Prep Sports Notebook: Unity softball wins home opener, SJO volleyball post 17 wins

SJO softball splits DH
Addison Frick went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs in game two of St. Joseph-Ogden's road doubleheader against Atwood-Hammond-Arthur-Lovington.

Meanwhile, teammate Kennedy Hudson was 3-4 with a pair of RBI of her own in SJO's 10-4 win.

Alyssa Acton picked up the win after facing 75 batters.

The win came after the Spartans dropped game one, 2-1.

Facing pitcher Makenzie Brown, SJO produced just four hits against the University of Tulsa commit.

Sophia Martlage, who scored the team's only run, took the loss for the Spartans surrendering two runs on six hits over six innings.

Henry earns first pitching win for Unity, Rockets settle game in six
Madeline Reed and Hailey Flesch had three hits apiece to give Unity their first win of the season. The Rockets rolled Mount Zion, 13-3 at home.

Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, was softball-less for exactly 700 days since the Rockets' softball team last played a competitive inning.

Reed, along with Gracie Renfrow and Taylor Joop booked 2 RBI apiece.

Junior hurler Taylor Henry gave up seven hits on 100 pitches and struck out eight after six innings of play on her way to her first win of the season.

Spartan baseball team remains undefeated
After seven games, the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team's record remains untarnished by a loss.

The latest victory for the 7-0 Spartans was a sweet one on the road at Teutopolis. Back in 2017, the Wooden Shoes denied the SJO program a Class 2A state championship trophy after a 10-2 win over the Spartans.

SJO's Hayden Brazelton, who went 5-for-5 at the plate, doubled in his first at-bat, singled in the second, tripled in the fourth, singled on his next two trips in the sixth and eighth innings. He led the team with 3 RBI.

Sophomore Ty Pence picked up the win bring the heat in the last three innings of a game that went one extra inning. He struck out four Wooden Shoe batters in his three-inning appearance on the hill.

Teutopolis' Derek Konkel, who took the pitching loss, saw a little more than an inning of action giving up two hits and three runs.

SJO volleyball team finishes on a high note
The Spartan volleyball program finished its spring season with an impressive 17 win, 3 loss record on Friday.

Kennedi Burnett led St. Joseph-Ogden with 6 kills, 1 assist, 3 digs and an ace to close out the season against Teutopolis.

Senior Payton Vallee put away 10 kills and notched five digs as the Spartans powered their way past the Wooden Shoes, 25-21 and 25-14.

Ashley Eldridge had five kills and two blocks.

Frick delivers game-high 3 RBI, SJO splits doubleheader on the road

The St. Joseph-Ogden softball squad split their doubleheader this morning against Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammon.

In game one, the SJO faced Makenzie Brown, the best opposing pitcher the team has seen so far this season. Brown struck out 16 of the 23 Spartans she faced across seven innings to lead her team to a 2-1 victory on her home diamond.

Sophia Martlage winds up for a pitch against the Centennial Chargers. The senior went 3-for-4 and stole two bases in game two of the Spartans' road campaign against the Knights of ALAH.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Peyton Jones led SJO with 3 hits and plated a run on line drive to right field that allowed Sophia Martlage to score in the 5th inning. Jones added one stolen base and celebrated at double during the non-conference contest.

Down 2-1 at the top of the 6th and struggling to put the ball in play, the Spartans was able to put the ball in play just three more times across to frames.

Despite striking out just two batters, Martlage, who unloaded 47 strikes out of her 60 pitches, gave up two runs on six hits.

With Brown out of the way, game two was a different tale. St. Joseph-Ogden pounded out 13 hits to take the second game, 10-4.

Between the top of the 3rd and the start of the bottom, the Spartans scored seven runs to go up 7-1 on six singles and four walks.

Jones, Martlage, Halle Brazelton, Grace Goldenstein, Addy Martinie, Addison Frick and Audrey Short all scored in the rally.

Alyssa Acton earned the win in game two for SJO after a 75-pitch, five-inning appearance. She struck out three along the way.

The Spartan offense was led by the trio of Martlage, Hudson and Jones with three hits each. Frick, who had a game-high 3 RBI, and Short had two apiece of the team's 13.

