Sports Scene: Area teams ranked in baseball, softball coaches polls

A few area teams are among those ranked in state baseball and softball coaches association polls. The third baseball polls of the season were released Monday, while the first softball polls were released earlier this week.

Fort Loramie (9-2) was ranked No. 3 in the Division IV baseball poll while Russia (8-2) was ranked No. 16. The polls were released before Russia’s 5-3 win over the Redskins on Monday evening.

No Shelby County squad was ranked in the first softball coaches association polls; Minster (13-1) was ranked No. 2 in Div. IV. The 9-1 Wildcats’ baseball squad was ranked No. 8 in that poll.

One nice thing about how each of these coaches associations (and several others) run their polls is transparency. Voters for each division are listed on the association’s websites; Lehman Catholic’s Mark Brunswick and Fort Loramie’s Jeff Sanders are listed as voters in the baseball D-IV poll, and Fort Loramie’s Brad Turner and Minster’s Robb Hemmelgarn are listed as voters in the softball D-IV poll.

As a sometimes-voter in the Associated Press football and boys and girls basketball polls, I’m jealous voting is divided up by divisions; the AP forces you to vote for every division in its polls. This isn’t ideal for all, including myself, who hasn’t seen a single Division II boys or girls basketball team since I came to Sidney nearly seven years ago – and it’s why I’m only a sometimes voter, not an every week voter.

One thing I like about the softball poll: only 10 teams are listed per division. The AP poll includes teams who receive enough votes over a certain threshold but aren’t ranked in the top 10; despite these teams not officially being ranked; some love to claim being the No. 12-ranked team.

The baseball poll is on the other extreme: 20 teams in each division are ranked, and any who receive any votes are listed.

Field turf coming to Troy by fall

Troy City Schools announced Tuesday its Stadium and Turf Enhancement project had raised necessary funds to put field turf at Troy Memorial Stadium by the start of the 2024 season.

The STEP project has been raising funds for a little less than two years to put turf fields at both Troy Memorial and Ferguson Field, which is located behind the high school. Field turf will be installed by the start of fall at Ferguson, and other renovations will be done to that complex, which will host soccer games in the future.

The total cost of the project is $3 million. The school district said in a press release it’s still about $300,000 short of the goal, but it will hold off on some renovations to Ferguson for a year while the final funds are raised.

Troy and Fairborn were the last Miami Valley League schools without turf; Fairborn has a new stadium with turf which will be used when its new high school opens this fall.

Troy will likely again host football playoff games at Troy Memorial; many playoff games were held at the stadium before an artificial surface became a sought-after feature by the OHSAA. Troy hosts many postseason events in multiple sports, including regional cross country and track meets at Troy Memorial.

It’ll be nice to see turf at the stadium, which has long been one of my favorites; its setting along the Great Miami River is second to none.

Sidney, which installed turf at Sidney Memorial Stadium 10 years ago, traveled to Troy in October and is scheduled to host the Trojans in Week 10 this year. Barring a postseason game there this year, it’ll be 2025 before the Yellow Jackets play on the surface.