HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL-NCC/AREA

Indy Tech 9 Muncie Central 8

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Miami 3 Baltimore 0

Pittsburgh 3 Detroit 2

Colorado 6 Houston 3

Atlanta 4 NY Yankees 1

Detroit 5 Pittsburgh 2

Oakland 13 Minnesota 12 (10)

Texas 7 LA Angels 4

Chicago White Sox at Cleveland postponed

Toronto 6 Boston 3

Kansas City 9 Tampa Bay 8

Philadelphia 6 San Francisco 5

Washington 1 St. Louis 0

Milwaukee 4 San Diego 2

Arizona 5 Cincinnati 4

Arizona 8 Cincinnati 5 (01)

Chicago Cubs 16 NY Mets 4

WEDNESDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/mlb/scoreboard.asp

NBA SCOREBOARD

Cleveland 121 Chicago 105

Indiana 122 Oklahoma City 116

Phoenix 116 Philadelphia 113

Washington 118 Golden State 114

Toronto 114 Brooklyn 103

Utah 112 Houston 89

New York 137 Atlanta 127 OT

Dallas 127 Detroit 117

Miami 107 San Antonio 87

LA Clippers 117 Memphis 105….Desmond Bane 10PTS, 2REB, 1ASST

Denver 106 Portland 105

Sacramento 128 Minnesota 125

WEDNESDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nba/scoreboard.asp

NHL SCOREBOARD

Chicago 5 Nashville 4

Toronto and Winnipeg postponed

Minnesota 4 Arizona 1

Vegas 5 San Jose 2

Montréal 4 Edmonton 3

Calgary at Vancouver postponed

WEDNESDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nhl/scoreboard.asp

TOP HEADLINES

VanMeter’s homer ties it, Diamondbacks beat Reds in the 10th

CINCINNATI (AP) Josh VanMeter hit a tying three-run homer in the ninth inning against his former team, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-5 in 10 innings for their second win on Wednesday.

In the conclusion of Tuesday’s night’s suspended game, Arizona held on for a 5-4 victory. Stefan Crichton pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his second save.

The Diamondbacks trailed 3-0 heading to the ninth in the regularly scheduled contest. But Amir Garrett issued two walks before VanMeter drove a 2-2 pitch deep to right for his first homer of the season.

VanMeter broke into the majors with Cincinnati in 2019 and was traded to Arizona on Aug. 31.

“I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a heck of a ride right there,” VanMeter said. “I kind of floated around the bases. That’s a moment I’ll remember for a long, long time.”

The Diamondbacks broke it open with five runs in the 10th. Pavin Smith scored on an error on second baseman Alex Blandino, and Wyatt Mathisen had a key two-run single.

“You pile up eight runs in the final two innings of the game, you’re probably going to come out on the high side of things,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “The way we did that was a patient approach and creating some traffic on the bases.”

The Reds scored two runs in the bottom half of the 10th, but Taylor Clarke (1-0) got Eugenio Suarez to ground out to shortstop and retired Joey Votto on a fly ball to left to end it.

Cincinnati wasted a terrific performance by Tyler Mahle, who struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings. Cionel Perez (1-2) got the loss.

The Reds had a chance to win the game in the ninth. Mark Payton tried to score from first on a two-out bloop double by Tyler Stephenson, but he was nailed at the plate on a great throw from right fielder Kole Calhoun.

“This is probably our biggest win of the year,” Calhoun said.

Tuesday’s night’s game was halted because of heavy rain, and soon snow, after Reds reliever Lucas Sims walked in a run to give the Diamondbacks the lead in the eighth.

J.B. Bukauskas (1-0) got the third out in the seventh for the win in his major league debut. Garrett (0-1) took the loss.

Diamondbacks hold off Reds 5-4 to finish suspended game

CINCINNATI (AP) Stefan Crichton pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his second save, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Wednesday in the finish of a suspended game.

Tuesday’s night’s game was halted because of heavy rain, and soon snow, after Reds reliever Lucas Sims walked in a run to give the Diamondbacks a 5-4 lead in the eighth.

The restart Wednesday was delayed 25 minutes because of a band of heavy snow that passed through before the sun came out.

Sims then pitched out of a bases-loaded jam. But Cincinnati was shut out in its last two chances.

Jesse Winker singled with one out in the ninth, but Tyler Naquin popped out and Eugenio Suarez struck out swinging.

On Tuesday night, pitching in a driving rain, Sims hit pinch-hitter Wyatt Mathisen to load the bases and then walked Carson Kelly on a full count before the game was stopped.

Andrew Young, who had entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh, led off the eighth with a tying homer to center field against Reds reliever Tejay Antone.

Kyle Farmer put Cincinnati in front with a two-run homer in the sixth off Yoan Lopez, who entered after Zac Gallen walked Tucker Barnhart with two outs.

Arizona scored three times in the first on three singles and an errant throw by second baseman Jonathan India on a potential double-play ball.

J.B. Bukauskas (1-0) got the third out in the seventh for the win in his major league debut. Amir Garrett (0-1) took the loss.

“It was kind of unconventional, but any time you win a ballgame you just take it how it is,” the 24-year-old Bukauskas said. “It’s a cool story for sure.”

Báez hits slam, Cubs get boost from Mets errors in 16-4 romp

CHICAGO (AP) Javier Baez insisted he was seeing the ball well and had his timing down, though his approach was a little off and the results weren’t what he wanted.

This time, everything clicked.

Baez hit a grand slam and the Chicago Cubs took advantage of a season-high four errors by the New York Mets in a 16-4 romp on a chilly Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Baez, who struck out four times Tuesday, scored three runs in this one and hit his sixth career slam off reliever Trevor Hildenberger in the sixth inning to make it 14-4. The flashy shortstop became the first player to go 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in one game and then hit a grand slam in the next since Gorman Thomas did it for Milwaukee in the first two games of the 1978 season, according to STATS.

“I felt really good,” Baez said. “I’ve seen the ball good. My hitting coaches knew it.”

David Bote drove in four runs as the Cubs won their second straight after losing six of eight. Matt Duffy added three RBIs and Willson Contreras had two hits and scored twice.

Chicago scored its most runs since putting up 16 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 15, 2019. The fact that they scored 10 without the longball before Baez connected was a positive sign for manager David Ross.

“There were some balls well-hit even before that, a lot more of a line-drive approach I feel like, staying up the middle, and I think that’s where you see the singles come from – a couple groundballs getting through there, just out of the reach of their infielders,” he said. “Use the big part of the field and trusting and staying within your approach.”

Francisco Lindor hit his first homer for New York, and Pete Alonso launched a mammoth shot onto Waveland Avenue. But the Mets have lost the first two games of the three-game series.

Lindor connected against Zach Davies in the first. J.D. Davis made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the third, but things turned around in a big way in the fourth.

The Mets committed three errors in a seven-run fourth to match their highest total in an inning since April 16, 2019, at Philadelphia. The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate and chased David Peterson (1-2) on the way to their most lopsided win of the season.

“We’re not trying to lose games,” Lindor said. “We’re working as hard as we can every single day to win ballgames. But we’re gonna lose at least 50 games. If we win 112, that’s impressive right there. At least, we’re gonna lose 50. We understand that. We understand that we’re gonna struggle. We’re gonna have bad days, we’re gonna have good days. The best baseball teams, they stay even-keeled.”

Scherzer’s 9 K’s, Avila RBI double lift Nats past Cards 1-0

WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer struck out nine in six innings to move up to No. 21 on the career Ks leaderboard, and Alex Avila drove in the game’s lone run with one of his two doubles, helping the Washington Nationals edge the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 on a windy Wednesday.

Scherzer (1-1) retired 12 of his last 13 batters, working in short sleeves as gusts of air topping 30 mph rippled his white jersey and sent napkins and other debris twirling around Nationals Park on a 50-degree late afternoon.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out Dylan Carlson swinging through a 93 mph fastball with his 109th and final pitch. The righty’s strikeout of Justin Williams to end the fourth gave Scherzer 2,814 for his career, moving him one ahead of Hall of Famer Mike Mussina. Next up: Mickey Lolich, whose 2,832 strikeouts rank 20th in MLB history.

It wasn’t easy early for Scherzer, who loaded the bases with one out in the first inning via a hit batter, infield single and walk, but got out of it by striking out Carlson and Matt Carpenter.

Scherzer needed 49 pitches just to get through two innings, but he eventually got in a groove, giving up a total of four hits and one walk, while lowering his ERA to 1.80.

Washington scored in the second off Carlos Martínez (0-4) when Avila’s two-out double to left — his first hit as a member of the Nationals — scored Josh Bell from first base. Avila doubled to right in the fifth, but was stranded at third.

Martínez allowed four hits in six innings in his longest outing since going seven on July 7, 2018.

For the second game in a row, Nationals righty Tanner Rainey entered in relief in the seventh to protect a 1-0 lead.

On Tuesday, he put Washington in a hole by allowing two runs, before a comeback provided a 3-2 win for the Nationals. This time, he worked around a double by striking out the side.

In the eighth, Daniel Hudson gave up a hit and walked two batters to load the bases with two outs, but got Carpenter to fly out to right, before Brad Hand worked the ninth for his third save this season. It’s his 24th successful save chance in a row, the longest active streak in the majors.

A’s extend winning streak to 11, helped by 2 errors in 10th

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Ramon Laureano thought there was something in the air. He smelled victory.

