Martinez: Keeping tabs on spring sports is as tricky as weather

Tim Martinez: High School Sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

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A colleague once suggest to me that when it came to spring sports schedules, you should not publish them if you weren’t 100 percent sure they were accurate.

Normally, in the newspaper business, that’s a good rule of thumb. Don’t publish anything if you’re not sure that it’s accurate.

But if you took that approach with spring sports standings, you’d never run them.

Sports like baseball and softball are different from, say, soccer, basketball or volleyball.

With those other sports, if there is a game on the schedule and it does not get reported, then you know you have to track it down.

That’s because 99.99 percent of the time, if a game is not reported, it’s because someone “forgot” to report it.

But in baseball and softball, an unreported score could mean many things. It could mean the game was rained out. It could mean the game was moved to another day. It could mean that, even though it was a sunny day, the field conditions were still not good.

Or it could mean someone “forgot” to report the score.

And if there was a game that was previously postponed that gets played on later date and that score is not reported, well there’s no way for us to even know that it went unreported.

That’s because most schools don’t tell us when most postponed games are rescheduled. The reason for that is because the decision to replay a game often isn’t made until the day the game is played.

And sometimes, the weather doesn’t even come into play.

When Clark County teams travel to play games at Kelso, Mark Morris or R.A. Long, those scores won’t get reported to us.

The normal practice is that the home team reports the score. And Kelso, Mark Morris and R.A. Long do report their scores ... to the Longview Daily News, not The Columbian (a fact that often stuns Clark County coaches).

Luckily, our friends at the Daily News will help us out with scores so we can at least keep our standings accurate.

But even with all of these potential holes, I’ve always found that the best way to discover that your standings are not accurate is to publish them.

If we publish a team’s record as 4-2 and they’re actually 5-2, someone will call or email to let us know. Then we can fix it.

Of course, a team whose record is published as 0-6 when they’re actually 0-8 are often less concerned about the inaccuracy. So it’s not a fool-proof system.

Then there’s the 1A Trico League. We haven’t run standings for the Trico in any sport this spring. We tried a couple of times, only to realize that they were nowhere near accurate.

And that’s because, in baseball and softball, there are really only two schools that consistently report scores to us from the Trico — Ridgefield and La Center. That leaves a lot of unreported scores.

And in the case of the Trico, sometimes even our friends at the Daily News can’t help us, especially when games are played deep in the Gorge or way out on the coast.

When Steve Frucci was the athletic director at La Center, he would run a website on which he would diligently track Trico scores and standings. But when he left to become the AD at Connell, the website went away.

Kalama athletic director Len Hiatt has tried to pick up where Frucci left off, but it’s not an easy job.

Based on the last time I looked at the standings Hiatt has for some of the Trico sports, it looks as if he was having about as much luck tracking scores as we have had.

So until we can get some Trico standings that we can be confident of, we’ll continue to hold off on publishing them.

But we’ll still publish standings in the Greater St. Helens Leagues. And if you see something that doesn’t quite add up let us know.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538 or email at tim.martinez@columbian.com