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I Smell a T-rout

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I think my value as a sports reporter is that I can sniff out a story.

Two weeks ago my editor assigned me the state baseball tournament’s Sectional 44 finale at South Vermillion High School near Clinton, Indiana. It was a coveted assignment. Southmont was the last remaining Montgomery County school in the tournament … and Clinton has a great Italian restaurant!

Hey! If Southmont lost, can you think of a better way to ease my angst than by absorbing a robust plate of crab cioppino?

Sadly, the restaurant wasn’t open. The good news is that I didn’t need it. Southmont won its first sectional title in fifteen years!

If you kept a scorebook during the game, did you notice that my Box Score didn’t match yours? That’s not rare, I’m afraid. I get to watching the game, and in the excitement I forget to write things down.

This time, however, I had a better (or worse) reason for messing up my stats — I wasn’t there.

You see, from my house, South Vermillion High School is a surprising hour-and-a-half road trip. When I realized that I was running late, I decided there just has to be a direct cross country route, and I turned to my cell phone to find it.

Google Maps™ popped up a sure-fire, straight-line path through northern Clay and Vigo counties that would save 17 minutes of drive time! Hooray!

A satellite can indeed find a country road. It can’t tell you its condition. A Lunar Excursion Module couldn’t make time on that road, and by the time I showed up at Clinton, the first inning was over.

The upside to getting off the beaten path, even a beaten moonscape, is that you see places most people won’t see. I bounced my way through tiny Sandcut, Indiana, which has a fire house, but little else. Still, my nose told me there was something special about this burg.

Later, I turned to my friend and sports oracle. “Could Sandcut have had a basketball team?” I asked.

“Not really,” said O. “They existed back in the 1920’s, but were absorbed early on.”

Then the O gave me my story:

“But, Sandcut is famous for Dizzy Trout,” he said.

“Great!” I exclaimed. “So, just how do they make these shaky shad?” I asked, conjuring up images of Saturday Night Live’s “Bass-o-matic” sketch.

“No! Not dizzy fish, Dizzy Trout! He was a pitcher in the majors. Major League Baseball,” O corrected.

Sure enough, a quick call to the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in Jasper, Indiana confirmed it. Paul Howard “Dizzy” Trout played from 1939 to 1957, and won two pennants with Detroit. He won 27 games in 1944, and finished runner-up to his pen-mate Hal Newhouser in the MVP voting.

He was born in Sandcut!

Can I sniff out a story, or what? … At least if its a fish tale, and I’m craving crab cioppino.