Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mr. Blackwell's List...

Strikeouts, shutouts, pitching, hitting, offense and defense, and blah, blah, blah... with Baseball and Softball playoffs almost to an end, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers of all the good teams on the field, but I often notice something else about the teams on the field - their uniforms.

From what I've seen, from what I've seen - because I don't see them all, I have to give first place to Andale. Very nice black tops with black lettering and outlined in gold, with white pants and a black hat. Very classic. Now a lot of people would say, "Ew, too much black - they aren't the freakin' Raiders!" I get it, but they made it work and it looked really sharp against Great Bend. It also helped because they beat the Panthers as the lower seed -

For not so great looking uniforms, I have to give it to Hays' Golden Rod jerseys. I like the attempt at using an off-color for tops but the yellow is too much, when it should be gold or something darker, considering their colors are Maroon and Gold.

Their Home shirts are classic white with maroon striping on the sleeves, with "INDIANS" in cursive across the chest. Very Nice. But I wasn't digging the yellow. But they win in yellow, so it can't all be bad.

On the ladies side, which I really have no business commenting on, TMP pulled the BCS move and brought next years uni's out during the playoffs. Very feminine in design, with a tank top style of top and they went against the traditional pants, opting for shorts and knee high navy blue socks.

Their old uniforms, or the ones they used for the past two seasons, traditional white button down tops with "TMP" across the front and blue pants and socks. Looked solid, especially when they added the blue cleats. Sharp.

Best accessory goes to Hoisington's Kayci Boxberger and her big green, shield sunglasses. Their colors are red and black but the green did it for me. They were sweet. Unfortunately, they didn't help her on the mound the day I saw her. Hoisington lost to Lyons, 9-2.

I'll be at state this weekend, so I will see a lot more uniforms, so this list will have to get updated.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not all regionals are created equal

I complained about this last winter with basketball sub-states, but here I am again making the same complaint. There has to be a better way than the current regional system that KSHSAA has for its sports because the fact will always remain that not all regionals are created equal.

The biggest offender this year is in 4A baseball between the Wichita Independent regional and the El Dorado regional.

At the Independent regional there are eight teams with a combined record of 99-47. In El Dorado the seven teams have a combined record of 37-86. That is an average record of 5-12 at the El Dorado regional compared to an average record of 12-5 at the Independent regional.

Not a single team in the El Dorado regional had a winning record coming in. Number one seeded Abilene had a record of 9-11 on the year and earned a BYE! Thats right, a bye.

On the other hand, at Independent, Wichita Independent had a stellar record of 19-1 coming in. Instead of a Bye it got Augusta at 6-14. Its prize for beating Augusta will be 13-7 Rose Hill. If the chalk holds on the other side of the bracket 18-2 Clearwater will likely play 14-2 Mulvane in the semifinals.

At least two teams with only three losses will be going home and not making a trip to state from the Independent regional while a team at or below .500 will be allowed to continue to the state tournament out of the El Dorado regional.

There has a to be a better way to do the regional brackets so things like this do not not happen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A welcome storm

Northwest baseball coach Travis Stockam actually welcomed the storm that prompted the umpires to call off his team's game against Maize on Friday afternoon.
Maize ace Garrett Gould had struck out the first nine Grizzlies who came up to bat, and the 10th had just grounded out to short when the umpires pulled the players off the field because of lightning in the area. At that point, Maize led 4-0.
With the game two outs short of being official, the umpires waited until there were reports of a funnel cloud a few miles to the west before wiping out the game and sending everybody home.
Game time had been moved up three hours to try to beat the storm. But even that didn't work.
With regional seeding meetings on Saturday morning, no attempt to resume the game will be made.
The bad weather also halted the City League track meet at Northwest. But they'll pick back up at 10 a.m. and run through to the end without a break.

