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Stolen clubs put a damper on his day

Nic Caplan had a pretty good day last Thursday as he wrapped up District 3A/2A/1A boys golf medalist honors at the Running Y golf course near Klamath Falls.

Friday morning, however, wasn't so swell.

"I put my golf clubs where I always put them when I got back about 6:30 or 7," Caplan says. "The next morning my mom went out there and said she didn't see them."

The St. Mary's junior checked the garage of his Kristen Drive home, but nothing else was missing. Only his blue Titleist bag and its $2,000 worth of contents had vanished.

"The clubs are kept in the back of the garage behind the cars, where nobody can see them," Caplan says. "Someone had to go through the back gate and the back door into the garage."

The odd thing was a similar set of clubs, belonging to his brother Jason - a St. Mary's senior - was left behind.

"He was really surprised that they didn't take his clubs too, because they're almost the same," Nic Caplan says.

He filed a police report, checked local pawn dealers and pro shops to no avail.

So instead of honing his game for next Monday and Tuesday's state tournament at Diamond Woods near Monroe, Caplan was scurrying around attempting to replace the purloined clubs.

"A bag's a bag," he says. The Titleist 981 irons and driver were easily replaced, but the putter, 5-wood and wedges were a different matter.

"It was nice having those clubs, " he says. "I guess I'm going to have to get used to some new clubs.

"It's been more of a distraction than anything. I'm past being bothered by (the theft) and I can't do anything about it."

He managed to get a practice round in last Saturday at Eagle Point, using his brother's clubs.

"I could definitely tell the difference in the wedges and around the green," Caplan says.

Besides the clubs, there's one other piece of hardware, the family will need to tend to.

"We're going to put a lock on the back door," he says. "There was a lock on the door, but it's broken."

* * *

THE FINAL DAY of the Southern Oregon Conference baseball race promises to be a boon to cell phone time providers.

With three of the four scheduled doubleheaders having a direct impact on the playoffs, not to mention first place, rest assured there will be added interest in what goes on between South Medford and Roseburg at Legion Field, Crater and North Medford at Miles Field and Ashland and Eagle Point at The Yard.

Ashland, Crater, North and South are tied for first place with 8-4 records, while Roseburg is mathematically alive with a 6-6 record.

If the three aforementioned twin bills are split, there will be a four-way tie for first. But there could be any number of combinations following Saturday's play.

The key contests are between Crater and North, the two teams that played for the 2000 state championship.

SOC guidelines deal with breaking two-way and three-way ties, but don't mention four-way ties. Doubtlessly, that will be a matter of discussion when the athletic directors gather for their monthly meeting Wednesday.

The Ashland Grizzlies have never appeared in the baseball playoffs, so the positive buzz surrounding the club is understandable.

"We've had good crowds and there's been a lot more attention to baseball than anytime since I've been here," Ashland athletic director Jim Nagel says. "Things are heating up, it's been amazing. We're looking forward to finding ourselves in the playoffs."

* * *

NORTH MEDFORD SENIOR distance runner Ben Anderson has sign a letter of intent to run for Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.

"We believe Ben will be an important contributor to the team," says Lewis-Clark State College cross country and track coach Mike Collins. "He doesn't have as much experience in running as a lot of other kids coming out of high school and has really never run year around because of basketball in the winter. But because he is less experienced we believe he will show great improvements as he gets in more running.

"The other big positive behind Ben is that he is very competitive. If anyone has ever seen him play basketball, they know what I mean. We hope he will bring that intensity and desire over and apply it to his running."

* * *

A SLOUGH OF ONE-RUN losses has likely ended Grants Pass' run toward a third consecutive state softball playoff appearance. The Cavers trail Ashland by two games for the Southern Oregon Conference's final playoff berth with two games to play on Saturday.

Grants Pass dropped a pair of one-run decisions to Roseburg last week and has one-run losses to Churchill, North Medford and Redmond as well.

"We've played the toughest of the tough and been right with them," Grants Pass coach Clay Rounsaville says. "But we just can't get over the hump."

* * *

ASHLAND HIGH PLANS to name a successor for veteran cross country/track and field coach Bob Julian next week.

A likely candidate is Bob Julian Jr., currently a coach at Crater High.

Reach reporter at 776-4483, or e-mail