IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Rossi crashes Indy Party
It is arguably the biggest sports moment ever in Nevada County. Hometown boy Alexander Rossi rolls the dice and wins the premiere event in all of auto racing, The Indianapolis 500. Rossi starts in the 11th spot, slides to last place, and then passes on a final fuel top-off. He slips into the top spot for good with a mere four laps remaining and works his clutch on the final lap to glide over the finish line. He completely runs out of fuel moments later. After being towed to the winner’s circle, he savors the moment. He enters a 66 to 1 longshot, but garners this impressive accolade in almost unbelievable style. Most of you have heard all of this by now, but may it stay in our memories forever as a great sports moment. Rossi has been exceptionally busy this week, including a trip to the top of the Empire State Building with the Borg-Warner Trophy and multiple interviews with a plethora of media outlets in the wake of his monumentous victory. When and where is the Nevada County parade?
WARRIORS WIN WEST: It has not been easy, but the Warriors are still playing basketball. In Game 6, my son Jason texts me with 5 minutes to play, “It isn’t looking good for the Warriors. I think they are toast.” However, Klay Thompson bombs OKC and the Warriors prevail in a heart-stopper 108-101. Thompson sets a new NBA record with 11-3’s and 41 points. He scores 19 in the 4th quarter. Two nights later, Golden State completes the rally from the 3-1 series deficit with a 96-88 victory. It is Stephen Curry who was the Game 7 hero with 36 points. On the brink of being eliminated after an incredibly bright regular season, Golden State displays the heart of a champion.
DURANT SOMBER AFTER GAME 7 LOSS: Kevin Durant is the axis on which the Oklahoma City Thunder’s globe spins. He packs his bags for three games heading into the final showdown at Oracle Arena. He almost pulls it off, but heads home after the collapse. He notes, “I hate to (expletive) lose. It sucks. I thought it was our year.” Now, he is left to ponder free agency. He is obsessed with an NBA Championship. Only the weeks ahead will dictate his future. Do the Warriors have a shot at this outstanding talent? If he really wants the crown, the answer is a hard maybe.
TRULY STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have terrible off-nights. They score a mere 20 points…combined! Big problem, right? Warriors roll 104-89 with a bench that outscores Cleveland’s 45-10. Leading the way is Shaun Livingston with 20 points. Noteworthy contributors are Andre Iguodala with 12 and Leandro Barbosa with 11. In the process, Golden State limits Cavaliers’ superstars Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to 26 and 23 points respectively. Don’t count on Thomson and Curry being swept away by an imperfect storm again. Golden State is looking to complete the season-long journey. Game 2 is Sunday night at 5 p.m. on ABC.
SHARKS SWIMMING IN STORMY WATERS: The San Jose Sharks open their quest for the Stanley Cup with 3-2 and 2-1 losses versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both contests could have gone either way. However, it is the Penguins who prevail in both on home ice. Justin Braun scores late in Game 2 and gives the Sharks hope. However, the chance to come home tied at one game a piece is shattered by Conor Sheary with a goal 2:35 into overtime. Bottom line in their quest for the Stanley Cup: San Jose must win both games on home ice or they will lose this series and a chance to hoist hockey’s most coveted prize.
BRAUN PLAYS WITH HEAVY HEART: Justin Braun plays a steady brand of hockey. He has all season. Dependable, skilled, and conservative. Yet, competing for the Stanley Cup is not the only challenge on his plate these days. Just before Game 1, Braun learns his father-in-law and ex-NHL Star Tom Lysiak loses his bout with leukemia. Braun’s wife bravely writes, “It saddens me to the core of my being to write this post. My dad lost his battle with leukemia today and has gone to be with the Lord now.” Braun is a blossoming star. Lysiak was the real deal.
GIANTS TAKE TOUGH WEDNESDAY LOSS IN ATLANTA: It is bad enough that closer Santiago Casilla suffers another blown save in an 11 inning loss to Atlanta, MLB’s worst team. This time it is a wild pitch that allows Atlanta to score the tying run after Casilla is set-up in the ninth to record the save. What makes it even worse is that Hunter Pence re-injures his hamstring while trying to beat out a ground ball. Pence is a tough loss as he was tied for the team lead in home runs and leads the team in RBI’s. Casilla’s inability to close out games and Pence’s absence both spell trouble for the Giants. The consolation is in Thursday’s fourth game of the series when the Giants muscle up in the fifth with two-run homers by Madison Bumgarner, Joe Panik, and Buster Posey. They win 6-0 and split in Atlanta. They should have won the series 3-1, but that is baseball. Giants up by 5 1/2 games over second place Dodgers.
A’S HANGING TIGHT: The bad news is that the A’s are behind three other teams in the American League West. The great news is Danny Valencia. In the recently completed series sweep against the Minnesota Twins, he goes 6-for-10 with four extra-base hits. His average improves from .333 to .346. He ties the American League lead with 8 home runs for the month of May. He becomes an everyday player in Oakland in the process. “It’s nice to have the confidence of the coaching staff, front office, and these teammates in here to want me out there every day,” he notes.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Alexander Rossi in the heels of his Indianapolis 500 victory — “I have no idea how we pulled that off.”
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.