“It’s like the Bay Area wind. It just smells like you’re going to win,” Laureano said Wednesday after the Oakland Athletics extended their winning streak to 11 with a 10th-inning rally fueled by two errors for a 13-12 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Luis Arraez threw away Laureano’s grounder for Minnesota’s second error the 10th inning as two runs scored.

“It’s just baseball and it’s hard to understand,” Laureano said. “We were still loose and having fun, so we knew we would win.”

Nelson Cruz had two home runs and four RBIs for the Twins, and Byron Buxton hit a two-run homer against Lou Trivino for a 12-10 lead in the 10th.

Alex Colome (1-2) got the first two outs in the bottom half with the automatic runner on second, then walked Seth Brown and Elvis Andrus, loading the bases.

Mark Canha hit what should have been a game-ending grounder to second baseman Travis Blankenhorn, who entered as a pinch runner for Josh Donaldson in the 10th, but Blankenhorn allowed the ball to bounce off his glove for a run-scoring error.

Laureano hit a one-hopper to Arraez for what again should have been the final out. Arraez, who had moved to third from second base for the 10th, sailed his throw over first baseman Willians Astudillo as the tying and winning runs scored.

“Talk about a complete flip of the script,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It felt like the game would end in some unorthodox way, like it was the whole game.”

Oakland started the season 0-6, split its next two games, then went on the 11-game winning streak, the longest in the major leagues since the A’s won 11 in a row from May May 16-27, 2019. No other team had lost its first six games and have an 11-game winning streak later that season, STATS said.

Deolis Guerra (1-0) got the final out of the 10th.

Knapp’s 9th-inning single leads Phillies past Giants 6-5

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper tied the game with one swing and scored the winning run with one hand brushing the plate. The Phillies slugger was in the mix for two late rallies that saved them from a sweep.

“That’s the most dangerous Bryce Harper you can find,” starter Zach Eflin said. “You’re starting to feel that presence go throughout the whole team. Everybody’s getting fired up about it.”

Andrew Knapp hit the winning single in the ninth inning, Harper hit a tying solo homer in the seventh and Philadelphia beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 on Wednesday.

Harper walked off Wandy Peralta (2-1) to open the ninth, and Brad Miller’s fourth hit of the game put two runners on. Knapp hit a one-out single to left, and Harper beat Alex Dickerson’s throw, scoring standing up and touching the plate with his fingertips to help the Phillies avert a three-game sweep against their former manager, Gabe Kapler, and the Giants.

Hector Neris (1-1) struck out two in a scoreless ninth for the win.

Darin Ruf had a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the seventh off Brandon Kintzler and the Giants went ahead 5-4 in the inning after left fielder Andrew McCutchen dropped a routine flyball for an error with two outs. Dickerson drove in Mike Yastrzemski two batters later for the lead. Ruf, a former Phillie, had San Francisco’s seventh pinch hit of the season and third homer and seemingly put the Giants in position to head home with a winning record on their trip.

Gomber lifts Rockies 6-3, Astros’ 9th loss in 10 games

DENVER (AP) — Austin Gomber got his first victory for the Colorado Rockies, allowing two hits over six innings to beat the Astros 6-3 on a wintry Wednesday afternoon and send Houston to its ninth loss in 10 games.

It was 34 degrees at first pitch and a light snow fell throughout the game, gaining in intensity.

The weather didn’t bother Gomber (1-2), among five players acquired from St. Louis in the Feb. 1 trade that sent star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals.

“You try to block it out the best you can. It’s cold, there’s no way around that,” said Gomber, who grew up in Florida. “It’s not something ideally I’d love to do every five days but they had to go through the same conditions on the other side. It was an experience, for sure. It’s the first time I’ve ever pitched in snow like that, but no real issues gripping the ball.”

Gomber allowed Yuli Gurriel’s two-run homer in the second but just one hit and a walk after. The 27-year-old left-hander walked two and struck out six, including the side in order in the fifth, and retired 14 of his last 16 batters.

Houston starter José Urquidy (0-2) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings.

MLB, players’ union meet for 1st CBA talks, sources say

Leaders from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met Tuesday for their first official negotiating session a little more than six months before the sport’s collective bargaining agreement lapses, sources told ESPN.

The long-anticipated meeting between the sides marked the first foray into what many in the sport fear could be a contentious and protracted negotiation, with the possibility of a work stoppage upon the Dec. 1 expiration of the current deal. Relations between the league and players have grown combative in recent years, with both sides accusing the other of operating in bad faith amid multiple failed efforts to reach deals.

The league and union declined to comment on the discussions.

At the same time, baseball has found unprecedented economic success amid more than a quarter-century of labor peace, and players and officials likewise continue to express hope that the differences between the sides can be bridged during the next half-year of discussions. Owners and players both understand that the $10 billion-a-year industry could be gravely harmed by a labor dispute.

The meeting, held over videoconference, included dozens of people, including player leadership. It was the first negotiating session between the sides since the union turned down MLB’s offer for a paused-and-shortened season with full pay that included expanded playoffs. Between those discussions and the failed negotiations about when to resume the delayed season in 2020 that led to commissioner Rob Manfred implementing a 60-game season, mistrust between the sides deepened and fostered the pessimism about the chances of an on-time agreement that percolate around the game.

Negative feelings on the players’ side have festered since the last basic agreement was instituted Dec. 1, 2016, and further tilted the sport’s economics in favor of the teams. Player salaries have dropped for three consecutive seasons — and are expected to fall in 2021, too. While the best players in the sport continue to reap massive windfalls — from the $300 million-plus contracts of Mookie Betts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Lindor and Gerrit Cole to the $40 million salary this year for Trevor Bauer — MLB’s middle class has contracted significantly.

An overhaul of baseball’s core economic system is highly unlikely, sources said, citing the limited amount of time to strike a deal and keep labor peace uninterrupted since 1995. The union nevertheless intends to target spending and competitive integrity — particularly the promotion of competition by all teams — among its priorities with a new deal. Players are also in favor of funneling money to players earlier in their careers, the potential for free agency before six years of service and a solution to — or at least remedy of — service-time manipulation.

MLB, whose efforts to tie an expanded postseason to a pause this season were rebuffed by the union this spring, is expected to pursue a larger playoff field than the 10 teams that will participate this October. The league has also spent significant time and effort looking at potential rule changes that would help increase action in games and speed them up, measures that could be considered at the bargaining table.

Maldonado, Astros agree to contract for ’22 adding $5.5M

HOUSTON (AP) Catcher Martin Maldonado and the Houston Astros have agreed to a $5.5 million, one-year contract for 2022.

The deal announced Wednesday includes a $5 million salary for 2022 and a $4 million team option for 2023 with a $500,000 buyout. The 2023 salary would become guaranteed at $5 million if Maldonado plays in 90 or more games this year.

His contract provides that he get a hotel suite on road trips plus award bonuses.

Maldonado is making $3.5 million in 2021, the second season of a $7 million, two-year contract. His 2020 pay was reduced to about $1.296 million by the coronavirus pandemic.

A Gold Glove winner in 2017, the 34-year-old Maldonado is 3 for 34 (.088) with no RBIs in 37 plate appearances this season. He has a .216 career average with 69 homers and 244 RBIs.

The Astros credit him for helping 15 rookie pitchers last season, including 10 who made their major league debuts.

He would have been eligible for free agency after the World Series.

Former big league player, coach Tom Robson dead at age 75

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — Former major league player and coach Tom Robson has died. He was 75.

Robson died of natural causes on Tuesday at Memory Care Facility in Chandler, Arizona, New York Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Wednesday.

Taken by the Mets on the 50th round of the 1967 amateur draft, Robson played two seasons in the major leagues, both with the Texas Rangers. He batted .208 with four RBIs over 23 games and 54 plate appearances in 1974 and ’75, playing first base and designated hitter.

His last season as a player was with Nankai in Japan’s Pacific League in 1976.

Robson coached in the Rangers’ organization, serving as minor league hitting instructor from 1982-85 and then as a member of manager Bobby Valentine’s coaching staff from 1986-92.

“As a hitting coach, Robbie was ahead of his times,” Valentine said in a statement. “He used kinetics and launch angle before anyone else did.”

Robson went with Valentine to Japan and was hitting coach of the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Pacific League in 1995 and served stints as the New York Mets’ hitting and bench coach under Valentine from 1997-2000 and in 2002. In a period when general manager Steve Phillips at times feuded with Valentine, Robson was fired by Phillips as hitting coach in June 1999, brought back that November, fired again in November 2000 and returned as bench coach from October 2001 to October 2002.

“The Mets really got David Wright because of him,” Valentine said. “The Mets sent him down to Virginia to scout someone else and Robbie said: ‘Forget that guy, David Wright is our man.’”

Robson was the Cincinnati Reds’ hitting coach from the start of the 2003 season until manager Bob Boone was fired that July, then returned with Valentine to Japan and the Marines in 2004.

Robson is survived by wife Jeannette, sons Adam and David, three grandchildren and nephew Mike Moustakas, a Cincinnati Reds third baseman.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the funeral will be limited to family and a celebration of life will be held at a future date.

Pacers’ Sampson gets 1-game suspension for headbutting Mills

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The already short-handed Indiana Pacers will play Oklahoma City on Wednesday night without forward JaKarr Sampson after the NBA announced he would serve a one-game suspension following his ejection during Monday’s loss to San Antonio.

