Battleline: Spring Season In Peril - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: Spring Season In Peril

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Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 8:15 am

Well, the ball is yellow, so maybe they could have played.

Monday was supposed to be the home opener for the East Central College softball Falcons, but the brutal cold has put the brakes on that.

Are we ever going to have a spring sports season? And how many games are area teams going to get to play?

For the high schools, Monday was supposed to be the first day of spring practices. It’s going to be a bit before any teams actually get outside with this weather.

Of all high school seasons, the spring is most dependent on weather. At least it’s better than it used to be. Now we have one indoor team (Borgia boys volleyball) which will play when the weather’s not so great outdoors.

Normally, the big problem in the spring is rain and wet field conditions.

I can remember one of those wet years, my senior year of high school. During a game at Montgomery County, I stole second base and it seemed like I had to swim the final three feet to the bag. Yes, we were that desperate to get games played that soggy spring.

We don’t have those problems quite as much now with the continued addition of outdoor all-weather venues in track, soccer and baseball, but you can’t play in this type of cold. Maybe someone can build a dome for us to get the games in.

•••

The wild weather this winter has yielded some unexpected bonuses as I’ve seen more NASCAR in the first two weeks of the season than I have in the past five years combined.

The extreme cold kept me inside for the Phoenix race while the long rain delay at Daytona made that the best option the previous week.

So far this season, the story is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Not only did he win the Daytona 500, but he also zoomed to over 568,000 Twitter followers in just over a week.

NASCAR has a new playoff format, its fourth since 2004. I don’t know why the NASCAR brass felt it had to change the rules once again. Fans were just getting used to the latest tweaks in the whole chase format and now it’s knocked down to an elimination bracket.

It will start with 16 drivers in the first of the 10 chase races, with four drivers getting knocked out every three races. And the Cup will go to the driver finishing the highest in the final race among the four still eligible.

Any traditionalist should hate it. I do.

The old system wasn’t broke, and a fan could become used to the chase even with all of the tinkering which has gone on.

The new system gives much, too much, importance to winning, and emphasizes the higher finish in the last race as being the climax. Forget consistent finishes. Winning is what counts now. Might as well forget the points system as well.

The old system was created to get the teams to go to as many events as possible, and not cherry-pick the big money events. I don’t think this is as much of a problem now, but once a team which doesn’t compete in a lot of races, or brings in an ace to win a specialty race (road course) and gets into the chase, you’re going to see a lot of grumbling.

Earnhardt and Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick pretty much are in the chase now. They could take the rest of the season off and still come back for the playoffs. They won’t because of sponsors, but there’s that potential.

I think when the fans riot because a normal back-marker gets lucky (how does Danica Patrick, Sprint Cup Series champion, sound?), wins a race and then happens to finish at the front of the four final competitors at the last event (and it could be positions 40-43), NASCAR is going to have to rethink this strategy once again. I don’t believe the current one is too sound.

There’s been a lot of news lately about Danica Patrick and her war of words with the Petty family. At this point, she probably could beat Richard Petty in a race. Remember that the King is going to be 77 in June. Danica turns 32 later this month. Bring in a Richard Petty circa the 1968 season and that would be a more fair comparison. Racing between then and now is a much different experience. I would have to give a younger Petty the edge on that one.

Does Danica deserve to be in NASCAR? I think the late, great Smokey Yunick was correct when he observed that there are hundreds of potential great drivers out there, but to get a ride today, you’ve got to bring a sponsor and be marketable. That’s just the reality of the sport now and Danica brings in money and fans. She may never win a race, but she’ll race as long as she wants.

•••

Condolences to the family of Mike Elder, who was the primary prep volleyball writer for stltoday.com and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Mike died last week at the age of 52.

Covered many events with Mike over the years and he was not only professional and a class act, but also knowledgeable about his subject matter. They don’t get any better than Mike.

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Area Scoreboard

Football

Week 10 Schedule Playoff Round 1

Friday, Oct. 24

Washington at Battle    7 p.m.

Kennedy at Borgia    7 p.m.

Pacific at Union    7 p.m.

Priory at Sullivan    7 p.m.

Salem at St. James    7 p.m.

Southern Boone at Owensville    7 p.m.

Transportation and Law at Hermann    7 p.m.

Moberly at Warrenton    7 p.m.

Wright City at O’Fallon Christian    7 p.m.

Jefferson at Cuba    7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 25

St. Clair at Westminster    2:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 17

Francis Howell N 24, Washington 20

Westminster 35, Borgia 14

*Union 35, Hermann 32

*St. Clair 26, Owensville 12

*Pacific 34, St. James 22

Helias 56, Sullivan 3

Ft. Zumwalt East 42, Warrenton 0

*Clopton-Elsberry 20, Wright City 0

Saturday, Oct. 18

Hogan Prep 49, Cuba 6

Friday, Oct. 10

Holt 21, Washington 14

Borgia 42, St. Clair 7

Union 68, St. James 20

Hermann 32, Pacific 24 (OT)

Sullivan 38, Owensville 12

Orchard Farm 28, Warrenton 3

Wright City 22, North Callaway 18

Father Tolton 35, Cuba 0

Softball

Sectional Games

Wednesday, Oct. 15

Bolivar 17, Sullivan 2

Mexico 5, Warrenton 4

Thursday, Oct. 16

Pacific 12, Rosati-Kain 0

Saturday, Oct. 18

Quarterfinal — De Soto 5, Pacific 2

District Tournaments

Softball

Class 4 District 4

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Northwest 11, (5) Rolla 3

Saturday, Oct. 11

(1) Lafayette 3, Northwest 1

(2) Eureka 4, (3) Washington 0

Monday, Oct. 13

Championship — Eureka 5, Lafayette 0

Class 3 District 3

At Lutheran South

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Affton 3, (5) Bishop DuBourg 2

