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Missoula's Riley King starting out in Arizona League

Missoula's Riley King starting out in Arizona League

It was about three weeks ago now that the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball snatched up Missoulian Riley King in the 2013 MLB first-year player draft.

The 19-year-old outfielder quickly chose baseball over returning to the hoops program at Carroll College, signing to play in the Royals’ minor league system and jetting off to Arizona and Kansas City’s extended spring training facility in Surprise. That was the last time we’d heard from the Missoula Sentinel graduate.

Well now an update: King will remain in Arizona, at least for now, with the Royals’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League this season.

King boarded a plane for the southwest on June 11, two days after finishing his pro paperwork. All of the recently signed draftees from the organization would be there before getting divvied up along the minor-league ladder.

When the Arizona Royals opened their season on June 20, the 24th-rounder from Missoula was in the starting lineup batting fifth.

He hasn’t had the success that fans of the Missoula Mavericks had come to expect on a daily basis, but then again this isn’t exactly Montana American Legion pitching he’s facing either. King has a .208 batting average through six games and is still looking for his first extra base hit.

Still, he’s nothing if not consistent. King opened the season on a three-game hitting streak and has hits in five of the Royals’ first six games. He’s also one of only seven position players on the team who hasn’t committed an error yet. None of the other six has played in more than five games either.

We’ll keep you up to speed on any happenings related to Missoula’s recently drafted baseball star throughout the summer. Should King get the call up to advanced rookie, one step up in the minor league system, his destination will be Idaho Falls and the Chukars of the Pioneer League.

Missoula plays two series against the Chukars this summer, once at home July 13-15 and once on the road July 20-23. King will have to play some inspired ball in Arizona to make the jump in the next two weeks for a trip back to Missoula.

Until that call finally comes, he’ll have to start trying to enjoy that broiling Arizona sunshine.

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  • 03 Feb 2015

    UPDATED: 2015 national signing day's western Montana football commits

    UPDATED: With fall camps just around the corner, the list of western Montana natives in the Missoulian's coverage area has swelled near 50. Take a look:
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  • 23 May 2014

    Makena Morley gets creative to fund trip to track nationals

    Ever wanted an autographed photo of one of Montana's all-time record-breaking prep runners? Now's your chance. Bigfork High School junior and State B champion of champions Makena Morley is raising money through technology and grass roots to help her reach the New Balance Outdoor High School Track & Field Nationals meet in Greensboro, North Carolina in mid June. And any donors of $25 or more through the fundraising website IndieGoGo.com receive a Morley original complete with signature.  As of this posting, Morley is about 75 percent of the way to her goal of $2,300 for travel and lodging costs for her and her father to the national meet. Events run June 13-15. Morley isn't new to the national running scene, but she appears to be getting create in funding her trips there. She won the West Regional of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships back in December and then finished eighth in the ensuing national race. "As a junior I have been to 4 national championship races (three in cross country and one for indoor track) but I have never won a national title, so this one is very important to me because I would love for this to be the year for me to win," Morley wrote on her IndieGoGo.com fundraising page. "It is an important year for my college recruiting process, because this is the year when all colleges are looking at you and at what you have accomplished!" IndieGoGo is a kind of online kickstarter to raise money for a cause or idea. It's "the world’s most established crowdfunding platform," according to the organization's website. Crowdfunding is the process of pooling money from many different people for a cause. Morley, a three-time winner of the State B cross country title and Gatorade Runner of the Year for Montana, plans to run the 5,000 meters at the New Balance Nationals along with either the one or two mile. For more about her trip to nationals, or to donate, you can visit her page here.

  • 12 Feb 2015

    Entry to Montana wrestling's Four-Timers Club just got tougher

    Winning four straight state wrestling titles is hard enough, but the reclassification of weight classes in Montana that began this year will likely make the feat decidedly more difficult. When the Montana High Schools Association shifted from 15 to 13 wrestling classes, it eliminated the weight at which many four-timers wrestled as freshmen. The 98 and 105 weights were combined -- as were 195 and 220 on the upper end -- to form a new hybrid weight of 103 that will leave fewer holes in brackets and dual lineups. But it also adds new competition for the lightest weight, the one typically housing freshmen, by doubling the participants. "It's going to be interesting with the weight changes," said Columbia Falls wrestling coach Jesse Schaeffer, who has a senior in his wrestling room chasing state title No. 4 this week in Shonn Roberts. "I think that's going to maybe reduce that." Twenty-three Montana wrestlers have completed their four-peats and 11 of those started at 98 pounds of lower -- Gene Davis of Missoula County High, the state's first four-timer, won his freshman year at 95 pounds in 1960 before a similar weight shift later in the decade. Add in Roberts, who will compete at 138 pounds when state action begins Friday in Billings but won at 98 in 2012, and that's exactly half. "It's kind of weird since that's what I wrestled at as a freshman," Roberts began, "but 103, the 98-105 mix, I think that's reasonable. It'll make things a little bit tougher." That's hardly the thinking behind merging weights, though. At either extreme ends of the weight scale (195 and 220 became the 205 class) fewer teams -- especially at lower classifications -- could field a full lineup. Many times, too few entrants there led to a state bracket marred by automatic byes and regular season duals that might as well skip on to 105 pounds anyway. The unintended consequence is that 2015 may be near the last time wrestling fans will get a trio of four-time possibles all on the mats at the same time. Sidney's Gresh Jones joins Roberts in the Class A tournament this week at 126 pounds searching for his fourth, while Forsyth's Matt Weber will be the talk of Class B-C with a potential fourth title. Both boys won their first -- and lightest -- at 112 pounds, though.