Crewmen salute American pastime

Machinist mate Trevor Johnson of the United States Navy is from Oklahoma City and based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a member of the USS Columbia submarine crew.

He knows little about the Mid-Missouri Mavericks and their history of futility, which is entering its third year.

Pujols powers Cards to victory

DENVER — Albert Pujols hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning Monday night to add to the Colorado bullpen’s misery and lift the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the Rockies.

Pujols put a 1-2 pitch from Jay Witasick (0-2) barely over the left-field wall for a 4-3 lead. The home run halted Witasick’s 10-game streak without allowing an earned run and marked the major league-high 11th blown save of the season for Colorado’s beleaguered relievers.

Missouri earns spot in regional play

The Missouri baseball team will make its third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers will face Arizona in regional play at 6 p.m. Friday in Fullerton, Calif.

It is the first time the Tigers made the tournament three straight years, and Missouri joins Texas as the only Big 12 Conference teams to make the tournament in each of the past three seasons. This will be Missouri’s 17th trip to the tournament.

Royals replace hitting coach

KANSAS CITY — Hitting coach Jeff Pentland was fired Monday by the struggling Kansas City Royals, who have lost six straight games and whose 13-37 record is the worst in the major leagues.

Kansas City’s team batting average of .246 is the fourth-worst in baseball, and the Royals’ on-base percentage of .309 is the second-worst in the majors.

Event a hit for softball players

For the players in the Diamond Council’s Memorial Day fast-pitch softball tournament, the weekend represented more than just the beginning of the summer; it marked the beginning of the season.

Twenty-six teams of enthusiastic teenage girls from all over the state gathered at Rainbow Fields in Cosmopolitan Park.

Too early for Metheny to focus on batting stats

He had heard the good news for the first time about an hour before Sunday night’s game.

But it didn’t faze Brent Metheny either way.

Kewps prevail again

Hickman first baseman Andrew Mueller stepped into the batter’s box Saturday and stared down Joplin’s relief pitcher Kyle Veazey. The Kewpies stood two runs away from ending the quarterfinal game 12-2 in the fifth and there was only one out left.

“I felt like I had to make up for the last game when I didn’t do so good,” Mueller said. “I kept up my confidence and decided I was going to get it done today.”

Tigers collapse against Cornhuskers

OKLAHOMA CITY — Three home runs couldn’t save the Tigers men’s baseball team Saturday night in its 17-9 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska advances to the championship game that will be played today at 1 p.m. at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City and broadcast on Fox Sports Network.

The loss followed a 5-4 loss to Nebraska in the early game Saturday and, for Missouri, marked the end of the Big 12 Conference season.

5K run/walk fundraiser targets youth athletes

The 10th annual Boone Hospital Center 5K Run/Walk will begin at 9 a.m. Memorial Day at Twin Lakes Recreation Area 2500 Chapel Hill Road as a fundraiser for the Columbia Youth Track Club’s Columbia Colts program.

Interested runners or walkers with any range of ability can register the day of the race at Twin Lakes from 7 to 8:30 a.m. for $20. All proceeds go to the Columbia Colts program.

Kewpies’ Cornell defends title

Runners and fans from around the state gathered at Dwight T. Reed Stadium at Lincoln University in Jefferson City on Friday and Saturday for the 2005 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships.

For most of the runners Friday was the day to win their heat and make it to the finals, but for Hickman senior Tim Cornell it was the last race of his high school career.

Doubles team serves up good news for Rock Bridge during tough week

Rock Bridge seniors Justin Winner and Matt Dresner ended their high school tennis careers on a high note Saturday.

Winner and Dresner, Rock Bridge’s No. 1 doubles team, placed third at the Class 2 State Championships at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield. Winner and Dresner defeated Drew and Doug Brightfield of DeSmet 6-1, 6-3.

Rock Bridge freshman surprises 800 field

Rock Bridge freshman Lauren Borduin turned some heads two weeks ago at the District 5 meet at Rock Bridge when she beat Jefferson City’s Atilivia Spencer by .02 seconds in the 800-meter dash in 2 minutes, 20.4 seconds.

Then her times only decreased against more difficult competition.

Small Wonder

LeBlanc is sitting in the third-base dugout at Taylor Stadium, slightly sunburned and red in the face. Every few minutes, he’ll take off his cap, run his hand through his brown hair and then place the cap loosely back on his head.

There is a glint in his eye as he talks about his size.

Rodriguez’s stellar effort goes to waste

Mid-Missouri bench coach Thomas “Wakes” Waelchli had never seen Auggie Rodriguez pitch before Saturday night. But he knew what to expect from the Mavericks’ starter just by looking at him.

He figured the diminutive Rodriguez, listed at 5-foot-9, wasn’t going to throw the ball by many hitters in his minor-league debut.

Kewpies march on

Hickman senior Blake Tekotte stepped out of the batter’s box in a Class 4 sectional game Thursday and looked to coach Dave Wilson for a sign.

Wilson paced by third base, stewing after Chad Hatcher was picked off at first. Fort Zumwalt West pitcher Chad Henkelman had shut out the Kewpies through three innings.

Kewps, Bruins like chances at state meet

Sun shines through the Hickman High School hallway outside the gymnasium as Asia Walker sits and leans against the wall with her eyes closed, focusing on the task before her: running the 400-meter run and doing the long jump in front of 7 to 8,000 people.

The MSHSAA State Track and Field Championships take place today and Saturday at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. Hickman qualified 10 athletes, six boys and four girls, and Rock Bridge qualified 11 girls at last weekend’s sectional in Camdenton.

Mavs’ Buscher aims to bounce back

About an hour before game time, Mid-Missouri third baseman Greg Buscher emerged from the Mavericks’ dugout on the third-base side of Taylor Stadium with a bat in his hands.

He began to saunter toward foul ground in left field to greet some teammates. As he did this, he brought the bat behind his head and twisted his torso back-and-forth, stretching his bulky 6-foot, 220- pound frame.

Fourth-place finish ends Bruins’ streak

The Rock Bridge boys’ tennis team’s fourth consecutive trip to the state final four team competition in Springfield ended up being its worst.

The Bruins placed fourth in Class 2 on Thursday at the Cooper Tennis Complex after placing second in 2002, third in 2003 and second in 2004.

Cheers come and go at opener

The emotional level of the 1,071 fans attending the Mid-Missouri Mavericks’ home opener at Taylor Stadium Wednesday night was broad in range.

Their enthusiasm varied from wholehearted to nonexistent. Sometimes both extremes were seen in the tiny span of just one pitch.

Koenig aims for perfect scores

Arguably the best athlete in his sport is in Columbia this week and few people would recognize him.

A man stands among a small crowd of competitors and spectators wearing a shirt with as many sponsors as a NASCAR, a pulled down baseball cap and clear shooting glasses.