Favorite

Once-struggling Diamond Hogs go all Bad News Bears 

Dallas Kuechel's performance last Sunday was just the cherry on top for a weekend in which the Diamond Hogs might have clinched a spot at the table come the SEC tourney. The sophomore's eight scoreless innings sprung out of nowhere to end the final home series of a 2008 season that has been rife with question marks in the rotation. Before South Carolina's traditionally dangerous Justin Smoak eked out a single to start the ninth, Keuchel looked like he might go the distance.

After Keuchel left to a standing ovation, the Gamecocks finally managed to add one to their 92 home runs total on the season, with the wind carrying James Darnell's high floater off of reliever Mike Bolsinger out of the park. Following that one blip, Bolsinger slammed the door shut. I'm surprised to see the late-season push motored from the mound, but better late than never.

The game closed off a dramatic, nail-bitten series for our boys. Jacob House hit a grand slam in the ninth to lift the Hogs over the Gamecocks on Friday night, and Cliff Springston, along with Bolsinger, patched together a fine performance on a dreary Saturday afternoon that allowed the offense to squeak by yet again.

If the Diamond Hogs can will their way to a series win this weekend against a pitiful Mississippi State team, they can salvage what has been for the most part a frustrating season.

A large chunk of the SEC teams are just over .500 in conference play, so this last week's going be a bit like watching the NBA Western Division duke it out for a playoff spot, with every game a do-or-die scenario. Only the top eight will make it to the SEC tournament, and there's currently a four-way tie a game ahead of the Razorbacks between Alabama, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Florida. Those teams are all meeting up with tougher opponents this weekend, but one slip could cause the fall for our Hogs. The trip to Starkville will make or break the season.

I hate words like "scrap" and "grit" and "clutch," but this is when people usually bust them out. I think "focus" might be a better term for what it takes to clinch a tournament berth in this fashion. Like the basketball team, the Diamond Hogs just seem to be seeing things a little clearer with their back to the wall. For fans, there's nothing more riveting than watching a team fight their way off the ropes.

Baseball is the only sport that can be every bit as good via radio. That should be consolation enough for those of us who won't be able to make the trip east. Even Chuck Barrett isn't a bad enough play-by-play man to foul this drama up. Fire up the barbecue, tune in on the AM dial, and while away a beautiful summer day listening to our state team play their hearts out.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in A Boy Named Sooie

  • There's always next year

    I haven't even spoken to my friends. I ignored all the teary empty nonsense of postgame coverage. I didn't sign into Twitter for a week. Anyway, the game was on a loop in my head.
    • Jan 12, 2011
  • Last-minute gift guides

    A Boy Named Sooie's gift roundup includes "Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend," "Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson," "Free Darko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Basketball History" and more.
    • Dec 23, 2010
  • Where I stand on The Agreement

    Nobody has any reason to be the least bit disappointed with the job Bobby Petrino has done with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Still, I have my reservations about the document that shall henceforth be known as The Agreement.
    • Dec 16, 2010
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: On "Beyond Scared Straight"

    • I need to find a scared straight program for my 14 yr old daughter here…

    • on July 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation