Monday, June 17, 2013.
The Boise Hawks open their 25th home season in Memorial Stadium tonight, and you may have noticed my “Memorial Stadium Era All-Opponents Team” last night on Sunday Sports Extra. As you watch the Hawks tonight, you may wonder about the other guys, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Are you seeing the next Buster Posey? Tim Lincecum? Pablo Sandoval? Sergio Romo? All four of the San Francisco Giants’ mainstays came through Salem-Keizer (although I did determine when the Statesman’s Chris Langrill and I compared lists that Posey didn’t actually play a game in Boise). Hawks play-by-play man Mike Safford made it easy for us, recently compiling a breakdown of the best major leaguers to come through the Northwest League since the Hawks’ stadium was built on Glenwood in 1989.
Beyond Posey, I have a four-man starting rotation of Tim Hudson (Southern Oregon), Zach Greinke (Spokane), Felix Hernandez (Everett), and Lincecum. King Felix was 17 when he pitched for the AquaSox in 2003. The relievers are Romo, who finished off the World Series last October for San Francisco, and Bellingham's Joe Nathan. Around the infield there’s Jason Giambi of Southern Oregon at first base, Dan Uggla of Yakima at second, Sandoval, Salem-Keizer's Panda, at third, and Miguel Tejada, another Southern Oregon 'A,' at short. In the outfield I have Spokane's Carlos Beltran, Everett's Adam Jones, and the iconic Raul Ibanez, a one-time Bellingham Mariner, in left. So take a good gander at the Volcanoes tonight—you never know what you’re looking at.
The Hawks have been known for slow starts since they last logged a winning season in 2008. In the first series of the 2013 campaign, Boise has come out of the gate quickly, taking two of three games from the Eugene Emeralds. The Hawks pitching staff held Eugene scoreless over the first 17 innings of the season and allowed only three runs for the weekend—and Boise’s starters didn’t allow a run in 14 2/3 innings of work. The Hawks blanked the Ems 7-0 Friday, lost on a walk-off homer Saturday, and blasted Eugene 8-2 last night with the help of a four-RBI night from Yasiel Balaguert.
It didn’t take long for Boise State’s Elite Football Camp to pay dividends. The camp ended midday yesterday, and the Broncos already have a commitment out of it—from defensive end Hawkins Mann out of Borah High. Mann, the son of longtime Lions football staffer and current athletic director Vince Mann, had committed to Montana in March. But Scout.com reports Mann turned in a strong performance at Boise State’s camp and quickly accepted an offer from the Broncos. He grew up watching games on the blue turf.
If reports out of a couple NFL teams’ OTAs are on the money, a couple former Boise State Broncos could be turning into NFL late-bloomers. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Austin Pettis has displayed “hands like fly paper” this spring for the St. Louis Rams. “If they handed out a spring MVP at Rams Park, the 2013 award probably goes to Pettis,” Thomas opined. “Quite honestly, he’s probably having the best camp of all the skill players,” said Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. “He’s just a tireless worker. He’s having a tremendous spring.” Thomas cites Pettis’ work in the red zone, where he and St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford are developing a bond. “We’re getting a lot more on the same page this year,” Pettis said in the story. “I’m getting a lot more reps with him.”
Kyle Wilson’s been waiting for this, and so have the New York Jets. But the former Boise State captain is showing signs of living up to that first-round draft status in 2010. Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com has some glowing reviews of Wilson’s offseason workouts from Jets coach Rex Ryan. "This is the best camp he's had and it's not close,” Ryan said. “I've been proud of the way he's come into these OTAs and the way he's competing," Ryan also had props for Wilson’s football smarts. "The thing about Kyle, mentally he's a sharp guy as well. He can work inside and outside and we'll play him in both spots." Wilson played outside last season after the season-ending injury to Darrelle Revis and has been playing in the slot during OTAs. He’s trying to retain a feature spot as this year’s first-round pick, corner Dee Milliner, prepares for takeoff.
When we left off with Moscow’s Chris Williams, he was one-under-par and tied for seventh after 10 holes in the rain-abbreviated opening round of the U.S. Open. But that was as good as it got for the former Washington Husky, as he went six-over the rest of the round and carded a 75. Williams shot a four-over 74 in the second round and missed the cut. He plans to turn pro this week in time for the Travelers Championship. Elsewhere, former Boise State star Troy Merritt was in line for a nice payday by Web.com Tour standards until he ballooned to a five-over 76 in the final round of the Air Capital Classic in Wichita, KS. Merritt’s scorecard had produced a 70-69-68 line over the first three days.
Corey Ihmels has left his alma mater to take over the track and field and cross country programs at Boise State. Ihmels had spent the last 11 seasons on the staff at Iowa State, the last six as the director of track and cross country. He graduated in 1997 from ISU, where he was a six-time All-American. During his coaching career Ihmels has mentored Olympian Lisa Koll Uhl, multi-time NCAA champion Betsy Saina and former Xavier standout Meaghan Nelson.
Stephen Fife had a serviceable start for the L.A. Dodgers Friday night. Fife kept the Dodgers in the game at Pitsburgh, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings. But the Borah High product didn’t get any run support, thanks largely to Pirates starter Jeff Locke, who countered with seven shutout innings in a 3-0 win. Fife settled down after yielding a two-run double to Pittsburgh star Andrew McCutcheon in the third, facing just six batters in the fourth and fifth and allowing one hit. Fife is now 1-2 this season with a 3.74 ERA.
This Day In Sports…June 17, 2010:
For the fifth time in their storied histories, the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers go to Game 7 against each other in the NBA Finals. And the Lakers came from behind to win it, 83-79, repeating as champions and claiming their 17th NBA crown, one short of the Celtics’ record. For two-time Finals MVP Kobe Bryant, it was his sixth title. And it was the 11th in the career of Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
(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.)