• CENTRAL RAISES FUNDS FOR FORMER PLAYER — Graham Greenbeck was a promising player for the Central Christian College baseball team last season.
He was expected to be a vital cog for the 2017 Tigers after an outstanding freshman season. Despite his youth, he was installed as the team’s starting shortstop and responded by hitting .311 and had a slugging percentage of .399. He was 23rd in the country in assists per game and 38th in total assists. He was named to the AII as a second-team selection and was regarded as a possible first-team pick heading into the season.
But this summer, Greenbeck was diagnosed with leukemia.
The Tigers recently held a fundraiser for Greenbeck and his family with a 14-inning scrimmage against Hesston College. Donations were taken at the game and id="mce_marker",180 was raised for Greenbeck and his family.
“I want to thank everyone that came out and showed support for Graham and his family,” CCC coach Derk Kremer said. “The money raised will bring us one step closer to having Graham back on the field."
He has endured chemo therapy for the last four months and has gone through a bone marrow transplant. At this point the prognosis is positive and it is hoped he someday he can come back.
Keep him in your prayers.
• MAC SPIKERS HAVE TURNED IT AROUND — McPherson College’s volleyball team was 7-25 last season and 2-18 in the KCAC for dead last.
But with many of the same cast playing key roles, the Bulldogs have been the KCAC’s surprise team with an 8-5 conference record and 15-7 mark overall. Their home matches have been sparked by wildly enthusiastic crowds as there’s a strong student section involvement.
Unless the Bulldogs stumble at home tonight against second-division Southwestern, they’ll enter Saturday’s huge showdown at Oklahoma Wesleyan with a chance to take over outright fourth place in the 12-team conference. When the teams met earlier this year, the Eagles won a thrilling five-setter and they’re also 8-5 in the conference.
Give a lot of credit to new Mac coach Jessica Cleveland for injecting enthusiasm into the program. She has the team playing at peak efficiency and it’s successful even though it doesn’t have the height that KCAC powers Ottawa, Tabor and Kansas Wesleyan possess.
Cleveland was hired in late December, so she missed out on the prime recruiting season in 2015. Yet, she has added a couple of quality players who have made a difference.
Cleveland came from Hesston College, where she coached for five years and had the Larks going in the right direction as her last two seasons produced a 42-20 record.
She also knows what it takes to win in this conference, having played her final two years at Friends, generally among the better teams in the KCAC.
The Oklahoma Wesleyan match is the start of a tough stretch. After the Eagles, Mac plays Tabor and Friends next week, teams they lost to earlier this season. Realistically, if the Bulldogs can win one of these three matches it will be a bonus.
• BIG HIT — I've been to a lot of McPherson Middle School football games in my 38 years, but I saw one of the most amazing plays I've seen in my tenure.
On Thursday at Grant Complex, the Bullpups were leading Valley Center 20-8, but the visitors were driving. They had a 4th down near the MMS end zone.
Valley Center tried a pass play, but Bullpup defensive back Aaron Powell flew through the air and timed his perfect form tackle perfectly to break up the pass. He landed perhaps the most jarring hit I've witnessed in an MMS game.
The crowd was buzzing about the hit the rest of the game. Even one of the game officials came over to the MMS sideline and said, "I could feel that clear over here."
MMS went on to close out Valley Center and its season, going 5-2. This group of eighth-graders have a promising future and should add a lot to the high school program in the years to come.