitching machines, soft-toss and tee stations, pitching lanes, speed and agility training areas and an
infield area all on one turf-covered floor and under one roof. A waiting area for family members of trainees with wifi and cable television is also available. For more information on The Cage and its new location, visit hitatthecage.com or call (864) 978-2599.
CAVS TRIUMPH Dorman celebrates its championship in the Carolina Panthers’ 7-on-7 Passing League June 14 in Charlotte. The Cavaliers topped Mallard Creek (N.C.) 24-21 in the title game. Dorman was a perfect 7-0 in the event, which the Cavaliers also won in 2008.
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BENTON BACK IN ACTION
Dorman tennis standout rallies from serious injury By JOHN CLAYTON On Twitter @JCTweetsOn Dorman rising senior Wood Benton is entering a busy summer junior tournament tennis season on a roll just one year after being sidelined by a serious back injury. Benton was to head to Mobile, Ala. for the USTA Southern before making trips to other tournaments in Nashville, Tenn., and Del Ray Beach, Fla., and Kalmazoo, Mich. But the road this summer wasn’t nearly as long as Benton’s road back from his injury, which culminated with the Class 4A state singles championship in May. “I was in a back brace for four months and couldn’t play tennis for six,” said Benton, who suffered a Pars Fracture while attending a Hilton Head-based tennis academy as a high school sophomore. “It was pretty tough. I got started back last July. The first thing I had to do was get back into shape, and that was tough because I had been sitting for six months. The tennis really didn’t take long to come back, but the conditioning was tough.” The injury also was the catalyst behind improved stretching routines for Benton. Tight muscles, including his hamstrings, in addition to overwork caused the back Pars Fracture, he said. If there was any doubt that Benton was not back to 100 percent for his junior season at Dorman, it was erased after his victory over Spring Valley’s Brent Lett, a Clemson signee, in the state singles final. “That win definitely gave me a lot of confidence,” Benton said. “(Lett) is a really good player, so it gave me a lot of confidence to take him out.” Benton will take that confidence into the summer tournament season. He is playing in the 18U division for the first time, meaning a step up in competition.
ED OVERSTREET PHOTO
Dorman junior Wood Benton returned to lead the Cavaliers to the state 4A team finals and won the individual state title.
“Hopefully, I’ll do really well at the Southern,” he said. “Then, at the (USTA National Tournament in Kalamazoo), win some rounds. This is my first year in the 18s, so hopefully I’ll just compete well.” n
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Summer Showdowns Byrnes annually hosts one of the largest 7-on-7 events in the Southeast. The Palmetto State Showdown hosted 20 teams this year, including two from Byrnes. The Rebels “A” team finished second to Valdosta (Ga.).
PAMELA DUNLAP PHOTO
7-ON-7 SETS THE STAGE FOR SEASON SUCCESS By JED BLACKWELL
ootball success is built in the offseason. These days, it’s earned 40 yards at a time.
