Film critic Roger Ebert named this passage from “Citizen Kane” as his all-time favorite movie dialogue:
A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn’t think he’d remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn’t see me at all but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.
State baseball, state softball and state track events and tournaments create memories that can endure a lifetime.
For example, I will forever associate Memorial Day weekend, moving into a new house and covering my first state baseball-softball tournament last year.
My girlfriend and I, as well as her two children and our portly cat, spent our first night at our house in Pittsburg on the eve of the state tournament. We had moved our stuff over from Erie (where I lived for 10 months) and I looked forward to a good night’s sleep before heading out for Emporia at 8 a.m. Friday morning. No, instead, our restless cat and his terrible ear-piercing whine produced three hours of sleep. Of course, naturally, right before I left Friday morning, he found a spot in the living room and was sound asleep. That dirty fleabag!
• The Frontenac Raiders won their first state baseball title Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium, Manhattan.
The Raiders had four distinct advantages over their Class 3A competition: 1) raw emotion, 2) superior pitching, 3) superior defense and 4) superior hitting. Frontenac and its fans rallied around each other and overwhelmed Silver Lake, Humboldt and Wellsville. The loudest cheering section in Manhattan belonged to Frontenac hands down and their enthusiasm contributed to the emotion.
Junior pitchers Blake Vail, Matt Standlee and Bryce Burdette, and sophomore Brett Macary gave Frontenac a major edge in the arms race. Most teams featured one heavy-duty pitcher, whereas Frontenac included several pitchers who could be the ace on most teams in the state.
After the first two games of the state tournament, Frontenac turned five double plays, eliminating potential rallies by defending champion Silver Lake and undefeated top seed Humboldt. Standlee to Edge to Barto seemed like a refrain that surpassed Tinker to Evers to Chance in Frontenac. Additionally, center fielder Burdette and junior catcher Bryan Wade played solid defense.
Seemingly every player in the Frontenac lineup produced at least one big hit during the state tournament. Not only the usual suspects of Burdette, Wade, Macary, Vail and Standlee but Blake Barto, Ross Edge, Gus Brunetti and Avery Coronado gave opposing pitching staffs fits all weekend.
Page 2 of 3 - Anybody who saw the Frontenac Raiders play this weekend in Manhattan and this season in general will remember their baseball team for a long time.
• Other state baseball and softball champions this weekend include: Blue Valley North (Class 6A baseball), Bishop Carroll (5A baseball), Bishop Carroll (5A softball), St. James Academy (4A baseball), Andale/Garden Plain (4A softball), Hillsboro (3A softball), Medicine Lodge (2-1A baseball) and Chase County (2-1A softball).
• The St. Paul Indians finished their season 21-3 and third place in Class 2-1A baseball with a 8-3 win over Valley Falls.
St. Paul won the consolation game with a combination of the complete game pitched by Kane Norris, three hits and two RBI by Nick Corn and seven errors committed by Valley Falls. Norris pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning.
State champion Medicine Lodge rolled over St. Paul 12-1 in the semifinals and then beat defending champion Sedan 11-2 in the championship game.
• The Humboldt Cubs finished their season 25-1 and third place in Class 3A, rebounding from their 5-1 semifinal loss to Frontenac to beat Salina Sacred Heart 13-3 in the consolation game.
Center fielder Caleb Vanatta, who had a tough game in the outfield against Frontenac, came back with two diving catches against Sacred Heart. The Cubs broke open a 6-3 game with seven runs in the fifth inning.
Humboldt featured no seniors and predominantly sophomores and freshmen. Things seem to be looking up in the birthplace of Walter Johnson.
• In an extremely difficult Class 4A softball bracket, Labette County took home fourth place after losing 5-2 to three-time defending state champion Andale/Garden Plain in the semifinals and 5-1 to Basehor-Linwood in the consolation game. Labette County led Andale/Garden Plain five innings and Basehor-Linwood scored four runs in the top of the 10th.
The Grizzlies end their season 24-2.
• At the big track meet in Wichita, Pittsburg senior Lauren Ouderkirk went out in style with a Class 4A state title in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. Ouderkirk ran a time of 44.80 seconds and she beat Tayler Soucie of Osawatomie by .65. Ouderkirk was not the only Southeast Kansas League athlete to earn gold, silver and bronze.
Coffeyville sprinter Devin Cosper finished second in both the 100 (12.22) and the long jump (17 feet, 3.75 inches). Iola senior Kelsey Larson finished second in the javelin with a toss of 131-0.
On the boys side, Coffeyville sophomore James Newton won a state title in the 100 with a time of 10.83. Fort Scott senior Dezmund Willard took second in the 200 (22.93). Columbus senior Luke Norris placed third in the 110 hurdles (14.99).
In Class 3A, Riverton junior Mackenzie Dunbar placed third with her time of 2:27.21 in the 800.
On the boys side, Colgan junior Jonny Adamson finished second in the 3200, running 10:14.84, behind state champ Cory Donley of Sacred Heart and ahead of Riverton senior Tyler Schultz. Schultz added bronze in the 1600.
Page 3 of 3 - Galena senior Tylor Albright won state in the long jump with a mark of 22-9.25. Humboldt junior Tanner McNutt won a state title in the 800 (1:56.29) and finished second in the 400 (49.99) and third in the long jump (21-8.50).
Olathe South (6A girls, 69.5 points), Shawnee Mission Northwest (6A boys, 54), St. Thomas Aquinas (5A girls, 73), Hays (5A boys, 118), Paola (4A girls, 57), Buhler (4A boys, 52), Rossville (3A girls, 74), Sacred Heart (3A boys, 73), Marantha Academy (2A girls, 64), Plainville (2A boys, 53), Pike Valley (1A girls, 58) and LaCrosse (1A boys, 84) won team state titles.
• I wrote the Frontenac state championship game story in roughly 30 minutes — box score first, quotes second and then everything in-between. The kind folks at Kansas State not only kicked the three of us (two Morning Sun, one Topeka Capital-Journal) out of the press box . . . we were nearly locked in Tointon Family Stadium. The Capital-Journal writer crawled over the fence and we escaped through a gate after our photographer barked at the security guy. Our time allotted in the press box changed from up to 2 hours to 15 minutes in a flash, seemingly on a whim.
We hung out in the Kansas State parking lot, posting all our stuff from the hood of my 1993 Chevrolet Caprice. We finally reached Pittsburg at 2:30 in the morning. I missed a deer on Interstate 70 between Manhattan and Topeka — he sprinted across and I steered to avoid him without leaving our lane.
• I began this column with Ebert’s favorite movie dialogue and why not close it out with my favorite from “Blade Runner”:
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.