Bronco linebacker with a first baseman’s glove

Do we call him “Joe” or “Joey” these days? Regardless, you can call Mr. Martarano of Fruitland a two-sport specialist. Do we call him “Joe” or “Joey” these days? Regardless, you can call Mr. Martarano of Fruitland a two-sport specialist. Extended spring training is over now in Arizona for the Boise State linebacker and Chicago Cubs minor-leaguer. Martarano posted a .276 batting average (12-for-29), with three runs and 12 strikeouts. That was better than his cameo last summer in Rookie League, when he went 2-for-13 after being drafted by the Cubs in the 22nd round. The power you might expect from a 6-3, 229-pounder wasn’t there, though. Martarano didn’t have an extra-base hit—in fact, he didn’t even have an RBI. The Cubs have transitioned him from third base to first base, and that went well, as he committed just one error. Now we’ll see if Martarano gets a shot with the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League this summer.

Martarano is a smart player, and he plays a position that should allow him to miss the Broncos’ player-run practices this summer. And it’s not like he’s going to be out of football shape after just 2½ months away. Martarano is a known quantity now for Boise State and is etched in as a key contributor in 2015. He jumped from special teams to the regular linebacker rotation in the fifth game last season. He finished eighth on the team in tackles with 42—and 41 of them came after September, coinciding with the Broncos’ current nine-game winning streak.

A year ago right now, defensive tackle Antoine Turner had just arrived in Boise, leaving behind long stretches of homelessness in Fullerton, CA. He became a regular with the Boise State Broncos, and he has never ceased to show his appreciation for the opportunity. Turner continues to give back, as he did Monday for the Idaho Foodbank’s “Picnic In The Park,” a summer series providing activities and something to eat to underprivileged kids. “I wish I had those things,” Turner told KTVB’s Jay Tust. “I’m happy these kids can experience that—let them know somebody cares. It’s best when a kid doesn’t have to worry about these things when they are carefree and don’t worry about nothing going on, especially their food. Food shouldn’t be nothing they ever have to worry about.”

Just like that, Turner has one season left to play at Boise State. Bronco Nation is no doubt crossing its collective fingers that Turner can get that first career sack. He was a contributor as a junior, playing off the bat in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff against Ole Miss. Turner collected 13 tackles during the season, including one against Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl. His on-field elation after the 38-30 Boise State victory was one of the lasting images of Glendale.

Former Boise State hoops star Derrick Marks talked to us on KTIK via cellphone from the road yesterday about his chances of catching on with an NBA team. The Mountain West Player of the Year has been a busy guy. Marks has already worked out with the Grizzlies, Nets and Clippers and was on his way to Phoenix to drill with the Suns. Still to come, he said, are the Mavericks, Jazz and Bucks. Marks said the workouts so far have consisted of “a lot of 3-on-3, 1-on-1, and shooting drills.” And he knows what he’s facing. “At this point, everybody’s good,” said Marks. “I know I can’t take a day off.”

Northwest Nazarene has a new men’s basketball coach with international and national recruiting contacts from his days in the D-League and Mount Vernon Nazarene and, most recently, as coach of India’s national team. Now Scott Flemming has someone alongside him on the NNU bench with some cache in Idaho. Capital High coach Paul Rush, who led the Eagles to their perfect season and state 5A championship in 2014, has made the move to the college ranks and will become a Crusaders assistant. Rush was 64-52 at Capital–56-19 over the past three seasons.

Josh Osich created a nice little memory for himself last night. The Bishop Kelly grad notched his 15th save of the season for the Richmond Flying Squirrels of the Double-A Eastern League, and he did it in a game started by Matt Cain, the San Francisco Giants star. Cain, he of the perfect game and the World Series rings, was on a rehab assignment in Richmond and allowed two runs over 3 2/3 innings. Osich came on to throw a perfect ninth in a 4-3 victory. The one-time Oregon State Beaver is having a solid season with the Flying Squirrels, recording saves in 15 of 16 opportunities. He has made 25 appearances and is sporting a 1.61 ERA. This is Osich’s fourth season in the Giants organization.

“Play ball” is definitely in the air now at Memorial Stadium. Boise Hawks players and coaches will be arriving at the Boise Airport today at 12:44 p.m., and safe to say they’ll all be new as the club switches its affiliation to the Colorado Rockies this year. The Hawks will host an Open House for fans Saturday afternoon at the ballpark. The season begins a week from tomorrow night at home against the Tri-City Dust Devils. Incidentally, the Rockies’ Senior Director of Player Development, Zach Wilson, told us on KTIK yesterday it’s possible that Brendan Rodgers, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft Monday, could end up in Boise. No promises, though.

If the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame is ever revived, Emma Bates will have already qualified as an NCAA champion. Heck, she’d make it anyway. Bates may be one of the more underappreciated Bronco athletes of all time. The senior distance specialist is the reigning national champion in the women’s 10,000-meters, and she’s in Eugene to defend her title. Tomorrow night Bates will try to become the first woman in 11 years to win the 10,000 crown in back-to-back years. She’ll compete in the 5,000-meters on Sunday. Four other Broncos are at Hayward Field—David Elliott and Jordin Andrade will run late today in the 1500-meter semifinals and 400-meter hurdles semifinals, respectively.

This Day In Sports…June 10, 1984:

During the height of the Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rivalry, the Boston Celtics wrap up the NBA championship with a 111-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the Finals. Bird was the MVP of the series, but it was the Celtics’ Cedric Maxwell who came up big in the seventh game, scoring 24 points. Magic and the Lakers would win the NBA Finals over the Celts the following year.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)