JUNE 19 HOME STRETCH COLUMN — PETE TEMPLE, SPORTS EDITOR
Monticello baseball coach Josh Soper supplied me with several individual state rankings involving his 15-1 team, which has now won 15 straight games.
All of these are statewide Class 2A rankings, except where noted. I can take no credit for these, other than relaying them here, but here goes:
• Sam Boyd is tied for sixth in with 25 total hits, and is second in runs scored with 25.
• Michael Reuter is 10th with 23 total hits.
• Tanner Felton is second in runs batted in with 26, tied for fourth with seven doubles, and tied for seventh with 24 hits.
• Zach Monk is tied for second with five sacrifices, and is eighth in the state with a 0.36 earned run average (minimum 10 innings pitched.
• The team leads the state in ERA at 0.67. Leading the way is Matt Holmes, who has pitched 31 straight innings without allowing a run.
• The team is fifth (back to 2A rankings) in total hits, ninth in runs scored, second in sacrifices and third in team batting average at .355.
JORDAN WILLIAMS UPDATE
Even though the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are done, discus throwing isn’t done yet for Monticello’s Jordan Williams, a senior at UNI.
Williams is “right on the edge,” he said, of qualifying for the USA Championships, to be held at Drake University in Des Moines June 19-23.
Williams had his second-farthest throw of the season during the NCAA nationals, finishing 12th overall with a distance of 190-foot-2 and earning second team All-America status.
“I was pleased with how far I threw, but I would have liked to make first team,” Williams said. “It just happened that it was the deepest discus field in NCAA history.”
He would have to achieve at least a B-standard distance of 212 feet at the USA meet in order to qualify for the World Championships.
An old sports columnist from St. Paul, Minn. named Don Riley used to write a column he entitled, “Things I’ll Never Understand if I Live to be 100.”
With a nod to Riley, I respectfully borrow that idea this week, regarding baseball.
The things I don’t get:
• Why, in this world of texting and other forms of instant messaging, Major League managers or pitching coaches still call the bullpen using a phone with a cord attached.
• Why the “closer” always, automatically, pitches the ninth inning, even if the guy who threw in the eighth was untouchable. We’ve all seen games in which the “setup” reliever struck out the side and then was pulled for the closer, who promptly blew the game.
• Why (with thanks to a letter-writer to Sports Illustrated) Major League umpires get testy when a batter glares at them over a call because they don’t like being “shown up,” but think nothing of doing a dramatic third-strike dance-and-twirl. Isn’t that “showing up” the batter?