Odds and ends from a summer ending very soon, because, well, the fall sports season has begun …
— Are we ready for another high school football season?
On my list of area teams — Brookville, Redbank Valley, Clarion-Limestone and Union/A-C Valley, there are some interesting storylines for sure.
At Brookville, it’s the high-scoring offense that got going big-time last year with quarterback Jack Krug and his corp of receivers led by all-stater Bryan Dworek. Redbank Valley lost only three seniors to graduation, but they were big, although there’s still plenty of ammo at head coach Ed Wasilowski’s disposal. C-L battles a numbers problem again with just 18 players dressing at the beginning of the season. And new coach Brad Dittman takes over at Union/A-C Valley.
The new football league should be fun to watch and almost everyone agrees that the new Large School Division — Brookville, Bradford, Clarion, Karns City, Kane, Brockway, Ridgway, Punxsutawney, St. Marys and Moniteau — should be a rugged road for any of the teams in the new division setup.
Redbank Valley, Union/ACV and C-L are part of the Small School South with Curwensville, Elk County Catholic and Keystone. Expect at least the Bulldogs to be battling for a title.
Next week’s edition will have team previews and the first week of games — yes, they’re still calling it Week 0. It can be Week 1 now. Almost everybody in the state I believe is playing just one scrimmage.
— We just found out the PTBNL in Archer deal.
It’s Shane Baz, the Pirates’ first-round pick and 12th overall in the 2017 draft. He’s a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher who was No. 4 on their prospect ranking as per MLB Pipeline. At Rookie League Bristol, Baz was 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings.
Here’s the deal then. The Pirates traded Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Baz to the Tampa Rays for Chris Archer. Sounds like a lot, but there’s no way I’m going to rip the Pirates for actually trading “prospects” for a proven commodity. Chances are one or more of those “prospects” turn into something. And we obviously hope that Archer can be an anchor to the Buccos’ rotation.
But he’s no Gerrit Cole, especially “Houston Astros” Cole. Since we’re on the Astros, Cole is 10-5 with a 2.75 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings with a WHIP (walks and hits per inning) of less than 1 at 0.99. Anything close to 1.0 for a starter is awesome. And the other former Bucco in the Astros’ rotation is doing OK as well as Charlie Morton is 12-3 with a 2.88 ERA with 171 strikeouts in 137 1/3 innings. Impressive.
And I really like the pickup from the Texas Rangers, Keone Kela. Good stuff out of the bullpen.
Remember, this move was as much or more for the future rosters than to get them over the top and into the playoffs this year. The Pirates aren’t making the postseason this year.
— No left-handed quarterbacks in the NFL? No kidding?
Someone brought that up recently that there are no lefties rostered on NFL teams this year. Interesting, but there aren’t many. Quick who is the greatest left-handed quarterback of all-time? Well, it’s really a no-contest when you consider that Steve Young is the only Hall of Famer that threw left-handed. He was my Fantasy Football hero back in the 1990s. Somehow I got the No. 1 pick three straight years and took Mr. Young. Only one title though. That was my fault, not his.
— The throw.
I’d never heard of Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano, to be honest. But after his 321-foot throw from left-center on the fly to first base to complete a double play on a ball he tracked down on a run in a recent game, I do know now.
I’d expect his Strat-O-Matic arm is minus-5.
But not minus-6. Roberto Clemente is the only one who’s gotten that rating, I think.
— Root for Butler.
Let’s hope that DuBois native Paul Butler makes the Oakland Raiders roster as a tight end. The former California (Pa.) University standout was an undrafted free agent who was invited to the Raiders camp this spring. He caught a pass for 24 yards in last week’s exhibition game against the Detroit Lions.
— Incredible run by Elk-McKean Junior LLers
Congratulations for the Elk-McKean 13-and-14-year-old baseball team that opened the Junior Little League World Series with a loss in Taylor, Mich. The team comprised of eight Johnsonburg players, three Kane players and two from Ridgway won the District 10 title, Pennsylvania title and Eastern Region title and went into Tuesday night’s game against Georgia with a 14-2 overall record this summer.
Rich Rhoades is the sports editor of the Jeffersonian Democrat and the Leader-Vindicator in New Bethlehem. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on twitter @TheSkinny1969.