Keep an eye on Mac men kickers

By Steve Sell
August 16, 2017

Wednesday’s ramblings...

• MAC MEN’S SOCCER TEAM COULD BE SPECIAL – Chatting with McPherson College men’s soccer coach Doug Quint this week, the Bulldogs could have a tremendous season — they’re picked to finish second in the KCAC, which is a good indicator.

Quint did express concern about his goalie situation when he learned that Arthur Lamparter won’t be able to play after a career-ending injury. Quint is counting on one of three freshmen goalies to step up.

Other than that, Quint says he’s loaded. He started camp with a whopping 39 players and is bringing in perhaps his most talented recruiting class since he’s been here.

Quint says he may have overscheduled for the non-conference as the Bulldogs will play several national-worthy teams, including powerhouse MidAmerica Nazarene University to open the season here on Aug. 26. The Pioneers are ranked No. 8 in the country. But he has always scheduled strong as he believes by playing better teams, that will prepare the team for the rigors of KCAC play.

• DEVASTATING LOSS FOR ROYALS — It’s probably a good thing Kansas City is getting right back on the horse this afternoon after Tuesday night’s stunning loss at Oakland.

The Royals let an 8-4 lead get away as Joakim Soria was again battered, giving up four runs, and Mike Minor’s recent troubles continued as he gave up two in what was a disastrous finish.

KC had homered its way into the lead as blasts by Drew Butera, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas led the rally.

But the bullpen, the team’s Achilles Heel, imploded, just as it has done for the entire month of August. The ERA for the “arson squad” is now at 6.94 this month, the second-worst in baseball behind the woebegone San Diego Padres.

The Royals handed starter Jason Hammel a 3-0 first-inning lead, but as he has done often this year he gave it back as Oakland scored four unanswered runs.

But after exploding for five runs in the top of the eighth, the Royals took a punch to the solar plexus. This is one of those games they’ll look back on with disgust if they wind up missing the playoffs by a game.

The problem is the starters simply don’t go deep enough into games. Manager Ned Yost has a lot of arms in the bullpen, but it’s a group that’s been terribly overworked. Peter Moylan had an incredible two-month stretch, but he’s been lit up recently. Ditto for Minor and Scott Alexander. And Soria is just a shell of his former self.

With a win, the Royals would have been back as the No. 2 wild-card team behind the Yankees. They’re now a half-game back.

Kansas City needs to take care of teams like Oakland — especially with six of the next nine games after today being against Cleveland, which is playing lights-out right now.

• LATE RESIGNATION — The KCAC no doubt gasped when Friends’ longtime successful women’s basketball coach RaeAnn Boothe resigned on Tuesday to take an NCAA Division II job in Texas.

Boothe is probably the most intense women’s basketball coach I’ve been around. She did a terrific job at Friends, with her teams noted for their relentless pressure on the defensive end.

But her resignation leaves Friends in a bind. My guess is the school will promote its top assistant, but any coaching change this late is unsettling.

Boothe said in her release that Friends is set up to win the KCAC this season, even though All-World Shann Sellers finally graduated. Boothe always recruited long, lean athletic types to play her swarming defense and I’m sure she had a strong recruiting class for this year.

Somehow the KCAC won’t seem the same without her, just like it won’t seem the same in football this year without Friends football coach Monty Lewis.