Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. ELLSWORTH — When Dan Curtis sees panic in the eyes of a Little League pitcher, he has a routine.The former Ellsworth All-stars coach will call a timeout and rise from the upturned bucket from which he observes games. Once he reaches the mound, Curtis will drop to one knee, throw a hand on the child’s shoulder, then lean in as if he’s about to talk strategy.“What’d you have for supper last night?” he’ll ask his player, who no longer appears terrified or disheartened, but like he’s trying to solve a math problem in his head. After a few moments of silence, Curtis will follow with the question: “Are you thinking about baseball?”“No,” the child will typically respond. “I’m trying to remember what I had for supper.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textCurtis will then stroll back to the sidelines, leaving behind a relaxed if not slightly confused pitcher in his wake.“I thought it was funny the first time I did it,” Curtis said, chuckling. “One of the worst things you can do as an athlete is start thinking. You’ve got to trust that you’ve put the work in.”Curtis plans to use a variation of this trick come springtime when he will begin his new job as head coach for the Ellsworth High School varsity baseball team. The only difference will be he’ll no longer need to take a knee to meet his player’s eye line.And for a coach who can casually discuss food with his players to break up a tense inning, Curtis has a serious agenda for Ellsworth’s baseball programs.Curtis, a Cherryfield native and a manager at Ellsworth Building Supplies, has coached at the Little League and Junior League levels for eight years, with his most recent accomplishment coming last summer when his Ellsworth team won the Junior League state championship.Though Curtis doesn’t yet have any high school coaching experience under his belt, he believes he has learned from the best as a high school and college athlete himself in the 1990s.“One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do this is because I played for outstanding coaches,” Curtis said. “It’s give-back time.”At Narraguagus High School, Curtis won an Eastern Maine championship with coach John Sawyer. He then went on to play for one of Maine’s most legendary coaches, John Winkin, at Husson University, where Curtis earned Academic All-American honors for two years.Some two decades earlier, it was Sawyer who was pitching for Winkin’s University of Maine Black Bears in the 1976 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.Curtis said Winkin’s and Sawyer’s coaching styles were the kinds that extended beyond baseball. As mentors, they guided their athletes both on and off the field.Winkin has since died, but Sawyer and Curtis have remained in touch. Sawyer even submitted a letter of recommendation for Curtis to EHS Athletics Director Jay Brown, in which Sawyer stated that Curtis would make a “fine role model” for student-athletes.“John Sawyer was like a father figure,” Curtis said. “He really instilled commitment in the team.”Curtis recalled how when his prom night fell on the eve of a playoff game, Sawyer’s athletes knew that at 10 p.m., they were expected to head home.“He didn’t have to tell us that,” Curtis said. “Athletes make sacrifices, and they make them for each other.”Though baseball season doesn’t officially begin until April, Curtis has been preparing for months. The first person Curtis said he called after receiving the job was Sawyer, who agreed to drive an hour west from Columbia Falls to help Curtis design practice plans.And while Curtis may not be one to yell at his athletes, he certainly plans to push them.“There’s going to be a lot of conditioning — hopefully the players will be ready for that,” he said, cracking a smile. “Don’t think I’ll be easy.”Curtis intends to unite generations of Ellsworth baseball players, from the Little Leaguers to local legends like Jack Scott — a former EHS player and coach, with a minor league career with the Red Sox sandwiched in between.Curtis recently called Scott at his winter home in Florida.“‘You do realize I’m almost 80 years old,’” Curtis mimicked Scott’s response, to which Curtis said he replied: “I sure do, and I’d love to have you swing in.”Scott coached Ellsworth to several Eastern Maine and state titles throughout the 1980s and ’90s. Curtis also has reached out to athletes who played for Scott at the height of the program’s success — such as Dick Scott, Tim Scott and Troy Brown — to ask them if they’d drop in for an EHS practice at some point this season.“These guys were some of the best who ever played here,” Curtis said. “I want these high school players to know they are playing for a great program with a lot of history and that they can be just as successful.”Curtis also intends to have his high school players take turns running occasional practices for the Ellsworth Little Leaguers to boost excitement for the sport at the community’s youth level.“I want them to think, ‘Man, I can’t wait to play for Ellsworth High School,’” Curtis said. “This is bigger than winning one season. It’s about building something that will be successful for years.” Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all) Bio EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016 Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Latest Posts