North's painful loss at GWAL swimming

Though I was standing beside her, I couldn’t quite believe it when the official starter disqualified Wichita North’s 4x400-yard freestyle relay and cost the Redskins the championship of the City League swim meet Thursday night.
Then she repeated it into a microphone for all to hear.
I looked from an East High swimmer still trying to complete the race, to the finish where, sure enough, three North swimmers were now in the water, prematurely celebrating victory.
That was the basis of the disqualification – jumping into the water before the race was finished.
I didn’t know about that rule, and I wonder whether all the North girls did. It makes sense, in a way.
But East was the only team still swimming and so far behind (almost a full length of the pool when North touched home first) that it was almost out of sight and out of mind. And the Blue Aces were three lanes away, hardly where the North celebration would affect their ability to finish.
But as someone said, a rule’s a rule.
The North girls were understandably grief-stricken.
It’s probably no consolation, but there are two things I would say to them.
First, you may not have a medal to show for it, and it won’t be in the record book, but you know you won the race, you know you won the meet, you know you are champions. The medal would have been forgotten in a couple of weeks, tossed in a drawer somewhere at home, most likely forgotten as you moved along with your lives.
Second, winning that meet is not the most important thing you’ll ever do. You have a lifetime ahead of you. Whether you go on to college or straight to jobs, you will have bigger, more important and probably more rewarding challenges in school, maybe in sports, certainly in careers or vocations.
As a heavily favored U.S. athlete once said after failing to make the Olympic 200-meter final in 1992: “The sun will come up tomorrow. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s shining out there somewhere right now.”
Michael Johnson did OK after that. In a career that lasted another nine years, he went on to win five Olympic gold medals and set two world records.
The North girls will be OK too, though they sure didn’t feel like it Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I need story ideas. I want to do a story on some high school car racers! I want to! SO I need names and info. If you race at the Speedway in Hays or at SRCA Dragstrip in Great Bend - I want, need!, your information. If you want to be on Catchitkansas, or if you are cool, CIK - and you know you want to, help me help you.

Or extreme sports or action sports; Motocross, BMX, Streetluging - even though it is no longer cool, even though I think it still is. EX-treme fishing? X-treme billiards? eXtreme Poker!? Whoa! Something. Let me know what you are doing out there!


I heard the story of Haley Wolf today, a track and basketball superstar for Ellis High School. She isn't very big but she is quicker than anything, and can score points in the bucketloads, but she hasn't been recognized for any of it.

No state championships despite lots of success on the court and the track, but the biggest injustice of it all was not being recognized for her basketball achievements. She led the Ellis girls to the 2A final and didn't receive anything for it. Not even honorable mention! From a player who scored 30 in the game that got them to the title game. Shame.

Word on the street is she is planning on walking on at Fort Hays for basketball. Keep watching, I'll be rooting for her.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maize, Goddard gear up for soccer showdown

The Maize and Goddard soccer teams will face off Thursday, May 14, in a battle of west-side rivals that are undefeated in their division.

Maize, 12-1 overall, is 4-0 in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Division I. Goddard, 13-0 on the season, is 3-0 in the league. The Lions will play league foe Hutchinson on Thursday, May 7.

Goddard and Maize both advanced to the Class 6A state tournament last year, where Maize placed second and Goddard finished fourth. Maize beat the Lions 1-0 in their regular-season matchup, but Goddard was missing three varsity players due to injuries – including offensive weapon Whitney Berry.

Whitney, a senior, leads the entire AVCTL – regardless of division – with 40 goals this year. She is on track to surpass last year’s total of 48.

Maize has its own stellar credentials. The Eagles return most of their seniors from last year’s squad, which wasn’t scored on until the state tournament. That’s where the girls suffered their first loss of the season.

Goddard and Maize didn’t meet each other at state, so their upcoming date should prove exciting. After Whitney, the next three leading scorers in Division I are from Maize. That includes Leah Talley, Tia Stovall and Blair Terry.

Both schools no doubt are anticipating the showdown. Last summer, Whitney recalled how tough it was to watch her teammates fall to Maize.

