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Local Sports

Royals shine in All-Star Game

A year ago there was such an uproar surrounding the Major League Baseball All-Star voting by Kansas City Royals’ fans. How dare Royals fans destroy the American League’s chance to have home-field advantage in the World Series by voting so many of the Kansas City players as starters?

Where was the outcry this season when the Chicago Cubs and their fans did the same? It was not the Cubs’ seven players on the NL All-Star team nor the six Boston Red Sox players on the AL All-Star team who stole the show at the 2016 MLB All-Star Game Tuesday.

Royals’ AL All-Star starters Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez were the stars. They each hit home runs in the second inning and drove in all four runs in the AL’s 4-2 victory.

So, for the second year in a row Royals players made an impact on the All-Star Game, which decides home-field advantage for the World Series. The 2015 World Champion Royals — American League champions the past two seasons — and their fans know the importance of the All-Star game outcome.

Competing in athletics is a high-octane situation as athletes go full bore — or at least should — for a best-effort performance each and every competition. Competing hard is what we want from athletes at all age levels, but also competing hard while maintaining their composure.

When calls don’t go their way, athletes need to stay within themselves and move forward from the situation. Since my Newton Daily News colleague Troy Hyde addressed a situation occurring in a high school softball game he did not cover, but I did, in his column Thursday, I want to respond.

There were several close plays throughout the tight seven-inning Class 1A regional championship game between Colfax-Mingo and Martensdale-St. Marys on Monday at Martensdale. Alivia Haley was involved in two of those plays. She “protested” at third base right in front of me on both plays.

Protesting calls falls to coaches, not players, in any sport. 

The second time Haley — who competes hard and is very good — questioned the close play at third base as a defensive player too long. The field umpire, who called the Martensdale-St. Marys’ player safe on the play, allowed Haley some leeway. When she continued, the umpire had heard enough.

Haley had “protested” earlier as a base runner at third base in the fifth inning. She reached on an error. When a teammate was called out trying to score from first base on the play, Haley ended up at third base. The home plate umpire came up the third-base line to discuss the play with Colfax-Mingo coach Bryan Poulter and Haley was asked to step back onto third base, twice, by the umpire.

Right or wrong calls, I’m not saying. I reported what happen in a game I covered. I found out later Monday night when I arrived back in Newton there were four ejections — three from the Newton — in a home baseball game between Newton and Knoxville. Names were not shared with me, and I wasn’t at the game to know the situation to make any comment in the story on it.

Staying composed in the heat of the moment on the field of play is part of being an athlete and a coach. On close plays, one team is not going to be happy no matter what. Martensdale-St. Marys was not happy a play after the ejection as one of its players was tagged out trying to score at home on yet another close play.

Haley and her Tigerhawk teammates competed well Monday night. It’s tough to lose a highly-charged game, especially in the postseason. Lessons learned Monday, as C-M sophomore Ries Wilson said, will fuel the Tigerhawks, who have all their players returning, for another run in 2017.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at

jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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