Homecoming in the visitors’ dugout

It’s a rare occasion that a Treasure Valley baseball product shows up in Memorial Stadium on Opening Night. It’s a rare occasion that a Treasure Valley baseball product shows up on the field in Memorial Stadium on Opening Night. Roger Evenson, the Capital High grad and former Northwest Nazarene pitcher who played for the Hawks in 2005, comes to mind. And Branden Florence, a one-time College of Idaho (then Albertson College) outfielder who graduated from Boise High, was in the lineup for Salem-Keizer when the Hawks began their Cubs era in 2001, batting against Dontrelle Willis. (For the game, incidentally, Florence went 3-for-4 with a home run for Salem-Keizer.)

Now former Rocky Mountain outfielder Mason Smith is poised to help kick off the Hawks’ Colorado Rockies era wearing an opponent’s uniform. The San Diego Padres, who drafted Smith in the fourth round in 2013, have sent him to the Tri-City Dust Devils from minor league camp. Smith has batted .204 over the past two seasons for the Padres’ Arizona Rookie League team. KTVB’s Jay Tust tweeted that Smith’s father, Tim, said he purchased 70 seats along the third base line for the opener.

We talked to new Boise Hawks pitching coach Doug Jones Friday on Idaho SportsTalk. He said he has Javier Palacios penciled in as the Hawks’ Opening Night starter Thursday, “provided I don’t get overruled by my superiors.” Palacios is a 21-year-old righthander with an uneven resume. His ERA in the Dominican Summer League in 2012 and 2013 was 1.70 and 3.12, respectively, but it ballooned to 6.21 last season with Grand Junction in the Pioneer League despite a 6-5 record. Jones, he of the famous moustache, should be able to impart some wisdom to his young staff—he notched 303 saves in a 16-year big league career, 12th all-time in the majors when he retired in 2000.

A Tampa Bay fan site called PewterReport.com theorizes that it’s because of new Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter that Doug Martin is still a Buc. And it’s not just because of their Boise State connection, Koetter as a former head coach and Martin as a star running back. “Koetter, once he started watching tape of all our players, he came away impressed with Doug,” said Tampa Bay general manager Jeremy Licht. “You saw on the tape when he’s healthy, he’s still a very effective runner.” Nevertheless, Licht and the Bucs didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on Martin’s contract, so he has to prove he still belongs this season. PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds says “Martin is leaner and faster than ever this offseason, showing off acceleration that has not been seen since his rookie season.”

Martin acknowledges in the article that Koetter’s arrival was key to his getting a second chance with Tampa Bay. “Him being a former Boise State coach, we definitely hit it off pretty good,” said the 2012 first-round draft pick. “We always talk about Idaho and things like that. He’s someone who’s easy to talk to and we all love the guy.” Martin’s struggles since his stellar rookie year have been well-chronicled. He knows that staying healthy this year is half the battle. “Right now, I feel awesome. I feel great. My body feels good, my mind is right where it needs to be and I’m ready for the season.”

After charging into contention with a seven-under 64 Friday, Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge carded a pair of 69’s over the weekend to tie for eighth at the Web.com Tour’s Rust-Oleum Championship. The former Boise State golfer picked up another $17,400 on the heels of his first career win last week at the Greater Dallas Open. Aldridge, with his season earnings now up to $166,112, moves from No. 9 to No. 7 on “The 25,” the Web.com money list that determines who receives PGA Tour cards next season.

All five Boise State representatives at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships ended up All-Americans, highlighted by Jordin Andrade’s second-place finish in the men’s 400-meter hurdles and Marisa Howard’s fourth in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Andrade and Howard earned first-team All-America honors, joined by David Elliott with his eighth-place result in the 1,500-meters. Emma Bates and Tessa Murray were each second-teamers after finishing ninth and 15th, respectively, in the 5,000-meters at Hayward Field in Eugene. Bates, also a second-team All-American in the 10,000-meters last Thursday, finished her Bronco career with 12 All-America honors. The Boise State men tied for 28th in team standings—the women tied for 42nd.

The sidebars were the story this year (like Michael Lycklama’s Statesman feature on 85-year-old Lew Hollander) at the eighth annual Ironman Boise 70.3 Saturday. The overall winners—though not officially declared so—were Jesse Moore of Sacramento and Skye Murphy of Salt Lake City. There was no pro division this time, but there were still 30 age group qualifying slots awarded for the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championships August 30 in Austria. Here’s hoping the contract with the Ironman organization is renewed, and the event returns to Boise next year.

On the Payette River, Gerd Serrasolses, a Spaniard who now lives in White Salmon, WA, was the winner of the fourth annual North Fork Championship Saturday. Serrasolses was coming off a title in the 40th Big Fork Festival in Montana in April. The winner of Friday’s Boater-X race, a mass of kayaks blasting down the Payette, was Eric Deguil, now a three-time winner in that event.

This Day In Sports…June 15, 1997:

Ernie Els, who in 1994 had become the first Albertsons Boise Open alumnus to win one of golf’s majors, notches another with his second victory in the U.S. Open. Els trailed by six strokes after the first round at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. But the 27-year-old South African worked his way into contention and beat Colin Montgomerie by one stroke, helped by what he calls one of the shots of his life, a five-iron into Congressional’s treacherous 17th green in the final round.

(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.)