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Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan ■ Saturday, June 7, 2008


Lessons Learned After One Year Of Full-Time Saturday Column Writing

It’s been a year since longtime sports columnist Howard “Hod” Nielsen hung up his weekly chat with our readers, leaving me to fill that void. Here are some of the things I’ve learned. — It’s not easy to come up with something each week. I’ve known that for a while. Since I became sports editor more than a decade ago, I have had the opportunity to write a column whenever I’ve wanted to. There were times when I wanted to, but didn’t have space available — a problem now fixed by the creation of the blog. There have been times when I’ve had an idea, but no time to put it to little electronic pixels that look like words, which is the form they are in until I send the page to the printer. And, at other times, I’ve had the room and the time, but no idea what I wanted to say. The last two of those are what can

make a weekly column difficult. The past three weeks, I’ve been so wrapped up in getting the rest of our daily product done that my weekly chat with readers has gone by the wayside. Even the promoJAMES D. tion of Jeremy Hoeck to full-time assistant hasn’t CIMBUREK helped in that matter, since we both were eyeball-deep in track coverage the previous two weeks, then trying to catch back up on everything else last week. Thus, I had my first bad string of not writing a column since I took over that gig from Hod. Then there’s the what-in-the-world-do-Italk-about thing. At this time of year, the topics are limited by the lack of activities and greater lack of getting results. — Some people like to read about

themselves in the paper. Others don’t, especially if you’re married to them. My wife makes it more than clear that she is not supposed to be a topic of my writings without her express written consent, (Which never happens, but sometimes I do it anyway.) though her crazy fan-dom makes her a great topic. (Like that misguided notion that the Celtics will win the NBA title.) Most of my nieces and nephews are not in competitive sports yet, though I did have a niece on the Gazelles’ dance and cheer squads this past fall, and another niece is on one of the traveling softball teams for Yankton. There are plenty of other young people to brag about in Yankton, so I don’t need to bore you with family stuff, no matter how proud I am of them. — It’s easier to build things up than tear them down ... at least for me. For some people, it’s really easy to use their space in the newspaper, or on the internet (OK, especially on the internet) to

tear down everything and everyone around them. I am one of those people who is pretty hard on himself, but I try to not be as hard on others. That mentality tends to be reflected in my columns, as well as the entire sports section. From what I’ve seen, people tend to appreciate that, especially in this era when negativity seems to be the norm. I’m sure I learned a few other things this year, but there is so much babbling that people will put up with. Here’s hoping it quits raining for a couple days, so that I can have some sports to talk about.

Thank You
I wanted to say “thank you” to everyone who has congratulated me for receiving the South Dakota High School Coaches Association’s “Sportswriter of the Year” Award. Something like this does not happen overnight, by accident or by yourself. I have been blessed to have a great staff over the years, and their hard work and

dedication is largely responsible for the recognition I’ve received. Many of the young people who have worked for me have gone on to do well themselves, including a few who have gone on to fulltime newspaper careers after working here part-time. I’ve also had one future lawyer, a couple future teachers and a few other professionals get there start here. Most recently, the P&D sports staff alumni added its first state house candidate, as Nick Moser won the Republican primary for the District 18 state house seat. Congratulations, and good luck in November. (This is not an endorsement by the Press & Dakotan. The P&D does not endorse candidates.) Sorry, had to throw that in to avoid a phone call from the other candidates running for the two spots. Anyway, the point is that I’ve had a lot of talented young men and women who have been a big part of the continued success of our sports section, and any honors I receive are due largely to their hard work. Thanks to all of you.

From Page 6A

Blair 5, S.F. East 3
HARTINGTON, Neb. — Blair (Neb.) got a quality outing from starting pitcher C.J. Brewer and defeated Sioux Falls East 5-3 Friday. Brewer allowed just four hits in six innings of work, while walking two batters and striking out a pair. He also had two hits at the plate, including a double and a single. Also for Blair, Tyler Shanahan and Tyler Dahlgren each had two singles, while Tom Hodgson had a double and Cameron Derry added a single. For East, Rob Smith had a double while Alex Ryan, Cal Dannenberg and Jordan Merritt each had a single. Kyle Maloney took the loss, allowing eight hits and five runs in five innings.

Blair 9, Hartington 0
HARTINGTON, Neb. — Blair starting pitcher Cameron Derry allowed just one hit in seven innings, leading his team to a 9-0 shutout of Hartington in Friday’s late game. For Blair, Tyler Shanahan had two singles and Jake Peterson added a triple. Darren Hochstein had Hartington’s only hit — a single. Tony Heine took the loss, striking out five and walking two.


Hartington first baseman comes off the bag to knock down an errant throw during the team’s game with Yankton CorTrust in pool play of the Lewis & Clark Wooden Bat Classic Friday in Hartington, Neb.
each had two hits while Schmidt had two RBI. Norfolk got two hits apiece from Andrew Rutten, A.J. Spandel and Shawn Wettenberg.

