Tuesday, July 2, 2013.
As the American Athletic Conference (the renamed Big East football group) still quibbles with Boise State over the $5 million exit fee it says it is owed, the AAC is certainly counting on a TCU precedent. Like the Broncos, the Horned Frogs accepted an invitation to the Big East and was to join July 1, 2012—but reneged before ever playing a game. TCU and the conference dickered about the exit fee until the school ended up paying $5 million last July 18. Unlike Boise State, the Horned Frogs left not because of the weakness of the Big East, but because they had been invited to the Big 12. Meanwhile, it’s a battle of semantics between the Broncos and the AAC. Boise State says its agreement with the Big East in December of 2011 was just a “memo of understanding.” The conference says it was “a valid and enforceable contract.”
BroncoCountry.com reports the last member of Boise State’s 2013 recruiting class, wide receiver A.J. Richardson of Harbor City, CA, is set to become a Bronco now. Richardson had an “academic asterisk” when he committed on National Letter of Intent Day in February, so he didn’t sign that day. But he tells Bronco Country he has passed his ACT. Richardson, once a Cal commit before Jeff Tedford was fired, says he’s planning on grayshirting this season and rehabbing a knee injury.
When the Boise Hawks go back to the top of their rotation, good things usually happen. James Pugliese was the starter to open the Hawks’ three-game series last night at Salem-Keizer. Pugliese went six innings, allowing just one run on five hits, and left with a 2-1 lead as he lowered his ERA to 1.71. A third victory of the season would not be in the cards for the 20-year-old righthander, as the Volcanoes tied it up in the seventh after he departed. But Jacob Hannemann singled in Daniel Lockhart with the Hawks’ go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. Then Matt Iannazzo came in to close it out, and did he ever. Iannazzo picked the Volcanoes’ Eugene Escalante off first base to end the game in a 3-2 Boise win. The Hawks have now won five in a row and have pulled to within three games of Salem-Keizer, the South Division leader.
What is it with these Cuban natives named Yasiel? Puig is big in the big leagues right now. Balaguert is tearing it up for the Boise Hawks, and that Yasiel has been named Northwest League Player of the Week. Balaguert went 8-for-23 with three home runs and nine runs batted in last week as the Hawks climbed back over the .500 mark. All three of Balaguert’s homers either broke a tie or gave the Hawks a come-from-behind lead. The big story, of course, is his RBI total. Balaguert currently leads all of minor league baseball’s short-season leagues (Northwest, New York-Penn, Appalachian, Pioneer, Gulf Coast, Arizona) with 22 RBI.
The Idaho Steelheads have made seven official ECHL “qualifying offers” to returning ECHL players for the 2013-14 season. All but one played for the Steelheads last season: defensemen Gord Baldwin, Matt Case, and Patrick Cullity, and forwards David deKastrozza, Austin Fyten and Tyler Gron. The new name is Connor Goggin, a defenseman the Steelies acquired from Trenton at the end of last season. Case was runnerup for the league’s Defenseman of the Year award last season, and Fyten was an ECHL All-Star. Players assigned to Idaho from the NHL or AHL weren’t eligible for qualifying offers, hence the absence of guys like Josh Robinson, Tyler Beskorowany, Austin Smith, Hubert Labrie and Jace Coyle from the list.
One of the most popular Steelheads of all-time, former captain Scott Burt, has upward mobility in his coaching career. Burt, who spent eight seasons with the Steelies, finished his playing days in Alaska and has been an assistant coach for the Aces the past four years. He has now been hired as an assistant with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League, which is full of future NHL players. It’s a great opportunity for Burt, who helped the Steelheads to both of their Kelly Cup championships in 2004 and 2007 and won another as a player-coach with Alaska in 2011.
From one Shields to another for the Boise State men’s tennis team. With assistant coach Clancy Shields having taken the head coaching job at Utah State, Bronco coach Greg Patton has pulled in Clancy’s older brother, Luke, to replace him. Like Clancy, Luke was a star player at Boise State—a WAC Player of the Year and three-time All-American during his career from 2005-08. “We are thrilled to get Luke back home,” said Patton. The elder Shields has spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Washington.
A couple women’s golf notes: season update on Maddie Sheils, the Bishop Kelly High grad who is making her first go as a pro on the Symetra Tour. Sheils finished tied for 11th Sunday at the Symetra Tour’s Island Resort Championship in Michigan, making $1,777. Dollars are hard to come by at that level—Sheils has $4,677 for the season, making the cut in three of her eight events. And a memory of Inbee Park, who with her U.S. Women’s Open victory Sunday became the first golfer in 63 years to win the first three women’s majors of the year. Park had just turned 17 when she put together a nice run at the U.S. Girls Junior Championship at BanBury eight years ago. Park made the match play finals at the Eagle course, falling 5-and-4 to In-Kyung Kim. And who was runnerup Sunday at the Open? It was Kim.
This Day In Sports…July 2, 1963, 50 years ago today:
San Francisco’s Willie Mays (never miss an opportunity to plug this guy) hits a home run in the 16th inning to break up an incredible scoreless pitchers’ duel between Juan Marichal of the Giants and Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves. I’d call that a quality start by both Marichal and Spahn, as major league clubs are happy to get six innings out of a starter today.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)