St. Joseph-Ogden, who plays at home on Wednesday against Villa Grove, tallied seven stolen bases on the Knights.

SJO softball team picks up another win

St. Joseph-Ogden shortstop Shayne Immke lunges toward a ground ball during SJO's home softball game against Tri-Valley. The Spartans, thanks to a single run plated in the bottom of the third by Addison Frick, pulled out a 1-0 victory on Wednesday to improve their record to 3-1. The Spartans play at home next on April 28 hosting the Blue Devils of Villa Grove.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

5 strategies to consider for singles heading into retirement

Photo:Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels
(StatePoint Media) -- Planning on retiring single? You aren’t alone.

Nearly 22 million Americans age 65 and older were unmarried in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, representing 41.5% of those in that age category. And for women, it’s more likely to be the case. According to the Administration on Aging, 54% of older women are unmarried, as compared to 30% of older men.

In a study published in the "The Gerontologist", one-third of men and women between the ages of 45 and 63 who responded to the survey were single, most were never married or they were and now divorced. A small number were widowed.

Unmarried Baby Boomers face greater economic, health, and social challenges compared to their married peers in their later years.

"Retirement planning can be especially challenging for singles, who need to prepare without the decision-making and income support of a partner," says Scott Pedvis, financial advisor, Wells Fargo Advisors.

For those setting a course for solo retirement, Wells Fargo Advisors offers these five tips:

1. Create a fallback plan. Retirees commonly discover a gap between what they thought they’d need for retirement and what’s actually needed. And if you’re single, you may not have a second income stream to rely on should finances become unexpectedly disrupted. Periodically review your investment portfolio and build backup plans. Such contingency planning could involve more emergency savings and more robust disability and long-term care insurance protection than couples. You could also choose to take a part-time job for extra income.

2. Build a network of advisors. With autonomy sometimes comes a reluctance to seek advice. Consider forming a team of trusted professionals, including a financial advisor, accountant, attorney and healthcare providers.

3. Count on loved ones—to a point. Friends and family can be a lifeline in good times and times of need. However, ensuring they don’t take advantage of your independent status or create serious financial burdens for you is essential. For example, you should take extreme care before turning over financial matters to others. Stay actively involved and work with a trusted team to help make decisions in your best interests. Evaluate the possibility of engaging a corporate trustee to manage finances, should you become incapacitated.

4. Prepare key documents. According to, more than half of American adults don’t have estate planning documents such as a will or trust. Don’t wait. Even if you’ve put some documents together, they may not ensure your wishes are carried out. Here are the key documents forming the foundation for most estate plans:

• Will
• Power of attorney (POA) for financial matters
• Durable power of attorney for health care
• Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release authorization
• Living will
• Revocable living trust

To prevent confusion and misdirected bequests, carefully designate beneficiaries of IRAs, employer-sponsored retirement plans, insurance policies and annuities. Lay out clear directions for the distribution of remaining assets. Also, don’t forget about digital assets and accounts. Will your executor or trustee have proper authority to access and manage those items? Talk to your attorney about keeping digital planning secure and up-to-date.

5. Plan for change. Entering into a committed relationship could mean making adjustments. Look at your insurance coverage, emergency fund and future income plan.

Think about having a frank discussion with your new partner about how you’ll divide assets in the event of divorce or death. If ex-spouses or children are in the picture, consider managing finances and estate plans separately. With the assistance of your financial advisor and estate-planning attorney, you can establish a basic estate plan, and, as appropriate, discuss other strategies for preserving wealth.

"Planning for retirement is part of the financial journey. Key planning strategies can help you feel confident as you approach your golden years solo," says Pedvis.

For more information and guidance in planning your retirement, visit

Create a healthier home: 4 tips for your new multi-purpose space

Photo: Avelino Calvar Martinez/Burst
(Family Features) -- Even after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination, There are a lot of people not ready to throw caution into the wind and resume pre-pandemic behavior. Individuals and families, vaccinated or not, are planning to continue to spend more time at home until they feel their communities and the places they frequent are much safer to visit.

The additional time at home provides a unique opportunity to make changes to create a healthy living environment.

