Category Archives: Baseball

Baddude reflects over favorite stories in 100th column

By J.D. McKay

After about 2.5 years of writing my column I have two left. Today’s column, from May 13, and next Wednesday’s, the day before my last day of school. During my three years in newspaper and 2.5 years writing this column, we have done some impressive things as Highlanders. So, I thought in my 100th column I would look back on my favorite columns and stories I have written for the newspaper.

 

Boys’ basketball wins sectionals for the first time in 31 years 

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/boys-basketball-wins-sectionals-for-the-first-time-in-31-years/

This one was an easy number 1 for me. This was either my favorite or second favorite memory from my senior year. To me, though, this was an awesome moment in FC history and was awesome to cover. 

As a student, I was celebrating, but as a writer, I immediately was ready to interview guys after the game. And while the players I talked to knew I was interviewing them for the Bagpiper, we were just students at a school that had just won sectionals for the first time in 31 years. Crazy excited and completely themselves. They did not overthink the answer and told me exactly what they were feeling. That produced some great quotes, which made writing the story easy for me. 

Another significant part of this story for me was how quickly I wrote it and got it out. It was the only story I wrote in all three years on the Bagpiper staff that got out the same night as the event happened. It was the first story published about the game by any news source and I was very proud of the work I put into it. 

 

FC’s best athletes reflect over their success

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/05/18/fcs-best-athletes-reflect-over-their-success/

I got to interview some of the people that are hanging all over the FC athletic wing. That included Pat Graham, Mr. Basketball; Jeffrey Thompson, pro-baseball player and college World Series pitcher; Jill Schuler, an All-American and three sport all-state athlete; and Codie Hamsley, the Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as well as six others. It was interesting to put a story to a face on the All-State wall and tell their stories to a lot of students who may never have heard of them. 

 

Previewing New Albany basketball regular season games

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/12/11/fc-plays-new-albany-friday-in-continuation-of-historic-rivalry/

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/20447/

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/column-highlanders-face-toughest-task-this-friday/

I wrote three of these and I didn’t have one that stuck out, so I just included all of them. I wanted to flex a little but because my scoring predictions for these games were almost always pretty close. And that came from almost no knowledge of the Dogs. I never watched them play before writing the column and only looked at the scores of their previous games. 

Last year, my final score prediction was not very close but the margin of victory was. This year, the final score was 52-48, I predicted 53-51. My favorite game against New Albany was my sophomore year when they had Romeo Langford on their team. I predicted 51-50 and the final score was 49-47. That was an awesome game that played overtime and inspired my fourth favorite column to write. 

 

FC win against New Albany captured old Indiana basketball emotions

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/fc-win-against-new-albany-captured-old-indiana-basketball-emotions/

This was a cool column to write because I got to mention Indiana high school basketball history. If you read my columns very consistently you would see that came up in a lot of my basketball columns. But I enjoyed recapping the game and crediting Matt Weimer’s stellar defense on a player who is now in the NBA. I also got to proclaim the game an “Indiana high school basketball classic.” 

 

Baddude reflects on football career before college

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/baddude-reflects-on-football-career-before-college/

This one I enjoyed writing because it is always kind of fun to reflect on something. But it also reminded me of a lot of good memories I hadn’t thought about in a long time. It was also cool to really look back and see how all the football I played and was around as a little kid to success in my FC career and specifically senior season. 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Baddude prepares to roll on to Wheaton

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/01/29/baddude-prepares-to-roll-on-to-wheaton/

This was fun to write because I committed in it. I had a place to do a cool commitment instead of the typical Twitter commitment. It was also fun to put out what I got to do as a college student-athlete for a weekend. 

 

Football coach Brian Glesing steps down

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/column-football-coach-brian-glesing-steps-down/

I liked writing this because I have known Glesing for a while. I worked with him a lot as a writer and he was very helpful. I also liked giving him his recognition that I thought he earned and a lot of people ignored because they did not like him.

 

Sports directly influence higher grades

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/sports-directly-influence-higher-grades/

I never really viewed myself as a dumb jock so I enjoyed arguing that the dumb jock stereotype was false. 

 

Tiger roars back to the top after Masters Win

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/tiger-roars-back-to-the-top-after-masters-win/

I have enjoyed trying to rank sports events for a long time. Here was a column where I finally got to do it so it was fun. Plus, writing about Tiger Woods was cool to do after he finally got back on top.

 

Louisville should be AAF Expansion City

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/louisville-should-be-aaf-expansion-city/

This was just kind of a fun story to write. I got to use my imagination to make a plan for Louisville. Obviously, the AAF did not work out, though. 

