The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 18, 2006 · Page 14
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 14

Hays, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Page 14
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B2 THg HAYS DAILY News out of bounds SUNDAY, JUNE 18,2006 High Fives Giving you a week's worth of observations to discuss amongst yourselves I Bio BEN THERE: Ben Roethlisberger, Don't tell me you are already bored enough with your NFL career that you had to go out and ride a motorcycle, let a alone a crotch rocket like the one you were on when you bounced your head off the asphalt. Come on Ben, if you have to get on one of those things and risk your life and jeopardize the bragging rights of all of your beloved Steeler fans, at least do it with some style and get on a Harley. 2 BEARING THE CONDITIONS: I still find it hard to believe the Kansas Eight- Man Football Association holds its 8-Man All-Star games in the middle of June, but hats off to all involved. Last Saturday's competition in Beloit went off without a hitch and provided 8-Man fans with a morning and afternoon of true hard-nosed football. The only drawback was the announcer's inability to turn off the microphone. I think his name was Darth Vader. 3 LEAVE TIGER ALONE: So, Tiger Woods missed the cut for the first time since turning pro. So what? Cut the guy a break. It's golf. Sometimes you have bad days and sometimes you have good days. No big deal. One forum I read Friday evening even criticized Tiger for missing the cut on purpose for dramatic effect on his career. Forget that. Again, it's golf. It's not the NBA. 4 SPEAKING OP: The NBA. The Finals are heating up quite a bit and either team could win the title on any given night. No, wait a minute, they can't. In an attempt to bring some more money to the franchise and Mark Cuban's pocket, the Mavericks will make sure Game 7 is played in Dallas. What a genius that guy is. I wonder if he'll have any pointers for his airness, Michael Jordan. By the way, Dallas wins. 5 LARKS WILL MAKE A RUN: Once again, it's prediction time. Here's a good one. The 2006 version of the Larks are all about overcoming losing some of its more sought-after players. Don't look for that to keep them down though. The Jayhawk crown once again will stay in Hays, but it won't be decided until late in the year. Hays will also have a top-five finish at the NBC World Series. — Nick This really gives you a chance to recharge your batteries a little bit. Joe Hill, Larks assistant coach 5iSaffiiigM^^^gg^^^ with his summer rtBeason as the Larks' pitching coach. FRED HUNT /Hays Dally News -v- >~~ nth Long-time Larks assistant returns for 12th season With Joe Hill On baseball In Hays "Hays and baseball in the summer out here is what it's supposed to be. You have quality baseball. Not every place Is like that. Over the years, I've met a lot of good people here. There are reasons to come back. Luckily, I have a job where I can do that where these summers are free to do this." Most memorable Larks run "Our run in '95. We finished near the bottom of the Jayhawk League and lost eight games in a row to end the regular season. We were about to get run-ruled by El Dorado, than Andy Wilson (Jack Wilson's little brother), who hadn't hit a home run all season, hits a three-run homer to tie the game. We went on to win that and the regional and really gave Team USA everything they could handle (at the NBC World Series). On Larks manager Frank Leo "I wouldn't go anywhere else in the country to be an assistant under anyone else except Frank. People that coach with him in high school are there 25 or 30 years. There's just something about him that inspires loyalty." On this year's pitching staff "It's a good mix but it's hard to tell. You do things a little differently every year. We're a little bit heavier on bullpen guys here. It's not that the starters are bad, but we don't have the Kyle Edens or Jim Popp or that kind of velocity." On the Jayhawk League "This is a chance for players to face good competition. More than they would in a local league. You can argue that we're in one of the top three leagues in the nation." Bold prediction for 2006? "We're off to a good start. What we would like to do is finish one or two in :he Jayhawk League, so we qualify. We disguise It by saying we want to make a good run, but we don't want to do that. We want to win the NBC. We haven't been to the championship game since 2001 and we would like to jet back there." By NICK MCQUEEN Son of Loren McQueen HAYS DAH,Y NEWS Just more than 1,100 miles away from his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa. one might start to wonder if Joe Hill ever feels a little home sick. Not even close. In fact, the Hays Larks assistant/pitching coach feels like he's in his own back yard right here in Hays, America. So much so, that even his two Siberian Huskies, Shamus and Yukon, have found their own little niche within the friendly confines of Larks Park on game night, practice time, or any other time the Larks take the field. "Shamus has followed me pretty much everywhere since I got him (in 2002)," Hill said. "There may be a field we go to every once in a while where we can't bring him in, but he's well- behaved that it's not a problem. Yukon still tries to get that attention." After a one-summer absence from the Larks' dugout, Hill is back for his 12th season with the Larks and Hays manager Frank Leo — back for another hopeful title run in the Jayhawk League as well as another run at an elusive National Baseball Congress World Series title, "This really gives you a chance to recharge your batteries a little bit," Hill said of making the trip to Hays every summer. An assistant with Leo since the 1994 season, Hill has seen his share of good players and has been right there for all the wins "~~ and all the losses, making Hays his home away from home for three months out of the year. "When I first came out, 1 was out at the College of Charleston