Yankton 3, Spearfish 2
Yankton First Dakota Post 12 rallied from a 2-0 deficit with a three-run third inning to claim a 3-2 victory in the final game at Riverside Field Friday. A passed ball in the second and a Dustin Wisener single in the third gave Post 164 the two-run edge. In the third, Kyle Mueller’s two-run triple tied the game at 2-2, and Mueller scored the winning run on an error. Mueller, D.J. Eversley and Layne Somsen each went 2-3 to lead Yankton. Alan Schmidt added a single. Allen Hemeyer went 2-2 with a double and a run scored to lead Spearfish. Justin Kemp, Wisener and Ryan Royer each had hits in the effort. Nick Huston struck out seven for the victory. Kemp took the loss, striking out three.

S.F. West 1, Parkston 0
VERMILLION — Sioux Falls West’s Ryan Hander out-dueled Parkston standout pitcher Tom Murtha, as West prevailed 1-0 in Friday’s second game. Hander struck out 13 batters while Murtha punched out 10 in a losing effort.

Mitchell 5, Omaha Bryan 3
Mitchell Post 18 took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning only to see Omaha Bryan score three runs. But Mitchell hung on for the 5-3 win in Friday’s third game. Mitchell scored one run in the third, two runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh. Jason Schmidt was 3-for-4 for Post 18, with two runs scored. Bryan got three runs in the seventh on three Mitchell errors, but a bunt attempt ended the game.

Norfolk 6, Yankton 1
Norfolk (Neb.) scored three runs in the top of the first inning and defeated hometown Yankton First Dakota Post 12 by a 6-1 score in Friday’s first game. Norfolk added one more run in the second and two more in the fourth to close out its scoring. Yankton scored its first run in the first inning on an RBI fly out by Ross Heine. Post 12 added another run in the seventh when Jake Rausch came around to score. For Yankton, Heine was 2-for-3 at the plate, while Layne Somsen and D.J. Eversley each went 2-for-4. Rausch took the loss for Yankton, pitching the full seven innings.

Watertown 7, Parkston 2
VERMILLION — Watertown handed Parkston its second loss of the day, using an early 5-0 to win. No other stats were made available for this game.

Gretna 5, Watertown 0
VERMILLION — Gretna starting pitcher Jay Omar came within one strike of pitching a no-hitter. Omar took the no-no into the top of the seventh inning, and even had two strikes with two outs before Watertown got a swinging bunt single.


Omaha Bryan 5, Spearfish 3
Omaha Bryan bounced back from an earlier defeat to top Spearfish 5-3 behind five strikeouts from starting pitcher J.D. Urban. Urban also went 2-for-4 at the plate, and Dan Casey and Lars Trizila were 1-for-2 for Omaha. For Spearfish, Dustin Wisener was 2-for3 at the plate but took the loss on the mound. Allen Hemeyer was 1-for-2 with an RBI and Ryan Royer was 1-for-3.

S.F. West 8, Vermillion 2
VERMILLION — The pitching of Brian Ducksbury and hitting of Ross Peterson guided Sioux Falls West to an 8-2 win over hometown Vermillion in Friday’s early game. Peterson had two hits, including a triple and a double, with three RBI for West. For Vermillion, Reid Meierkort was 3-for4 and Kyle Olson was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Brandon Womack took the loss for Vermillion.

Brandon Valley's Alex Nachriener makes a leaping catch during the second inning of his team’s pool play game with Yankton Cortrust during the Lewis & Clark Wooden Bat Classic Friday in Hartington, Neb.
dove for a sharp grounder and recorded the game’s final out, giving Vermillion the 6-5 win. Kyle Olson had two hits and an RBI for Vermillion, while Reid Meierkort added a pair of hits and J.R. Moore had an RBI. Tyler Johnson was the winning pitcher for Vermillion, allowing eight hits in seven innings of work. For Gretna, Scott Doggett was 3-for-3 with two RBI while Tyson Ruhge took the loss on the mound.

Mitchell 4, Norfolk 3 (11 innings)
Mitchell Post 18 scored on a botched squeeze play in the top of the 11th inning to defeat Norfolk 4-3 in Friday’s second game. Norfolk scored a run in the second, third, eighth and ninth innings, but Mitchell sent the game into extra innings on an RBI sacrifice bunt from Mike Larson in the ninth. For Mitchell, Jason Schmidt and Larson

Vermillion 6, Gretna 5
VERMILLION — Up 6-2 in the seventh inning, Vermillion surrendered three late runs and needed a sparkling defensive play to end the game. With the tying run on second base, Vermillion second baseman Sam McBride