 

High school basketball is better without a shot clock

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/high-school-basketball-is-better-without-a-shot-clock/

I published this after we lost to Jeff on a buzzer beater early in the season. Many students were complaining that high school did not have a shot clock and were worried about Jeff using this again to impact a potential sectional game. It ended up not mattering in sectionals at all.

Q&A with college signees Brenten Rodgers and Daly Skees

Photo Courtesy of Wayne Timbs

Story by J.D. McKay

After three or four successful years as players, athletes get their chance to be recognized in the paper and in the school by signing to play college sports. However, because of Coronavirus, several athletes have not gotten to do their signing. Hopefully they do get the regular signing at school, but I would be surprised if they do. Baseball player Daly Skees and football player Brenten Rodgers were two players in this situation; so I thought I would let them tell my readers and me about where they picked to get the recognition of signing on our website.

Daly Skees

Baddude: Where are you going to school?

Daly Skees: “I’m going to attend Hillsdale College.”

BD: Why did you choose that school?

DS: “I chose Hillsdale because the campus was perfect and all the people there made me

skees2
Senior Daly Skees pitches his junior year. Photo Courtesy of Wayne Timbs

feel welcome. I had similar views about the game of baseball and training with the coaches. The mission of the college was very intriguing as well.” 

BD: What are you most excited about in college?

DS: “I’m most excited about going to a challenging school that will prepare me for life after school. I’m also excited about getting to play the sport I love at the next level.”

BD: What are you planning on majoring in?

DS: “I’m planning on majoring in economics or mathematics.” 

BD:What were some achievements in high school?

DS: In high school, I achieved a top 100 player in the state and a top 25 pitcher in the state by PBR [Prep Baseball Report]. I was also voted a Perfect Game All-Area All-American Honorable Mention.”

BD: What are some things people would be interested to know about your school? 

DS: “Hillsdale is number three in great books programs according to Best College Reviews. It is also one of the top conservative colleges in the country.” 

BD: Are you disappointed you might not get to sign at school, and why?

DS: “I am disappointed because I have wanted to have that moment of signing at school with all the people who helped me get to the point where I’m at now. I think it would have been a great way to say thanks to all of them.”

BD: Anything else you want to tell me about your signing, your school, or your high school career?

DS: “This year is weird because I was not ready to take off the green and gold jersey for the last time, but now that I know I won’t get to put it on it hurts more than I thought it would. I have been wearing those colors for 10 years but now it’s over before I get the chance to say goodbye.”

BD: How disappointed are you to not get your senior season of baseball?

DS: “Hearing that I wouldn’t get my senior year of baseball was devastating. My teammates and I worked so hard for so many years to get to play our senior year. We spend a lot of time outside of school practice and workouts to hopefully set ourselves up for a successful final season.” 

BD: Will not having your senior season affect anything with Hillsdale or not?

DS: “No it will not affect anything at Hillsdale. I have kept in touch with my coaches and they have answered questions and concerns I’ve had.”

BD: What were you most looking forward to this season?

DS: “I was most looking forward to the opportunity to pitch for my school and team. I was looking forward to seeing where we stood against the rest of teams in the state.”

 

Brenten Rodgers

BD: Where are you going to school?

Brenten Rodgers: “Trine University”

BD: Why did you choose that school?

BR: “It’s felt like home every visit I went there. Their job placement rate, graduation percentage, [and] the atmosphere are very good. It’s more in the rural area of Indiana and not a big city. I like to be away from the big cities and out in the country.”

BD: What are you most excited about in college?

BR: “I am mostly excited about a fresh start. It’s a new beginning and one of the hardest choices I’ll ever make in my life. I’m excited about the opportunities that await me, new people I’m going to meet and football. I’m really excited to be able to fulfill my dreams of playing beyond high school football. Heck J.D., when we were Little League we joked about it and now it’s a reality. So I’m really excited to keep pushing myself and seeing what’s next.”

rodgers
Senior Brenten Rodgers (73) chases after junior Wenkers Wright as he tries to make a block. Photo by Brock Kennedy

BD: What are you planning on majoring in?

BR: “I am planning on majoring in mechanical engineering, with my background I am very interested in doing that field of work and enjoy doing it.”

BD:What were some achievements in high school?