Sampson received a flagrant two foul and automatic ejection early in the fourth quarter against the Spurs. The incident began as Sampson and San Antonio guard Patty Mills fought for a rebound, resulting in a shoving match. Sampson then confronted Mills and headbutted him before Spurs forward Rudy Gay shoved Sampson.

Mills and Gay both received technical fouls for their part in the altercation. The league fined Mills $25,000 and Gay $20,000.

Indiana has lost three in a row. Oklahoma City has lost 11 consecutive games.

Pacers’ small ball comes up big in 122-116 win over Thunder

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) With seven men out Wednesday night, the Indiana Pacers came up big with a small-ball approach.

Malcolm Brogdon had 29 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, and Caris LeVert scored 28 points as the severely short-handed Pacers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 122-116 victory over reeling Oklahoma City – despite playing without anyone taller than 6-foot-7.

Indiana was missing three starters – two-time All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis, center Myles Turner and forward T.J. Warren – and four backups. But Brogdon and LeVert delivered in a game they needed to.

“I’d be lying to say there wasn’t more pressure to carry the team offensively,” Brogdon said. “We have to tell ourselves `Go out and be more aggressive but continue to play the right way, get your teammates involved and give them confidence.'”

It worked perfectly – for one night.

Darius Bazley matched his career high with 26 points and Svi Mykhailiuk had 20 points to lead the Thunder. Oklahoma City has lost 12 in a row overall, seven straight on the road and is still seeking its first April victory.

Indiana took control early, finishing the first quarter on a 16-6 run to make it 34-28 and extended the margin to 13 late in the second quarter. Oklahoma City never led again.

“Just in the course of the game, we have to be a little cleaner with our execution,” Thunder coach Mike Daigneault said. “That stuff adds up over the course of the game, so we just need to be better.”

Oklahoma City fought back in the second half.

The Thunder pulled to 73-72 on Moses Brown’s three-point play with 6:59 left in the third – only to watch Indiana answer with a 13-4 spurt. And when they closed to 105-104 midway through the fourth, LeVert broke the game open with a five-point flurry to make it 110-104.

Oklahoma City got one more chance after Brogdon threw the ball away and Theo Maledon’s 3-pointer with 24.5 seconds left got the Thunder within 118-116. But Brogdon closed it out by making four free throws.

“It was a stupid play, made it a one possession game,” Brogdon said of the turnover. “So I knew I had to do what I do best, which is get to the free-throw line and knock down shots to redeem myself.”

Knicks beat Hawks 122-119, win streak at NBA-best 8 games

NEW YORK (AP) Julius Randle had 40 points and 10 rebounds to lead New York to a 137-127 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, the Knicks’ NBA-best eighth straight win.

Randle’s driving layup with eight seconds left in regulation gave New York a 122-119 lead, but Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

The Knicks scored the first 10 points of the extra session.

“We’ve been challenged throughout the season and sometimes they haven’t gone our way,” Randle said. “But right now ,we’re finding ways to close games and win games.”

Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley each scored 20 points for New York. Reggie Bullock added 18 and R.J Barrett had 16. Nerlens Noel had 12 rebounds.

“This was a playoff-type atmosphere,” Quickley said. “As an NBA player, you have to be ready to step up.”

Trae Young had 20 points and 14 assists for the Hawks, but left the game with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter after suffering an ankle injury and did not return. X-rays were negative and he is expected to get an MRI on Thursday.

Chris Capela had 25 points and 22 rebounds for Atlanta. Bogdanovic scored 20 points. John Collins finished with 18 and Kevin Huerta 17.

Atlanta took a game-high 11-point lead, 95-84, when the Knicks’ Norvel Pelle was called for goaltending on a shot by Onyeka Okongwu with 1:47 left in the third quarter.

Young left the game soon after and the Knicks took advantage, moving into fourth place in the Eastern Conference with the victory.

“We were searching tonight to get ourselves going,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But, we have a true team. As we head down the stretch, we want to be playing our best.”

The Knicks pulled within two at 109-107 on the second of Quickley’s consecutive 3-pointers with 7:01 remaining, then took their biggest lead of the game at 116-109 on Rose’s 3-pointer with 4:46 left.

Lou Williams added 11 points for the Hawks, who had won nine of their last 11 games.

Suns survive heave from Embiid in 116-113 win over 76ers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid grabbed a two-handed rebound, turned and heaved an 85-foot, right-handed strike with a throw ripped from Bryce Harper’s playbook that banked off the glass and rattled off the front and back of the rim and out.

The Philadelphia center was flat on his back in disbelief over the near-make that would have sent the game to overtime.

“It would have made for a long flight, long night and not a lot of sleep,” Suns coach Monty Williams said.

Rest easy, Phoenix.

Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and the Suns walked off winners on the road for the second time this week against one of the top teams in the East. Paul scored 28 points, Booker had 19 and Bridges 18 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 116-113 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

Embiid had 38 points and 17 rebounds and one oh-so-close shot.

`When I threw it, it looked good,” Embiid said.

Paul, a 93% free-throw shooter, missed one from the line that would have sealed the win instead of giving Embiid a glimmer of highlight-reel hope.

“If you’re up three, I always want to make the free throw to go up four,” Paul said. “That shot was in-and-out. I ain’t never seen anything like it.”

Neither had the rest of the Suns.

“That was a heck of a display of a throw right there,” Suns forward Cameron Johnson said.

Said Bridges: “I don’t know how I would have reacted. That was crazy.”

The Suns improved their NBA-best road record to 19-7 and are second overall at 42-16 – 1 1/2 games behind Utah for the league lead.

Paul hit five 3s and Bridges, a former Villanova standout, continued to haunt the Sixers three years after an ill-fated draft-night deal. The Sixers selected Bridges with the 10th overall pick in 2018 – a feel-good story because of the Nova connection and his mother worked for the 76ers’ parent company. Zhaire Smith played only 13 NBA games and is out of the league while Bridges turned into a breakout star for the blossoming Suns.

The Sixers again played without starters Ben Simmons (unspecified illness) and Tobias Harris (right knee). Simmons missed his second straight game and Harris his third, the Sixers certainly secure enough in playoff spot to the point they don’t have to rush either one back. Seth Curry also missed the game with a left hip flexor — three starters down certainly one reason why FanDuel Sportsbook had the Suns as three-point favorite.

The Sixers would certainly like all three back in time for this week’s two-game set in Milwaukee. Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, and Matisse Thybulle joined Embiid and Danny Green (18 points) in the lineup.

“I know we got a lot of guys out, but we still want to win the game,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.

Curry finally goes cold, Beal rallies Wizards past Warriors

WASHINGTON (AP) After a four-point first half that was shocking by his recent standards, Stephen Curry faked out Alex Len and tried a wide-open floater from the lane that clanked off the rim. He slapped his hands in frustration as he ran down the court.

A minute later, he tried another floater that Len swatted away.

Coming off a historic run in which he made 78 3-pointers, the most in any 11-game stretch in NBA history, Curry was bound to have a bad night eventually, and it happened Wednesday night as the Golden State Warriors closed out a five-game trip with a 118-114 loss at Washington.

Guarded primarily by Russell Westbrook, Curry was frigid early and cooled off again late, and Bradley Beal rallied the Wizards to their season-best sixth straight victory as Washington welcomed back fans for the first time in more than a year.

Curry, who came in having overtaken Beal for the NBA scoring lead, had 18 points on 7-of-25 shooting, including 2 of 14 on 3s. He hadn’t scored fewer than 32 points in a game since March 17.

“It was a great run. It was something that hadn’t been done before, and it was going to end at some point,” Curry said. “Now you’ve got to start another one.”

Beal scored 29 points as the glamorous matchup with Curry mostly fizzled until Washington rallied from 11 points down in the fourth quarter. He pounded his chest after scoring on a drive with 2:44 left and drawing a sixth foul on Draymond Green. Beal converted the three-point play to bring Washington within one, and he found Davis Bertans for a 3-pointer that put the Wizards ahead for good with 2 minutes remaining.

Westbrook had 14 points, a season-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists. The triple-double was his 27th of the season and 173rd of his career, second to Oscar Robertson’s 181, but coach Scott Brooks was more thankful for Westbrook’s defense.

“That’s the thing that Russell probably won’t get a lot of credit for, but he did a great job of guarding him, putting pressure on him, making him take tough shots. It wears him out,” Brooks said. “Every now and then, an amazing player like Steph will have an off game, and a lot to do with it was Russell.”

Kelly Oubre Jr. led Golden State with 24 points in his second game at Washington, and first with the Warriors, since the Wizards traded him to Phoenix in December of 2018. Jordan Poole added 22 points and hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter that put the Warriors up by 11.

Lakers’ Anthony Davis feels ‘100% healthy,’ ready for return

LOS ANGELES (AP) When Anthony Davis’ right leg became too painful to play on two months ago, the big man and the Los Angeles Lakers decided he wouldn’t return until he was completely ready to be himself again.

More than two months later, Davis is confident that time has arrived with 14 regular-season games left in the Lakers’ push to defend their NBA title.

Davis intends to play Thursday night when the Lakers open a four-game road trip at Dallas, he said after a workout at the team’s training complex. He hasn’t suited up since Feb. 14, missing Los Angeles’ last 30 games in the longest injury absence of his nine-year NBA career.