In the era of pass-happy offense and unmatched defensive speed, 7-on-7 tournaments have become the cornerstone of summer work. A number of local programs have earned success in the events not just locally but nationally, and it’s no coincidence that those teams are usually the local squads left standing deep into the playoffs. The approach is simple. Six offensive players (plus a center, or a backup to snap the ball) square off against seven defenders, all linebackers or defensive backs. There’s no running. There are no double passes or trick
plays. You’ve got three downs for a first down, two first down markers, and 40 yards to score. It’s one-hand touch. It seems like a game dreamed up in the back yards and neighborhoods of any number of players present and past. But it’s so much more than that. “It’s almost like its own season,” said Byrnes head coach Bobby Bentley, whose Rebels were hosting the Palmetto State Showdown 7-on-7 tournament June 14-15. “That’s exactly how we approach it. We enjoy it, and it’s one of the foundations of what we do.” That foundation goes back a
number of years. Tony McAbee, who plans, organizes and orchestrates the Palmetto State Showdown, remembers discussions of the possibility of an event at Byrnes when the Rebels traveled to Hoover, Ala. for a tournament. “We used to think we could do it,” McAbee said. “I remember thinking ‘boy, that would be a lot of work’. We finally fired it up in 2008, and our event has just grown from there.” McAbee was right about one thing. It is a lot of work. He’s already planning for next year’s event, even as this year’s is going on. He said having a dedicated sponsor base helps tremendously. “We couldn’t do it without the National Guard and all our other
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Pamela Dunlap Photography
Sports Photography • Senior Pictures • Families Call 864-735-3311
SUMMER SHOWDOWN / from page 9 sponsors,” he said. “They make it go.” While McAbee and a group of volunteers handle things behind the scenes, the action on the field draws a big crowd to the fields behind Beech Springs Intermediate School. No stranger to big-time players, this year’s field boasted a big group of top national recruits, including Gainesville (Ga.) quarterback DeShaun Watson. The Clemson commit, ranked the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country, was impressed with the Byrnes event. “This is a great event,” Watson said. “It’s fun to come out here and play against some of the best teams and see how we do.” Byrnes quarterback Shuler Bentley has been attending 7-on-7 events for most of his life. Now, he’s leading the Rebels on the field. “It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It helps so much with our timing, with our offense, it’s a really big part of what we do. And as a player, it’s fun to get out here and go against somebody with a different color uniform on. You’re not just practicing against your own defense day after day. There are real-life game situations, and it’s more exciting than a practice or a drill.” Shuler also said he enjoyed the teambuilding aspect of the events. “It’s especially fun when you get to travel places and spend some time with your teammates,” he said. Bobby Bentley could not agree more with that assessment. “I don’t think you can put enough emphasis on that aspect of it,” he said. “The bus rides, spending the night in a hotel, just getting to spend time with each other is such a great factor in building team chemistry.” The Palmetto State Showdown is a
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Byrnes QB Shuler Bentley (19), who made a verbal commitment to Old Dominion last month, in action at the Palmetto State Showdown.
PAMELA DUNLAP PHOTO
national qualifier, with both the winner and the runner-up earning a spot in the National Select 7-on-7. Chet Knippers of that organization said the growth of the tournaments had been tremendous. “We’ve been doing this 12 years, and it’s just huge,” he said. “Where else can you go and get 11 games against this level of competition? The repetitions make everybody better, and that’s what it’s all about. The teams and athletes all see a tremendous benefit from these events. n
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All Sports - All Spartanburg - All the Time www.espnspartanburg.com GAME DAY u JUNE 2013 11
NEW RULES HAVE MADE PERFORMANCE OF TODAY’S HIGH-TECH BATS MORE CLOSELY RESEMBLE WOODEN BATS ... ALL FOR SAFETY & GAME’S SAKE By JOHN CLAYTON On Twitter @JCTweetsOn
t’s always taken a pretty good swing to disturb the cows beyond the center-field fence at Jim Everhart Field at Inman Mills.
It’s 360 feet to straightaway center and this season only legitimate power hitters in American Legion baseball will reach the flag pole that sits there. New rules that have made the performance of today’s high-tech bats more closely resemble that of wooden bats, turning back the clock on the modern game. “Those bats they used several years back certainly were dangerous,” said Inman American Legion Post 45 head coach Steve Skinner. “I saw several line drives come back at pitchers that could’ve been bad, but luckily they were able to get out of the way or catch it.” Skinner’s teams have always played an aggressive game on the basepaths, refusing to rely on home runs to score, but now high school, American Legion, club and college teams are changing the way they play because only true power hitters have home-run power with the current Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) Protocol bats. The BBCOR rules were put in place after the 2012 season and are a far cry from what is referred to as “Gorilla Ball” in the 1990s. In 1998, Southern California defeated Arizona 21-14 to win the College World Series. Ever since, rules makers and scientists have combined to create bats that make baseball seem more like, well, baseball. “It’s made a tremendous difference in the number of home runs and doubles
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OUTAGE “Those bats they used several years back certainly were dangerous. I saw several line drives come back at pitchers that could’ve been bad, but luckily they were able to get out of the way or catch it.” > Steve Skinner, Inman American Legion Post 45 head coach
Greer Post 115’s Josh Shaffer (6), a Greer High alum now playing at USC Salkehatchie, takes a swing with an Easton bat approved for the 2013 season.
