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Break didn’t put brakes on athletic career

Like Rodney Dangerfield, state veteran golfer Nick McCaslin has recently received little respect. McCaslin’s name has at times inadvertently been left out of the weekly Greater Spokane League results or his name misspelled.

“Everybody at school today was calling me ‘Mick,’ ” he said Tuesday night following the most recent slight.

It was reported he shared low gross score of 74 in the Coeur d’Alene Invitational. Omitted was the fact he won the tournament in a three-way playoff.

“It’s kind of nice to see it all in the paper afterwards and reflect on it,” McCaslin said.

But he is made of stern stuff, considering how he came to golf in the first place. A bone tumor discovered in his left leg necessitated surgery when he was in fifth grade.

“I was playing soccer and we all thought I had shin splints,” he said. “I was out of soccer and all the sports that I loved.”

A bone marrow transplant from his hip to the bone didn’t take, he said. Bone from a cadaver had to be grafted. He eventually went back to playing soccer, but broke the leg again, he said, when an opponent slide-tackled into him.

That break turned out to be lucky.

“That was when I really started playing lots of golf,” McCaslin said. “I had casually played with my dad since I was probably 6 or 7, but it really wasn’t a big deal for me.”

He remembers practicing in the rain, cast on his leg and getting soaking wet. The cast survived. The advantage of a seven-hole artificial turf putting green and a couple of bunkers in his backyard at home helped his game flourish.

“My friend, Matt Penny, convinced me to play golf in high school instead of soccer,” McCaslin said. “I’m so glad I did.”

A near scratch golfer, McCaslin qualified for state last year, missing the cut by a stroke. He’s had some summer successes, most notably shooting 74-71 at the Rosauers Open against professionals.

“It actually was one of my best accomplishments,” he said.

He, Penny and another teammate, Eric Henderson will attend New Mexico State and enroll in the golf management program which earns a degree and PGA pro certification.

Let it be known the sport of golf has treated Mick … er, Nick McCaslin well.

Herm’s home finale

Prior to the start of the softball season, North Central coach Herm Marshall proclaimed this to be his last.

“This is it,” Marshall said. “Thirty-eight years is enough.”

Today will be his last home game. The team plans to honor him for 21 years at the helm.

Marshall began when teams played modified softball and helped usher in the fastpitch era. The Indians have qualified for state three straight years, placing fourth in 2007. They are currently 7-10 and a regional qualifier.

“He coached my wife and me in baseball the year before that,” said Jamie Stewart, a 1989 grad who assists with the softball program. “Herm’s done a lot for kids over the years.”

Burger hurting

A week ago during practice, Shadle Park softball speedster Allie Burger was hit in the wrist by a ball and suffered hairline fracture causing her to miss two games.

“She played (Tuesday) in a limited role as a runner,” Highlanders coach George Lynn said.

The Oregon-bound All-GSL outfielder had been playing third base and was leading off for Shadle this year. She’s batting .455, leads the league with 26 stolen bases and has scored 21 runs.

Lynn said that her wrist still hurts to swing away, but he expects to take advantage of her base running until she returns full time.

“I told her straight up a little bit is better than no Allie at all,” he said.

Albi soccer

GSL District 8 4A soccer continues Friday at Albi Stadium. Central Valley and Mead play at 5 p.m. in the first loser-out match. League champion Lewis and Clark plays University at 7.