The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Sports

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Sports can often be used as a tool for competitors to forget about the ups and downs in their daily lives.

The East Suburban Thunder 14-U baseball team did just that at the Nations Baseball State Championship 54/80 Select Tournament June 17-20 in Dublin, Ohio.

The team, consisting primarily of Lake High School players age 14 and under, went 4-2 during the 21-team tournament and reached the championship game, where they lost 1-0 to the WBC Rattlers out of Canton.

That the team could even concentrate on baseball was probably surprising to some. The tournament was less than two weeks after a tornado devastated the Millbury area and demolished Lake High School on Saturday, June 5.

“The Columbus tournament was pretty much what we worked for all year, to go down and win this tournament,” first-year Thunder manager Wes Blank said. “Tuesday night, after everything had happened, we talked about how our team is like family and how my family at home has been affected by the tornado and how we leaned on the baseball team. It was neat that the kids wanted to be there. When I got the response from the kids that they wanted to play, it felt like they had a purpose to help bring the community together.”

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Genoa basketball and softball coach Tom Kontak says he “assumes” the

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     Tom Kontak

school board of education’s decision to non-renew of his basketball contract was of a “personal nature.”

Kontak reacted to the non-renewal by resigning from his softball coaching position a week ago.

“From a coaching standpoint, my heart is broke,” Kontak wrote in his resignation letter. “The young ladies I have asked to follow me as their leader expect answers. At this time, I do not have any answers to give them. This, to me, is unacceptable.”

Kontak was non-renewed for basketball at the May 25 board meeting and he said he was told the next day while in his classroom. He resigned his softball position a week ago Friday.

Kontak’s basketball teams over six seasons since 2004-05 are a combined 91-44. In 2008-09, he was named the District 7 Division III Coach of the Year.

He has coached 24 All-SLL player selections, 16 all-district players, four all-state players, one junior college player, and two NCAA Division I college players.

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Everett “Pee Wee” Haas and his wife, Bertha, made sure their daughters and

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grandkids grew up to be Detroit Tigers fans.

Maxine (Haas) Waters, the younger of Everett and Bertha's two daughters, lived in Florida in the 1960s, so Everett and Bertha took their older daughter, Liz, to Lakeland, Fla., every year for nearly four decades to watch the Tigers in spring training.

“They went to spring training for about 37 years, my mom and dad and Liz,” Maxine said. “They always took my kids — Cindy (Leffler) and Don, Rusty and Joe (Waters). I have a picture of Cindy and Don with Casey Stengel. I have upteen pictures of baseball players – some with Liz and some with the kids.”

Liz Haas was as passionate about the Tigers as you can imagine. In fact, if there was a sporting event on television, Liz was probably tuned in.

“She watched sports every day of the year - any sport,” said Maxine, 77. “If Detroit wasn't playing, she was watching somebody else. Liz loved sports. She was handicapped but she would forget she was crippled, because she did a lot. We took her to a lot of sporting events.”

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