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POWER OUTAGE / from page 13 that are being hit now,” said Skinner, recalling a playoff game against Easley during which the two teams combined for 11 home runs. “It’s probably cut the home runs in half.” BBCOR rules in South Carolina went into effect in January of 2012. Both the SCHSL and American Legion follow bat guidelines set by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Other organizations such as Little League, Dixie Youth and USSSA set their own guidelines but all of them have adopted rules that have cut down power numbers and have made the game safer, especially for pitchers. “From a pitcher’s standpoint, you can throw it inside - even at 85 mph - and you don’t have to worry about somebody hitting it 400 feet,” said former Greer High pitcher Josh Shaffer. “If you go back to the BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio) bats or the composite bats, no matter where you threw it or what you threw, they had a chance to hit it 450 feet. “If you look at it from a safety standpoint, it’s better, too. I’ve been hit several times pitching, but now I feel like I can be more aggressive.”
Shaffer is in his final year of eligibility with Greer Post 115 and just completed his freshman year at USC Salkehatchie. Former Major League player Travis “Gookie” Dawkins, who is now a hitting instructor at The Cage batting facility in Spartanburg, said safety should always come first in youth baseball. “When you get older, you get stronger and the ball is going to jump off the bat a little bit more,” Dawkins said. “Pitchers have it pretty tough as it is. They just have a very little time to react, to get a glove up to deflect (the ball) or something like that.” Dawkins said the BBCOR bats closely resemble wooden bats in performance with a much smaller sweet spot than in previous BESR and composites. “I think it’s good all the way around,” Dawkins said. “It’s especially good for the high school and college players. I know a lot of people want to see the long ball, but I think it’s a good idea and I’m glad they’re changing the bats.” With bats that more resemble the performance of their wooden cousins -- and that usually sell for $100-$500 -- the youth and college games are more
closely resembling the games played in the 1970s before the advent of aluminum and composite bats. The only thing missing is the distinctive sound of a wooden bat meeting the ball. But bunting, solid defense and speed have become more integral parts of the game. “You don’t necessarily look as strongly at your 3, 4 or 5 hitters, which are your power hitters,” said Greer Post 115 head coach Dale Gosnell. “You stil want the guys in there with the most pop, but you’re not putting him in there thinking about the potential of one swing making it a three-run game. “If you’ve got a fundamentally sound baseball team that can bunt and do the little things well, then you’re not relying on that.” Inman Post 45 catcher Gavin Bishop, who plays during the school year for Landrum High, said he definitely calls a game differently now than he would have two years ago with the BESR bats. “With the BESR, you could just poke it and probably hit it a mile,” Bishop said. “You can challenge more in the zone and move it inside and out, up and down. . . . You actually have to get ahold of one with these bats.” n
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Email us at: email@example.com The CAGE: 4133 S. Church Street Ext., Roebuck, SC 29376 14 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
Upward Sports Vice President Bill Palmer, left, and Founder & President Caz McCaslin, right, address guests at the official groundbreaking ceremony on June 18.
& ONWARD > By JOHN CLAYTON <
“We feel the Lord has blessed us with this land not because of what has been accomplished in the past, but for what He wants us to do in the future.” > COLEMAN YOUNG, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, UPWARD SPORTS
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sports ministry â€˜all inâ€™
pward Sports broke ground June 18 on the newest addition to the ever-growing Spartanburg County sports landscape.
The Star Center will include 6 full-sized basketball courts, a dozen regulation indoor volleyball courts, as well as batting cages, and more. 16 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
The $19-million, 60-acre sports complex will be anchored by the 120,000 square-foot Star Center, which will hold six full-sized basketball courts, a dozen regulation indoor volleyball courts as well as batting cages, golf-swing analysis, a fifth-mile running track and gym with free weights and cardio machines. It will be located on Highway 29 adjacent to the Upward offices between Wellford and Spartanburg.
