A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience:
*Roy Lotspeich earned a degree in agriculture from Oklahoma A&M; while doing so, he rode bulls for the Aggies' rodeo team. He later co-owned Laverne Downs Racetrack from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s. Lotspeich also bred and raised race horses. A farmer and rancher by trade, Lotspeich was a Rosston resident at the time of death at age 81.
*Michael Stoltz, 26, was an infielder for the Midwest City High School baseball team. The 2005 Oklahoman All-City honorable mention selection played for American Legion teams, the Outlaws and Bandits. He also played junior college ball at Rose State. The certified nursing assistant had just been accepted to the fire academy.
*Norman resident Bill Hansmeyer was an electrician by trade. Off time activities included bowling — and Hansmeyer was good at it. He rolled five 300 games sanctioned by the U.S. Bowling Congress. The Korean War veteran died at age 81.
*Robert Douglas, 83, retired in Lawton as an Army chief warrant officer. Before joining the military, the Washington, D.C., native played college football at Clemson.
*Yeoman Williams of Anadarko played baseball at Concho, El Reno and Riverside schools. He later participated in Indian tournament softball in Oklahoma and Texas. The iron worker died at age 50.
*Mike Nettles, 49, played high school football at Lawton Eisenhower, earning a scholarship to Southwestern Oklahoma State. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber employee was also an award-winning fisherman.
*Bill Starbuck, 80, stock car racer. ... Carla Curts, 64, raised and showed Great Danes. ... Jeff Sanders, 51, spent many fall Friday nights under stadium lights. He played trumpet in the Stillwater High marching band. ... Scotty Caldwell, 55, of Ardmore was a competitive bull rider as a youth. ... Lawton resident Tony Holt, 75, played baseball and basketball at Central High School. ... Retired police officer James McGill, 76, was a Little League Baseball and football coach. ... Former McLish High baseball player Jason Robins died at age 28.
By the numbers
41: How many times this season Central Oklahoma baseball player Tyler Crabtree was hit by a pitch, tying an NCAA Division II single-season record.
“I think it's pretty good record to have,” said Crabtree. “I know my role on the team is to get on base so the big guys can knock me in.”
Crabtree happily admits he crowds the plate — a practice he's done since Little League days — and totaled a good number of bruises and strawberries. Elbow, thigh, backside, you name a body part, he's probably been thunked there. The McAlester junior has never charged the mound because, he says, that doesn't do the team any good.
“If they want to hit me on purpose, go ahead and do me a favor,” he said. “My goal is to get that 90 feet.”
Crabtree said he was actually hit a 42nd time during the Bronchos' last game of the season, and he would've topped the HBP chart by himself. But the umpire ruled Crabtree out.
“He said I leaned over the plate too much, and the pitch was strike. So he called me out,” he said.
2: Career feature wins for rising sprint car driver Brandon Jennings. The 27-year-old from Norman comes from a terrific gene pool. Father Bruce, uncle Rickey and cousin Danny combined for a dozen championships and dozens more A feature wins at State Fair Speedway before it was demolished after the 2009 season. Brandon has gone from sitting in his mom's lap as a baby in the grandstands to building engines for his own sprint car — just like everyone else in the fast family.
Win No. 2 came a few weeks ago at Lawton Speedway, and he goes into Saturday's races just 70 points out of first place. Is this a breakthrough season?
“I'd like for it to be,” Brandon said. “It takes a combination of laps and equipment, and I know we have more horsepower than usual. My dad is my setup man, so we have the knowledge.”
A land man by trade, Jennings felt a little pressure early in his racing career to follow in the tracks of the family's winning tradition. “But I'm not worried about it now. If I retired tomorrow, I would hope people would say that I was making progress.”
Truth be told
The Oklahoman asked high school athletes: What did you do last summer to make money?
James Reeves, golf, Casady:
“Worked as a caddie.”
Eduardo Meza, soccer, Capitol Hill:
“Worked as a cashier at Walgreen's.”
Shali Schoepflin, tennis, Edmond Memorial:
“I refereed basketball at the YMCA.”