“I wanted to make sure I was coming back 100%, because it wouldn’t be fair to myself, wouldn’t be fair to my team,” Davis said Wednesday. “I feel great. These last games leading to the playoffs, a lot of teams aren’t healthy, a lot of players aren’t healthy. I’m 100%, and we’ve got Bron coming back as well who’s going to be 100% healthy. I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”

Indeed, the Lakers (35-23) have managed to stay in the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings despite playing without Davis for nine weeks and without LeBron James since March 20. The Lakers went 14-16 without Davis, and they’re 7-9 since both Davis and James went down.

Coach Frank Vogel said James is still “probably a couple of weeks or so” away from returning from his sprained ankle.

Davis will start when he returns, but will only play about 15 minutes in his first game back. Vogel intends to monitor his superstar’s acclimation closely, and his return could be pushed back another game if Davis feels sore on Thursday morning.

“Honestly, if you’re out for this long, it usually takes a couple of weeks to feel like you really have your legs under you, and your rhythm and timing is back,” Vogel said. “It’s going to take some time, and as far as the minutes restriction, it’s really going to be evaluated on a day-by-day basis.”

The absences of Davis and James potentially were a huge setback for the Lakers’ repeat hopes. But now that the Lakers’ supporting cast has made it nearly certain the team is still playoff-bound, the Lakers are about to have two rested, hungry superstars when the postseason begins in a month.

Davis’ injury left him in serious pain in his right heel and calf during his final game at Denver on Valentine’s Day. The big man had already skipped a handful of games early in the regular season after the short turnaround from the Lakers’ playoff run in the Florida bubble, but the shock of that last escalation in his leg woes caught Davis’ full attention.

Indy 500 to host 135,000 in largest sports event in pandemic

(AP) — The Indianapolis 500 is set to be the largest sporting event in the world since the start of the pandemic with 135,000 spectators permitted to attend “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” next month.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Wednesday it worked with the Marion County Public Health Department to determine that 40% of venue capacity can attend the May 30 race on Memorial Day weekend. The speedway is the largest sporting facility in the world with more than 250,000 grandstand seats and the ability to host close to 400,000 on race day throughout the entire property.

The attendance figure was determined after Indianapolis hosted the NCAA men’s basketball tournament through March and into April with limited attendance. The NCAA allowed 8,000 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium for the April 5 men’s championship game.

The Alabama spring football game last weekend hosted 47,218 fans, nearly 10,000 more than a recent Texas Rangers baseball game; an Australian Rules cricket match in Melbourne drew 51,723 in March.

Roger Penske, in his second year as owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, had hoped for full attendance, but IndyCar and speedway officials are taking pride in the upcoming milestone.

“This event and this place means so much to everybody we see every day and we hear from every day, whether they are Hoosiers or race fans from around the world,” Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., told The Associated Press.

“We feel a real responsibility to protect that legacy and to grow it and to have the race,” Miles said. “We’re ready to take the next step in bringing back the economy and a lot of that in this city and state is driven by sports events which has been shut down for so many months. March Madness was incredibly successful, this is the next step and it just so happens this will probably be the biggest sporting event of the year.”

The speedway will be open to spectators every day cars are on the track beginning with the May 15 road course event. The viewing mounds in the infield will be closed, and general admission infield tickets will not be made available.

The infield’s raucous “Snake Pit” will be closed and all the traditional concerts will not be held, including on Carb Day and Legends Day. There will be suite seating and the Pagoda will be open to those with tickets, but the midway will be closed.

Grandstand seating will be socially distanced; fans will have an option to return their tickets for an account credit.

Golden Knights clinch playoff berth with 5-2 win over Sharks

LAS VEGAS (AP) The Vegas Golden Knights are no longer the new kids on the NHL block.

They’re a perennial powerhouse.

Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and the Golden Knights became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth, beating the San Jose Sharks 5-2 Wednesday night for their eighth straight victory.

Vegas, which leads the NHL with 33 wins and 68 points, also became the fourth franchise in NHL history to make the playoffs in each of its first four seasons. The Golden Knights lost to the Washington Capitals in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.

“It’s an accomplishment in this league; 31 teams to make the playoffs,” said Peter DeBoer, who has led two teams to Stanley Cup Final appearances during his coaching career. “What this franchise has done so far is unheard of. I don’t know if you’ll ever see that again out of an expansion team.

“I wouldn’t trade our group for any other group out there.”

The Golden Knights improved to 15-1-3 all-time against the Sharks in regular-season meetings – including a perfect 7-0-0 this season. Vegas also improved to 18-4-2 at home this season.

“We’ve been doing good against (San Jose),” Marchessault said. “We seem to be playing the right way. It’s good to have success against a divisional team like that.”

Mark Stone Alex Tuch, and Mattias Janmark also scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves to improve to 5-0-0 against the Sharks this season and 7-0-1 in his last eight.

“They’re scoring every night, and they’re looking dangerous doing it,” DeBoer said of his team’s offense. “That for me is what we’re looking for, even on nights when the pucks don’t go in, we’re creating momentum, we’re getting chances, we’re putting pressure on the other team.”

Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl scored for San Jose, which is now mired in an 0-6-1 slide. Josef Korenar made 35 saves.

The Sharks took a 2-1 lead just past midway through the second period before the Golden Knights scored four unanswered goals.

NFL owners OK replay change, other new rules for 2021 season

NFL owners approved a series of new rules Wednesday for the 2021 season, including one that will expand the influence of replay officials amid ongoing demands from coaches for more oversight of game-day officials.

Owners rejected more robust proposals for a full-time sky judge, including one from the Baltimore Ravens that would have created a booth umpire. Instead, owners took the more modest step of giving the existing replay officials — who sit in the press box of each stadium — the authority to consult with referees on certain “specific, objective aspects of a play when clear and obvious video evidence is present,” according to the language of the rule.

Replay officials will not be able to throw flags or reverse calls on their own. But they can now offer referees advice based on what they’ve seen on broadcast replays in the areas of possession, completed or intercepted passes, the location of the ball relative to the boundary or end line, and whether a player is down by contact. Previously, replay officials had been limited to participating in plays that were under review. Coaches will not have to throw challenge flags to prompt that advice, which some replay officials have been giving referees informally for years.

Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL competition committee, said neither the committee nor owners felt comfortable with adding an additional official with full authority.

“I think we should try this,” McKay said. “We have the technology. We have really good technology. It sits in the booth with the replay official, and it sits in New York. I think what we thought, and what the coaches’ subcommittee thought, was let’s use that technology and let’s try to improve the crew. I do get nervous when it goes beyond that.”

In other news regarding Wednesday’s votes, NFL owners:

Approved a relaxation of rules for the numbers that players of certain positions can wear because of expanded practice squads. Running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive backs and linebackers can all wear numbers in the single digits now if they choose. Based on preexisting NFL rules, players who want to change their numbers this season will have to buy out the inventory of the NFL’s manufacturing partners. This wouldn’t apply to players who give notice in 2021 that they want to change numbers in 2022.

Approved a one-year experiment in an attempt to make it easier to recover onside kicks. In 2021, the receiving team on kickoffs will be limited to nine players within 25 yards of the ball. Last season, NFL teams recovered only three of 67 onside kicks, the lowest total and recovery rate since at least 2001. As a result, the  Philadelphia Eagles proposed that teams be given an option to gain 15 yards on one offensive play from their own 25-yard line to retain possession after a score.

Tabled a rule that would have expanded the area where players are prohibited from blocking below the waist. McKay said that there is enough support to pass the rule now but that several teams had questions that will take some time to address. It could be revisited next month.

Eliminated overtime in preseason games.

Changed a rule that will now force a loss of down if two passes are completed behind the line of scrimmage.

Approved a rule change that ensures the enforcement of all accepted penalties during successive try attempts, defined as an opportunity for a team to score one or two additional points during one scrimmage down.

Did not act on a “spot or choose” proposal from the Ravens for the winner of the overtime coin toss. In that scenario, the team would have the option to choose either which team will have the first possession of overtime or where the ball would be spotted.

Decided to include taunting among its points of emphasis for 2021. McKay clarified that the emphasis would be directed not at celebrations but toward acrimonious interaction among players.

Tabled a proposal from the Buffalo Bills that would have pushed back interviews for general manager and head-coaching positions until after the championship round of the playoffs and would have prevented hires until after the Super Bowl. It will be further studied.

Completed a study of the sharp drop in offensive holding during the 2020 season. McKay said that Walt Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of training and development, would clarify the standard and put together a video for teams to consume before the 2021 season.

Opt-out decisions throw wrench into NFL draft options

(AP) Caleb Farley was the first top prospect to make the decision that has added a whole new layer of uncertainty to the annual crapshoot that is the NFL draft.

The talented Virginia Tech cornerback decided back in July to skip the 2020 season because of the coronavirus. Having lost his mother to cancer in 2018, Farley was unwilling to put another loved one at risk and felt it would be safer to skip the season no matter the impact on his draft status.

Farley had plenty of players follow his lead, including several others set to be high draft picks next week such as LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.

Now it’s up to NFL teams to figure out how much to weigh those decisions in their draft evaluations and how to project what kind of prospects they will be.

“We’re talking about top 10, top 15 players that you haven’t seen in over a year,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “It’s challenging. It really is because you don’t know where they are physically. There’s a difference between working out and being in good shape and then football shape. I think it’s going to play a big part into this year’s draft in terms of teams just wanting to know what they see.”