The Star Center will be built on a 60-acre tract of land that will also include outdoor fields, sand volleyball courts as well as medical and training facilities.
on $19 million complex, new era of outreach “We feel the Lord has blessed us with this land not because of what has been accomplished in the past, but for what He wants us to do in the future,” said Coleman Young, chairman of the board for Upward Sports. “In order to grow our ministry we need a living laboratory to test and model new sports and concepts that we can then roll out nationwide. The Star Center is designed to develop leaders, coaches, referees, and partners to deliver the ultimate sports experience, while also being a training ground to help young athletes get better. This multi-sports complex will be our flagship, our home court and competitive advantage.” Beyond the Star Center, Phase One of the build will also include four lighted sand volleyball courts
The Star Center will also feature a cafe. GAME DAY u JUNE 2013 17
McCASLIN: ‘THIS IS THE NATIONAL and up to six grass fields for soccer, lacrosse, 7-on-7 football and flag football with plans for additional fields and facilities in the future. Upward is also unveiling its new Upward 360 Progression model for youth sports, which will move the faith-based athletic organization into the world of competitive sports beyond its Upward Stars volleyball and basketball programs. Upward, which began in 1995 after 10 years at its home at the First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, is currently found in 47 states at the recreational level, Upward founder and President Caz McCaslin said, and he sees the 360
18 MAY 2013 u GAME DAY 18 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
Progression following suit with plans for regional and national Upward championships in all Upward sports offerings contested annually. The new Spartanburg facility is planned to host the national championships, he said. “We’ll have area tournaments and regional tournaments as well as a national tournament,” McCaslin said. “This is the national home for Upward Sports.” McCaslin said the 360 Progression will provide a home in Upward for young athletes who evolve beyond recreational competition while still helping them to develop physically,
The Star Center and accompanying fields, which is set to be completed in August or September 2014, is the second major sports complex to be built in Spartanburg County over the past two years.
HOME FOR UPWARD SPORTS’ mentally, emotionally and spiritually. “We believe in this. We believe it’s a big deal and it’s what people want, and we plan on taking this across the country just like we did with the recreation division. We’re all in,” said McCaslin. “We’re putting all of our resources and our time and energy into developing this 360 Progression. We believe it’s what is going to make a difference in the lives of children and in the lives of coaches.” The Star Center and accompanying fields, which is set to be completed in August or September 2014, is the second major sports complex to be built in Spartanburg County
over the past two years. The county-owned Tyger River Park opened its gates in 2012 and has already hosted national-level softball events in addition to statewide and regional softball and baseball tournaments. “We think it could be one of the best places in the world as a youth sports destination,” McCaslin said. “We are ecstatic about the commitment Spartanburg County Council made to build those fields. It was phenomenal. I think it was a catalyst. Frankly, it was a confirmation that we need to tap onto that and work with that.” n
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For anyone with the desire to play sports at the college or professional level, the road is long and hard. This regular feature is about local athletes, living their dream.