Kovac will have to do without in-form midfield maestro Thiago, who tore an ankle ligament against Roedinghausen.– Dortmund’s defensive disaster –Leaders Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, are facing a defensive crisis as they look to keep Bayern at bay with a win in Wolfsburg.With Manuel Akanji, Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer all out injured, things went from bad to worse when Abdou Diallo limped off the field early in Dortmund’s 3-2 cup win over Union Berlin on Wednesday.Raphael Guerreiro is set to take Diallo’s place in defence, while up front, Mario Goetze has also been ruled out with bronchitis.– Bayer all grown up –Julian Brandt has said that he and his Bayer Leverkusen team mates have gone from boys to men in the space of a few days.In full-blown crisis this time last week, Leverkusen look a side transformed as they prepare to host Hoffenheim, having chalked up a 6-2 win over Werder Bremen and a 5-0 thrashing of Borussia Moenchengladbach in the last few days.“We couldn’t have even dreamed of this a week ago,” said Brandt. “At the beginning of the season, we were playing like children, we were naive. Now, the little kiddies have grown up.”Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 Berlin, Germany | AFP | Arjen Robben has admitted that Bayern Munich are some way from their best form as they head into what he says is a must-win game for the Bundesliga champions at Freiburg on Saturday.The Dutch winger said that he and his team mates needed to be “self-critical” as they bid to return to the top of the Bundesliga this weekend.Bayern are two points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, who have been plunged into an injury crisis ahead of a tricky trip to Wolfsburg, and have the chance ot overtake Dortmund ahead of their face-to-face next week.Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen are looking to continue their explosive return to form against Hoffenheim, while Stuttgart coach Markus Weinzierl is hoping to shake off comparisons with the Bundesliga’s worst ever team.Here are five things to look out for in the Bundesliga this weekend.– Bayern’s bad patch –Bayern Munich may have won their last four games, but both coach Niko Kovac and his players know that they need to improve when they host Freiburg on Saturday.“We’re not playing our best football at the moment,” Arjen Robben told Amazon Music this week, after watching his teammates labour to a 2-1 cup win over fourth tier side SV Roedinghausen.“We need to win against Freiburg, maybe we can take another step forward and gain confidence before we play Dortmund the week after.”
by Malik VincentAt season’s beginning, the Allderdice boy’s basketball team was the clear favorite to repeat in the City League.On Feb. 15, they were upset by Peabody (8-7, 9-8), 59-51, in what was the final home game in history for the Highlanders basketball program. TWO POINTS—Bruce Grover of Perry lays in two of his 12 points in the Commodores 71-69 win over Allderdice. Peabody’s coach Tim Broderick Sr. and others from the athletic department were unreachable for comment.“Peabody played a good game,” said Allderdice coach Andre McDonald. “We were without two of our starters. They simply outworked us and handed us a tough road loss.”The City League playoffs begin Wed., Feb. 23. At Courier press time there were several playoff-seeding possibilities and it was not clear who would face off and when. The second-round will commence on March 1.Allderdice still looks to be a key factor in who is crowned the City League champion on Sat. March 5 at Peabody High School.They feature two of the city’s top scorers in Justin Dobbs and Ben Mickens.Dobbs is a player whose leadership skills and uncanny scoring ability propels the Dragons’ offense. He currently averages 20.4 points per game. Mickens complements that style and his size gives him an advantage over most. He’s their second-leading scorer (15.5 per game).The top dogs, Perry (14-1, 18-3), are looking to avenge their loss to Allderdice in last year’s title game.Their point guard Marcus Smith has tremendous athletic ability and can help the Commodores