Thursday's thoughts: Preston pilots Hutch to state

By Steve Sell
May 18, 2017

Thursday’s thoughts...

• PRESTON’S TEAM MAKES STATE — Former Inman High baseball coach Jim Preston, who stepped down after last season to take the head job at his alma mater Hutchinson High, has the Salthawks in the state tournament.

After a regular season that produced a modest seven wins, the Salthawks caught fire in the Class 6A Regional. Hutch defeated Dodge City 9-5 in the championship game on Wednesday to advance to state for the first time since 2005.

While at Inman, Preston guided the Teutons to a pair of state appearances. I always thought he did a great job with the Inman program and I’m glad to see he’s having success with the Salthawks.

Many remember Preston as a former basketball official, one of the best in the state. You always knew when he was officiating, it would be a well-called game.

• HUTCH LOOKING FOR SOCCER COACH OR COACHES— Hutchinson High’s soccer coach Brad Binns resigned both his boys and girls’ positions to concentrate on his new duties as an assistant principal at Morgan Elementary.

Binns had been the boys’ coach since 2008 and had some competitive teams. He was the girls’ coach the last two years.

You have to wonder if the school will be looking for one coach for the two programs or hire separate coaches.

It’s been a tough week at Hutch, as earlier it was announced that boys basketball coach Chad Wintz had resigned after two seasons and just six wins. Wintz was a Rule 10 coach as he works for Fee Insurance.

• ROYALS UNDOING GOOD WORK — Just when it appeared the Kansas City Royals were turning things around, the New York Yankees swaggered into town.

And just as they have done so often to the Royals, they stomped a mudhole in them in the first two games.

Kansas City has been pounded into submission, losing 7-1 and 11-7. That latter score was somewhat deceiving as New York led 10-2 at one point and KC scored three cosmetic runs in the ninth.

The Yankees just seem to have the Royals’ number and it’s unfortunate because KC had come into the series on a high, having won six of seven games, including a sweep of Baltimore that had re-energized the Royals’ fan base.

Danny Duffy, the Royals’ Opening Day starter, gets the ball tonight against Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees’ No. 5 starter. If Duffy is the Royals’ true ace, he needs to come through tonight and be a stopper. It would be a shame after the three-game sweep of the Orioles that KC would give it all back by being swept.

• JACKSON TO 76ERS? — Josh Jackson, who had an outstanding season for Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks in his one-year stopover before going to the NBA, could be the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft.

Washington’s Markelle Fultz is expected to be the top pick to Boston, with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball pegged for the Los Angeles Lakers, which would please his father and the Lakers’ fan base.

Jackson, who was amazingly versatile for the Jayhawks, is thought to be the third-best player and if he goes to the 76ers he would team with another former Jayhawk, Joel Embiid. The 7-0 center missed his first two years with injuries, then was having a sensational year before going down with injuries again.

Embiid is expected to be back 100 percent next year. And this year’s overall No. 1 pick for the 76ers, Ben Simmons, is expected back as well after missing his rookie year with an injury.

If I’m Jackson and drafted by the 76ers, I would make sure to get some insurance. It seems to be a curse to be drafted by Philly.