SIBLING SUPPORT BROTHER, SISTER DUO
WILL & ANNA MUZIKA BONDED OVER SPORTS By JOHN CLAYTON On Twitter @JCTweetsOn There was one thing Will Muzika could count on as he grew up playing baseball and sundry other sports in his Spartanburg neighborhood: Younger sister Anna would be tagging along right behind. “It was a little annoying at first,” Will said. “We’d be in the backyard playing (baseball) with a tennis ball, and Anna would always be that annoying sister who tagged along and wanted to play. She was just as athletic as most of us, so we couldn’t really say no to her. She actually wasn’t the last pick most of the time. . . . Everybody wanted her to play but me.” Will would eventually graduate from backyard pick-up games to star at Dorman and then at Furman, where he just completed his final season with the Paladins. Meanwhile, Anna once again followed in her brother’s footsteps into NCAA Division I athletics, earning a lacrosse scholarship to Marquette and becoming one of the first females in the area to go on to play the sport at the Division I level. “He’s been my idol since I was little,” Anna said of her older brother. “Any sport he tried, I tried.” And then there was one sport she tried at Dorman that Will did not. Anna, who was a member of the Cavaliers’ volleyball team for all four years and helped them to a state championship, showed up on the final day of tryouts for the 20 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
school’s brand new girls lacrosse program. “I saw all these people walking around with bright green sticks and I said to myself, ‘what is that?” Anna recalled. The game allowed Anna’s natural athleticism shine, and she capitalized on years of experience playing against the guys. As a senior, she was fourth in the nation in goals scored with 66
and had overcome a back injury -- fractures in her vertebrae resulting from the force of jumping and landing in volleyball -- that ruined plans to play collegiate volleyball. “Over the years at Dorman, I had so much help from the coaches,” she said. “I decided to stick with it, and I really love the sport. I was a volleyball player. At first, I was behind the groove as far as my stick skills, but I
guess my work ethic -- I got it from my dad and my brother -- I just stayed up and worked three nights ina row and got better with my stick skills. By my second week of practice, I was able to hang with the other girls.” As Anna began to excel in her new sport, Will was making his mark at Furman, becoming the consensus Southern Conference Freshman of the Year in 2010 after hitting .329 and
At left, Will and Anna Muzika at this year’s Southern Conference baseball tournament at Fluor Field in Greenville. TOP, Will Muzika in action for the Paladins. RIGHT, Anna Muzika (15) in her first year of competition at Marquette.
showing his defensive versatility at second base and in the outfield. Three years later, Will was among the program’s all-time leaders in several offensive categories as helped the Paladins to the Southern Conference tournament as a senior. “I feel like I just got here as a freshman yesterday,” Will said of his decorated collegiate career. “I can’t believe it’s over.” And when it was over at the SoCon tournament at Fluor Field, Anna was tagging along again. She flew home from Milwaukee after exams after following every one of Will’s tournament games online, but this time, Will wouldn’t have wanted her anywhere else. “We’re close,” he said. “Both of us really have a competitive nature whether it’s checkers or whatever. When she played volleyball, I’d even challenge her to that and sometimes she’d beat me. It’s been kind of a friendly rivalry, I guess, but it’s made both of us better.” Will said more recently that Anna has actually taken the lead, inspiring him to “get off the couch” for boxing workouts over holiday breaks. Once there, Anna said Will continued to challenge her. That work ethic and drive she believes is what moved the Marquette coaches to take a chance on her as they began the women’s lacrosse program at the school. “They told me they thought they could mold me into the player they needed me to be,” said Anna, who is the only player south of lacrosse hotbed Virginia on the Marquette roster. “They liked my speed, and they liked my drive.” Anna responded with a goal in the program’s first win, which ironically came at Coastal Carolina. Later, she scored the game winner in an 11-10 victory over Detroit. “It’s probably the most incredible moment in my college career so far besides getting to play in South Carolina,” she said, adding that her entire family made the trip to Conway to watch. With college behind him, Will, who was not selected in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft in early June, said he would like to play professionally -- even if it means heading overseas to keep his baseball dreams alive. Both Anna and Will said hard work is the key to making those dreams come true. “Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do anything,” Will said. “I’ve never been the tallest kid or the strongest, but I have that will and determination that separated me from kids who maybe were more talented in high school, but now they’re not playing. If you want to do it and put the work in you can. You can’t compete if you’re sitting around, that’s for sure.” “Show them you can improve every day,” Anna said. “If you put a lot of hard work in, you will definitely benefit.” n GAME DAY u JUNE 2013 21
FAITH in SPORTS
Rev. SETH BUCKLEY
Sports training shapes, teaches long-term life lessons
s the seniors poured into the honors day program, you could see on their faces signs of disbelief that this chapter of their life was coming to a close. For many of them it was signs of relief, with the hopes of a new beginning awaiting them in the months that were ahead.
