Sports

Mercy rules, shot clocks loom for preps

It's time to clear off the desk so I can get ready for two openers next week on the road, the Mariners in Safeco Field next Tuesday and the Emerald Downs opening a week from this Friday.

Read on, faithful fans, and no fair skipping items ...



Prep changes

A few months ago I suggested that the Washington State Interscholastic Association is considering a shot clock for basketball and they might get it this year. Look for a running clock for runaway football and basketball games to become a reality.

The state will vote April 24 in Renton whether to put in a running clock. For football, a running clock would be used in games where the deficit reaches 45 points. Timeouts and points scored would stop the clock. Right now, the B-8 teams have a 45-point mercy rule in that a game is stopped in the second half when a team gets ahead by 45 points.

For basketball, a running clock would be used any time the point differential gets to 40 points in the second half. If the team behind closes to within 25, the clock would return to running normally.

As for the shot clock in basketball for boys, I look for the association assembly to pass the motion and it probably will be a 35-second clock like the NCAA men's clock. Hoop coaches are some 66 percent in favor of a shot clock.



Run rule

If you are a follower of high school girls fast pitch, you might be confused about the run-ahead rule. It used to be 10 runs after five innings; now the Olympic League has upped that to a 15-run rule. If a team is ahead by 15 runs at the end of five or six innings, game called.

Reasoning was that both boys and girls travel together and if a fast pitch game ended at the end of five, the girls sometimes had to wait a long time before the boys game was over.

The baseball rule is still 10.

One more thing: The Nisqually League rule is 15 runs and the Southwest League is 10. I would like it to be 10 runs in every diamond sport.



New coach

A head basketball coach who goes 1-37 in two years seldom keeps his or her job and Kingston is looking for a new hoop coach for boys after Tim Olson's contract was not renewed.

Athletic director Dan Novick told the Kitsap Sun that Olson remains at the school and is an assistant for football and girls tennis, but a new basketball coach will be sought. Novick said at least 10 people had expressed interest.



Wednesday Whirl

The Seattle Mariners opened the season Monday in Minnesota and pitching remains the big question mark for the M's. They went into the season with Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Carlos Silva, Jerod Washburn and Ryan Rowland-Smith as the first five starters.

All except Rowland-Smith were battered around the last week of spring training, folks, so starting pitching is a question mark.

Relievers? Tyler Johnson, Chad Conderro, Roy Corcoran, David Aardsma, Randy Messenger, Mark Lowe and Miguel Baptista don't look to be ready, but Brandon Morrow may be a surprise closer for the team to replace J.J. Putz.

Ichiro Suzuki is on the disabled list for the first time as a Mariner with what was diagnosed as a bleeding ulcer. He wanted to start the season, but the team opted to hold him out. He will appear in the second game of the homestand next week.

The Washington Huskies are in the middle of spring drills and new coach Steve Sarkisian has opened Husky Stadium for all practices and will have the place open this Saturday for a scrimmage, unlike the secrecy of former coach Ty Willingham.

Sarkisian has made a game out of practice and has said there will be competition, every block, every tackle, every pass and run will be hard-fought.

He wants them to compete every down and, for a team that was 0-12 last year, that will be a change.

One more thing, the college basketball season finally is over with North Carolina and Michigan State making the final cut. But by time the 64-team tournament got down to the so-called Final Four, I was so tired of hoops that I didn't even care who won. What about you?

Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at scooter@olypen.com.



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