Spring Can’t Come Soon Enough

The Blue Hose men didn't win, but I thought they looked cool warming up. (Monte Dutton photos)

The Blue Hose men didn’t win, but I thought they looked cool warming up. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, February 27, 2016, 2:05 p.m.

No, it was not I. I've never even driven a Lexus.

Monte Dutton (John Clark photo).

This is my coldest time of the year. When there’s snow on the ground, I always get bundled up, but when I trudge out in late February for the season’s first ballgames, I underestimate. It’s warm and balmy when I leave the house, but then clouds whip by bringing chill wind.

Last year, when Presbyterian College played Wofford in baseball, I put some sausage in the bed of the truck because I thought it would freeze sooner than at home. Behind the plate, I wished I could start a fire with my scorecard.

DSCF2057The Blue Hose are playing someone now – Towson, I think – but I’m watching the women’s basketball version taking on Winthrop. Well, I’m watching a little. Mainly, I’m writing this blog.


DSCF2052Doubleheaders are rare at Templeton Center, but the men are playing High Point afterwards. It’s a lovely day outside, and I’d likely be at the baseball game, but I’ve been watching the basketball teams all winter, and I thought I’d like to see their final home games.

Besides, I got a nice dose of baseball Friday night. Both kinds.

Laurens pitcher Jared Cvetko records a third out.

Laurens pitcher Jared Cvetko records a third out.

Laurens eked out a 19-2 verdict over Spartanburg Christian Academy in a game in which the Raiders got all the offense any team could need in four and a half innings. Then the Clinton Red Devils trotted out on the same field and no-hit the Emerald Vikings. Two pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts out of a possible 21 outs. Clinton started lefty whipsaw Tristan Smaltz, who faced 15 batters and struck out 12. Two walked and one reached on an error.

Clinton's Tristan Smaltz: 4 IP, 12 K's.

Clinton’s Tristan Smaltz: 4 IP, 12 K’s.

It’s a season-opening round robin hosted by the Raiders. I was on assignment. It was a long evening. I have no commitments today, and I felt more like driving four miles to PC than 12 to LDHS. Then I had to make the call of basketball over baseball, PC division, and I was sorely tempted to stay home and watch the Xfinity and Truck races from Atlanta. I’ll pay close attention to NASCAR tomorrow.

DSCF2054The Blue Hose currently lead, 22-12, in the women’s game. It appears likely they will improve to 16-11 overall, 12-6 in Big South Conference play. Small schools are prone to hyperbole. Presbyterian considers itself “a mid-major,” in spite of there being very few majors that are smaller, and it is a member of the Big South, which, in the greater scheme of the geographic region, isn’t particularly big.

By the way, word has arrived from Ed Prescott Field that the Red Devils have prevailed again, claiming a 7-1 decision over T.L. Hanna. Laurens is playing Greenwood even as I write.

Last night, Clinton head coach Sean McCarthy did not know his pitchers had twirled a no-hitter until I informed him. That’s called a scoop.

I didn't mention the Musical Chairs at halftime.

I didn’t mention the Musical Chairs at halftime.

6:56 p.m.

My timing was good. The Blue Hose women clobbered Winthrop, 77-44, and the men hung in there for a half, but I got little sleep last night and inexplicably got up early this morning, and I suspected what was coming, so I packed up my stuff and headed home at halftime.

High Point won the men’s game, 80-60, so either I smelled it coming or I jinxed the Hose. The baseball team beat Towson, though, 6-2. It was over before I left the Temp.

I felt a bit guilty.

One Busch, Kurt, starts on the Atlanta pole because the other, Kyle, had a car that failed to pass inspection.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)

One Busch, Kurt, starts on the Atlanta pole because the other, Kyle, had a car that failed to pass inspection. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)

I saw an untidy ending in a Truck race, but it was tidy for John Hunter Nemechek to win. I expect he was about 10 or so when I had dinner with him and his father at the buffet of a Las Vegas casino. It wasn’t organized. I just bumped into them, and Joe said, “Hey, why don’t you join us?”

If you’re interested in my stories about the high school baseball games, here they are:



(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)

As you may have noticed, I use these blogs as a promotional tool for my novels. One, Crazy of Natural Causes, has been out since late July of 2015. In the interest of peace, love, and understanding, I’d love for you to give one or two or (soon) four of them a read.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Another, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, will be out soon. It’s a crime novel about corruption and patronage in a small town. The tale unfolds across two generations at the same time. It’s got sex, drugs, corruption, murder, and frank language. Very little, if any, rock and roll, though.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

The Intangibles (2013) is based on boyhood memories and is set in a small Southern town amid the tumult of the 1960s. The Audacity of Dope (2011) is a freewheeling yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who somehow becomes a national hero, and that comes with complications.

(Joe Font cover design)

(Joe Font cover design)

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

My short fiction, reviews and essays can be found here: https://wellpilgrim.wordpress.com/

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50. Look for me by name at Google+. Whew. It’s too much.


About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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