bring back the title to Perry. Off-guard Bruce Grover brings a consistent jump shot to their offense and forward Greg McGhee’s solid frame and pure talent will give them an edge, as well.Schenley (11-5 14-8) may have the most prolific scorer in the City League right now in 5-foot-9 senior guard Brandon Johnson. His size is no indicator of the way he can stymie opposing defenses with his all-around scoring arsenal. He’s had multiple 40-point games for the Spartans.Peabody has one of the best players in the city in Dontae Forte. At the forward position, he’s put up 20-point performances on a consistent basis. The Highlanders could be a surprise team in this year’s playoffs.Joining Peabody, only Carrick (12-7, 10-5) and the Spartans will be legitimate challengers to Perry and Allderdice for the City League title.Guards Rasheed McKamey and Lafon Pace, as well as forward Mike Talton will lead the Raiders into the postseason, all of which have put up double-figured games throughout the season.Eight of the nine teams will be in the playoffs, with the team with the best record playing the team with the worst. Only Langley boys and Oliver girls are out.STANDINGSTeam Conf. Overall1. Perry 14-1 18-32. Allderdice 11-4 13-73. Schenley 11-4 14-84. Carrick 10-5 12-75. Peabody 8-7 9-86. Oliver 5-10 5-167. Brashear 4-11 6-158. Westinghouse 4-11 6-159. Langley 1-14 1-20GIRLSThe Allderdice girls have been the dominant force in the league. With a 15-0 mark, they look to be the favorites to capture another title this year.Led by junior guards Janay Bottoms and DaJai Beasley, the Dragons have won 14 of their last 15 games.Westinghouse comes in a close second with the experience and leadership of their long-time coach, Phyllis Jones. Guard Kayla Key has been a regular double-digit scorer for the Bulldogs.Defending champs, Perry, have two the of the best players in the city in 6-foot-2 post player, Marritta Gilcrease and her teammate Latosha Fortson. All of their wins this season have come in league play.STANDINGS1. Allderdice 15-0 17-42. Westinghouse 16-2 13-53. Brashear 11-4 13-64. Perry 10-5 10-115. Schenley 7-9 7-146. Langley 6-9 10-107. Peabody 3-12 3-158. Carrick 2-13 2-159. Oliver 1-14 2-16(Malik Vincent can be reached at [email protected])
AKRON, Ohio (AP)—Michael Dokes, a former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion, has died. He was 54.The Rhoden Memorial Home in Akron said Dokes died Aug. 11. The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the boxer died in an Akron hospice from liver cancer.Dokes won the heavyweight title at 24 in December 1982, when referee Joey Curtis made a controversial decision to stop his fight against champion Mike Weaver. Dokes dominated the first round over Weaver, prompting the decision. MICHAEL DOKES An admitted problem with cocaine helped him lose the WBA title only nine months later to Gerrie Coetzee, however, and Dokes never held the heavyweight crown again.Known as “Dynamite” Dokes because he packed a powerful punch, he had a career record of 53-6-2.Dokes came back for one last shot at the big time, getting a February 1993 opportunity at the heavyweight title against Riddick Bowe in New York. He earned $750,000 but didn’t last long, getting knocked out in the first round at Madison Square Garden.He last fought in November 1997, when he weighed 280 pounds.Once regarded by many as one of the most promising young fighters in the game, Dokes succumbed to a cocaine habit that cut his career short. He ran into a string of legal problems that derailed his career.In 1986, Dokes was arrested in Las Vegas for cocaine trafficking and served two years’ probation.In 2000, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempted murder, second-degree kidnapping and intent to commit sexual assault against his girlfriend. She was held against her will for six hours in the home they shared.At that trial, the victim took the stand to tell of her relationship with Dokes, which stretched over 10 years. She said Dokes, who had two prior felony drug convictions, was a good person when he was clean and sober, which he was for several years during their relationship.But she said drug and alcohol use made Dokes violent, and the violence culminated in the beating and assault when she came home at 5 a.m. from a concert she had attended. She said Dokes punched her in the face and beat her before sexually assaulting her.“I’m remorseful. There’s no excuse for my actions,” Dokes said at the time of his sentencing. “I love that woman with all my heart. I truly wanted to spend the rest of my life with her as husband and wife.”He was released in 2008.In addition to his brother Kevin, Dokes is survived by his sister, Alisa Dokes Williams, and his brothers Steven and Charles.