(3) Pacific 21, (6) Bayless 0

Sunday, Oct. 12

(1) Lutheran South 11, Affton 1

Pacific 1, (2) Notre Dame 0

Championship — Pacific 2, Lutheran South 1

Class 3 District 7

At St. Dominic

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Borgia 9, (5) Wentzville Liberty 8

(3) Winfield 15, (6) O’Fallon Christian 1

Saturday, Oct. 11

At Borgia

(1) St. Dominic 12, Borgia 3

(2) Warrenton 11, Winfield 2

Championship — Warrenton 1, St. Dominic 0

Class 3 District 9

At Sullivan

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) St. James 12, (5) Owensville 3

(3) Sullivan 11, (6) St. Clair 1

Saturday, Oct. 11

At Union High School

St. James 10, (1) Union 5

Sullivan 5 (2) Salem 4 (8 innings)

Championship — Sullivan 11, St. James 6

Class 2 District 10

At New Bloomfield

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) New Bloomfield 5, (5) Belle 0

(3) South Callaway 9, (6) Hermann 0

Saturday, Oct. 11

South Callaway 7, (2) Linn 2

(1) Fatima 6, New Bloomfield 1

Championship — Fatima 7, South Callaway 4

Class 1 District 4

At Community R6, Laddonia

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Wellsville-Middletown 8, (5) New Haven 2

(3) Van-Far 4, (6) Community R6 2

Saturday, Oct. 11

(1) Clopton 13, Wellsville 0

(2) Silex 10, Van-Far 0

Championship — Silex 3, Clopton 0

Volleyball

District Tournaments

Class 4 District 3

At Rockwood Summit

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Eureka def. (5) Pacific 25-9, 25-16

(2) Northwest def. (7) Parkway South, 25-18, 25-12

(3) Washington def. (6) Rockwood Summit, 25-21, 25-15

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Lafayette def. Eureka, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19

Northwest def. Washington, 25-22, 25-18

Championship — Lafayette def. Northwest, 25-19, 25-20

Class 3 District 8

At Union

Monday, Oct. 20

(5) St. Clair def. (4) Union, 25-20, 25-22

(2) Sullivan def. (7) Salem, 25-7, 25-8

(3) Owensville def. (6) St. James, 14-25, 25-16, 25-19

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Borgia def. St. Clair, 25-10, 25-6

Sullivan def. Owensville, 25-20, 20-25, 25-20

Championship — Borgia def. Sullivan, 25-7, 25-10

Class 2 District 6

At Lutheran St. Charles

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Barat def. (5) Wright City, 25-16, 24-26, 25-22

(2) Hermann def. (7) Bowling Green, 25-12, 25-18

(3) Whitfield def. (6) Montgomery County, 25-23, 25-17

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Lutheran St. Charles def. Barat, 25-10, 25-9

Whitfield def. Hermann, 23-25, 25-23, 25-15

Championship — Lutheran St. Charles def. Whitfield, 25-18, 25-14

Class 1 District 9

At Calvary Lutheran, Jefferson City

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Smithton def. (5) Otterville, 25-12, 25-10

(3) Chamois def. (6) Bunceton, 25-23, 25-18

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) New Haven def. Smithton, 25-5, 25-7

(2) Calvary Lutheran def. Chamois, 25-14, 25-11

Thursday, Oct. 23

Championship — New Haven vs. Calvary Lutheran, 7 p.m.

Boys Soccer

Saturday, Oct. 18

Washington 1, Borgia 0 (Penalty kicks)

Monday, Oct. 20

Washington 3, Sullivan 0

Fatima 3, Union 0

Pacific 6, De Soto 1

Tuesday, Oct. 21

Central Methodist JV at ECC    3 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran    4:30 p.m.

Union 3, Warrenton 0

Hancock 7, St. Clair 0

Rockwood Summit 2, Pacific 1 (PKs)

Bayless 3, Borgia 2 (2OT)

Wednesday, Oct. 22

Valley Park at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Lutheran S at Washington    5 p.m.

Union at Windsor    5 p.m.

*Pacific at St. James    5 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 23

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt W    4:30 p.m.

Belle at St. James    5 p.m.

Borgia at Fatima    6:30 p.m.

District Tournaments

Class 4 District 8

At Washington

Monday, Oct. 27

(1) Timberland vs. (4) Washington, 5 p.m.

(2) Troy vs. (3) Holt, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 5 p.m.

Class 3 District 3

At Rockwood Summit

Monday, Oct. 27

(2) Rockwood Summit vs. (3) Pacific, 5 p.m.

(1) Webster Groves vs. (4) Windsor, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 6 p.m.

Class 3 District 9

At Union

Monday, Oct. 27

(1) Camdenton vs. (4) Union, 5 p.m.

(2) Helias vs. (3) Rolla, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 6 p.m.

Class 2 District 7

At Winfield

Tuesday, Oct. 28

(1) Borgia vs. (4) Winfield, 4:30 p.m.

(2) O’Fallon Christian vs. (3) Elsberry, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 5 p.m.

Cross Country

Saturday, Oct. 25

Borgia at Clayton Inv    9 a.m.

Washington at Class 4 District, Parkway Central, TBA

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Oct. 25

Borgia at MICDS Inv    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Wednesday, Oct. 29

*Borgia at Trinity    TBA

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

*Conference Games

Racing News