For many others, it was a bittersweet moment as they reflected on the life lessons that they learned. It is through those formative years that many of the students learn that life is truly passing by at quicker pace than they ever could imagine. It is what happens during those years that sets the trajectory for what is to lie ahead for them. As I scan the audience, I see the faces of so many that have become familiar through the years. I know their stories, their journeys, their trials, their accomplishments, and
how they became over-comers in the midst of adversities. As I scan the seniors, my eyes settle on one young man who captured the focus of my admiration throughout the year. He battled through so much physical adversity during his senior year of football, yet continued to battle until he finally was able to earn a starting Varsity position near the end of the season. Unbeknownst to us, through the season he suffered a major shoulder injury that he endured until after the season was over. This injury would require him to have surgery which was another blow to him emotionally. I reflected on his story and what I learned was that through the battle of adversity on the field of competition, he had learned valuable lessons that would serve him well for the rest of his life. This is a lesson that is often lost in the midst of coaching, playing, practicing, training, and the journey. At the end of the day though, isn’t that what getting children involved in athletics is all about? There will forever be that desire in us to compete and win, and I know that it is an awesome thing to experience both of those! When we as parents and coaches encourage the involvement of children in athletics, it is really about looking past the athletic ability, the wins, the competition, and what that child can “bring to the table”. It is about a jour-
22 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
ney for that child to experience something through the laboratory of athletics that will prepare them for the life that lies ahead. While my athletic career had a few moments of glory, I had many more “teachable moments” that shaped my thoughts and attitude. Through it all, I learned that at some point it is important to realize that the physical things of athletics are temporary. First Timothy 4:7-8 says: “7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” The training we do in athletics is valuable, but it pales in comparison to the training for the things down the road that matter most! Let’s learn and teach those life lessons along the way! n The Rev. Seth Buckley is minister to youth at First Baptist Church of Spartanburg. He is a former football player at the University of Alabama, where he played for legendary coach Bear Bryant.
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GAME DAY u JUNE 2013 23
‘TALENT’ A word you don’t want to hear
being born. If I were to ask you if you think Kobe Bryant is talented 99% of you would answer a resounding ‘YES’! I shudder when I My response to hear that phrase your answer would be used to describe ‘How do we know?” an athlete. In some If talent is ‘a natural ways it may be ability’ then there is more of an insult no way for us to know than a complihow talented Kobe, ment. Kevin Durant or any other great athlete Talent is by actually is. Why? definition ‘a special KEN Because these guys natural ability or work so hard we don’t FINLEY aptitude’. Think really know what about that --a natucomes naturally. ral ability. At an Olympic summer Regarding someone as talworkout with the world’s greatented indicates that the person est basketball players, Kobe really hasn’t really done anything Bryant had been in the gym for to earn their status, position or a workout and made 800 shots accomplishments other than (made, not attempted 800 shots)
hat athlete has got real talent.”
KOBE BRYANT’s success may be credited as much to hard work as to talent.
before any other athlete ever showed up for practice. My advice to a young athlete is to never let your TALENT define who you are as a player. Let your work ethic and your EARNED skill define you! Following his season ending injury Kobe Bryant posted on his Facebook when everyone was questioning if he could return. ‘If you see me in a fight with a
bear…Pray for the bear.” Get to work today. n Ken Finley is a physical therapist and certified youth speed and agility specialist. To learn more about his youth athletic development programs you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
... Never let your TALENT define who you are as a player. Let your work ethic and your EARNED skill define you!
Have a story idea? contact editor and publisher Les Timms III email@example.com 864.804.0068 24 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
GREEN WIZARDRY Chipping often can be quite difficult for many players who may not have the time or patience to work on this part of the game. Most people think hitting balls is important and really don’t put in the time on their short game. It is a fact that over half of your shots in a round come from fifty yards and in. Chipping poorly is often a result of using your wrists too much in the chip and this leads KYLE to poor distance control as well as OWINGS poor contact. This is easily fixable. Simply think of a chip as a putting stroke with a different set-up position. The purpose of a chip is to carry higher grass and ultimately have the ball roll on the green close to the hole. In the photo at right, you can see Brady
Trout (Chapman High School) in a solid position to chip. He has his weight in the back on his stance, hands forward at address, and the ball back in his stance. From this position, he simply makes a putting stroke. This address position will ensure a downward strike on the ball. If you stay still, the club should brush the grass. If you can brush the grass, the contact will basically be solid. In a separate shot, Brady is going to hit a higher chip. The ball is slightly a bit more forward in his stance with the clubface slightly open. From here, he will still make a putting stroke. The loft of the club will hit the ball higher, his stroke will be slightly longer to compensate for the higher loft. Next time you are on the chipping green or course. Work on your ball position and think of putting the chip, not hitting the chip. As the weather heats up, so should your short game! Reach the Kyle Owings Golf Academy at (864) 205-4221
Brady Trout, a golfer at Chapman High School, is in a solid position to chip. He has his weight in the back on his stance, hands forward at address, and the ball back in his stance. From this position, he simply makes a putting stroke.
