Once the calendar turns to May, the home stretch for prep sports is generally in sight.
While pro sports like hockey and basketball are well into the postseason and Major League Baseball is just through its first month, the prep sports scene is getting down to the nitty gritty.
There are championships going on this week in the Little Kanawha Conference in both baseball and track. Softball sectionals are already well under way.
It's time for the top teams and their stars to step up to the plate and prove their worth against the competition in front of them.
One player who pretty much should be a lock for Class AA first team all-state baseball honors is Magnolia junior Kyle Elliott.
Not only is he one of the best pitchers in the Mid-Ohio Valley, but he's also a talented shortstop for the Blue Eagles of veteran head coach Dave Cisar. The problem for Elliott, though, especially this year is that he can hardly buy a win. One would think I have him on my fantasy baseball team and it's some kind of curse.
With the baseball regular season about to wind down, Elliott sports a mere 3-3 record. Two of his losses have been to Class AAA programs. Needless to say, it's not like he's been facing the sisters of the poor or something.
In his latest outing on Tuesday night at Wheeling Park, Elliott pitched nine frames and recorded 14 punchouts against the Patriots, but had to settle for a no-decision following a walk-off home run in the 10th inning by the hosts against Blue Eagle relief pitcher Tanner Hanna.
Of course, hopefully there will be better days coming down the line.
That's what I keep thinking about Albert Pujols, anyway. Surely, it's got to get better and can't get much worse.
It's hard to call a future Hall-of-Famer a bum, but after an abysmal April let's just say I'm not a very happy camper having him on my American League only baseball roster.
Sure, it's not so much the fact my partner and I spent 50 fantasy dollars on him out of our standard allotted $260 budget. OK, that's a lie. I reckon it is the fact we spent 23.1 percent of our entire budget on him and he's playing like the second coming of the end of Mo Vaughn's career.
The good news, at least it's the only hope I have left, is baseball season is something that in order to get to the finish line one can't run or sprint, they have to grind it out each and every day.
Looking back, though, and knowing your team owns a player most pundits consider to be the best in baseball still isn't too bad at the end of the day.
However, hopefully that average doesn't stay below .220 for much longer and surely he's going to outperform Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, who had the same number of April homers (zero) as Pujols and one more RBI.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org