McShay said he believes some teams will opt to take players who played in 2020 over those who sat out if the grades are similar but most of those top players are still expected to go off the board in the top half of the first round.

Farley has another factor complicating his situation after undergoing back surgery in March. He is expected to be ready for the start of training camp and has no regrets on his decision, even after being forced to skip his pro day workouts because of the injury.

Longtime draft analyst Gil Brandt, who spent nearly three decades with the Dallas Cowboys, likened the players sitting out 2020 to those who missed seasons in the military during the Vietnam War.

Brandt said those players rarely came back at the same level, but the situation with Farley and the others is far different since they were able to work out and spend extra time studying film and working on technique that they believe will help them in the NFL.

“That’s all I’ve been doing is breaking down offensive coordinators and learning from some of my mentors and guys in the NFL who have been playing the position for a long time,” Farley said.

“Learning new techniques. I’ve truly grown and got better in my fundamentals. I’m just excited to get around a staff, a new defensive backs coach, a new defensive coordinator so I know I can just be a sponge and soak up everything they have to offer.”

While players such as Sewell and Chase are still expected to be top 10 picks, others such as Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau, Washington pass rusher Joe Tryon, Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell and Central Florida cornerback Tay Gowan might have missed out on opportunities to build on promising 2019 seasons that would have improved their draft stock.

Even several of the top prospects who didn’t opt out of the entire 2020 season have limited film with some such as Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle missing significant time with injuries, South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn shutting his season down early after coach Will Muschamp was fired and North Dakota State QB Trey Lance playing just one showcase game in the fall before the Bisons had their full spring season in FCS.

That lack of game film could lead to some difficult choices for decision-makers such as Cincinnati’s Duke Tobin, who could be contemplating taking a player such as Chase or Sewell with the fifth pick despite not getting to see them play in 2020.

“You’re projecting, it’s probably a bigger projection than when you studied a guy that’s played three years of college football,” Tobin said. “That’s our job, to project them into our league into our system and scheme and into our division and what we do. It’s a year like no other.”

The reasons for opting out vary for each player and teams are doing their homework to figure out why before making a big investment.

Several players in the Big Ten and Pac-12 began preparing for the draft when those conferences announced in the summer that they wouldn’t have a fall season only to change directions later and opt for a shorter campaign after some of those players had already signed with agents.

Aldon Smith booked in Louisiana battery case

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) Aldon Smith has turned himself in to authorities in Louisiana after an arrest warrant had been issued for the Seattle Seahawks defensive end.

The St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s department said Smith was booked on a second degree battery charge Tuesday night. Officials said Smith was released on $25,000 bond.

Smith is scheduled to be arraigned on July 14.

The sheriff’s office issued the warrant following an incident last weekend. Deputies responding to a call for medical assistance in Meraux on Saturday found a man who said he had been assaulted by an acquaintance outside a business in Chalmette, Sheriff James Pohlmann said. Detectives identified the suspect as Smith, 31, and took out a warrant.

The Seahawks said they are aware of the situation but have declined to comment further. Smith’s representatives declined to comment on Wednesday.

The incident in Louisiana took place just two days after Smith signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks.

Smith’s off-field troubles are lengthy, including police in San Francisco issuing a warrant for his arrest on a domestic violence charge in 2018, and include four full seasons out of the league due to suspensions. Smith was reinstated by the NFL last spring after signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. He had not played in the NFL since 2015.

Smith appeared in 16 games last season for Dallas and had 48 tackles and five sacks.

2021 NFL DRAFT PROFILE: DT CHRISTIAN BARMORE, ALABAMA

6’4”

310

The Philadelphia native rated among the top five defensive tackles and top 100 overall prospects in the country coming out of Neumann Goretti High School. He redshirted the 2018 season behind Alabama’s extremely deep defensive line. Barmore got his chance to contribute the following season, playing in 12 games with one start and posting 26 stops, six for loss, with two sacks and two pass breakups. He ascended as a sophomore, garnering third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC honors with 37 tackles, 9.5 for loss, with a team-high eight sacks, three pass breakups, and three forced fumbles in 12 starts for the national champions. He missed the season opener due to injury. Barmore was named the College Football Playoff Championship Game Defensive MVP after making five tackles, two for loss, with one sack. 

Overview

Attack-oriented defensive tackle with a big body, violent hands and the talent to work his way around blocks and find the football. Barmore tends to be in the lead and take control of a majority of reps. His hands and feet sing in harmony and allow him to stay active and free from attempts to sustain blocks against him. His hands are heavy and powerful but also sudden and efficient, which creates early win opportunities for him in the run game and as a pass rusher. Barmore can be his own worst enemy when he freestyles his run fits and prematurely gives away positioning when posting up in read-and-react mode. He’s exceptional at finding a blocker’s edge and swiping past the outside hand to bring the ruckus inside the pocket. While he has similar size and skill set, it doesn’t feel like he’s as long at the point of attack as past Alabama defensive tackles now in the pros. Barmore’s explosive first step, violent hands and upper-body power are the ingredients of a three-down defender with the versatility to play a number of positions in an even or odd front as an impactful rookie starter.

Strengths

  • Thick and powerful with above-average foot quickness.
  • Very explosive first two steps.
  • Darts into gaps and bends a tight track to the quarterback.
  • Works to the rush edge without getting too far off track.
  • Violent, efficient hands, plundering blocker’s outside hand.
  • Sets up blocker and hits sudden inside switch as rusher.
  • Activity level and play strength to hunt down hold-happy quarterbacks.
  • Tough to reach when he’s playing it straight up.
  • Can withstand double teams and cloud the interior.
  • Classic Alabama read-and-react talent and technique.
  • Explodes from hips to lift and displace blocker from his base.
  • Punches into full extension and posts up the edge.
  • Instinctive hands to rid blocker and look to finish.
  • Rhythm to play off multiple blocks in the same rep.
  • Strong base carries him through redirect blocks.

Weaknesses

  • Needs to eliminate freestyle approach.
  • Tries to backdoor the block too often.
  • Moves prematurely as two-gapper, giving away positioning.
  • Has tougher time facing off against bigger interior players.
  • All-gas rush attack prevents him from feeling screens.
  • Needs to work to his counters more efficiently.
  • Too many missed tackles.

2021 NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE: ZACH WILSON, BYU

6’2”

214

Wilson was the runner-up for Utah’s Mr. Football Award in 2017 after throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns at Corner Canyon High School. His father, Mike, played defensive tackle at Utah under current Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham (who was then the D-line coach), but they already had a quarterback recruited for the 2018 class. So, Wilson signed with arch-rival BYU and started seven of nine games played as a true freshman (120-of-182, 65.9% completion rate, 1,578 yards, 12 TDs, three INTs passing; 75-211-2.9, two TDs rushing), finishing the season with a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl MVP effort (18-of-18, 317 yards, four TDs). He underwent right (throwing) shoulder surgery after the season for an injury he suffered in high school. He started nine games (199-of-319, 62.4%, 2,382 yards, 11 TDs, 9 INTs passing; 67-167-2.5, 3 TDs rushing) in 2019 but missed time with a fractured right thumb that required surgery. Wilson broke out in 2020, sharing the Polynesian Player of the Year Award with USC safety Talanoa Hufanga. He ranked second in the FBS in completion percentage (247 of 336; 73.5%), third with 33 passing touchdowns (against just three interceptions) and 10th with 307.7 passing yards per game (3,692 total). Wilson also rushed for 10 touchdowns (70-254-3.6) in 12 starts for the 11-1 Cougars. 

Overview

Ascending quarterback prospect who possesses the swagger and arm talent to create explosive plays inside and outside the pocket. The gunslinger’s mentality and improvised release points are clearly patterned off of one of his favorite players, Aaron Rodgers. However, his play is a little more reminiscent of a blend between Jake Plummer and Johnny Manziel coming out of college. As with Manziel, too much of Wilson’s work comes off-schedule due to inconsistent anticipation and a desire to hit the big play. But like both Manziel (at Texas A&M) and Plummer, he’s mobile with the ability to extend plays and hit the chunk play. Wilson’s sophomore year tape shows troubling decision-making, so NFL teams will need to balance his 2019 and 2020 production in the evaluation process. He’s put in a lot of work to get to this point and has the potential to become a good pro. However, he might need to play with a more disciplined approach to reach his ceiling.

Strengths

  • Enormous jump in production and play quality in 2020.
  • Outstanding 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2020.
  • Offers potential as full-field reader.
  • Arm looked substantially more lively in 2020, with highlight-reel throws on the move.
  • Slick ball-handler in quick game and RPOs.
  • Twitchy operation time to get it out and easily alters arm slot if needed.
  • Generates sudden drive velocity for seam throws.
  • Throws with some accuracy working off-platform.
  • Sticks throws into Cover 2 windows with great conviction.
  • Unafraid of making tight-window challenges.
  • Gives big targets a chance to make plays on 50/50 balls.
  • Deep and intermediate accuracy (54% and 68%, according to PFF) was outstanding.
  • Feels pressure bearing down off the edge.
  • Able to make subtle pocket slides and stay throw-ready.
  • Athletic play extender with big-play mindset outside the pocket.
  • Has mobility to keep defenses honest.