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GAME DAY u JUNE 2013 25
PPPlease submit your best pics to
Athletes in Action photos by: John Clayton • Les Timms III • Ed Overstreet • Pamela Dunlap • Fulton Hampton
26 MAY 2013 u GAME DAY 26 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
GAME DAY DAY u FEBRUARY 11 GAME DAY u JUNE MAY 2013 GAME u 2013 27 27
Bucs give Chapman RB Smith a chance By JOHN CLAYTON On Twitter @JCTweetsOn February came and went and prep football players across the nation found their collegiate homes. Chapman running back Traves Smith said he was disappointed to not be among them. That disappointment ended in late May when Smith accepted an offer to become a preferred walkon at Charleston Southern with the hopes of working his way into the Bucs’ starting lineup and a scholarSMITH ship early on in his career. “Yeah, to be honest, I was kind of disappointed,” Smith said of his wait. “I thought I’d put my best foot forward as far as football, but you have to take care of the academic side. So, yeah, I was disappointed.” The Charleston Southern recruiting staff kept Smith on its radar and quickly came up with package for the running back when he qualified academically. Smith, who long dreamed of playing on
Saturdays, will get his chance. “It was very important (for me to play in college),” Smith said. “I’ve been playing football for so long that it’s kind of built into me.” As a kid, Smith dreamed of playing for the Gamecocks in Columbia, but will instead continue down I-26 to Charleston Southern and Big South competition. But that doesn’t mean he will be without an SEC experience of his own. The Bucs open with Vanderbilt and close the 2013 season with Georgia. “It’s going to be fun to play against those Chapman RB Traves Smith (25) recorded back-toteams in that atmosphere,” Smith said. back 1,000-yard seasons for the Panthers. Smith takes with him impressive credenhard and I’d have a chance to play this year,” tials to Charleston Southern. As a senior, he Smith said. ran for 1,084 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and Smith said he will become the second seven touchdowns, becoming just the third member of his family to attend college -- his runner in Chapman history to record backuncle, Thomas Smith, is a coach and teacher to-back 1,000-yard seasons. at Chapman -- and first to play collegiate He said he believes the transition from football. Chapman’s wide-open offense to Jamey “I’m happy to be leaving something Chadwell’s spread attack at Charleston established team here,” Smith said of what Southern won’t be too difficult. He was to he is most proud of at Chapman. “I’m glad head to the school in Jne to begin preseason to be someone they say, ‘we have to replace weight training with his new teammates. him as a player and a leader. I’ve tried to be a “They told me to come down and work good player and a good person, too.” n
celebrating athletes & achievements
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The Holly Springs Bulldogs recently won the Spartanburg District One Championship in the ponytails (12u) division. They were undefeated in the tournament and 8-3 in the season.
28 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
The Hub City Heat recently captured the USSSA State Directors Challenge Championship in the 10-U Division. The Heat went 4-0 during the two-day tournament.
LATE HITTING NEWS & NOTES FROM AROUND THE AREA
TOP JUNIOR GOLFERS TO CONTEND
THE BLADE RETURNS FOR 15TH YEAR IN JULY
From left, Trey Daniel, Chris Stewart, Ian Clevenger, Asa Brown, Tyrecous Garrett and, seated, Karsyn Shehan signed letters of intent recently at Boiling Springs High School.