“That was the worst, having to sit out that game,” she said.

The May 14 contest may offer a chance for redemption. Goddard will host the game, but Maize fans won’t have to travel far – and the Eagles are motivated to defend their league title.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another batch of signings

Lots of college scholarship signings announced this past week. Here’s the quick run-down:

• Megan Taylor of Rolla signed to play basketball for Friends University. Taylor averaged 14.4 points and 8.4 rebounds last season and was named first-team Santa Fe Trail League and academic all-state by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.
Taylor is pictured above with (back row, left to right) her summer coach, Donna Glave, assistant high school coach Jolene Kabriel, head high school coach Rich Spencer and Friends coach Gayla Soyez. Flanking Taylor on the front row are her mother and father, Traci and Harve Taylor.
• Liberal’s Alexa Wentworth signed to play soccer for Cowley County Community College.
• Wichita State’s women’s track program signed seven Kansas high school athletes, some of which we’ve mentioned previously. Here’s the complete list: distance runners Laura Burke of Derby, Kylie Graves of Rossville and Keli Russell of Olathe North; jumpers Tanya Friesen of Buhler, J¹Lynn Ledesma of Wellington and Courtney Reinke of Olathe East, and thrower Andrea Markel of Pretty Prairie.
• Kapaun’s Jessica Shea will sign a volleyball scholarship with Rockhurst on Monday.

Who's hot?

Nobody's hotter in baseball than Bishop Carroll's Brandon Tangney, Northwest's Erik Harbutz and Sedgwick's Ethan Odle.
Even if you subtract 10 percent for the coaching tendancy to generously score the occasion booted ball as a hit for his own player, these guys are still hot -- getting hits two of every three at-bats.
Odle has the highest average in the area at .679 through 28 bats, while Tangney (.677 on 31 at bats) and Harbutz (.676 on 34 at bats) are right there with him.
If I had to pick one as the area's best hitter, I might go with Harbutz right now because of his 10 extra base hits and 25 RBIs. The other two have only 10 RBIs each.
When it comes to pitching, Maize's Garrett Gould, who could be getting a sunburn from all the radar guns scouts are pointing at him, is in a class of his own.
Gould (upper left) is 5-0 and has yielded only five hits, no earned runs and two unearned runs in 24 2/3 innings pitched. But here are some numbers that will have you bailing out of the batter's box -- Gould has struck out 58 of the 88 batters he has faced.
Ark City's Drew Palmer is having a pretty good year too. He's only 2-2, but he has a 0.85 ERA over 33 innings and has struck out 60. But he has faced 134 batters.

What about the Players?

Last week Grant talked about consolidation of schools. You know the 2A-1A football brackets being cut down.... Well Grant and I have a lot in common when it comes to covering small schools. I, like him, see the small populations and wonder how in the world these schools make sports teams work at all.

I got intrigued to do a story about it in fact. (A story you will see on the Catch it Kansas show in the coming weeks... Just a small tease.) So I went to Minneola to talk to the baseball coach there and to my surprise he filled me in on how teams consolidate just the same as schools.

Some of you may know this but I was clueless until just last Friday. He said that if a school doesn't have enough boys or girls out for a specific team KSHSAA rule is that 2-1A teams can consolidate without the students actually consolidating schools.

Minneola has a kid from Fowler playing on their baseball team. He attends Fowler school and all his friends and family live in Fowler but he plays baseball as a Wildcat instead of a Goldbug.

I was also told by some of the Minneola players that they had to steal golfers from the golf team to have enough guys to even form a team. Two golfers gave up their number one sport so the baseball guys would be able to play. That's loyalty.

So do the math for the Wildcats. They currently have 12 players. 9 players on a baseball field.... you would have to have at least 11 to even consider fielding the team.... Take away the two golfers now they have 10. Take away the Fowler kid... Only 9.... What about courtesy runners? What about relievers? What about the players? But what can you do?