and I've been at four different programs in the time I've been coming out here," Hill said. "It was just to do something different. I thought I would move on and do something else." Hill fell in love with the program and the community and has made and will continue to make the trip as long as he can.' Last season, he was kept away by the death of his father, Joe, who suffered from both Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's. At the beginning of that summer, Hijl was taking his team, the Bobcats at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, to Florida to cap a 21- win season and his father was in the closing moments of his 75-year life. "He had just gone into a home," Hill said. "When my team went to Florida, I had already made arrangements to fly back, because I didn't think it looked good then." The decision not to make the journey to Hays "it was just to do something different. I thought I would move on and do something else. Joe Hill, Larks 12-year assistant proved to be the right one. "He did end up passing around the end of the summer," Hill said. "It turned out to be the right thing to do." Hill just wrapped up his fourth season at the helm of the Pitt-Greensburg program, guiding the Bobcats to a 15-24 record, missing the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference playoffs by just one game. He is the all-time leader in victories at at the school with 62 and the 21-win season in 2005 was a single-season best in program history. Over the course of his tenure with the Larks, Hill has seen good pitchers come and go. Names like B.J, Ryan, Matt McMunn and Trey Poland stick out in his mind, Specializing in pitching, Hill's approach to coaching pitchers in a wood-bat league is a little different than at NCAA Division III Pitt-Greensburg. 'You're a little more aggressive —throwing more fastballs," Hill said. "When you get behind, you get off the corners and come to the middle of the plate." Hill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Before he was hired with the Bobcats, he spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach at several D-I programs, including the U.S. Naval Academy, College of Charleston! University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne. As a college coach, Hill sees the Larks as a great advantage to a college player, Not only can it improve their game, but also give them a feel for minor- league baseball. "There is some travel involved and the grind is a little more like what they're going to do at the minor league level, except they have a safety net here," he said. "They're not going to get gut or sent home. People do go home, but the number of people that we've sent home because of a bad performance has been very few over the years." The smalltown feel of Hays and its love for Larks baseball is something that not onjy draws Hill here, but players as well. "There's Just something about what, goes on .here," Hill said. "During the games, you have . • feids playing run down in the bullpen. As ap,on as someone goes to warm up, they just move and when they're done, the game continues. "Afterwards, kids play on the field. All that stuff says this is a place, where baseball is important and fun. Kids learn at a young age how to play the game and enjoy It." Sports wpofterNick McQimn CM be rewhed at (7M) (KWOtf, \ Say What? "I was confident in my ability to ride a motorcycle and simply believed such an accident would not happen to me." — Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who wrecked his motorcycle and cracked his head on a car windshield on Monday. After being released from the hospital, he , pledged to wear a helmet \f he ever again rides a motorcycle. "I wish all our players liked board games or low-risk hobbies." — Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage after Roethlisberger's accident. Cleveland tight end Kellen Winslow was injured in a motorcycle accident last year and was lost for the season. "Everyone was looking for me to be more emotional. But I'm trying to put the ball in the hole and win the championship." — Tiger Woods, who shot a 6- over 76 in the opening round of the U.S. Open, his first tournament since the death of his father. "I made a big mistake. And the puck ended up in our net because of it. No excuses." — Carolinaforward Cory Stillman. Stillman's errant pass was picked off by Edmonton's Fernando Pisani, who scored a shorthanded overtime goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. The Hurricanes could have won the Cup, but instead were forced into Game 6 in Edmonton on Saturday night. "Welcome to my world, Michael! Get out' the checkooblc." — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's advice to Michael Jordan, who became part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday. "I tell you one thing, if Padilla hit me twice, right now I'd be in the hospital or I'd be dead. But I will fight. I will fight." — White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on Texas right-hander Vicente Padilla, who hit A. J. Pierzynski on the right arm in Pierzynski's first two at-bats of Wednesday night's 8-0 Rangers victory. "My daughters tackle me harder. It actually felt pretty good to get hit like that. Thanks, Jerry." — Shaquille O'Neal, who was knocked to the floor by Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse in Miami's victory in Game 3 of the NBA finals. Spoils online poll This week's question: • How would you rate the U.S. soccer team's performance so far in the World Cup competition? V Outstanding, they'll probably win it all. V As good as can be expected? V Why does the U.S. even bother playing? • To vote, go to www.hd- on the Internet. Last week's question: • Do you agree with the choice of University of Kansas assistant Rick Sabath as the new head baseball coach at Fort Hays? V Yes — 67.6 percent (46 votes) V No—16.2 percent (11 votes) V Not sure —16.2 percent (11 votes) CMiaetiw

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