BULLDOGS INK COLLEGE LETTERS >> Boiling Springs High School is sending six athletes on to continue their respective academic and athletic careers at schools within the state. Trey Daniel, will play golf at Erskine; Karsyn Shehan will play soccer at Spartanburg Methodist College, joining BSHS teammates Tori Brown and Courtney Tutterow with the Pioneers; and catcher Chris Stewart will
play baseball at Florence-Darlington Tech. Quarterback/receiver Tyrecous Garrett signed to play with North Greenville. Wrestlers Asa Brown and Ian Clevenger, both Spartanburg County champions in their respective weight classes this year, signed with Spartanburg Methodist.
>> The 15th Annual Blade Junior Golf Tournament returns to Thornblade Golf Club July 15-16. The Blade is considered one of the S.C. Junior Golf Association’s major events and annually draws the top players from across the state. The par-71 course will play 6,945 yards for the boys ages 13-18 division and 6,049 yards for the girls 14-18 age division. Boys and girls ages 10-12 will play 9 holes each day, and the course will play as a par-73 for them. Last year, Riverside golfer Jonathan Hardee, runner up at this year’s Class 4A state tournament, finished tied for second at The Blade with a 71-69-140. Cowpens golfer Nick Willis won the 10-12 division with a 33-35-68. Spartanburg’s Natalie Srinivasan and Anne Taylor Hough are expected to contend for the title in the girls’ division.
CHAPMAN’S McMILLAN TO PLAY GOLF AT PC >> Samantha McMillin became the first female golfer from Chapman High School to sign with an NCAA Division I program when she inked an offer from Presbyterian College earlier this month. McMillin shot a 3-over-par 75 in last fall’s Class 3A state tournament and was subsequently named to the North-South All-Star tournament roster, earning noChapman golfer Samantha McMillin, seated, with tice from college coaches. mother Kim and father Joey, celebrate signing But PC was the perfect fit, she said. with Presbyterian College. “I felt like I fit in with the people as soon as I stepped on the campus,” McMil- soccer, will be working on her new fulllin said. “I felt like that was where God time avocation. was leading me to go.” “I’m going to be playing in a lot of She will join Byrnes golfer and good tournaments this summer,” she said. friend Abby Driscoll on the Blue Hose McMillin carried a 43.1 stroke average team next season. The two will be roomas a senior, but believes she can improve mates. her scoring with hard work on the pracUntil then, McMillin, who has previtice tee and more tournament competiously divided her time between golf and tion.
ALEC PHILPOTT TO L-R Polk County High School senior and three-sport athlete Alec Philpott and Wolverines’ head football coach Bruce Ollis, celebrate Philpott’s May 15 signing with Lenoir-Rhyne University to play football.
GAME DAY u JUNE 2013 29
POLK COUNTY (NC) ATHLETES IN ACTION WE WANT YOUR SPORTS PICS! please email to: email@example.com
Freshman Ashley Love set single season goals and scoring records for Polk Co. JV Soccer this year with 29 goals (previous record was 18) and 9 assists. Polk 1st Team All-Region soccer team mates. Congrats girls. — with Sammie Firby, Ellese Cash, Lyric Flood, Jordan Geer and Emily Nicole Miller. Photo by Jeff Miller
First year Goalkeeper Makenzie White tied the PCHS varsity record with 13 shutouts for the season.
Daniel Painter delivers a pitch during a recent Post 250 Legion game at PCHS field.
Polk’s Shea Wheeler was part of the winning 4 x 800 relay team, and also took first in the 800m and 3200m at the WHC Conference Meet. She was named Western Highlands 2A Conference Most Valuable in Women’s Track Events 2013. Photo By Gippy Wheeler Polk’s 2A State Finals Men’s 4x800 Meter Relay Team (left to right) Jacob Wolfe, Eli Hall, Sean Doyle, Jacob Collins, Mitchell Brown. Photo by Jenny Wolfe 30 JUNE 2013 u GAME DAY
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864.576.8329 Did you know Fuddruckers caters, too? Visit myfuddruckers.com to see all catering opportunities! Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11 AM - 10 PM 1509 John B. White Sr. Blvd / Spartanburg / 864.576.8329 6100 Wade Hampton Blvd/ Taylors / 864.877.5554 1147 Woodruff Rd. / Greenville / 864.234.7528