Local baseball fans taking a hit

You may not have heard yet that the Boise Hawks have dropped their radio broadcasts. If you’re one of those who is upset about the Statesman dropping big league box scores this season, you may consider this piling on. Lots of local listeners haven’t heard yet that the Boise Hawks have dropped their play-by-play radio broadcasts on KTIK-AM this season. This will end a 28-year run on the airwaves for the Hawks, whose new ownership has reallocated those dollars in the club’s budget. It’s sad to see Mike Safford Jr. go off the air. Safford was the Voice of the Hawks for 10 of the past 13 summers and was as dedicated a radio guy as you’ll see. There were numerous talented voices that preceded him—Rob “Homer” Simpson, Trey Bender, Dave Hahn, even ESPN’s Jon Sciambi. I think this move will affect the Hawks’ spot on the radar. The Idaho Stampede have been without local radio for years, and it has done them no favors.

As far as those box scores go, here’s an entrepenurial idea for you. I don’t have time to do it, so why don’t you? Maybe somebody’s already doing this, but I haven’t found it. Why not create a one-page sheet of daily box scores, just like the one that’s missing from small-market newspapers? It doesn’t look like the domain “OneStopBoxScores.com” is active. When the day’s (and night’s) games are over, just build a PDF with all the box scores included—user-friendly, no clicking or navigating necessary. It’d all be right there. It’ll save a lot of time for people trying to check out multiple box scores. I’m sure you could get rights from Major League Baseball, lest it lose any more exposure. Go for it.

ESPN.com has posted its breakdown of all 12 Mountain West teams for the 2015 season, and Carl Carchia writes that “with all but five starters back and a noncon slate that includes a home opener against Washington—and former coach Chris Petersen—BSU could take it one step further and punch a playoff ticket.” Dem’s high expectations, for sure. Carchia does detail some underreported stats from the Broncos’ 2014 campaign. They were No. 6 in the nation in both sacks, with 47, and tackles-for-loss, with 109. Boise State was also No. 6 in the country in rushing attempts on first down with 323. That will change this year without Jay Ajayi. And Jake Roh’s 35 catches last season were 15 more than the Broncos’ top four tight ends had combined in 2013.

In describing how teams can beat Boise State, Carchia identifies what he thinks is the Broncos’ biggest weakness on defense. He writes, “Saddled with a non-Power 5 recruiting ceiling, Boise has long relied on undersized but feisty playmakers on the D-line (average size since 2011: 6-3, 248). The 2015 season will be no different, with just two linemen cracking 300 pounds, and that lack of size can leave Boise State vulnerable to the run at times: 4.6 yards per carry on third and short (4 yards or less) in its seven losses since 2013.” Ironically, the defensive line is the deepest position group on the roster. And how about those 20 wins since 2013?

If nothing else, UNLV is reaping publicity for hiring high school coach Todd Sanchez last December to replace the fired Bobby Hauck. There’s a sidebar story about Sanchez in this week’s Sports Illustrated. He told SI’s Andy Staples that the transition from a national prep powerhouse like Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas hasn’t been as daunting as it would seem on the surface. “You’re used to fund-raising,” Sanchez says. “You’re used to dealing with administrators, dealing with academics.” And recruiting, some would suggest, but that’s another story. Staples suggests the Rebels “need talent and facilities upgrades.” Sanchez sent 23 players to FBS football in five years at Gorman. And, “We did a lot of building,” he says.

The real test for the ECHL’s old Central Hockey League teams comes now, as the Allen Americans represent the CHL refugees in the Western Conference Finals against the Ontario Reign. Allen reached this point by eliminating the Rapid City Rush, the team that will join the Idaho Steelheads and their colleagues in the Pacific Division next season. Well, the Americans routed the Reign 8-2 in the series opener Sunday in Allen, TX, and last night Ontario rebounded with a 3-0 victory. Allen’s coach will hardly be in a foreign land when the series moves to Southern California. He’s Steve Martinson, the infamous former coach of the San Diego Gulls in the old WCHL. Steelies fans knew Martinson well.

We’ll hit the reset button now on Les Bois Park, as the track gives Opening Night another go tomorrow night following the cancellation of Saturday’s card due to mucky conditions. So here’s a little more on Nikeela Black, last season’s leading jockey who will return with nine mounts in 10 races tomorrow. Her 2015 debut will now be aboard AP Divide in race No. 1. Black dominated jockey standings last year with 60 wins—J. Luis Torres was second with 33. Black was in the money in 65 percent of her starts.

Former Boise Hawk Sean Marshall has seen his 2015 season end before it started. The 32-year-old southpaw is in line for another round of shoulder surgery next week, ending his chances of a comeback this season with Cincinnati, where he’s in the final year of his contract. Marshall also underwent shoulder surgery last year, limiting him to only 15 appearances. He led the Reds with 73 appearances in 2012, when he logged a career-high nine saves. But the shoulder problems caused his time on the mound to plummet in 2013. Marshall saw action in just nine games then. You have to wonder now about his future. Marshall was a Hawks hurler back in 2003, going 5-6 with a 2.57 ERA.

This Day In Sports…May 19, 1984:

Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky cements his status as a superstar with two first-period goals, keying a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders that gave the Oilers their first Stanley Cup, four games-to-one. The Islanders had won the previous three NHL championships. Gretzky had not scored a goal until Game 4—then he tallied four times over the final two games. However, the MVP of the Stanley Cup Finals was not Gretzky, but his Edmonton teammate, Mark Messier.

(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.)