Nominees, senior all-stars & Flashes

Before we talk about the amazing success of the Champion High School softball program, a couple of housekeeping notes.

First, is the timeline for the annual Tribune Chronicle Senior Athletes of the Year awards. Each year, we contact area schools through their athletic directors and invite them to nominate a male and female senior athlete to honor.

Nominees are required to have lettered in two varsity sports and to have a minimum 2.0 grade point average. After that, it’s up to each school. Once we have the nominees, the Tribune sports staff votes to decide the winners.

The nominees that we have received thus far are listed in today’s sports section. Next Sunday, we will publish information capsules on each of the nominees, listing their achievements and some personal information they have provided about their favorite high school sports memories, favorite teams, etc.

The winners will be revealed on June 16 through feature stories on each athlete.

That brings us to the second item. Area fans still have another chance to see some of these senior athletes in action in three upcoming senior all-star games.

All three of these events are put together by the coaching associations of the respective sports and are a great way for the coaches to provide additional recognition for these student-athletes as they complete their high school careers.

First is the sixth annual High School Valley All-Star Baseball Classic, hosted by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at Eastwood Field and presented by Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods. The game is scheduled Friday at 6 p.m..

Tickets — $5 general admission seats — are available from the Scrappers or at the gate.

Next week, senior softball stars will play on Tuesday and football will go on Thursday.

The Bill Sferra Softball Classic will be two seven-inning games at the Youngstown State softball complex starting at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and $10 for family.

The 35th annual Jack Arvin All-Star Football Classic is scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday at Bo Rein Stadium in Niles.

This one is often an interesting game since the football players haven’t been in pads for months — they do have a couple weeks of practice before the game — and many will be playing in pads that night for the last time ever.

With that thought in mind, it is something to ponder if the Mahoning Valley has ever seen — or will see again — a dynasty as successful as the Champion Golden Flashes softball program.

Champion won the Division III state championship for the third straight year on Saturday and has won six state titles since 2011, and nine in the school’s history.

Congratulations to coach Cheryl Weaver and the Flashes for their success — zero runs allowed for the entire tournament run, from the sectional through the district and regional and at state.

Think about that. No other team could score against Champion pitchers Sophie Howell and Allison Smith, and that’s saying something since there are very strong opponents once a team reaches the regional level, let alone state.

And here’s something else to think about, especially when considering how impressive this current run is — coach Weaver will have both Howell and Smith back in the circle next year, and the first six hitters in the lineup also will return.

It would seem that the Golden Flashes’ state title streak is far from over.


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