In many homes spaces traditionally used for socialization and relaxation have evolved into classrooms, gyms and workout space, voice and video production studios, comfortable office space, restaurants, and more.

In fact, a majority of Americans (54%) report being more concerned about having a healthy home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent online survey of 2,000 adults conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Carrier Global Corporation, a leading global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions.

The survey also found that of those surveyed who were 18 years of age or older last August, since the COVID-19 pandemic began:

  • 49% are more concerned about maintaining heating and air conditioning filters to reduce dust, pollen and other indoor pollutants.
  • 42% are more concerned about fire safety precautions in their homes, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • 39% are more concerned about having dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in their homes.

According to the survey, 1,381 of the participants were homeowners.

If you’re looking to improve your living space, consider these tips for making your home the healthiest it can be:

Create an ideal sleep environment . . .
Most people sleep most comfortably when the air is slightly cool, so target a room temperature between 65-70 F. If this is cooler than you keep the home during the day, consider using a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers the temperature at bedtime. Also, remove distractions that may keep you awake and, if necessary, use a white noise device for uninterrupted sleep.

Improve indoor air quality . . .
Maintaining heating and air conditioning filters is a concern many homeowners reported. According to the survey, 49% of respondents are concerned about reducing dust, pollen and other indoor pollutants as part of their filter maintenance.

In addition to changing air filters on a frequent basis, air purifiers and humidifiers can help make the air inside homes fresher, cleaner and more comfortable. For example, third-party testing has shown the Carrier Infinity Whole Home Air Purifier inactivates 99% of the select viruses and bacteria trapped on the filter, such as those that cause common colds, streptococcus pyogenes and human influenza. The purifier was also tested by a third party against the murine coronavirus, which is similar to the human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. In that testing, the purifier inactivated 99% of coronavirus trapped on the filter.

Also look at your home's air exchange rate, also known as Air Change Per Hour (ACPH). ACPH or ACH is a measurement that looks at how many times the air within a defined space is replaced each hour with fresh, ideally outdoor air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends homes and offices have a certain number of air changes per hour. For example, bedrooms should have five to six, kitchens seven to eight, and laundry rooms around eight to nine exchanges per hour.

If your home is older and not as tightly-built or weatherized, air exchange can occur through leaks in the exterior envelope, which may not be enough to keep mildew and mold growth under control. With newer, well-sealed constructed home, homeowners may want to consider upgrading your home's ventilation system to remove stale air and pull in more fresher air from outdoors.

Update fire protection . . .
Since the pandemic began, people are also more concerned about fire safety precautions in their homes, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Smoke alarms should be installed on each level of your house and inside each bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries as needed. Additionally, you should have a fire extinguisher on each level and consider one for the kitchen, as well. Make sure to check extinguishers routinely and replace them every 10-12 years.

Install carbon monoxide alarms . . .
Another cause for concern amid COVID-19 is the potential for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in homes. CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas, and it’s important to test them monthly. Consider installing alarms with a 10-year battery, such as the Kidde Wire-Free Interconnect 10-Year Battery Combination Smoke & CO Alarm for less hassle. It offers wire-free interconnect capability, a voice warning feature that accompanies the loud alarm tone and verbal announcements such as “replace alarm” at the end of the alarm’s life.

To learn more about creating a safer, healthier home, visit

Photo Gallery | Spartan softball team post opening victory

St. Joseph-Ogden sophomore Maggie Ward winds up for a pitch during the Spartans' season opener last. The Spartans rolled to a 12-7 victory to start the 2020-21 season. Ward threw 64 pitches during her five innings in the circle to earn her first win of the season. The sophomore hurler struck out three and gave up three runs and four hits in her varsity debut.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
SJO softball team greets Acton at home
Audrey Short, Peyton Jones, Kaylee Ward and the rest of team wait to greet teammate Alyssa Acton at home plate after her two-run homer.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Alyssa Acton smiles after her 2-run homer
First base player Alyssa Acton is all smiles after hitting her first home run of the season. The two-run shot extended the Spartans' lead over the visiting Chargers, 10-4. The sophomore, who crossed the plate twice during the contents, also finished the game with two hits and two RBIs.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Starter Sophia Martlage winds up for a pitch during the opening inning of the game. Martlage tossed 40 pitches giving up three hits and four runs during her two-inning appearance for SJO.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Kaylee Ward gets fist bump from head coach Larry Sparks as she heads to the dugout after her 1-out two run homer down the right field line. The senior tallied six RBI thanks in part to her long ball and a double.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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Food | Start your day with a slice of bacon banana bread for brunch

(Family Features) -- Warmer spring weather makes the season a perfect time for families and out-of-town guest to enjoy a relaxing brunch together.

