By Mike Bruu, TSB Staff
1. Welcome to Week Two of the Numbers Game. This week I have tons of high school sports coverage to discuss, including my trip down to the American Airlines Center this past weekend for McKinney High’s boys basketball playoff game. I also unveil my findings in the latest Baseball America Prospect Book, and ask if Lamar Odom should have a rescue unit searching for him. So lets get right to it, shall we?
2. This past Friday and Saturday, Austin, Texas played host to the UIL State Wrestling tournament. Hundreds of student-athletes competed in various weight classes, including McKinney North’s own senior Darrell Travis. Travis qualified for State at the 220 pounds and finished with a record of 2-2 in a highly competitive bracket. After a tough loss to Nick Mabry from New Braunfels Canyon by Fall in 1:44, Travis had survive in the tournament wrestling from the consolation bracket. Travis would win his new two matches against Tre Smith of South Grand Prairie 6-2 and Shawn Evans from Keller Central 5-1, resulting in his advancement into the round of eight. However, Travis went on to loss his next match versus Joel Gallardo from Canyon Randall in a 10-13 regular decision, which meant that he would not have the opportunity to compete in the medal round. Coach Brasher, head coach of the wrestling squad at North, wrote in an e-mail saying “We are all very proud of Darrell for his efforts and for completing his high school career competing at the State competition.”
3. McKinney High School announced on Wednesday that senior Marshall Agan has signed with Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas to continue his football career. Agan was the Lions starting offensive guard last season and hopes to continue his success with at the collegiate level next fall.
4. If you even glimpsed at Facebook Wednesday night you probably noticed one status after another begging you to vote for McKinney native Hollie Cavanagh to remain in the American Idol competition. Now I did not watch the performance live like many of you did, but I did get a chance to view it over on YouTube and I was extremely impressed with her voice and ability. I have heard that Jennifer Lopez called Cavanagh “one of the front-runners” to win Idol this season, which after one performance is a compliment at the highest level but one that will hopefully motivate her to stay at that level. Here’s to hoping that Ms. Cavanagh continues on in the competition so we can all have a hometown contestant to root for and have a reason to watch Steven Tyler talk about something for two hours. Cheers!
5. McKinney High girls soccer coach Alex Pantarotto celebrated his 200th career victory Tuesday night in a win over Prosper by a score of 3-1. Along with a state title under his belt, Pantarotto accomplished a feat that few coaches have reached in high school soccer. In 2012, the Lionettes find themselves atop the District 17-4A standings with a mark of 7-0 after Tuesday night’s win over third place Prosper. Congratulations to Coach Pantarotto on an incredible accomplishment!
6. This Thursday through Saturday, all three McKinney ISD high schools will host a multiple of teams in the 2012 MISD Invitational. Every year teams from all over the Metroplex come out to McKinney to compete in one of the most competitive early season tournaments of the year.
7. On Thursday, McKinney High School will host Sulphur Springs at 11 a.m at the MHS softball field, then turn around and play Stony Point at 7 for the nightcap. Friday morning the Lionettes will battle Lubbock Monterey at 11 a.m., traveling across the state in order to play in the weekend tournament.
8. For McKinney North, the Lady Bulldogs have an early morning on Thursday when they host Plano at 9 a.m. On Friday, North plays a doubleheader at 5 and 7 p.m., battling Crowley and Pilot Point, respectively.
9. The only current 5A school in the city, McKinney Boyd, plays host to some competition at Bronco Field when it plays two games Thursday afternoon, the first at 3 p.m. vs. Carrollton Creekview, followed by Burkburnett at 5. On Friday, the Lady Broncos tangle with Flower Mound Marcus at 1 p.m.
10. If you are interested in getting a good feel for all three MISD softball program as district play comes to play in the next week, look for exclusive previews covering each team on Town Square Buzz beginning Friday morning when I take a look at McKinney High School’s season up to this point. In addition, look for Boyd’s preview to be up Friday night and North’s to be posted early Saturday morning. It should be an exciting weekend in McKinney softball, so stay tuned to TSB for the latest scores and updates from the games, as well as each schools exclusive preview.
11. Being the baseball nerd that I am, I took a look at the new Baseball America Prospect Handbook for 2012 to check out who could have an impact this season from the minor league ranks. After flipping around I found some interesting and very local names high up on the depth charts for a couple Major League organizations in McKinney High’s own Zach Lee and Matt Lipka. Lee, the 28th overall selection in 2010 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, turned down a chance to play quarterback at LSU to sign a Major League Baseball contract with the Dodgers and begin his career out of high school. His $5.25 million contract is the highest draft bonus in Dodger history and came as a shock to many in the baseball world that Los Angeles had pried him away from being a LSU Tiger. However, on the field Lee proved to have consistently dominant stuff, having solid control of all his pitches and the ability to wind back and throw a fastball touching 98 MPH. Lee finished 9-6 with a 3.47 ERA at low Class A Great Lakes in 2011, having an impressive 1.22 WHIP (Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched). The Dodgers intend to start Lee out in high class A Rancho Cucamonga, but Los Angeles believe that Lee could soon be paired alongside ace Clayton Kershaw in the Major League rotation as soon as the end of 2013.
