Early morning soccer with the Bullpups

By Steve Sell
May 19, 2017

Friday’s favorites...

• MORNING SOCCER — It could be called “Breakfast with the Bullpups.”

Or for those who get up a little later in the morning, brunch.

With McPherson High’s Class 4-1A Regional Soccer Tournament championship game with Hays at McPherson Stadium being postponed Thursday night, a difficult decision had to be made.

There was no question the game was going to be rescheduled for today. The only problem was that severe storms could possibly hit the McPherson area in the afternoon and evening. Saturday is not an option because several Bullpups will be graduating. Sunday is out because no sporting events are supposed to be played. 

So the schools agreed to play the game this morning at 10:00. While there probably won’t be too many fans in the stands other than parents, I’m sure the intensity will still be high. At stake is a berth in the Elite Eight, which MHS has made each of the last two years. In fact, the Bullpups have been in the Final Four those years.

Hays probably will be grumbling a bit because it means the team had to be on the road by 7:00 this morning. A two-hour bus trip isn’t exactly enthralling.

But Mother Nature has struck again. I’ve been covering high school sports for more than 40 years, the last 38 in McPherson, and I can’t ever remember a spring that has been so wet.

• DUFFY STEPS UP — Danny Duffy is the unquestioned ace of the Kansas City Royals’ pitching staff and was anointed the Opening Day starter this season.

As the ace, it’s Duffy’s job to prevent long losing streaks. When Kansas City lost nine straight games earlier this year, two of those losses were by Duffy against his nemesis the Chicago White Sox.

Other than those two games, Duffy’s other six starts going into Thursday night had been outstanding. 

The Royals needed for Duffy to pitch like an ace on Thursday against the mighty New York Yankees, who had battered Kansas City the first two games of the series and were primed for a sweep.

And he did. Duffy pitched with grim determination as he fired seven innings of shutout ball and struck out a season-high 10 as the Royals were a 5-1 winner.

That was important because they now head out for a 10-game road trip. They play Minnesota (they’re 0-5 against the Twins this year), have a return series with the Yankees and also go to Cleveland, where they have struggled mightily even in their World Series years. I’m sure if they go 5-5, they will return home happy, considering they have had road woes this season.

• SALINA TENNIS POWER — According to a story in The Salina Journal, it appears there is an amazing group of young tennis players about to hit Salina Central or maybe some of the other Saline County schools.

Salina Lakewood, which is generally the prelude to kids attending Salina Central, had a perfect middle school tennis season this spring. What makes it amazing is the team was 199-0, as no player lost a match the entire season. The team had 15 eighth-graders.

According to the story, many of the players train at Genesis Health Club in Salina where they can receive year-round coaching. Some also trained at The Pines Tennis Club. 

It will be interesting to see how this team impacts Salina Central next year, or one of the other high schools.

• UNLIKELY STATE QUALIFIER – I was scanning the list of state softball qualifiers and was stunned to see that Pittsburg Colgan advanced in Class 2-1A.

Colgan entered postseason play with a 1-19 record, but won three straight regional games, all in lopsided fashion to advance. I don’t think I can ever recall a team doing that.

Colgan will be joined at state by Moundridge, which is carrying the McPherson area banner as it was the only softball team, or baseball team for that matter, to make state. State is next week in Pratt, with the opening day set for Thursday.