From classic combinations like bacon and eggs to more extravagant offerings, a brunch spread offers a blank canvas for creativity and opportunities to enjoy your loved ones’ favorite morning noshes.

For your next brunch celebration, whether it’s a special occasion or just an excuse to spend time together, consider adding what may become a new family favorite to the menu. This Bacon Banana Bread recipe combines two morning meal classics in one easy-to-enjoy bite.

Plus, it’s made using Coleman Natural Bacon so you can feel confident you’re feeding your family all-natural pork sourced from American Humane Certified family farmers who raise their animals the way nature intended – 100% crate-free without antibiotics or added hormones. The preparation is simple (just 10 minutes in the kitchen) so you can put this dish together and catch up with loved ones while baking a sweet and savory snack.

Bacon Banana Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 70-80 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 slices Coleman Natural Bacon, cooked and cut into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and sugar. In separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, canola oil, eggs and vanilla extract.

Add banana mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

In small bowl, toss bacon and remaining flour until bacon is lightly coated.

Fold flour-coated bacon into batter. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake 70-80 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack 20 minutes before inverting bread onto wire rack to cool completely.

Cut and serve.

For more brunch recipe ideas, visit

Guest commentary: A country in crisis, we need a plan from our government

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

How do we solve the mass shootings? Do we take away all the guns? Or, do we require that every American carry a gun and be prepared to shoot back? Do we eliminate the assault rifles? Or, do we have more security guards at malls, grocery stores and work places carry assault rifles?

We have a crisis in America with gun violence and mass shootings. What will Joe Biden and Congress do about this problem? Will they even attempt a solution? Mr. President and members of Congress, we need a solution.

How do we solve the ongoing Covid-19 crisis?

Many have resumed life as though the problem is solved but in too many states people are still dying from the virus. A great effort has been made to solve this world pandemic. The creation of vaccines that seem to be working and an all-out effort to protect people with mask and distancing has made for an unforgettable year. But, what do we do now? It’s not over. The virus and different strains of the virus are still very alive.

Common sense is critical. The world must go on. The government cannot spend the next year printing off stimulus money and paying people to stay home with nice unemployment checks. This mess is not over and we need a good game plan from our President and Congress.

The previous paragraph leads us to another crisis in this country. Businesses are trying to get back into business but the workers are few.

Restaurant owners across the nation are crying because they can’t find enough cooks and servers.

Many of the former workers are collecting unemployment. They are collecting as much or more than they made showing up for work and thus we have a shortage of willing workers.

Unemployment and the stimulus were a shot in the arm for the country but not one with lasting favorable results. Unemployment eventually ends and people must go back to work. In the meantime, many businesses in America are facing a crisis of trying to come back to life with very little help.

We need a get back to work plan from our President and Congress. Everybody cannot do their jobs at home. The factory worker, the restaurant worker, the medical community, public workers, and much more have to be able to safely leave their homes and do their jobs.

America has been filled with tension and pain this year over the senseless killing of George Floyd. We have viewed too many other senseless police shootings on national television. We don’t need racial tension in this country.

Most of the people in this country are good people and we can’t let these incidents destroy our American family. However, we need a plan from Biden and Congress. What is your idea?

And then there is our crisis on the border. Our government needs to send a stronger message to those people south of the border. What will Congress do?

What would you do? Let your representatives and senators know.


Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.


This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


3rd inning rally secures Spartan baseball victory

St. Joseph-Ogden's Hayden Brazelton puts the ball during Monday's home baseball game against Oakwood. SJO (4-0) remains undefeated after knocking off the Comets, 7-1. Later, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Brazelton hit the games only home run. The junior also finished with two runs and one RBI after four trips to the plate in the non-conference game held at the Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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