Boise Hawks 101 for Opening Night

Friday, June 13, 2014.

If you re new to town, here s a thumbnail history of the Boise Hawks going into Opening Night versus the Tri-City Dust Devils. The Hawks were born in 1987 and spent their first three seasons as an independent club. Home games the first two years were played at Borah High s Wigle Field, with Memorial Stadium constructed in 1989. One of the franchise s founders, Mal Fichman, became manager midway through the first season and lives in Boise to this day. The Hawks became an affiliate of the California Angels in 1990, and Tom Kotchman was hired as manager. Kotchman stayed all 11 years of the Hawks-Angels affiliation, won a Northwest League record 501 games, and led the team to four league championships. The Hawks have been a Chicago Cubs affiliate since 2001, and tonight they start their quest for their first NWL title in 10 years.

Not only is Kyle Schwarmer, the fourth overall pick in the 2014 big league draft, making his pro debut tonight, lefthander Tyler Ihrig is making his pro debut as a regular starter. Ihrig spent last season as a reliever with the Cubs rookie league team in Mesa after being drafted in the 23rd round out of the College of Marin. Ihrig went 2-0 with an impressive 0.72 ERA. He began this campaign at long-season Class A Daytona but struggled, so the assignment to Boise gives him a shot at a fresh start (no pun intended). Ihrig is 22 years old and hails from Monroe, WA.

Mason Smith, the former Rocky Mountain High star, will be playing in the Northwest League this season, too. Smith was drafted 118th overall last year by San Diego, and now he s been promoted to the Padres NWL affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds. He spent last season in rookie league ball in Arizona and batted .209 with 11 RBI. But Smith impressed enough in spring training to appear in a couple Padres exhibition games. He and the Emeralds are scheduled to play against the Hawks at Memorial Stadium July 4-6 and again August 10-12.

Former Boise Hawk Justin Bour s cameo in the majors is over. Miami sent the first baseman back down to Triple-A New Orleans after a week with the Marlins that saw him go 5-for-13 for a .385 average in three starts as a designated hitter. Obviously the numbers didn t do Bour in, but Rafael Furcal s readiness to play probably did. The veteran infielder, on the disabled list all season with varaious leg injuries, is reportedly ready to finally make his Marlins debut.

The famed Pinehurst No. 2 course rose up and bit Graham DeLaet yesterday in his first-ever round at the U.S. Open. DeLaet bogeyed three of his first six holes and came in with a five-over 75, 10 shots behind Martin Kaymer. I got off to a poor start, it might have been just a little bit of nerves, DeLaet said. The former Boise State star was in a groove for awhile, carding nine consecutive pars, but he bogeyed two of his final three holes. DeLaet did not blame the foot injury that kept him out of the Memorial Tournament and the FedEx St. Jude Classic and is keeping his chin up. I m not completely out of it. A good round tomorrow will go a long way, he said.

Boise State s Emma Bates had won a combined seven All-America honors in indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country, but she had never won a national championship. Until last night. Bates is, in fact, the first Bronco female athlete to capture an outdoor track and field national title after winning the 10,000-meter run last night at Hayward Field in Eugene. She ran a 32:32.35, the fastest at the NCAA Championships in 26 years and second-fastest all-time, and edged Alabama-Birmingham s Elinor Kirk by 64-hundredths of a second. Bates clipped over a minute off her time at nationals last year, when she finished third. She ll run in the 5,000-meters tomorrow, while Bronco teammate Marisa Howard competes in the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Boise State s Varsity B director, Michel Bourgeau, is not only a former Bronco defensive end, he s an ex-CFL star who played 10 seasons of pro football up north. So Bourgeau has a natural proclivity to track Ryan Dinwiddie, the one-time Boise State quarterback great. Dinwiddie has been promoted to offensive coordinator of the Montreal Alouettes after the firing this week of Rick Worman. Bourgeau found a feature on Dinwiddie in the Montreal Gazette, detailing his 18-hour days now that he has been thrown into the fire. When you love it, it s not work, said Dinwiddie.

The story points out that Dinwiddie is still only 33, making him three years younger than receiver Chad Johnson (formerly Ochocinco). He steps into this role a few years after concluding his CFL career as a journeyman backup quarterback. Some backups are sour not to be playing. I took it as an opportunity to learn more and help them out with coverages, Dinwiddie said. Lots of backups get into coaching. And how he got into coaching is a story in itself. His former Boise State coach, Dan Hawkins, gave him his first shot at it last year as Montreal s offensive quality control coach. Then, when Hawk was abruptedly fired about a third of the way into the season, Dinwiddie became a position coach and has been on the rise ever since.

Other notes going into the weekend: It should be pleasant tomorrow at Les Bois Park, and the season so far has been more than pleasant for jockey Nikeela Renae Black. She has recorded 29 victories, winning 41 percent of her starts. J. Luis Torres is a distant second with 15 wins. On the trainers side, the leader is Dru Hall, whose subjects have won 20 of their 50 starts. Also, the North Fork Championship III continues today and tomorrow on the wildest stretch of the Payette River. The event that navigates Class V rapids has quickly become one of the kayaking world s most challenging races. You ve seen skicross and snowboardcross in the Olympics. Last year the North Fork Championship introduced boatercross, They now call it BoaterX, and it ll ride down the S-Turn rapid on the North Fork today, about 12 miles north of Banks.

This Day In Sports...June 13, 2002:

The Los Angeles Lakers finish a sweep of the New Jersey Nets, 113-107, to complete an NBA championship three-peat. Lakers center Shaquille O Neal, 10 years after playing his final collegiate game for LSU in the BSU Pavilion, averaged over 36 points a game in the series against the Nets and was named MVP of the Finals for the third straight year. It was only the seventh sweep in NBA Finals history.

(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.)


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