MLB Roundup: D-Backs’ Webb First To 11 Victories
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Brandon Webb became the majors’ first 11game winner with his second successive effective start, holding Pittsburgh to one run and three hits over seven innings and driving in a run during the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 3-1 victory over the Pirates on Friday night. Webb (11-2), coming off a 4-0 shutout win over Washington on Saturday in which he yielded only six singles, didn’t allow a hit until Jose Bautista’s two-out single in the fifth. The right-hander has permitted only one extra-base hit — Jason Bay’s RBI double in the sixth — while giving up nine hits and one run in 16 innings over his last two starts. Brandon Lyon pitched the ninth inning for his 13th save in 15 opportunities after Tony Pena worked the eighth inning. Ian Snell (2-6), who is winless in 10 starts since April 12, allowed two runs — one earned — and five hits in five innings. He struck out nine and walked three.
REDS 11, MARLINS 3: MIAMI (AP) — Jay Bruce continued his sizzling start in the majors with three hits and three more RBIs, and Johnny Cueto pitched six innings to win his third straight start for Cincinnati. Ken Griffey Jr. remained stuck on 599 career home runs, going 2-for-3. He hasn’t gone deep in his last 13 at-bats dating to last Saturday, when he moved one away from becoming the sixth member of baseball’s 600-homer club. Bruce — the Reds’ first-round pick three years ago — went 3-for-4, and is now hitting .463 with 10 RBIs in 11 games since being called up late last month. Jorge Cantu hit his ninth and 10th homers and added a double for Florida, which has lost eight of its last 10. Andrew Miller (4-5) allowed four runs and six hits and lasted just 3 1-3 innings. ASTROS 6, CARDINALS 1: HOUSTON (AP) — Hunter Pence had an RBI double and Houston scored three runs on two St. Louis errors. Brian Moehler (3-2) had his best outing in six starts this season, allowing two hits and striking out five in seven innings. He set down the Cardinals in order four times and retired the last eight batters he faced. Geoff Blum homered in the eighth, his fourth of the season, as Houston won for the 13th time in 17 home games. Braden Looper (7-5), facing the Astros for the fourth time this season, matched a career high with seven strikeouts and gave up two earned runs and eight hits in six innings. GIANTS 10, NATIONALS 1: WASHINGTON (AP) — Tim Lincecum pitched seven sharp innings to win his fourth straight decision and Jose Castillo hit a three-run homer for San Francisco. Lincecum (8-1) didn’t allow a hit until Lastings Milledge singled with two outs in the fourth. He gave up one run and five hits, struck out five and walked none. The Giants backed Lincecum with seven runs in the third, capped off by Castillo’s fifth homer of the season. Jason Bergmann (1-3) walked Lincecum with the bases loaded to force in one run, Fred Lewis had a two-run single and Ray Durham also singled in a run. Elijah Dukes had an RBI double for Washington, which has lost eight of 11. PHILLIES 4, BRAVES 3: ATLANTA (AP) — Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino drove in the go-ahead run with a triple in the 10th, then threw out Gregor Blanco at the plate as the tying run in the bottom of the inning. The Phillies took advantage of second baseman Kelly Johnson’s ninth-inning error to tie the game 2-2. Manny Acosta (3-4) lost for the second time in three days, giving up two hits and two runs while recording only one out. Victorino’s second triple of the game made it 32 and Chase Utley added a run-scoring double off Royce Ring. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Josh Anderson singled off closer Brad Lidge and moved to third on Blanco’s infield hit. Blanco stole second, but Lidge struck out Greg Norton. Yunel Escobar then drove in Anderson with a single to center, but Victorino threw out Blanco on a close play at the plate to end the game. Tom Gordon (5-2) earned the win and Lidge got his 16th save. AMERICAN LEAGUE WHITE SOX 10, TWINS 6: CHICAGO (AP) — Carlos Quentin hit a three-run homer that deflected off right fielder Michael Cuddyer’s glove and Joe Crede went 4-for-4 with two homers for the White Sox. The victory on a blustery night at U.S. Cellular Field was the White Sox’s fourth straight since a tirade from manager Ozzie Guillen last Sunday about the team’s struggling offense. Chicago had 16 hits and increased its lead in the AL Central to 3 1/2 games over the second-place Twins. Quentin, Chicago’s surprise star this season, hit his 16th homer to cap a six-run fifth inning. Javier Vazquez (6-4) wasn’t sharp but got the victory. Carlos Gomez, Alexi Casilla and Cuddyer homered for the Twins. Nick Blackburn (4-4) got the loss. RAYS 12, RANGERS 4: ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Scott Kazmir went eight innings to win his career-best sixth straight start and Evan Longoria hit one of Tampa Bay’s four homers. Kazmir (6-1) allowed two runs and six hits, struck out six and walked none. B.J. Upton, Dioner Navarro and Eric Hinske also connected to help the Rays avoid matching their longest skid of the season. The Rangers had scored eight or more runs in their previous six games, but Kazmir kept them in check as Tampa Bay pulled within a half-game of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL East. Vicente Padilla (7-3) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings for the Rangers. He had won a career-best seven straight decisions. MARINERS 8, RED SOX 0: BOSTON (AP) — Felix Hernandez held a Boston lineup without Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz to six hits over six innings and the Seattle Mariners snapped a fourgame losing streak with an 8-0 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night. Hernandez (4-5) won for the second time in as many starts after going seven starts without a win. It was his first road victory since April 16. He walked three and struck out five. The Mariners, losers of 29 of their last 40, capitalized on some shoddy Red Sox fielding. Three Boston errors, two by starter Bartolo Colon, led to the Mariners’ first three runs. Richie Sexson, Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Vidro all had two RBIs for the Mariners. Bartolo Colon (3-1) lost for the first time in his Red Sox career. He allowed three earned runs and eight hits over five innings.

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