Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
Jaw-dropping victories. Improbable upsets. Heartbreaking losses. Historic individual performances.
2019 had it all and then some.
Here at Southern Ohio Sports Authority, we’re counting down the top twenty moments — in four segments — from the year that was, whittled down from an original list of hundreds.
With numbers 10-6, we take a look at a state track title, two league and district championships on the baseball diamond, and a call from the big leagues that changed a life forever.
10. Wheelersburg’s Paige Emnett takes state discus title, second in shot put
As if Emnett’s senior season hadn’t already gone perfectly — she won individual district titles in the shot put (43-feet-8) and discus (130-feet) before setting a Division III regional shot record with a throw of 44-8 while winning a regional title in the discus at 125-6 — Emnett lathered icing on the cake with her showing at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Competing at the 2019 OHSAA Track and Field State Championships, Emnett won the Division III state discus title with a best throw of 139-feet and took second in the shot put at 43-2.5. She was SOSA’s Girls Track Athlete of the Year and for good reason.
9. Chillicothe Paints win Prospect League championship
You may not believe it — we still don’t — but the Paints started their summer at 2-7. And then they rolled off 11 straight victories to grab momentum, which they used to finish the regular season at 39-17. If you’re counting at home, that’s 37 wins in the next 47 tries. After clinching a playoff berth, Chillicothe claimed the East Division title with a 3-1 win over Danville before facing Cape in the Prospect League Championship Series. The Paints lost the first matchup of the three-game title series but won the next two, winning their first title since 2010. The club finished 40-20, had five selected All-Stars, and boasted of the league’s batting and strikeout champions.
8. Westfall finishes improbable run to SVC, district baseball championships
As of April 25, Westfall owned a 7-3 record inside the Scioto Valley Conference after a 10-9 loss to Paint Valley the previous day. But that’s when the Mustangs ripped off four straight wins to turn their season around and capture a conference crown. Those four wins were over Southeastern, Piketon, Unioto and Zane Trace — a 2-0 win over the Shermans and an 8-2 victory over the Pioneers to seal the deal. The team then used that momentum to win sectional and district championships with a 4-2 win over Valley and a 2-1 victory over Wheelersburg. The win over the heavily-favored Pirates came after a thrilling 6-5 win over Rock Hill in a district semifinal, one where the Mustangs trailed 5-2 in the top of the seventh. Westfall scored four times in the next two innings to win. The district title for the Mustangs was the first since 2010.
7. Huntington wins first-ever boys district title with baseball win over Whiteoak
It wasn’t the way that Huntington won a district crown, but it was the meaning behind it that makes it so significant. First of all, the team’s 6-5 win over Eastern Meigs in a district semifinal allowed the Huntsmen to make their first appearance in a district final since 2008. Then, with a 6-3 win over Whiteoak on May 22, Huntington claimed its first-ever district championship … not just in baseball, but in any boys sport. The Huntsmen’ tournament run eventually came to an end with an 8-0 loss to Toronto in a regional semifinal, but not before the history books gained a new entry. Huntington, which was a No. 4 seed in the Division IV sectional to begin things, ended with 13 wins and a big gain to the trophy case.
6. Minford alum Dylan Shockley is drafted by Pittsburgh Pirates
Dylan Shockley started his summer by joining the Chillicothe Paints’ roster, a team he was familiar to after spending a full season with the club in 2016. This past summer’s stint, however, didn’t last a full season. During a batting practice session early in the year, Shockley received a call that changed his life forever. On the other end of the telephone was a representative from the Pittsburgh Pirates, telling Shockley that the club had drafted him in the 34th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Shockley, a University of Rio Grande alum, was visibly in awe. Shockley’s call came after he had went through Tommy John surgery and two knee surgeries in a one-year period. “I thought baseball was going to be a fun thing for me,” he said after the call. “Today makes all of that worth it.”
NOTE: SOSA will release numbers 5-1 on Saturday.