Liberty, IN—In the past, the Johnny Bench Award has been presented to college baseball’s top NCAA Division I catcher, but this year it was extended to include top high school baseball and softball catchers from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia.Nate Webb, a 2019 graduate of Union County High School, a four-year letter winner in baseball, received a congratulatory phone call from Bench himself, but as he was not home at the time, he has the voice mail message from Bench to keep forever.The 10 winners will be honored June 18 at the Johnny Bench Awards Luncheon at Great American Ball Park. An award presentation will also occur on the Great American Ball Park field during pre-game ceremonies before the Reds vs. Houston Astros game that evening.
The Blues battled to a goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take a step closer to the Barclays Premier League title, which they can secure later this week with victories over Leicester and then Crystal Palace. Both manager Jose Mourinho and captain John Terry rejected chants of “boring boring Chelsea” from sections of the home supporters during the closing stages of the match as the west London club edged towards their goal of being crowned the best side in England. Press Association “Yes, I think we can (be closer with Chelsea in the title race next season),” the France forward said. “Hopefully we will have less injuries and if we keep this group, with maybe one or two new players coming in, we can have a great season. “I know we can still improve as we have been doing since I signed. I am proud about it and pleased with that. “I just want to carry on like that and I know if we keep our best players, this determination and team spirit, I am sure we are going to join the championship race.” Henry suggested Arsenal need to bring in a “top-quality striker” if they are to become title contenders. Giroud has scored 18 goals this term, despite missing three months with a broken leg. “Mental strength is hugely important when you are a football player and even more as a striker. You have people who doubt your abilities and you have to believe that you can always come back,” the former Montpellier frontman said. “If you miss chances in one game, it is not because you have lost your talent or your belief. You have to be faithful to your qualities. That is part of being a player, being strong in your head. “In football you have to question yourself every week, be ready in your head and you have to be 100 per cent determined if you want to keep going in the games.” Arsenal are in third place following Manchester City’s win over Aston Villa on Saturday, but do have a game in hand. The Gunners are not in action again until the trip to Hull on Bank Holiday Monday. Giroud added: “It has been a few years since Arsenal finished second and, if we can do it, we can see an improvement. “But the championship is not finished, which is why we need to focus in the last five games. “We need to finish in second and win the FA Cup, and then it will be a great season.” Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud believes Chelsea are “pleased” with the way they play – and reckons neither club will be ready to change their football philosophy in the quest for success again next season. Giroud accepts, given Chelsea’s healthy 10-point lead, that the end looks to have justified the means – even if it is an approach which Arsene Wenger’s squad would not embrace. “I did not hear (the fans’ chants), because I do not understand most of the time, so I ask my English team-mates. Boring? I don’t know, but there is the table who speaks for them,” the 28-year-old said. “It is true maybe they are not (playing) the same game as us, but we are not going to change our game and I think they are not going to change their game. “I think they are pleased with that and, if they are champions, what can you say?” Despite a superb run of form in the second half of the campaign, Arsenal are left paying a heavy price for their slow start which returned just two victories from the first eight league matches. Former Gunners captain Thierry Henry used his post-match media pundit role to speak about the need to “buy four players” in the summer to improve the “spine” of the team. Wenger, however, reckons there is “not a lot” between the two sides. Giroud echoed Wenger’s belief Arsenal can challenge for the championship in 2016.
• Photo Gallery: Secretary of Education LA MIRADA – Acting state Secretary of Education Scott Himelstein could not get over how high school has changed when he visited La Mirada High School on Friday. Instead of rows of individual desks and long-winded lessons, groups of students read aloud as teachers pointed out literary concepts and asked questions. Elsewhere, small groups of students worked together on projects. “It is very clear to me that teachers aren’t just lecturing,” Himelstein said. “There is true communication and learning going on here.” Himelstein toured an elementary, middle and high school to see what strategies educators are using to implement Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s literacy initiative. That initiative, adopted several years ago, called for nine of every 10 students to be reading at grade level by the end of this school year. The district will not be able to reach that goal this year, Superintendent Ginger Shattuck said. But teachers and principals will continue to implement strategies to help all students reach that literacy goal, she added. “It’s an honor for us to have \ come down to see our schools,” she said. “He wanted to see how far along we were and how we were doing it so far.” Some of the district’s teaching strategies include breaking students into smaller groups, bringing them closer to the front of the classroom for instruction, conducting benchmark assessments four times a year, and developing classroom libraries. “The classrooms themselves are very print-rich,” said La Mirada High Principal Don Jones. “For the class libraries, there are eight books or textbooks for every student. “And we don’t leave the students in isolation – they learn in groups, or pods, or triads.” Himelstein said efforts like the Norwalk-La Mirada’s literacy initiative are a step in the right direction. “I’m heartened by the attention being paid to students’ ability to read and write,” he said. “This is something we need to do a lot more of, and to see it happening at this level is very heartening. It will serve students well, whether they choose to work after graduation or go into higher education.” Later in the day, Himelstein met with leaders from Cerritos College, ABC Unified School District and the Southeast Regional Occupational Program to discuss a collaborative career tech program with Norwalk-La Mirada officials. email@example.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!