Sports Extra with Dave Ross: Sidney grad part of Tampa Bay Rays success

Sports Extra - With Dave Ross

Despite being eliminated from the postseason on Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays had the most wins in the American League this regular season with exactly 100. The Rays have a Sidney connection.

Dr. John Gross is a 1994 Sidney High School graduate and completed Ohio State’s medical school eight years later. Then the young physician set up shop in the Tampa Bay area with a specialty in sports medicine. He’s now the “medical team physician” of the Tampa Bay Rays.

His 25th SHS class reunion was two years ago and Gross was in attendance.

Two pointers

Fort Loramie was a perfect 3-3 on two point conversions in their 24-14 win over Sidney last Friday. Those deuces were a big factor throughout the contest.

Sidney scored first to lead 7-0. Then it was Loramie 8-7, 16-7, 24-7, and finally 24-14. Those two pointers got the Redskins the lead, then provided additional cushion to put the Yellow Jackets in a tough spot. When Sidney trailed 24-14 and got the ball back late in the encounter, that cushion meant that one TD was not enough.

The win vaulted 3-5 Fort Loramie into the 12th slot on the current region 28 computer standings, meaning they’d play at Riverside to open the playoffs if the season ended after eight weeks. That would be a competitive matchup in my opinion. Remember, the playoff party has doubled in size from eight to 16 per region. Loramie may have already clinched a playoff spot. One more win over Lucas (6-1) or LCC (7-1) may mean a home opener as a top eight qualifier. Two victories would seal it.

Also 3-5 and now in the 15th computer slot of its Division II region, Sidney finishes with a pair of teams with winning records (Stebbins and Xenia) and could join the fray.

Anna (#8) is 3-5 and will qualify in Division VI in a region that lacks quality depth. Lehman (#21) is 1-7 and could make it in D-VII by closing with a pair of wins. Check it all out at

Bowser back?

Following a knee injury and missed playing time, Central Florida has been listing Sidney running back Isaiah Bowser at the top of the depth chart for Saturday’s noon contest at highly ranked Cincinnati on ABC-TV. Here’s hoping all is well for the Northwestern transfer. Stay tuned.

OHSAA recognition

Local United Way President Scott Barr is also a respected three decade OHSAA baseball umpire and has worked state tourneys including a first base assignment at the 2021 big school title game. He was recently named “baseball official of the year” by that governing body. Some 3,200 umpires are licensed to officiate Ohio high school baseball.

Early in my career

I’ve still never seen anything like it. 1976 was my first year of radio play-by-play. That fall I was working a critical Three Rivers Conference football game between Lehman and Versailles at Sidney’s Julia Lamb Stadium, a classic matchup between legendary coaches Bob Heil and Al Hetrick.

Lehman was playing well and led 14-6 midway through the second period when the Cavaliers were whistled for a late hit that fired up the visitors. By halftime, the Tigers had added four touchdowns and the same number of two point conversions for a 32 point explosion and 38-14 advantage at intermission. The second half was scoreless.

Stammen option 2022

As detailed here previously, the San Diego Padres hold a contract option on reliever Craig Stammen (Versailles HS) for next season. Their decision must be made “within five days of the end of the World Series” according to the pitcher.

Meeting a new friend

When the Sidney unblemished football teams of 1968-69-70 recently had a reunion, I actually met one of my fellow players for the first time. Mike Lundy was a senior on the 1968 squad and my class didn’t arrive at the high school until the following September. Somehow we missed each other over the past 53 years.

Lundy is now a retired Sidney police officer. He was anxious to detail the 1968 season to his wife during the reunion. I enjoyed getting acquainted.

Sports Extra

With Dave Ross

Sports Extra appears each Friday. Thanks to former Sidney athletic director and coach John Wolfinger who contributed to this column.

Sports Extra appears each Friday. Thanks to former Sidney athletic director and coach John Wolfinger who contributed to this column.