Portage South Stars Sweep the Big 3 League Awards
The NEO Roy Hobbs Baseball committee selected the annual league player awards for all divisions.
In the Greater Akron AA division, Portage South Black Squirrels swept the 3 awards. Phil Smith
won the Frank Garcia League MVP award and the George Sisler Award for the league's top hitter.
Smith hit .421 with 24 hits, 7 doubles, a triple and 3 homeruns. He also had 17 RBIs and 12 runs scored. Kevin
Haley was awarded the Dave Young Pitcher of the Year Award. Haley was 5-3 with a 0.90 ERA
in 46 2/3 innings pitched.
Four Black Squirrels Named All Hobbs Team
The Roy Hobbs/Greater Akron AA League Awards were announced and 4 Black
Squirrels were named to the All-League team. This year the team was selected by the Awards Committee.
24 players were selected for each division, American and National. Phil Smith, Mike Darrah, Kevin Haley and Ron Spears were honored for PS in the 2014 season.
PS Team Awards Announced
With the 2014 season now over, the Portage South Black Squirrels announce the annual team
awards. The PS MVP was presented to Kevin
Haley. Haley had 23 hits, 10 runs scored,
3 doubles and drove in 8 runs. He also went 7-5 on the mound with a save in a PS record, 77 innings pitched to win the
PS Cy Young. Haley had a 1.09 ERA with 56 strikeouts. Phil Smith finished the
season with a .449 average which gave him the Stan
Musial Batting Title. The fourth and final award given out is known as "The Herb".
The 2014 Herb went to Danny Campfield.
Portage South Star Honored
On July 20th, the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame inducted
the Class of 2014 in a dinner ceremony at the SYB Hall. Among those honored was Portage South standout and manager,
Ron Spears. Spears was also asked to throw out the first pitch at a July 18th Akron Rubber Ducks game, throwing to his
Spears is trained well to know the law of the land as a highly respected attorney in Akron. But the Kentucky native readily
answers to an even higher court as a standout baseball player.
Spears, who moved to Akron in 1997, has been a standout
on the diamond and has been consistently playing the game he is so passionate about since he was a 7-year-old in Kentucky.
football, basketball and baseball at such a high level that he received college athletic scholarship offers in all 3 sports
after a stellar career at Madison County High School, where he also excelled academically and was salutatorian of his senior
class and a Presidential Scholar.
It was inevitable that Spears would narrow his athletic path to baseball. He accepted
a scholarship from Eastern Kentucky University. He lettered 3 years at EKU and was named the Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete
as a junior and senior. He earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science from EKU in 1992 and a master’s
degree in public administration at EKU in 1994. He then earned his juris doctorate from the University of Kentucky College
of Law and became a practicing attorney.
Despite his rigorous academic path, Spears never lost his passion for baseball.
He has been a standout on several area teams during the past 17 seasons. He has been a 10-time all-star selection in the NEO-AAA
and Greater Akron AA leagues. He won the Garcia Award in 2007 while playing for Wadsworth and was a Garcia finalist 4 other
Spears was named George Sisler MVP of the Buckeye 18+ state championship tournaments in 2006. He was a key
cog in Roy Hobbs championships in 4 seasons playing with the A’s and Knights.
Spears also found time in his busy
professional, family and athletic lives to join the Kent Roosevelt High School baseball coaching staff as an assistant coach.
Portage South Ends the Season as Champions
After finishing second in the league tournament, Portage South was looking to end the season
on a high note in the Wood Bat Classic. In pool play, PS had to play 4 games and went 2-2 to earn the 3rd seed in the
single elimination tournament. Portage South lost to the Bomb Squad in the opener then came back to beat the Warren
Cardinals 15-1. PS then lost to the Play Ball Academy A's 2-0 and finished pool play with a win over Metro Ice. In
the tournament, Portage South would face the Bomb Squad again. Mike Darrah threw a one-hit shutout,
while striking out 10, for the 1-0 victory. In the finals, PS would face the Warren Cardinals. Portage South got
on the board first with 2 runs in the first inning. Ron Spears doubled and scored on a Mike
Darrah homerun. They would tack on another run in the third when Darrah doubled and was plated by a Phil
Smith single. The Cardinals would cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth, but PS scored 2 more in the sixth to win
5-2. Kevin Haley went the distance on the mound for the win, striking out nine.
Nice Tournament Run Sees Portage South Finish Runner-up
Following a tough regular season, Portage South was looking to make a run in the league tournament.
In the first round, PS drew South Akron Kraken. they had lost 3 of 4 during the regular season to the Kraken,
but a late homerun by Mike Haney broke a 2-2 tie for the Portage South win. PS then played Ohio Gamecocks and got out
to an early lead with a 7-run second inning. The Gamecocks rallied with an 8-run sixth inning to cut the lead to 11-10,
but Portage South held on for the victory. In the semifinal, PS would face Play Ball Academy A's for a spot in the Championship.
Portage South got a run in the fourth, 2 in the fifth and 2 more in the seventh to win 5-0. Mike Darrah
threw a 3-hit shutout to put the Black Squirrels in the championship game without a loss. In the championship, PS would
again be matched up with the A's, as they made their way back through the consolation bracket. The A's were able to
shutout Portage South in 2 consecutive games to take the title.
Early Injuries Leads to a Tough Regular Season for PS
The Portage South Black Squirrels 2014 season got off to a rough start by dropping both games
of a doubleheader, but then split the next 8 games to end up at 4-6 through their first 10 games. Then PS was hit heavily
with the injury bug. Even some of the players brought in to replace the injured ones were injured and Portage South
struggled a bit. They were 7-10 and had a chance to get back into the regular season title race with 4 straight games
with the league leading, Play Ball Academy A's. PS dropped all 4 games and then ended the season with a 9-15 record.
There were some bright spots with the regular season. With the pitching staff thin to begin with and some young
arms learning, Kevin Haley stepped up and had one of the best seasons in Portage South history on the mound. There was
also plenty of offense as 5 players finished the regular season hitting over .400.