The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Chanler McCaskey makes all-state team 2010.06.30

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

chanler.all-state.jpgYou might say it runs in the family.

1983: Phil McCaskey named an all-state football player.

1984: Ronda (Sutherland) McCaskey became Morenci’s first and only all-state volleyball player.

2010: Their daughter Chanler joined the ranks as an all-state softball player.

The recent Morenci graduate became the 15th Bulldog to earn all-state softball honors through coach Kay Johnson’s program.

In more than three decades of leading Morenci softball teams, Johnson wonders if McCaskey might be the finest third basemen she’s had.

“I don’t know if any of the others were as complete as Chanler,” Johnson said. “She really developed into an all-around player.”

Quickness, a strong arm and a feared presence at the plate.

That last quality wasn’t known during McCaskey’s first two years with the team.

She played left field in her freshman year, but soon earned a starting position at third base. She wasn’t given too many opportunities at the plate, however.

“I only had a few plate appearances because I couldn’t hit and I had quite a few strikeouts, so someone else hit for me,” McCaskey recalls.

Eventually she realized that wasn’t the way she wanted to finish her softball career.

“She worked on her swing form more than anyone else,” Johnson said, “and there was a change last year.”

McCaskey worked hard and gained confidence. Soon it all clicked, she said, and hitting became a strong point of her game.

The girl who used to strike out a lot finished her senior year with a .414 batting average, about 150 points higher than the team average.

She led the team with 41 hits and scored 42 runs. She finished with 31 RBIs and plenty of extra bases—24 of her 41 hits.

“She didn’t stop at first base,” Coach Johnson said. “When she put the ball in play, she did it with some authority.”

Her senior year produced 12 doubles, five triples and seven home runs—four of them over the fence.

That puts her in second place for homers in the Bulldog record book, behind Anna Sell’s 11. Sell batted back in the days before most schools had an outfield fence, when a hard hit ball kept on rolling.

Johnson said McCaskey earned respect at the plate and recalls two games this season when she received intentional walks.

McCaskey slammed doubles against two of the premier pitchers in the state, Johnson said, which gives some perspective to her batting average. Her quickness on the bases resulted in 19 steals.

Her quick first step also allowed her to play closer to home from her third base position. She developed into a “super arm,” Johnson said, and she cut her errors down to six this season.

McCaskey will play for Alma College next season.

“They’re really pleased with her,” Coach Johnson said. “Her athleticism, her agility and her versatility.”

“Softball is my favorite sport and definitely my best sport, but volleyball is fun to play and something that I would also like to continue at Alma College,” McCaskey said.

There was a time that neither softball nor volleyball were at the front of her mind.

“I started playing baseball and softball when I was five, but I was also a gymnast and I thought that was my calling,“ she said, “but I can’t even do a proper cartwheel.”

Then it was basketball that she thought might accompany her to college, but that wasn’t clicking like she expected.

In the end, softball was the sport to which she devoted the most time and effort, and that’s the one that will stay with her.

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