Sports with Chuck McGill Dedicated to the stats and the silly in sports

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switz

Charleston native Ryan Switzer, who was a two-time Kennedy Award winner at George Washington High School before starring at North Carolina in football, proposed to his significant other, Gabie Dinsbeer over the weekend. Switzer, ever the showman, made the announcement on social media and it had received nearly 7,000 “likes” and almost 1,400 retweets on Twitter. He also posted the announcement to Instagram.

Switzer is a rising senior for the Tar Heels.

5-0! 50! (for the Power)

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When Alen Hanson pinch-hit for the Pittsburgh Pirates last night, he became a milestone for the West Virginia Power.

The former Power infielder, who starred during the 2012 season, made his Major League Baseball debut on Monday night. He also became the 50th former Power player to make his MLB debut since the Power rebranded itself before the 2005 season.

Here is a full list:

Ryan Braun    2005    Milwaukee; May 25, 2007
Yovani Gallardo    2005    Milwaukee; June 18, 2007
Joe Thatcher    2006    San Diego; July 26, 2007
Hernan Iribarren    2005    Milwaukee; April 12, 2008
Mat Gamel    2005-06    Milwaukee; Sept. 3, 2008
Alcides Escobar    2005    Milwaukee; Sept. 3, 2008
Ángel Salomé    2005-06    Milwaukee; Sept. 3, 2008
Matt LaPorta    2007    Cleveland; May 3, 2009
Carlos Corporan    2005    Milwaukee; May 6, 2009
Michael Brantley    2006-07    Cleveland; Sept. 1, 2009
Jonathan Lucroy    2008    Milwaukee; May 21, 2010
Zach Braddock    2007-2008    Milwaukee; May 23, 2010
Lorenzo Cain    2006    Milwaukee; July 16, 2010
Mike McClendon    2007    Milwaukee; June 6, 2006
Darren Ford    2006-07    San Francisco; Sept. 1, 2010
Jeremy Jeffries    2007    Milwaukee; Sept. 1, 2010
Mark Rogers    2005    Milwaukee; Sept. 10, 2010
Chase d’Arnaud    2009    Pittsburgh; June 24, 2011
Eric Fryer    2008    Pittsburgh; June 26, 2011
Steve Garrison    2006    New York (AL); July 25, 2011
Eric Farris    2008    Milwaukee; July 28, 2011
Taylor Green    2007    Milwaukee; Aug. 31, 2011
Logan Schafer    2008    Milwaukee; Sept. 2, 2011
Martín Maldonado    2007    Milwaukee; Sept. 3, 2011
Lucas Luetge    2008    Seattle; April 7, 2012
Wily Peralta    2008    Milwaukee; April 22, 2012
Starling Marté    2009    Pittsburgh; July 26, 2012
Kyle McPherson    2009-10    Pittsburgh; Aug. 20, 2012
Phil Irwin    2010    Pittsburgh; April 14, 2013
Robbie Grossman    2009    Houston; April 24, 2013
Donovan Hand    2007    Milwaukee; May 26, 2013
Caleb Gindl    2008    Milwaukee; June 15, 2013
Brandon Cumpton    2011    Pittsburgh; June 15, 2013
Tony Sanchez    2009    Pittsburgh; June 23, 2013
Duke Welker    2009-10    Pittsburgh; June 23, 2013
Vic Black        2010-11    Pittsburgh; July 25, 2013
Rob Wooten    2008    Milwaukee; July 26, 2013
Casey Sadler    2011    Pittsburgh; May 2, 2014
Rudy Owens    2009    Houston; May 23, 2014
Gregory Polanco    2012    Pittsburgh; June 10, 2014
Zelous Wheeler    2008    New York (AL); July 3, 2014
Dilson Herrera    2013    New York (NL); Aug. 29, 2014
Hunter Strickland    2009-10    San Francisco; Sept. 1, 2014
Guilder Rodríguez    2005    Texas; Sept. 9, 2014
Diego Moreno    2009    New York (AL); June 22, 2015
Ryan Kelly    2009    Atlanta; June 30, 2015
Ramon Cabrera    2010    Cincinnati; Sept. 5, 2015
Elias Diaz    2011    Pittsburgh; Sept. 12, 2015
Yhonathan Barrios    2014    Milwaukee; Sept. 25, 2015
Alen Hanson    2012    Pittsburgh; May 16, 2016

Lacrosse’s popularity

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About a decade ago I worked for a newspaper in Virginia and hired a former collegiate lacrosse player as one of my sportswriters. On one of our rare, empty Saturdays, he took me to a nearby Division III school and tried to show me how to play lacrosse.

It did not work.

It’s not because I don’t have hand-eye coordination or lack athleticism. I found it a challenging sport to pick up later in life. What it did do, however, was give me a new perspective of the sport. It wasn’t that I didn’t respect the sport previously, but I had no point of reference to sculpt an opinion.

That seems to be the story of lacrosse here in West Virginia. I was born here and raised here and had no idea about the sport. That’s changing.

In Wednesday’s Charleston Gazette-Mail I wrote about George Washington’s club lacrosse team, which is in the state semifinals this weekend and two steps away from a state championship (click to read!). They’re a tremendous story, a program started in 2008 that has steadily grown in the years since, but they’re also part of a smaller story about lacrosse in the Mountain State. I felt the need to try and tell that story, too, because it’s important.

“I’d say it’s a sexy sport,” Maloney said. “It’s got the movement of football, it’s got the endurance of soccer, it’s got the hitting of hockey, it’s got the scoring of basketball. Everybody loves scoring.

“When you take a sport like lacrosse that involves all of that, it’s really fun and people gravitate toward it.”

It’s clear that the sport is experiencing a boon in our beloved little state right now. There are now 31 boys and girls lacrosse teams at the prep level. The Charleston YMCA is pulling in kids from all over the Kanawha Valley and grooming them to be tomorrow’s stars. The area is producing All-Americans now. Student-athletes are parlaying their skills into scholarships.

It’ll be interesting to see how much it can grow here. The passion is undeniable … and growing.