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Oesterle: Offering some answers, thoughts on area athletics

Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:10 p.m. CST

(Continued from Page 1)

I’ve been on the job full-time for a couple of months now at The Morris Daily Herald, and there have been some questions I keep hearing. I will do my best to answer them here.

One of the most-asked questions recently has been where the All-Area teams are for spring sports. Well, I am going to say they are coming soon. Very soon. One of the toughest things about generating those teams for spring sports is tracking down final statistics from each area team in order to make the best evaluations. I am happy to say they are all in and the final evaluations are going on. I will admit that I didn’t have time to see every local team this spring, so some of the selections will be speculative, but I will do my best to include all that are worthy. I still am not certain of a publication date for each team, but it will be safe to say that they will be out before the end of next week.

About a week ago, the NFL made a ruling on the use of the Washington Redskins’ nickname and trademark to the name. I have been asked what it means to Morris Community High School. The short answer is nothing. Until the school itself decides to change, Morris will be known as the Redskins. I have a feeling that they will keep the nickname for as long as possible. The saying around the school has always been “Redskin Pride Never Dies,” and I don’t think that is going away. It’s a name that’s entrenched in Morris culture and tradition and won’t easily be uprooted. Don’t get me wrong, the time will come when it is changed, but my gut feeling is that it will be a mandate rather than a voluntary action.

Lemont faced a vote a few years back when they decided that Injuns was an unacceptable nickname, and the new name was put to a public vote. The smart aleck in me was partial to the Engines because of the similarity in sound, but they went with the Indians, which may or may not be much better than Injuns. I doubt that Morris would change to Indians, however. Not with Minooka right next door holding that moniker. I can’t even say what my preference would be, other than I hope it’s not something just made up to keep the word Red in it like RedHawks or Red Storm. I would hope some thought would go into it and the new nickname would be something the students and community could find a source of pride in.

Some people like to ask me if I think Zack Petrick of Morris or Mike Foltynewicz of Minooka will be called up the major leagues soon. That depends on what they mean by soon. Petrick, age 24, was the Cardinals’ Minor Leauge Pitcher of the Year last year, and is having another good year this season. So far this year between Double-A and Triple-A, Petrick is 6-3 with a 3.60 ERA in 15 starts. He is currently with Memphis of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A), where he is 4-3 with a 4.48 ERA and 44 strikeouts against 24 walks in 66 1⁄3 innings. Foltynewicz, 22, has been up and down so far this year and still might be a year or two away, but it’s hard to fathom keeping someone who hit 103 on the radar gun last season in the minors for too long. He is currently 6-5 with a 4.40 ERA, having spent all year with Oklahoma City, also in the Pacific Coast League. He has 77 strikeouts and 36 walks in 77 2⁄3 innings. Minooka graduate Tony Bucciferro, 24, is currently with Winston-Salem in high-A with the White Sox organization, and is sporting a 6-6 record with a 3.53 ERA and 72 strikeouts against just 10 walks in 105 innings.

I would expect if they keep performing at their current levels that Petrick and Foltynewicz would be likely to spend the rest of the year in the minors, but possibly be called up in September for a look-see in the bigs. As I said before, it will be hard for Houston to keep from bringing Foltynewicz and his triple-digit heat out of the majors for long. With the trade deadline looming at the end of the month, I can’t imagine any of those teams wanting to give up any quality young pitching, but Petrick might be coveted by a selling team if the Cardinals need a proven big-leaguer.

That’s pretty much it for now. As further questions arise, I will do my best to answer them.

• Rob Oesterle can be reached at roesterle@shawmedia.com.

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