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New inductees headline 2020 MOV Sports Hall of Fame

A total of 10 individuals were inducted into the 2020 class for the 23rd annual Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night at Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna. Pictured as part of the 2020 class are, in the front row (from left): Mary A. Lopez (Wood County), Josh Miller (Jackson County), Tyler Engle (Washington County), Paul Page (Wood County) and Jon Shuler (Washington County). Back row: Terry Smith representing Shane Smith (Wood County), Dail Harper (Noble County), James Abshire Jr. (Jackson County), Larry Butcher representing Maggie Drazba (Pleasants County) and Jim Mahan representing Chase Fischer (Jackson County). Photo by Kerry Patrick

VIENNA — When Paul Page learned of his induction as part of the 2020 class for the Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, he joined a list of of area athletes he remembers following during his childhood.

“After I was selected, I spent time looking through the list — that’s a trip down memory lane for me,” said Page, who was one of 10 individuals inducted as part of the 23rd Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Fame ceremony Saturday night at Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna.

“Those people made a difference for me, so this honor became a little more personal as I went through the list and a lot of meaning for me.”

Page, a 1969 Williamstown High School graduate who currently lives in Hurricane, spent 29 seasons as head coach of baseball at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio, and finished with 1,007 wins.

Joining Page among the latest inductees were James Abshire Jr. (Jackson County), Maggie Drazba (Pleasants County), Chase Fischer (Jackson County), Shane Smith (Wood County), Josh Miller (Jackson County), Jon Shuler (Washington County), Dail Harper (Noble County), Mary A. Lopez (Wood County) and Tyler Engle (Washington County).

Even though they attended high school on opposite sides of the Ohio River, Page and Shuler shared a connection beyond the induction. Page served as a hitting instructor under Marietta College baseball coach Don Schaly during the time Shuler played for the Pioneers. After excelling in three sports (football, basketball and baseball) at Marietta High School, Shuler spent four seasons on a Marietta College baseball team which won two NCAA Division III College World Series titles.

“That was at the time when the College World Series was played at Marietta College then they moved it — maybe they thought we had a home field advantage,’ Shuler smiled. “What an honor it was playing for coach Schaly. Things he taught way back then I still remember today. Coach Page was a great fit as our hitting coach. Seeing coach Page tonight was like years flying by. We just hit the reset button.”

Shuler, who lives in Indianapolis, started at quarterback his freshman year as a Pioneer then did some soul searching and focused on baseball.

“Football was my love, but I stuck with baseball,” Shuler said. “Everybody dreams of playing professional baseball, so after Marietta College I had some looks, but my career kind of fizzled.”

Shuler, who played for three athletic teams during his senior year in high school ranked in the top 10 in the state, cherishes the memories made and relationships created while playing sports.

“We never lost a game — we just ran out of innings,” Shuler said. “I was fortunate to be a part of a group of guys both in high school and college where we knew we could win every game.”

Engle attended the event with his wife, Lisa. The three-sport standout from Fort Frye High School (2007 graaduate) lives in Noble County and is preparing for the upcoming spring and second season as the head coach for the Shenandoah head baseball coach.

“This honor means a lot — this is something my family talked about, especially my grandfather, who died in 2016,” said Engle, who also started four years as Ohio State University shortstop. “I was named to the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame two years ago and that meant a lot to me as well. But being from the Mid-Ohio Valley here along the river mans a lot to me.”

As a Buckeye, Engle started 189 games — which ranked second all-time at the school when he closed out his collegiate career.

“I always wanted to go to Georgia Tech or Alabama — those were my two schools, but I’m so glad I made the decision I made,” Engle said. “I had to learn how to grind and find my way on the field. And find a way to stay there because you are competing every day — not just in games, but in practice every day as well.”

With his connection to the Ohio State University baseball program, Engle hopes to schedule a baseball game versus his brother Trey and his program at Fort Frye and utilizing Bill Davis Stadium at Nick Swisher Field in Columbus.

“If we can make that happen, that would be very special,” Tyler Engle said.

“Special’ was the exact word expressed by Lopez, who played for two high school girls Catholic championships as a member of Parkersburg Catholic High School. The 1975 PCHS graduate then proved Marshall University’s coach wrong by earning a starting spot on the Thundering Herd’s women’s basketball team during her four-year career.

Despite being diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, the 5-foot-1 Lopez was the epitome of hustle and hard work.

“When the Marshall coach came to the Catholic tournament, she said I was too small to play for her,” Lopez said. “I went to the first practice at Marshall on October 15. I went out for the team and I made the team. Marshall’s coach is more of a friend now, and we joke about what she said years ago.”

Lopez is in her 41st year of teaching. She currently resides in Cabell County. Her hobbies include golf and taking walks.

She keeps in tune to women’s basketball as a spectator.

“I miss those Catholic state tournaments — we loved the tournaments (in Huntington) because you were away from home and you didn’t have mom and dad with you,” Lopez said.

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com

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