Wild Bill’s Weekly Sports Roundup

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by Bill Turner

High school sports fell victim to the rains in the last week as most games and matches were postponed by the heavy downpours that became commonplace. Athletic directors will be put to the test with all the required rescheduling.

In high school baseball, Northside has jumped into the Wild Bill Top-3. At 7-3, the Vikings join Hidden Valley (5-1) and Salem (6-2) as the top teams to watch. Other  contenders poised to make a move include Patrick Henry, Lord Botetourt and North Cross.

The sizzling game of the week belonged to Northside with its 22-0 thumping of Shady Springs (WV) on Saturday. Viking hurler Lucas Nowlin threw a perfect game in the victory, retiring all fifteen batters he faced in the contest shortened to five innings due to the run differential. Obviously, Nowlin had superb control as the Northside sophomore retired all 15 batters he faced via a strikeout.

In softball, the Wild Bill Top-3 is led by Northside at 8-1, followed by William Byrd (7-3) and Salem ( 6-3). Teams will be tested as rainout makeups will pile up the games as well as strain the pitching arms.

Our Salem Red Sox finally got their Carolina League season underway after a couple of battles with Mother Nature. Last Friday night’s home opener looked set to go with sunny skies 45 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch. But, word filtered to the dugout that a major storm was heading toward Salem.

First-year manager Bruce Crabbe stood with me along the third base line, asking if this looked like the makings of a Salem spring storm. A quick glance to the newly configured concourse gave all the clues I needed. With the grill area behind home plate now moved, a clear view back toward the northwest offered black clouds and prolific lightning moving rapidly in the stadium’s direction.

The player introductions were not complete before the downpour began, sending the opening night crowd scurrying for cover. The first pitch was never thrown and Saturday’s game likewise was washed out. Finally, skies were sunny for a Sunday doubleheader that saw Salem split the two games with the Frederick Keys.

Salem returns home to Lewis Gale Field next Wednesday night, Apr. 20th, for five straight games continuing though Sunday.

26-year-old Charl Schwartzel captured the Masters golf tournament Sunday in Augusta, Georgia as golf’s majors crowned their tenth consecutive different champion. Tiger Woods made a brief charge, complete with the arrogant fist-pumping, before faltering down the stretch. It was great seeing another new face, excelling under pressure, take the championship.

Woods continues to be the network darling because of his ratings draw whenever he remotely gets a sniff of the leaderboard. They either think his comical tabloid-like escapades of the last couple years will draw “The Young and the Restless” crowd or that viewers get excited about watching him botch a shot, leading to the club tossing and amusing scowls. But, the commentators take the cake rooting for him. You’d think Tiger is the only guy who has ever successfully played a round of golf. I have a feeling Jack Nicklaus enjoyed the telecast as his 18 majors continue to look better and better.

A final reminder to those who want to attend the Roanoke Valley Sports Club and hear University of Richmond head basketball coach Chris Mooney talk about the rise of Virginia’s mid-majors in 2011. For information on Monday’s meeting (Apr. 18th), contact Mac McCadden at 397-2119.

Quotation of the week: “I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous…. everyone hasn’t met me yet.” – Rodney Dangerfield

See you next week. In the meantime, send your inquiries to: [email protected]