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Ohio college alums make presence felt in MLB playoffs

Nick SwisherFor this year’s MLB playoffs, folks from Ohio had quite a lot to be proud of. To begin with, the Cleveland Indians made a rather inspired run to clinch a wildcard berth, fighting off the likes of the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and division rival Kansas City Royals. The Indians fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in the wildcard game, but it was still an encouraging season that probably confirmed – in case anyone had any doubts – that Terry Francona can lead the Indians to success.

Down I-71, the Cincinnati Reds made the postseason for the third time in four seasons. Unfortunately as was the case in both prior trips, Cincinnati did not advance in the postseason, this time falling in the National League Wild Card game to the Central Division rival Pirates.

But moving beyond focus of Ohio’s two professional clubs, there were three players who participated in the playoffs that hail from Ohio universities

Nick Swisher 
In his first season in calling the Buckeye State home again, Swisher put forth a solid effort, anchoring the heart of the Cleveland order, The 2002 first-round pick out of Ohio State hit .246 with 22 HR and 63 RBI, posting a .763 OPS as the switch-hitter manned first base for the Indians. Along with his play on the diamond, Swisher was instrumental in turning around Cleveland’s fortunes with his clubhouse presence, bringing a new attitude to the shores of Lake Erie that saw Cleveland play its best baseball at the wire, finishing the season with a 10-game winning streak to clinch a spot in the postseason.

Josh Harrison

The Cincinnati native, an University of Cincinnati product contributed in what was a memorable season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, even if a great deal of their success came at the expense of the hometown Reds.  As Pittsburgh made the playoffs for the first time since 1992. Harrison played in just 60 games, carrying a .250 average with 3 HR and 14 RBI.

Jerry Blevins
Blevins was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 17th round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Dayton. After a two-year career as a Flyer, Blevins needed little more than three years to debut for the A’s on Sept. 16, 2007. The seven-year vet played a significant role in helping the Athletics to a second consecutive American League West Division crown. Appearing in 67 games, Blevins carried a 3.15 ERA over 60 innings, going 5-0 with a 1.067 WHIP.

Dirk Hayhurst

While he didn’t take to the field like the above three, the Kent State product has been on the television throughout this postseason, joining the TBS playoff broadcast team.

As the playoffs wind down with the Dodgers squaring off with Cardinals for the National League and the Red Sox and Tigers tangling in the junior curcuit, if you take a look at Betfair’s betting news, where there are consistently updated odds on all things sports – including World Series odds for this year’s playoffs.

NCAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll Announced

After earning their 14th North Coast Athletic Conference championship last spring, the Wooster Fighting Scots have been selected as the preseason favorite by conference coaches the NCAC announced on Wednesday. Wooster received nine of ten first-place votes to pace the poll with 96 points.

Going 27-18 overall, 11-5 in the NCAC, Wooster will be led by NCAC Tournament MVP Eddie Reese. The junior infielder led the Scots with a .369 average, driving in 37 runs behind a team-high 11 doubles.

In the regular season, Wooster finished a game behind NCAC-newcomer DePauw, 34-14, 12-4, who was picked to finish second, receiving 85 pointes and the lone other first place vote..

The top three is rounded out by Ohio Wesleyan. With 79 points, the Battling Bishops look to build off their 23-18, 9-7 season as they pursue their 11th NCAC title in program history.

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GLIAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll Announced

As Malone and Walsh prepare for their first season in Division II’s Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, joining Ohio programs Ashland, Findlay, Lake Erie, Ohio Dominican and Tiffin, released today is the first prognostication of where the Pioneers and Cavaliers can expect to finish in their new conference.

After surveying the conference’s 12 coaches, the GLIAC has released it’s preseason coaches poll.

With the Grand Valley State Lakers on top, followed by Wayne State, Ashland tops Ohio’s seven GLIAC schools, picked to finished third, receiving one first place vote.

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