Brian Hoffman Sports Column

Brian Hoffman, Sports Editor


Kelly pitching in AA

Zack Kelly, Submitted Photo

Lord Botetourt High School graduate Zack Kelly is pitching for the Mobile BayBears in the Class AA Southern League this season. The BayBears are the AA affiliate of the California Angels, located in Mobile, Ala.

Through Monday, Zack had a 1-3 record but a very respectable earned run average of 3.52. He’s pitched in 12 games, including five starts, for a total of 38.1 innings. He’s struck out 36, just shy of a strikeout per inning, and walked 20. Opponents are hitting .246 against him.

Zack had back-to-back starts of five innings each on May 26 against Biloxi and June 1 against Jacksonville, giving up just two total runs and fanning 11 in those 10 innings. He did not get a decision in either game.

Kelly’s ERA was down to 2.17 on June 11, and at that point Southern League opponents were hitting just .198 against him. However, Zack was touched for five earned runs by Birmingham in a five-inning start last Saturday, taking the loss. He threw 85 pitches in that game, the most he’s thrown in an outing this season. He struck out five and walked none in that loss.

Zack has spent two stints on the seven-day injured list this year but he’s currently healthy.

After a standout career at Lord Botetourt, Zack pitched for Newberry College in South Carolina. He pitched for Oakland’s Rookie League team in 2017 and has been with the Angels the past two years. His overall record in professional baseball is 7-6 with a 3.35 earned run average. He turned 24 in March.


LB grad joins Channel 10 staff

Look for Lord Botetourt High School graduate Brooke Leonard to be showing up soon on the sports staff at WSLS-TV, Channel 10 in Roanoke. Brooke has taken a position as a sports reporter after spending time with a station in Bozeman, Montana.

Leonard returns to the valley, where she attended LB and Virginia Tech. While at Tech she worked for Fox Sports, WFXR, in Roanoke where she was an intern and did some work on the air during her senior year.


Case of mistaken identity

When David “Big Papi” Ortiz was recently shot in his native Dominican Republic, it didn’t seem to make any sense.

Ortiz has a lot of money, but it wasn’t a robbery. There was a rumor that it was over an affair with the girlfriend of a drug dealer, but that was just a rumor. And that’s a heck of a thing to put out there if you’re not 100 percent sure that’s the case.

Everyone loves “Big Papi,” both in Boston where he starred for the Red Sox and in his native land. I guess there are Yankees’ fans that aren’t crazy about him, but certainly they wouldn’t go as far as having him shot. Remember the story that a Red Sox fan put an Ortiz jersey in the concrete when they were building the new Yankee Stadium? Still, no reason to shoot him.

Well, as it turns out, “no sense” makes perfect sense. There didn’t seem to be a reason for this because there was none.

Ortiz was the victim of mistaken identity. Victor Hugo Gomez, who has been arrested for planning the shooting, had ordered a hit on his cousin, Sixto David Fernandez, and the shooters shot Big Papi by mistake. That’s a pretty big mistake.

I know these things can happen, as I’ve watched every episode of “The Sopranos.” However, this is like ordering a hit on Pauly Walnuts and the hit men shoot Joe Torre by mistake. That’s not supposed to happen.

Unfortunately for Ortiz, he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and apparently looks like the wrong guy. To be honest, I don’t know anyone who looks much like Big Papi that I know. He has a look all his own, or so I thought.

Now Gomez is fearing for his life because he, allegedly of course, was the one who put out the hit that mistakenly ended up putting a national hero in the hospital. I guess if it was just his cousin he was trying to kill and not a famous baseball player, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal.



Here’s something I saw at the bottom of the page on the internet when I was reading something completely different.

Apparently a rapper named “Wack 100,” and you have to trust me on this because I’m not that up on rappers, got into an altercation with former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson on Tyson’s podcast “Hot Boxin’,” which I’m not the least bit familiar with. Supposedly punches were exchanged.

There is footage of the incident but the article said it won’t be released. Supposedly Tyson got the better of the tif as “Wack” reported he had a headache but “was still pretty.”

There’s a photo of Tyson on the post wearing a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” hoodie. Great publicity for Jimmy, don’t you think?


Free agency frenzy

What a crazy time the first week of July has become in the NBA? Players are changing teams one after another as talks with free agents began on Sunday night.

As I write this, Kawhi Leonard has yet to agree to terms. He seems to have it narrowed down between the Raptors, who he just led to an NBA championship, and the two Los Angeles teams, the Lakers and Clippers.

If he signs with the Raptors or the Clippers we’re looking at a great NBA season for 2019-20. As many as 10 teams could be legitimate contenders for next June’s championship, where in the past three years the Warriors, with “if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em” Kevin Durant on the team, it was 29 teams trying to beat heavily favored Golden State. And most folks assume Golden State would have won again if Durant hadn’t been injured.

Depending on what happens with Leonard, we could have that again. If he goes to the Lakers they would have, in my mind, the three best players in the league all on the same team. At the least, three of the top five in Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Unless you’re a Lakers fan, you don’t want that to happen. That would be like the 1992 Olympics with the “Dream Team,” only everyone but the Lakers would be Argentina. In the U.S., no one cried for Argentina after Micheal Jordan and a team full of future Hall of Famers destroyed them, 87-41, in the Olympics in Barcelona.

In the NBA, there would be lots of crying if LeBron, Kawhi and “The Brow” hooked up. To me, it would take a lot of fun out of the season.

Here’s hope that Leonard signs with the Raptors, or at least the Clippers, so we have a competitive NBA season. And don’t worry, Lakers’ fans, they’ll still be plenty good with LeBron and A.D.

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