Weaknesses

  • Level of competition allowed for “bombs away” mindset in 2020.
  • Struggled with accuracy and decision-making against Coastal Carolina.
  • Carries ball down by waist as pocket scanner.
  • Has tendency to over-stride and sail throws at times.
  • Hero ball needs to be dialed back a bit.
  • Passed up on the easy throw to take the harder throw.
  • Doesn’t work with enough anticipation as a passer.
  • Will baby throws, forcing open receivers to break stride.
  • Ill-advised throws under pressure turned into interceptions in 2019.
  • Went 2-4 against top-25 teams during his career.

NHL rebuts Vegas Golden Knights’ Robin Lehner’s claim that league promised to loosen protocols after vaccination

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner said that NHL players were lied to by NHLPA representatives about loosening restrictions after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, a claim that has been disputed by the league.

“They told me yesterday that they’re surveying all the teams to see who has taken the vaccine, and who has not taken the vaccines, and they’re not going to change the rules for us as players until all the players have the vaccine at the same time so it’s not a competitive edge,” Lehner said in an impassioned news conference Wednesday. “That made me go crazy, to be honest. This is human lives and people are struggling with this stuff a lot in society, and we are humans as everyone else.”

Shortly after his remarks, Lehner tweeted: “As I’m frustrated like a lot of people in the world right now everything didn’t come out of today’s press in the right way. Main point is that we need to start take the mental health important as well in this situation. It has a huge impact on everyone in society right now.”

The NBA and MLB both implemented policies that state that when 85% of players and staff on a team are vaccinated, the leagues can ease restrictions when it comes to things such as gatherings or frequency of testing. Lehner said he was told the NHL would adopt a similar policy.

“That was a lie,” Lehner said. “A blatant lie.”

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, however, told ESPN that no such promises were made to players.

“It’s been a matter that’s been raised and discussed as between us and the NHLPA, but no decision to modify has ever been made nor communicated to anyone,” Daly said.

Once the Golden Knights were told the vaccine could be available to them, NHLPA representatives and team doctors printed out sheets for players explaining the NBA’s benefits for their teams that reach vaccination thresholds, a source told ESPN. As Vegas players contemplated getting the vaccine or not, they were referred to those printouts of the NBA’s policy, a source said.

Many teams in the United States have arranged for their players to get vaccination when eligible. The NHL and NHLPA are not mandating the vaccination but have recommended it to players. It is unclear how many players have been vaccinated.

Lehner, 29, has been open about his mental health; as an NHL player he was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, as well as ADHD and post-traumatic stress that resulted from childhood trauma. The goaltender said that because of his bipolar 1 disorder, it has been recommended to him not to be isolated from others — which has been a struggle through the pandemic.

Clubs try to keep Super League idea alive as it collapses

MADRID (AP) While trying to at least keep the idea of the Super League alive, more of the founding members of the controversial breakaway competition abandoned the project on Wednesday.

The moves by Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid came a day after the six Premier League clubs involved in the new competition made it unviable by dropping out, leaving Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona as the only teams still officially in it.

While some English clubs apologized to their fans while pulling back on Tuesday, the teams that dropped out on Wednesday admitted defeat but tried to show they still believe in the project.

“While Juventus remains convinced of the soundness of the project’s sport, commercial and legal premises, it believes that at present there are limited chances that the project be completed in the form originally conceived,” the Italian club said. “Juventus remains committed to pursuing the creation of long-term value for the Company and the entire football industry.”

English clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham previously deserted plans for the largely-closed competition amid escalating backlash from their supporters and warnings from the government that legislation could be introduced to thwart them.

Still, AC Milan said the “voices and the concerns of fans around the world have clearly been expressed” but the club “will continue to work hard to deliver a sustainable model” for soccer.

“We accepted the invitation to participate in the Super League project with the genuine intention to deliver the best possible European competition for football fans around the world and in the best interest of the club and our own fans,” the Italian club said. “Change is not always easy, but evolution is necessary for progress, and the structures of European football have evolved and changed over the decades.”

Inter said the club was committed to delivering the best soccer experience for fans because “innovation and inclusion have been part of our DNA since our foundation.”

“Our commitment with all stakeholders to improve the football industry will never change,” it said. “Inter believe that football, like any sector of activity, must have an interest in constantly improving its competitions in order to continue to excite fans of all ages all over the world, within a framework of financial sustainability.”

PURDUE ADDS WADDELL

Carmel forward Brian Waddell announced he will be attending Purdue to play college basketball.

Waddell helped lead the Greyhounds to the state championship this past fall over Lawrence North.

Waddell averaged 15.8 points and 6.4 rebounds as a senior. 

Wright State, Miami (Ohio), Furman and Loyola Chicago also offered Waddell before he chose Purdue.

INDIANA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Grace Berger Named Finalist For 2021 USA Women’s AmeriCup Team

(IU RELEASE)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Rising senior guard Grace Berger has been named one of 13 finalists for the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s AmeriCup Team, announced on Wednesday night.

The finalists will return for a training camp that will begin on June 1, and the official 12-member roster will be named prior to the team’s departure for the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup June 11-19 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

The top four finishing teams at the AmeriCup will advance to compete in one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments.

Named as finalists were: Grace Berger (Indiana/Louisville, Ky.); Aliyah Boston (South Carolina/St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.); Jakia Brown-Turner (NC State/Oxen Hill, Md.); Veronica Burton (Northwestern/Newton, Mass.); Elissa Cunane (NC State/Summerfield, N.C.); Destanni Henderson(South Carolina/Fort Meyers, Fla.); Naz Hillmon(Michigan/Cleveland, Ohio); Rhyne Howard(Kentucky/Cleveland, Tenn.); Haley Jones (Stanford/Santa Cruz, Calif.); Diamond Miller (Maryland/Somerset, N.J.); Ashley Owusu (Maryland/Woodbridge, Va.); Sedona Prince(Oregon/Liberty Hill, Texas); and NaLyssa Smith(Baylor/Converse, Texas).

Athletes and coaches for the USA AmeriCup Team were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee and USA Women’s Senior National Team Committee.

Berger will be one of 20 athletes competing for a roster spot on the AmeriCup roster, which will feature ten nations from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean will take part in the 2021 AmeriCup, held June 11-19 in Puerto Rico. The top four finishing teams will advance to compete in one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments in hopes of earning one of the 12 spots in the 2022 FIBA World Cup field. Australia, host of the 2022 World Cup, and the 2020 Olympic champion, earn automatic berths to the World Cup, but will be required to participate in the qualifying process. Invitations to the trials were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee and USA Women’s Senior National Team Committee.

The Louisville, Ky. native was the nation’s leader in triple-doubles this season with three while averaging 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and a +2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio to lead IU to an Elite Eight appearance this season. The WBCA and USWBA All-American honorable mention shot 44.1 percent from the floor and 74.4 percent from the free throw line while playing 34 minutes per game. In addition, Berger scored in double figures 23 times and had seven games where she scored 20 points or more as she earned All-Big Ten first team honors and was a Cheryl Miller Award top 10 watchlist candidate.

2021 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament Bracket Announced

Tournament begins April 29 in Lincoln, Nebraska

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament bracket on Wednesday, with Ohio State earning the No. 1 seed in the East Division and Illinois securing the No. 1 spot in the West Division. Eleven men’s tennis programs will play in the tournament, which will take place April 29-May 2 at the University of Nebraska’s Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center in Lincoln, Neb.

West No. 4 seed Iowa and East No. 5 seed Michigan State will open the tournament with a first-round match at 11 a.m. (ET) on April 29. The winner of that match will face Ohio State in the Quarterfinals on April 30 at 11 a.m. (ET).

East No. 3 seed Penn State and West No. 6 seed and host Nebraska will also play at 11 a.m. (ET). The winner of that match will see West No. 2 seed Northwestern on Thursday at 11 a.m. (ET) in the Quarterfinals.

East No. 4 seed Indiana and West No. 5 seed Wisconsin will close Wednesday’s competition at 3 p.m. (ET). The winner will face Illinois the following day at 3 p.m. (ET). East No. 2 seed Michigan will play West No. 3 seed Minnesota at 3 p.m. (ET) on April 30. 

The Big Ten Tournament semifinals will be played May 1 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (ET), while the conference championship match is set for May 2 at 12 p.m. (ET) on Big Ten Network+.

PURDUE VOLLEYBALL: Four Receive AVCA All-America Recognition, a Program-Best

(PURDUE RELEASE)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Rounding out one of the best seasons in Purdue volleyball history, a program-record four members were recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America awards.

Junior outside hitter Grace Cleveland received first team recognition, while senior outside hitter Caitlyn Newton was named to the third team. Meanwhile, redshirt junior setter Hayley Bush and senior libero Jena Otec were honorable mentions.

In addition to Cleveland becoming the sixth First Team All-American in program history, Otec’s accolade marks Purdue’s first defensive specialist/libero to receive this prestigious honor.

The postseason awards proved to be an all-around step-up for the Boilermakers from 2019, as Cleveland was third team and Newton honorable mention a season ago. This is the first All-America nods for Bush and Otec, coming after the first All-Big Ten first team honors and All-Northeast Region recognition of their careers.

The four All-America honorees led Purdue to one of the most illustrious seasons in program history, which saw its fourth NCAA Regional Finals appearance in program history (and first since 2013), the most All-Big Ten awards in a single season, the first Boilermaker to be named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and multiple record book-worthy individual performances. The efforts by the team culminated in a 14-win Big Ten season, the third since 1987.

