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With every pitch and every swing of the bat, the "Spirit of Tyler Brown" continues to carry the Rogers State University baseball team in the NAIA Division I World Series.
The Hillcats — or shall we say the "Cardiac Cats" — take a piece of their former teammate with them every time they step inside the dugout, the batter's box or the diamond.
His initials "T.B. #23" are inscribed on the back of their caps, and even one player — pitcher Kyle Duncan — has Tyler Brown's signature tattooed on his body.
It's the love for their teammate and former Berryhill All-State baseball player that has these Hillcats not wanting to give up in Lewiston, Idaho.
COLUMN: 'Cardiac Cats' chasing history
Seven years in the making...
On a grass sandlot behind Atwoods, the dream of reaching the NAIA World Series was just getting started for the Rogers State University Hillcat baseball team.
Head coach Ron Bradley, who had won state championships at West Fork (Ark.), Claremore and Jenks, was the perfect fit for breathing life into a soon-to-be baseball powerhouse on the Hill.
What may have been a dream back then when the Hillcats were practicing in T-shirts, worn-out baseball pants and cleats, is not so anymore as RSU is among the nation's elite competing this week for their first-ever NAIA National Championship.
LITKE: Bobby V. doesn't do peace and quiet
Nobody hires Bobby Valentine expecting peace and quiet.
That's not the way he did business in the past, and as his latest run-in with struggling slugger Kevin Youkilis demonstrated, Bobby V. is not about to turn over a new leaf now.
WEINER: Steroids shouldn't keep players from Hall
Steroid use shouldn't keep baseball's best sluggers and pitchers out of the Hall of Fame, the head of the players' union said Wednesday.
Michael Weiner told the National Press Club he thinks the Hall "is for the best baseball players that have ever played.'' The executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association also said he thinks Pete Rose should be in the Hall despite Rose's history of gambling - just as team executives aren't barred for engaging in collusion against the players in the 1980s.
LITKE: 'Student-athletes' in name only
It's time to bury the term "student-athlete.'' It died at 11:42 p.m. Monday, just about the time the confetti falling from the roof of the Superdome landed on coach John Calipari's hair and the players from Kentucky's NBA development academy gathered at a far corner of the court to collect a trophy many of them will need a campus map just to find next year.
The real joke is on college basketball, or at least the college part of it. The Kansas team the Wildcats beat handily 67-59 never had more than a puncher's chance.
HORNING: Something special is going on here
Keilani Ricketts sounded casual about it.
She was signing her autographs for well wishers and fans beyond Hall of Fame Stadium’s left-field fence with her teammates.
She had just collected her 15th win of the season, a 4-0 one-hit shutout of Bedlam rival Oklahoma State; a game in which she saved her best for last, striking out the Cowgirl side in the seventh inning to lift her strikeout total to 10 for the game and 196 for the season over 1211⁄3 innings; and a game in which she shaved another 0.04 off her earned-run average, lowering it to the unheard of depth of 0.69.
JOHNSON: NSU's new Fieldhouse a welcome addition
Northeastern State’s basketball programs are about to get a huge boost. As a matter of fact, so is all of Tahlequah and Cherokee County.
After drawn-out discussions and lengthy deliberating, Northeastern State is set to begin construction on a new event center. The new arena will not only give the local and area athletic communities a shot in the arm, but it will also be a welcome addition to those who are fans of everything from fairs to forums.
HORNING: Sooners saved their best game for very last
St. John’s is a No. 3 seed. It closed the regular season and Big East tournament winning nine of 10 games before finding its way to Norman.
Along the way, prior to Tuesday night at Lloyd Noble Center, the last three times it played on its opponent’s home court, it beat No. 23 Rutgers by nine points, No. 3 Connecticut by a point and No. 17 Georgetown by 10 points.
DAHLBERG: Tebow cast aside much like Manning
The images were indelible for Denver fans or anyone watching on TV as Tebowmania swept the nation.
On the sidelines, Tim Tebow was Tebowing after scoring yet another late touchdown. In his box upstairs, John Elway was trying his best to look excited about a quarterback he could barely stand to watch.
DAHLBERG: No real losers in Peyton Manning chase
The slightest clue that he is in town draws curious onlookers to airports and practice fields. Reporters stake him out, and television helicopters hover overhead to capture his every move.
There's never been a free agent frenzy like this in the NFL. Then again, there's never been a free agent like Peyton Manning.
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