Welcome back Hoover baseball fans! As a result of Ohio Governor DeWine allowing limited contact sports leagues such as baseball to reopen May 26th, the Ohio High School Athletic Association lifted the previously imposed dead period which had been in place since March 16th. Although the OHSAA reaffirmed that the spring sports seasons and tournaments will remain cancelled and not conducted during the summer, coaches may coach their players from June 1st through August 31st without restriction except that participation cannot be mandatory. The extension of coaching in August will only be permitted this year. The Hoover High School athletic facilities will open up June 1st in order to accommodate coaching and training. All activities will be required COVID-19 safety recommendations. A majority of collegiate summer leagues have cancelled their season. Scholastic-age summer ball in Ohio will be greatly reduced due to safety concerns and lack of available playing facilities. The North Canton Little League is planning a modified season start-up on June 15th with strict safety measures in place. Special Comeback – The 2006 Hoover Vikings had lost a heart breaking District Final to Green 2-0 just five days prior. On Senior Night, the Vikings hosted GlenOak with a chance to clinch the school’s first Federal League Championship since 1998. Greg McClellan was in his first season as coach of GlenOak, replacing the legendary Joe Gilhousen. Hoover graduate and former assistant coach Larry Grove was on McClellan’s coaching staff. GlenOak built a 9-2 lead heading to the bottom of the final frame. Coach Jeff Hite was heard telling his players something to the effect that if you don’t make any outs, you can’t lose. How prophetic that comment would become. Scorekeeper Jerry Runner’s written words listed the details of the last at bat for the Vikings in his website game recap. R.D. Whittaker led off the bottom of the 7th inning as a pinch hitter and reached base via error by GlenOak third baseman Ryan Stupeck. Josh Runner followed with a line drive single off the pitcher’s foot. Dan Reiss’s bloop single to right field scored Whittaker from second base and advanced Runner to third base (Vikings down 9-3). Evan Merten’s double off the center field fence scored Runner cutting the deficit to five runs. Richard Nicodemo’s pop fly dropped in right center for a base hit driving in Reiss (Vikings down 9-5). That would end the evening for GlenOak’s starting pitcher (Bertka). Blaine Maze rudely greeted the GlenOak reliever and eventual losing pitcher (Brannan) with a triple to plate both Merten and Nicodemo drawing the Vikings within two runs of the Eagles. Next batter Derek Zeigler struck a two-run home run over the center field fence to tie the game 9-9. Brian Allison became the potential winning run at second base after reaching on a two-base error by the GlenOak shortstop (DePasquale). Alex Martinelli stepped to the plate and proceeded to fail on two sacrifice bunt attempts. Not to let the heroic opportunity escape him, Martinelli proceeded to line a single to left field and second-year head coach Jeff Hite triumphantly waved Allison home with the winning run and the Vikings were Federal League Champions. They had indeed fulfilled Coach Hite’s pre-inning message scoring eight runs on seven hits while recording no outs. It was one of the greatest late-inning comeback stories in Hoover baseball history. The 2006 Vikings finished the season with a 22-7 record and 10-4 record in the Federal League. Academic Recognition – Seniors Logan Corbit, Jamison Ellis, Connor Mayle, Nick Presutto, Sam Roach and Jaideep Seth were all named Federal League All-Academic for the 2019-2020 school year. To be eligible for such recognition, the student-athletes must have been a letter winner and attained at least a 3.8 cumulative GPA for the first seven semesters of their high school careers. As always, Go Vikings! Craig Haueter (, (330) 936-1695