Purdue is joined by Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin as the only programs to produce at least four AVCA All-America honorees in a single season since 2013.

The awards are voted on by AVCA committee members.
 
Grace Cleveland – First Team All-America
6-2 | Outside Hitter | Bloomington, Ill.

  • The fifth Boilermaker ever to be named First Team All-American and first since Sherridan Atkinson in 2018.
  • Closed out the season with 1.39 blocks per set, the sixth-highest mark in program history. The last time a Boilermaker recorded more was Stepanie (Lynch) Harpanau in 2008.
  • Ranks 19th in the nation and sixth in the Big Ten in blocks per set (1.39).
  • Her 100 total blocks check in at No. 16 in the nation.
  • Produced 233 kills this season and ranked No. 10 in the Big Ten with 3.24 kills per set.
  • Registered the ninth-most points in the Big Ten with 4.05 points per set.
  • Recorded 15 double-digit kill matches in the spring season, including a double-double at then-No. 8 Ohio State (17 kills, 11 digs, 6 block assists) and was one shy of a triple double in the victory at Penn State (11 kills, 10 total blocks, nine digs).

   
Caitlyn Newton – Third Team
6-1 | Outside Hitter | Terre Haute, Ind.

  • Played in every match, including 83 of 84 sets in the spring 2021 season.
  • Newton ranked nationally in eight categories and led the Big Ten in four: points (390), points per set (4.70), attacks per set (12.57) and total attacks (1,043).
  • The senior ranks among the top 13 in the nation in: total attacks (No. 6), service aces (No. 8), attacks per set (No. 9) and points (No. 13).
  • Set a career-high 29 kills vs. Minnesota (2/5/21) before recording a career-high 84 attacks the following night against the Gophers (2/6/21).
  • Recorded a career-best 15 digs vs. Illinois (4/3/21).
  • Produced six block assists at Rutgers for a career-best (3/19/21).
  • Registered five double-doubles.
  • Produced double-digit kills in all but three matches, including 10 with 15+ kills.
  • Newton tallied 3,411 attempts in her four-year career, among the most ever by a Boilermaker and just nine attempts shy of tying the 10th-most in program history.

 Hayley Bush – Honorable Mention
5-10 | Setter | Union, Ky.

  • Becomes the sixth Boilermaker Setter to receive All-America honors.
  • The First Team All-Big Ten honoree set a career-high seven kills at Michigan (2/14/21) along with a career-high 22 digs vs. Minnesota (2/6/21) this season.
  • Led the Big Ten with 899 assists.
  • Recorded 14 double-doubles in 2021, including 50 assists with 21 digs in the four set victory over No. 10 seeded Oregon in the NCAA Regional Semifinals.
  • Averaged 10.70 assists per set this season, good for fourth in the Big Ten.
  • Recorded 245 digs in 22 matches.
  • Despite having time left in her eligibility, the redshirt junior checks in eighth overall with 3,622 career assists since her freshman season in 2018.


Jena Otec – Honorable Mention
5-10 | Libero | Crystal City, Mo.

  • Named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, the first in program history.
  • First defensive specialist/libero from Purdue to receive an AVCA All-America nod.
  • Led the league with 383 total digs, which checked in at No. 23 in the nation.
  • Otec closed the season with 4.56 digs per set, the third-best mark by a Boilermaker in program history and second-highest average in the Big Ten this season.
  • Recorded a career-high 31 digs vs. Minnesota (2/5), one of just 11 Boilermakers to ever surpass 30+ digs in a single match.
  • During her time at Purdue, Otec averaged 2.8 digs per set, the ninth-most by a Boilermaker in her career and most since Carly Cramer (3.49, 2009-13). Meanwhile her 1,272 total career digs rank No. 10 in program history.

NOTRE DAME VOLLEYBALL: CHARLEY NIEGO NAMED AVCA ALL-AMERICAN

(ND RELEASE)

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Junior outside hitter Charley Niego has been named an American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American for the second time in her career, the AVCA announced Wednesday morning (April 21).

Niego, who was named an honorable mention All-American, also earned AVCA All-American honorable mention accolades as a freshman in 2018.

Niego also earned her third consecutive AVCA East Coast All-Region honor this season and was named First Team All-ACC for the second straight year.

ABOUT NIEGO

Niego racked up a team-high 244 kills to go with a hitting percentage of .253, 179 digs and a team-best 27 service aces in the 2020-21 campaign . The Chicago, Illinois, native finished with nine double-doubles in the shortened season, including eight in Notre Dame’s 12 spring matches. Niego’s efforts included a trio of 15-15 performances, including a 19 kill, 18 dig effort against Syracuse on October 2.

NOTRE DAME MEN’S GOLF: RED-HOT IRISH HEAD TO ACC CHAMPIONSHIPS

(ND RELEASE)

MILTON, Ga. – It is postseason time for the Notre Dame men’s golf team, who are hitting their stride at precisely the right time. The Fighting Irish will compete in the ACC Championships, April 23-26, at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.

Live stats for the stroke-play rounds can be found by clicking here. Meanwhile, the link for match-play live scoring is here.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT

The tournament will feature a new format this year, which includes 54 holes of stroke play on Friday (36 holes) and Saturday (18 holes) before match play begins on Sunday. The top four teams following stroke play will advance to match play semifinals on Sunday, with the finals contested on Monday.

The first round Friday begins at 7:30 a.m. EST with continuous play throughout the day for the second round. The third round on Saturday begins at 9 a.m. Match play semifinals on Saturday and finals on Sunday begin at 9 a.m.

Spectators are allowed at the 2021 ACC Men’s Golf Championship and it is not a ticketed event. Spectators will be required to mask.

Match play finals on Monday will be carried live on ACCNX beginning at 9 a.m. In addition, a one-hour recap show of the best of the ACC Men’s Golf Championship will air on ACC Network Monday, May 3 at 7 p.m.

THE FIELD

The ACC continues to be one of the toughest leagues in the NCAA, leading all conferences with four teams in the top 10. Meanwhile, its six teams in the top 25 rank second.

The field consists of No. 25 Notre Dame, Boston College, No. 4 Clemson, Duke, No. 2 Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, No. 16 North Carolina, No. 8 NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and No. 6 Wake Forest.

IRISH CLUBHOUSE

The Irish have played in five tournaments this spring and with each event they’ve improved their team score. Not to mention, Notre Dame has secured three consecutive top-three finishes.

Looking at the last three tournaments in particular – the Irish went 12-under at Spartan Collegiate, where they were led by a fourth-place finish by Andrew O’Leary. Then the Irish went 19-under at Augusta Haskins, where they were led by fifth-place showing by Palmer Jackson.

Next, the Irish scored the second-lowest team score in program history with a 39-under at Stitch Intercollegiate. There they were led by a seventh-place finish from Tucker Clark.

Lastly, Notre Dame head coach John Handrigan will stick with his regular starting five in Clark (71.13), Jackson (71.20), Davis Chatfield (71.47), O’Leary (72.00) and Taichi Kho (72.13).

PURDUE FT. WAYNE VOLLEYBALL: Katie Crowe Named AVCA All-America Honorable Mention

(PFW RELEASE)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced its All-America teams on Wednesday, April 21, and Purdue Fort Wayne women’s volleyball outside hitter Katie Crowe was selected as an honorable mention.

This honor comes on the heels of Crowe being named North All-Region Honorable Mention by the AVCA last week (Tuesday, April 13). Crowe was the sole representative from the Horizon League to be named an All-America Honorable Mention.

Crowe joins an elite group of Mastodon student-athletes who have earned All-America distinctions by the AVCA. Crowe is the third Mastodon, joining Emily Spencer, who was named All-America Honorable Mention in 2014, and Dottie Porch, who was selected as a Second Team honoree in 1997. Porch was an honoree when the ‘Dons were members of Division II.

Crowe was selected as the Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year in the spring 2021 season. She earned the distinction of Horizon League Player of the Week four times, becoming one of just four players in Horizon League history to earn the honor four times in one season.

The senior from Leo, Indiana recorded double-digit kills in 14 of her 17 matches, while reaching double-figures in digs 11 times for 10 double-doubles. Crowe led the Horizon League in kills per set with 4.05 and points per set with 4.50. Crowe propelled Purdue Fort Wayne to its first Horizon League Championship berth after finishing 10-6 in the regular season and claiming the No. 4 seed in the tournament.

Even though she has already completed four seasons, Crowe will return to Purdue Fort Wayne for a fifth season in the fall of 2021, when the Mastodons continue their search for their first Horizon League title.

EVANSVILLE MEN’S BASKETBALL: UE Men’s Basketball adds two in Spring Signing Period

(EVANSVILLE RELEASE)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – After directing one of the top turnarounds in Missouri Valley Conference history, University of Evansville head men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter has announced the addition of Antoine Smith Jr. and Preston Phillips.

“We are pleased to officially welcome Antoine and Preston as our newest Aces,” Lickliter exclaimed. “They both possess a versatile skillset and a team first approach that aligns with both our early signees and returners.”

Antoine Smith Jr., a native of Westerville, Ohio, is a member of Collin County Community College and was recently named 1st Team All-Conference in the North Texas College Athletic Conference. He was also awarded All-Region 5 Team and Newcomer of the Year. In 23 games this year, Smith averaged 15.0 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 49.0% from the field and 36.0% from three-point range.

