Talking Royals, Post 24 baseball and KCAC football

By Steve Sell
July 28, 2016

Thursday’s thoughts...

• MUCH-NEEDED WIN — I kind of evaluate the Kansas City Royals’ just-completed homestand like I do my golf scores.

By rallying for a 7-5 victory on Wednesday over the Los Angeles Angels, the Royals limped out of Kauffman Stadium with a 3-6 record for their nine-game set.

When I play golf, for whatever reason I feel much more satisfied with a 75 than a 76. It’s just one stroke, but it’s the perception I have. When I tee it up, my gold standard is 75, though it’s a score I haven’t achieved nearly as much this summer as past years.

For the Royals, 3-6 seems light-years better than 2-7, which they were staring right in the race through four innings as the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker had been perfect.

When the Royals fell behind 3-1, I didn’t think there was any way they were going to win. Their wheezing offense had been blanked the night before and were one hanging curveball away from being whitewashed on Monday as Salvador Perez’s blast prohibited the goose egg.

It was only the seventh win of the month for the Royals, who now head to Texas for four, then have four more in Tampa Bay. Given their road woes, a 4-4 trip would probably be more than satisfactory.

Of course during the trip, the makeup of the Royals could change somewhat. Monday is the trade deadline and rumors persist the team will move Edinson Volquez, Kendrys Morales or Luke Hochevar. I think the Royals would have to get a lot in return to move one, two or all three of them, but it would also be a signal they are writing off the 2016 season and looking to next year.

• GOOD START FOR SENIORS — McPherson Senior American Legion baseball coach Tony Schmidt took a gamble and it paid off.

The opening game of the American Legion Class AAA State Tournament is uber-important because a loss means a long battle back through the loser’s bracket.

While most teams throw their ace to assure themselves of staying in the winner’s bracket, Schmidt looked down the rotation and settled on Alex Kalkhorst, who quite frankly hadn’t pitched much in the last month.

Kalkhorst, normally a catcher, bowed his back and crafted six solid innings for the 11-3 victory over Oskaloosa, which meant Schmidt could save his top two starters Jack Reifschneider and Caleb Schmidt, not to mention closer Marcus McDaniel.

Kalkhorst’s performance could play big down the road. Reifschneider probably will get the call tonight against Chanute and if he’s anywhere near the form he had in the zone last week, McPherson should have a great chance to win. I’m not sure if Chanute plays the caliber of competition as Post 24, but it made state during the high school season so it’s more than capable.

This is the final go-around for the majority of this Post 24 team and it would only be fitting if it could advance to the championship game on Saturday.

• MEDIA DAY A WEEK AWAY — One of my favorite events of the year is KCAC Football Media Day.

We’re one week away from this year’s event, which again will be held in Wichita.

The 10 KCAC coaches and the media that cover their teams will be on hand. The schools hand out media guides, which we dissect to the final detail.

It’s always interesting to see how many newcomers each team will bring in. As all the coaches say, “it just depends on who shows up for the first practice.”

I talked with second-year McPherson College coach Paul Mierkiewicz this week and he and his staff are still working on finalizing their roster. He says it’s the time of year where “you add players and you lose players. You just never know.”

Mierkiewicz was left with little to work with for last season, which resulted in an 0-10 record. The Bulldogs’ starting lineup at time was half freshmen and they gained valuable experience.

The Mac staff has been beating the bushes and hopefully the numbers will greatly increase as the team had little depth last year.