BR: “I had a lot of gals coming into high school. My main one was to get a 3.5 or above and right now I’m at a 3.67. So that was a big check mark. Graduating was a goal too, of course, but I had other small ones that really paid off in the long run. I watched a video my freshman year and three words stuck out to me. They were ‘One more rep.’ I took out a note card and wrote down some simple goals for my freshman year. They were to show up to every practice, give all I got, and dress for a varsity game. I did all three and it really set a tone for me. I did that every year. Senior year was different. I failed all my goals my junior year. So I pulled out my card and decided I was not going to do simple goals again. I’m going to make goals that are going to break me down and show me how to keep fighting. My goals were to go undefeated at home, win a sectional championship, all-conference, all-state, and be picked to play in an All-American game. As you know, I checked one and two. I failed three and four, but the early mornings with Gumble paid off and I got to play in an All-American bowl on the Miami Dolphin field. That was awesome. So all my goals and achievements were football but it’s what got me through high school. It was a lot of fun. Nothing is like Friday Night Lights, I mean nothing.” 

BD: What are some things people would be interested to know about your school? 

BR: “Trine is a very cool place. Trine has a great atmosphere. The job placement rate, graduation rate, and small class sizes are awesome. It’s just a great place overall.”

BD: Are you disappointed you might not get to sign at school, why?

BR: “I’m very disappointed I don’t get to sign at school. I mean, that’s where I thought I was going to die during summer workouts. It’s where I failed and gained a lot of strength. We have grown up with a lot of people in our class and other grades. We always dreamed of signing in front of everyone in “our” high school, and now since that’s not going to happen it just doesn’t feel as special anymore.”

BD: Anything else you want to tell me about your signing, your school, or your high school career?

BR: “I’d say if it wasn’t for Floyd Central football I probably wouldn’t be going to the next level. FC football and FC really developed me into the guy I am today. I owe a lot to my team and teachers and coaches. I can’t thank you guys enough. All though I don’t get to sign, the memories and everyone who pushed me to be able to get the grades and athletic ability will always be there.”

Sports unite America after biggest tragedies

By J.D. McKay

Eighteen years ago today, America was physically hit as hard as when the British burned down Washington, including the White House in 1814. America was very different at that point in time, of course. America was missing something that I believe Americans associate with our country, sports. 

It is early to say, but probably the biggest tragedy of my age group’s lifetime will be 9/11. Sports were also affected. There was not another sports game until Sept. 16. But 10 days after 9/11, the Mets Mike Piazza hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history. The game was the first pro-baseball game played in New York after the attacks. The Mets were down 2-1 in the eighth inning, but Piazza hit a two-run home run, putting the Mets ahead 3-2. The American flags that were already around the stadium started fluttering. Mets fans erupted. It gave the country and New Yorkers a chance to cheer about something after such a tragic time.  

However, that season was a good year to be a fan of the other New York team, the Yankees. In game three of the World Series, the Yankees were hosting the Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium. President George W. Bush was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. The game was sold out. Bush knew he needed to look good on the mound, but the pressure only rose when Derek Jeter warned him not to bounce it. When Bush stepped out of the dugout, U.S.A. chants echoed around the stadium. He threw in a beautiful pitch, and the handheld flags waved around the stadium. His pitch was a great moment for New Yorkers, showing that America was too tough to let terrorists win. 

But 9/11 is not the only moment where Americans united over sports. In 2005, New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans Saints were in a time of turmoil. They were terrible, considering relocating, and without a true quarterback. Now we know the Saints did not move. They found the answer to the other two questions in one man, Drew Brees. Brees did not only led the Saints back to the playoffs, but he also helped rebuild the city. Specifically, his Brees Dream Foundation helped rebuild schools, parks, and athletic facilities. The Saints did not play a game in New Orleans until 2006. But in their first game back, they had one moment that has been memorialized. Steve Gleason blocked a punt early in the game that was returned for a touchdown. The announcers were silent for almost a minute as the stadium erupted, and the Saints players pointed back at the fans, as if telling them that was for them. Gleason diving to block the ball will forever be outside of the Super Dome, and the title on the pedestal could not be any better: Rebirth. 

Sports have united America during other tragedies. The Astros won the World Series just two months after Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. All of Boston sports rallied after the Boston Bombing. That was best seen at the Boston Bruins game on April 17, 2013. The fans took over singing the National Anthem from Renee Rancourt, who was brought in to sing that night. 

Terrorist attacks try to bring America down. However, we typically come back stronger. Sports are not always the events that bring America together, but they help create strength and toughness in a city and a country that desperately need it. 

 

Predicting the MLB season with 50 games left

By J.D. McKay

Next week is when competitions at FC really start, so I will write my preseason column next week. However, right now there is not much happening in sports. The MLB is nearing the end of the season. The NFl preseason is starting, and just about every other league is in the offseason. My NFL preview will be the Wednesday after Labor Day, so I guess it is MLB. 

