Shots from the hip: Cardinals honor Ron Stark

By Cripe Olson
Posted 4/17/24

Well done. The Cardinal baseball team has placed “RS” stickers on their batting helmets to honor longtime supporter, volunteer, and “Friend of Baseball Award” winner Ron Stark …

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Shots from the hip: Cardinals honor Ron Stark


Well done. The Cardinal baseball team has placed “RS” stickers on their batting helmets to honor longtime supporter, volunteer, and “Friend of Baseball Award” winner Ron Stark who passed away last December. A fixture at all Prescott sporting events, Stark was known throughout the community as one of Prescott Cardinal athletics biggest boosters. A former school board member, Stark was a community volunteer extraordinaire and served as a baseball statistician for several years including the 2012 state championship season. Certainly a well-earned tribute. 

All three Prescott baseball teams played some long ball last week. On Thursday, Cullen Huppert’s two-run home run in the top of the first proved to be the difference as the Cardinals squeaked by Somerset 3-2. On Friday, Prescott ninth grader Carter Larsen slammed a two-run homerun against River Falls in a 14-3 win over the wildcats. On Saturday, junior Liam Flanigan smashed a round tripper in a 13-0 JV trouncing of St. Croix Falls, and Collin Kosmalski pounded a two-run home to left as the Cardinal C team defeated St. Croix Falls 20-7 in a slugfest.  

UW-Whitewater Head Baseball Coach John Vodenlich won his 700th win at the helm of the Warhawk program. A common speaker at state and national baseball clinics, Vodenlich has an incredible overall coaching record of 700-221-1 at UW-Whitewater.

Pete Brookshaw attended a practice at Firehall Field this week as he readies himself for another season with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. A two-time Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All State Selection and Two Time Division 2 Player of the Year, Brookshaw will depart for North Dakota next month. 

From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: The DNR reminds turkey hunters that the 2024 spring turkey season opens on April 17. The 2024 spring turkey season will run from April 17 through May 28 and includes six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. All seven turkey management zones will be open for hunting. Additionally, the Wisconsin elk hunt application period is now open through May 31. New this year, the Black River Elk Range will be open to hunting for the first time since elk were reintroduced to the state. Once widespread, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss. Reintroduction efforts began in 1995 by releasing 25 elk into the Clam Lake Elk Range, and a second herd was established in the Black River Elk Range in 2015. The state elk population is projected to reach over 500 animals after this year's calving season, 180 of which belong to the Black River herd.

Headshaker of the week: An unsettling trend continues in the realm of high school sports. As Woody Guthrie sang, “From California to the New York Islands, From the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream Waters,” anonymous letters sent to school athletic directors and administrators critical of head coaches have led to coach dismissals or resignations around the country. A myriad of studies have shown the number of coaches leaving the profession at the high school level continues to increase year after year for any number of reasons - many of them not by the coaches’ choosing. Last week I came across a column written in April 2023 by radio sports personality Kevin Williams on “The Reason Why Coaches are Leaving High School Sports.” Here is what he wrote in part:

Old Days. An athlete comes home from practice or a game and complains to parents about their coach, usually over playing time. The athlete is looking for an ally and wants some sympathy from Mom and Dad. However, what they likely find is that his parents not only take the side of the coach but say their child needs to respect the coach’s decision. The parents say work harder, don’t complain and if you don’t like it then maybe you should quit.” Today. On their way home an athlete texts parents that the coach yelled at them in practice because they were late. Over dinner and conversation with their child both Mom and Dad believe their child is being treated unfairly and not getting enough playing time; after all, they received some awards at the showcase camps they attended this past summer. The parent contacts the coach at home to discuss playing time. The coach tries to explain their philosophy on playing time which the parents do not accept. The next day parents request a meeting with the coach and athletic director to discuss the issue. The matter turns into a mess dividing parents and players, signficantly impacting the team culture and performance. At the end of the season, the coach resigns. School posts job seeking new head coach the following week.” That’s a headshaker.

Shots from the hip, Cripe Olson, Ron Stark, Prescott athletics, Prescott, Wisconsin