12. In the Atlanta Braves organization, Baseball America has Matt Lipka listed as the number 14 rated prospect. Lipka, a four-year varsity starter alongside Lee, was drafted in the supplemental round with the 35th overall selection to the Braves. Signed for $800,000, Lipka had to turn down a baseball scholarship at Alabama and numerous football offers in order to pursue professional baseball. After dominating the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2010 Lipka struggled mightily in low Class A, showing an inability to use the entire field and hit for much power at the next level. However, he has been well-documented as being an extremely hard worker and possessing a good head on his shoulders, so many in the Atlanta organization will be patient as he hones in his skill set the next couple of years in the minor league system. Lipka, who was the starting shortstop for the Lions all four seasons, has been reportedly requested to move to center field for the Braves, citing a better opportunity for him to make the club faster and fill a positional need for the ball club down the line.
13. It is extremely exciting as a McKinney native and a baseball fanatic to watch two players I once played against and alongside with pursue their professional baseball careers and get national recognition for it. I can one day say that the cut inside my jaw, that is still there almost a decade later in fact, was caused by a Major League pitcher throwing a ball during a seemingly harmless infield drill. Oh, how you wish you could be me right now.
14. By the way for you Ranger diehards out there, their top 10 prospects according to Baseball America are as followed:
1. Jurickson Profar, SS
2. Marin Perez, LHP
3. Mike Olt, 3B
4. Leonys Martin, OF
5. Neil Ramirez, RHP
6. Cody Buckel, RHP
7. Jorge Alfaro, C
8. Christian Villanueva, 3B
9. Rougned Odor, 2B
10. Matt West, RHP
15. Time for the shameless plug of the week ladies and gentlemen. Town Square Buzz’s first ever sports podcast launched last Monday called the Sports Bruu. Steve Kirk, TSB’s esteemed editor, and myself team up every Monday to bring you about an hours worth of good quality sports talk you can’t find on any other local news site. The whole TSB family is extremely excited about this project moving forward and hopes that we can begin to build a pretty solid fan base around the community. If you are interested in following our podcast on Twitter, reach us @TSBSportsBruu. We promise that we won’t tell you every time we are going to go eat a snack or listen to Justin Bieber’s latest song on repeat. My iPod’s broken anyway so that solves that problem right there.
16. Last Saturday afternoon I had the opportunity to cover McKinney High’s playoff game against South Oak Cliff at the American Airlines Center. As a high school athlete I would have killed for the chance to play at the home of an NBA team, and you could tell that those kids definitely didn’t want to waste the opportunity they had been given. It was a thrilling game all the way through, and despite the Lions defeat, the memories those players, coaches, and family members made that afternoon will stay with them for the rest of their lives, which is something I believe should define your high school athletic experience, and not just the number of wins you achieved.
17. So are we made to believe that Tiger Woods could have been a part of Seal Team Six that took down the world’s enemy number one if he could have had it his way? I believe that would have constituted like two green Masters jackets and a British Open title, don’t you think?
18. You know on Highway 75 where they have the public safety billboard devices that flash up missing people alerts as you drive by? Is it about time we flash one up there for Lamar Odom? Seriously, if you have seen him tell him the AAC is in Dallas right across from the hotel where you live with your wife. I understand the man has experienced tragedy this past year when he lost his cousin and was in the car that struck and killed a 15-year old pedestrian, but if you can’t get motivated to play for the defending NBA champions and playing alongside two future Hall of Famers in Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki, just leave. Please. I think the only fans that would bat an eye are those that couldn’t listen to The Mix Up with Khloe Kardashian on 102.9 FM. By the way, from my extensive research into the show there may be a puppy in the future for the Odoms. You know, to keep Lamar busy while he is not playing basketball and all.
19. How many Cowboy fans are cowering in the corner at the possibility of facing Michael Vick, Eli Manning, and Robert Griffin III each twice a year? If I had to pick between Luck and Griffin III I would still select Luck because of his decision-making and consistent play week in and week out, but RGIII will be the NFL’s darling next year similar to what Cam did in Carolina blue.
20. Well that concludes the second week of the Numbers Game. I don’t think it was quite a Kevin Durant-type performance from myself this week, but I continue to get better each and every week. Remember to look out for The Sports Bruu every Monday night on TownSquareBuzz.com and to follow the show on Twitter @TSBSportsBruu. Next week on The Numbers Game I’ll have some more local stories to cover, my extensive review on Moneyball, and possibly celebrating an Odom sighting. High expectations already for next week’s edition, I can tell you that. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.