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CURRENT ARTICLE
05/18/2014 - From The Press Box: Reuniting With Old Broadcast Friends, State Baseball Off To Roaring Start

 It's always nice to reconnect with old colleagues that you haven't seen or worked with in years.

Two weeks ago, I had lunch at Omaha's legendary Venice Inn (on the second to last day it was open) with a couple of great Omaha sports announcers, Thom Corritore and Jim Kelter.

I usually talk to Thom at least two or three times a week about everything from the broadcast business to the latest news happenings.  Jim was just catching up, reminiscing about the good ol' days with Thom as play-by-play guys on various Omaha radio stations, covering high school and local college sports.

It had been almost three years since I'd seen Kelter.  He was in good spirits and loved reliving the days of when he was fully involved in Omaha's sports scene.

Kelter came to Omaha in May 1973 to work as the sports director and anchor the sportscasts at 6pm and 10pm on KMTV.  He took over a job that made Dave Blackwell such a popular sports guy (he left to take a similar job in Salt Lake City).  Kelter had worked TV and radio prior to coming to Nebraska.  He worked TV gigs in Terre Haute and Evansville, Indiana.



It didn't take along for Kelter to live up to the bar set by Blackwell.

Even to this day, there are still some people that were old enough to remember Jim on Channel 3 that firmly believe he was one of (if not the) best sportscasters around.  He co-hosted the Tom Osborne Show with KOLN-KGIN's Mark Ahmann and did the play-by-play of Creighton basketball games on Channel 3.

Kelter left KMTV sometime in late 1978 or early 1979 and spent many years doing sports work on the radio in Omaha.  Occasionally, he left the business but returned in a certain capacity.  He even moved to Lincoln in the early to mid-1980s, only to return to Omaha and get married again.  Nowadays, Jim is semi-retired and enjoys spending time with his wife, Linda, along with their grandchildren.

I met Jim ten years ago, when I was doing some "freelance" work for a now-defunct website, "Omaha Play-By-Play."  He saw something in me with my play-by-play work and did all he could to help me out to maintain my part of the webpage.

When I left to start this site in July 2004, I still kept in touch with Jim.   About a year after I started LincolnPrepSports.com, I told him it was nothing personal toward him about leaving.  In fact, he was not part of the equation when I decided to part ways with Omaha Play-By-Play.  It was a business issue I had with one of the higher ups at the time.

Kelter quit doing play-by-play work for Omaha Play-By-Play after the 2006-2007 school year.  He had inherited the website all to himself and work became overwhelming.  He's done some games on LincolnPrepSports.com, most recently in 2009.

When Jim, Thom and myself had lunch in Omaha, it was great to catch up about the new happenings in the broadcasting business and have a few laughs.   

I can tell you this......if you gave Jim a headset, scoresheet and roster, he could probably still do a game on the spot and have the starting lineup completely memorized within five minutes.  He was that good.


STATE BASEBALL OFF TO A ROARING START

Norris and Elkhorn posted large-margin wins Saturday in the opening round of the Class B state baseball tournament.  Their 4pm quarterfinal on Monday will be worth watching.  

While those two games were blowouts, Lincoln Pius X only won 2-0 over Bennington and Omaha Skutt edged Seward 1-0 in extra innings to round out the first day of action at Werner Park in Papillion.

For now, my picks to win out Class B are Norris, Pius X and Elkhorn.  The Antlers had three batters hit home runs in their 13-4 victory over Omaha Roncalli.

In Lincoln, it was weird not having any LPS teams in the Class A tournament.  The big upset of the day was Grand Island beating Omaha Creighton Prep 11-3.  Unlike the downpour during opening game in the 2008 tournament at Sherman Field, the Islanders rallied and beat the Junior Jays with sunshine and temperatures in the mid to upper 60s.

Omaha Westside is the favorite to win Class A again.  Don't rule out Papillion-LaVista South, Millard West and, for that matter, Grand Island.

The next few days should prove to be interesting.

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