There are about 50 games left. The trade deadline has come and gone. I think the Houston Astros won the trade deadline. They traded for Zach Greinke, one of baseball’s best pitchers. Pitchers are the most important players in the post season and that will make them very competitive in October. The Reds seemed to be selling at the deadline, despite still being one winning streak away from really being in contention. They traded fan favorite Scooter Gennett and Yasiel Puig. However, they got my preseason pick for AL Cy Young, Trevor Bauer, for Puig. My trade deadline loser was the Yankees. Their starting pitching has being terrible for the past few weeks but the did not trade for a pitcher. That could prove to be fatal. 

The post season is going to be here in two months. Unfortunately, I do not think the Yankees will win the World Series despite being the best team in baseball. Starting pitching is too important and, as I said above, theirs has been poor. Unless their pitchers pull it together, it may be a quick exit. I like the Astros to be the American League representative in the World Series because of their trade for Greinke as well as Justin Verlander. Those two should be able to win enough games in the playoffs to get to the World Series. 

The National League I see as a toss up. The Dodgers are good, they have two great starters. However, the NL Central has been the toughest division in baseball this year. I could see a team coming out of that division and excelling against teams that are not constantly playing top teams. 

Earlier this year I predicted Astros vs Dodgers in the World Series, and I am sticking with that. However, I predicted the Dodgers in six games. But after the Astros trades, I am expecting the Astros to win the World Series in five games.

 

Summer sports wrap-up

By J.D. McKay

That was fast. 

As an athlete, it went even faster. Strength and conditioning coach Donnie Gumble trained athletes hard this summer. The cross country teams went to a week-long camp to run, with some athletes putting in more than 40 miles. Plus, the basketball teams played in summer leagues against other top teams. With the work Gumble put in with our athletes and the rest of the work they put in this off season, it should be a very good year in FC sports. 

There was plenty of action outside of Floyd County, though. Most of it was a surprise, too. I expected the Warriors win in five games, then sign another big name free agent like Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard. Serena Williams and Roger Federer would win women’s and men’s at Wimbledon. The Yankees would be the best team in the MLB at the all-star break, and a veteran would win the homerun derby. Romeo Langford would be a first round pick but not a Lottery Pick. Finally, our local summer sports team, the Louisville Bats, would be the worst team in Triple A baseball. 

If you follow sports very closely you know that only none of those statements are totally true. The Warriors lost in six games. Then, balance in the NBA was restored for the first time since 2014. Anthony Davis joined Lebron in LA. Then, a few weeks later, the Clippers formed the second super team in LA with Leonard and Paul George. The East Coast was not just watching this happen. The Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant and Irving to form their own super team. Houston traded for Russell Westbrook to go with James Harden and get a pair of their own. Plus, Golden State still has Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The other NBA statement I made was only partly true. Langford was a first round pick; however, he was a Lottery Pick and will be playing basketball for the Boston Celtics and ex-Butler coach Brad Stevens. 

Neither Federer or Williams took home titles at Wimbledon. They were won by Novak Djokovic in the mens’ and Simona Halep in the ladies’. There was some other craziness around the tournament. Fifteen-year-old Cori Gauff qualified for the tournament and upset Venus Williams in the first round. She stuck around until the fourth round before losing and all of her matches were the most watch of the day in America. 

My baseball predictions were the most accurate. The Yankees were the best team in the American League and second best in baseball. The Bats are not quite the worst team in Triple A baseball, but they are the second worst. The only completely false statement was the veteran winning the Homerun Derby. That was dominated by two rookies, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Pete Alonso. Guerrero had the greatest Homerun Derby of all time. He hit 91 homers in 13.5 minutes. That was spaced out over two hours, but that many dingers is impressive regardless. Even with that many homers, he still lost in the finals to Alonso, who hit 23 to beat Guerrero’s 22. 

Finally, I did not have much of a prediction for the Stanley Cup Finals, but the St. Louis Blues finally took home the Cup for the first time after 50 years. They played seven and the final game was won by goalie Jordan Binnington. Who had perhaps the greatest most clutch performance I will ever see in hockey. He gave up one goal on 33 shots and as a hockey fan, I was amazed, because most of the shots he blocked were shots that are almost always goals. 

This summer was crazy in sports. That feels weird to say but it really was. Hopefully the rest of the school year is as crazy as the summer was. Or maybe not, I do not know if we can handle that for 10 more months.