In 2018-19, the 6-foot-7 forward spent his freshman season at Incarnate Word.  He started 14 and played in all 31 games while averaging 7.3 points.  He shot 45.3% from the field and 36.6% from three-point range. Before transferring to Collin County, he redshirted at Incarnate Word for the 2019-20 season.

He is joined by Preston Phillips, a native of Elkhart, IN., who most recently played at Don Bosco Academy (Ind.). Phillips, a forward measuring in at 6-foot-9, was a sharpshooter from all areas of the floor.  Inside the arc, he hit 71% of his attempts and from outside, he checked in at 43%.  He averaged 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game.

Prior to Don Bosco, Phillips was an IBCA All-State Honorable Mention at Jimtown High School, averaging 14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. He was awarded 1st team All-NIC, the first player in Jimtown history to receive the award.  Phillips was also recognized for his work in the classroom, earning IBCA Academic All-State Honorable Mention honors as well as a spot on the NIC All-Academic Team.

Smith and Phillips join a trio of early signees including Indiana All-Star Blake Sisley, All-Region 24 Team honoree Blaise Beauchamp and TSSAA D2 All-Region player Troy Boynton.

“The vision of our staff was to prioritize the right student-athletes that will assist in building on our foundation,” Lickliter added.  “We feel as if all of our newcomers, individually and collectively, will complement our team and each other. Their winning approach will be valued, on and off the court. They will be tremendous additions in the pursuit of our championship goals.”

INDIANAPOLIS SOFTBALL: Softball Maintains Top-5 Position in Coaches Poll

(U OF I RELEASE)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The red-hot UIndy softball team held steady at No. 5 in this week’s National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Poll. Winners of 24 straight, the Greyhounds garnered a first-place vote from the nation’s coaches this week to help them remain in the top 10 for the four concesutive week.
 
The Hounds represent the lone GLVC school in the poll this week, with Grand Valley State (14th) being the only other Midwest Region team in the top 25. Meanwhile, Augustana picked up 15 of 16 first-place nods to stay in the top spot.


NFCA DII TOP 25 COACHES POLL

RKTEAM (1st-place votes)PTSRECPREV
1.Augustana (15)39927-31
2.Valdosta State38329-32
3.UT Tyler35827-5t3
4.North Georgia35725-5t3
5.UIndy (1)33831-25
6.Texas A&M-Commerce31725-106
7.Lincoln Memorial30334-57
8.Rollins28914-18
9.Young Harris27526-79
10.Oklahoma Christian25331-510
11.Concordia Irvine22419-811
12.West Texas A&M22326-1012
13.Alabama Hunstville21325-913
14.Grand Valley State18326-614
15.Saint Anselm17315-315
16.Central Oklahoma17127-916
17.Colorado Mesa 13526-219
18.Minnesota State13022-718
19.Auburn Montgomery10629-523
20.Winona State10023-621
21.Southern Arkansas5820-722
22.West Florida5626-1120
23.Angelo State5126-10NR
24.Texas A&M-Kingsville3424-1117
25.Charleston1824-6NR


Others receiving votes: Biola (15), Georgian Court (14), Northwest Nazarene (10), Southeastern Oklahoma State (7), Anderson (2), Saint Leo (2), Western Washington (2), Shepherd (1).

VALPO SOFTBALL: Tonoian Sets Program Record as Softball Falls to Loyola Wednesday

(VALPO RELEASE)

Valpo softball junior catcher Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) broke the program’s single-game record for runners caught stealing, throwing four runners out on the basepaths Wednesday as the Brown and Gold fell by a 7-1 final score at Loyola.

How It Happened

The Ramblers plated three runs in their first five batters of the bottom of the first despite picking up just one hit in that stretch. Later in the inning, with two on and two out, Tonoian successfully threw out Teagan Sopczak attempting to steal second to end the frame.

Loyola scored a run in the second inning, but Tonoian helped make sure it would be just a one-run frame for the Ramblers, throwing out Madison Ebeling trying to steal second for the second out of the inning.

A solo homer to lead off the bottom of the third made it a 5-0 game. Later that frame, with runners on the corners and two outs, Tonoian threw down to junior Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington), who chased Sopczak back towards first and got the ball to sophomore Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West), who applied the tag in time before the runner from third could score.

Valpo put its first two runners on base in the fourth as Westphal dropped down a bunt single and junior Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) drew a walk, but a strikeout and a double play ended the threat.

Tonoian registered the record-breaking caught stealing in the bottom of the fourth, nailing pinch-runner Abby Brown on the back end of a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play.

The fifth inning started just like the fourth did, as Valpo’s first two batters reached on base hits from sophomore Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) and junior Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]). Two batters later, Tonoian drew a walk to load the bases with one out.

Valpo pushed its first run of the game across as a grounder by junior Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) was mishandled by the Ramblers’ shortstop to allow Kehlenbrink to score. With the potential tying run at the plate, a strikeout and a foul-out limited Valpo to the one run.

Loyola closed the scoring with a pair of two-out unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Inside the Game

Tonoian’s four runners caught stealing surpassed the previous individual single-game record of three, which was accomplished on three occasions — most recently by Jenna Stauffenberg against Northern Illinois on May 2, 2018.

Four runners caught stealing is also a team single-game record as well, as Valpo had previously recorded three caught stealings as a defense four times.

The Valpo defense turned a pair of double plays on Wednesday and now has registered five double plays over the last four games.

Beckemeyer led the offense, reaching base in two of her three plate appearances with a single and a walk.

Junior Taylor Knight (Omaha, Neb./Elkhorn South) received the start in the circle and was charged with the loss Wednesday.

Freshman Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) gave up just one earned run in 2.2 innings of relief work, while fellow rookie Madison Wathen (Floyds Knobs, Ind./Floyd Central) tossed two shutout innings.

Next Up

Valpo returns home to the Valpo Softball Complex for a three-game weekend series against Drake, scheduled to begin with a noon doubleheader Saturday.

MIAMI MEN’S HOCKEY: Miami Hockey Announces 2021-22 Schedule

(MIAMI RELEASE)

OXFORD, Ohio – The 2020-21 NCAA hockey season may have just ended, however, the Miami University hockey team just released the RedHawks’ 2021-22 schedule today, featuring 16 games at Steve “Coach” Cady Arena.

Head Coach Chris Bergeron returns for his third season at the helm of Miami hockey. In addition to a high-profile incoming freshman class, the RedHawks return All-NCHC Second Team and All-Rookie goaltender Ludvig Persson and top scorers Matt Barry and Matthew Barbolini.

The 2021-22 season kicks off on October 2 with the first of two games at Ferris State, followed by an away game at Robert Morris on October 8. The long-awaited home opener follows on October 10, when the Colonials of Robert Morris trek to Oxford for the back-end of a home-and-home series.

Miami continues non-conference play at Michigan State (October 15-16) before staying in Ohio with a home-and-home series against rival Bowling Green (October 22-23). The RedHawks travel to Omaha to open NCHC play against the Mavericks on November 5-6.

November features six home games for the RedHawks as the 2021 NCHC regular-season champion North Dakota Fighting Hawks come to Oxford on November 12-13. A weekend series at the University of Denver follows (November 19-20), and then the team returns to take on Long Island University in a non-conference clash on November 26-27. Miami bids goodbye to 2021 at home with a big two-game series against Western Michigan set for December 3-4.

January brings with it the bulk of NCHC play, beginning with a home series versus Colorado College (January 7-8) before heading on the road for two straight weekends with games at Minnesota Duluth (January 14-15) and St. Cloud State (January 21-22). The month closes out with a home matchup against Denver, set for January 28-29 at Steve “Coach” Cady Arena.

Miami has more home games in February, featuring Omaha (February 11-12) and Minnesota Duluth (February 25-26). Miami closes their regular-season schedule at Western Michigan with a two-game series scheduled in Kalamazoo for March 4-5.

Season tickets for the 2021-22 season will be on sale in early May. Miami University will continue to follow the State of Ohio and Butler County guidelines surrounding COVID-19.

Complete Schedule:

  • Oct. 2-3 at Ferris State
  • Oct. 8 at Robert Morris
  • Oct. 10 vs. Robert Morris
  • Oct. 15-16 at Michigan State  
  • Oct. 22 vs. Bowling Green
  • Oct. 23 at Bowling Green
  • Nov 5-6 at Omaha
  • Nov. 12-13 vs. North Dakota
  • Nov. 19-20 at Denver
  • Nov. 26-27 vs. Long Island University
  • Dec. 3-4 vs. Western Michigan
  • Jan. 7-8 vs. Colorado College
  • Jan. 14-15 at Minnesota-Duluth
  • Jan. 21-22 at St. Cloud State
  • Jan. 28-29 vs. University of Denver
  • Feb. 11-12 vs. Omaha
  • Feb. 18-19 at Colorado College
  • Feb. 25-26 vs. Minnesota Duluth
  • Mar. 4-5 at Western-Michigan
  • March 11-13 NCHC Quarterfinals
  • March 18-19 NCHC Frozen Faceoff (at XCEL Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.)
  • March 25-27 NCAA Regionals
  • April 7-9 NCAA Frozen Four

 Home Games BOLD

WRIGHT STATE WOMEN’S TRACK: Track & Field travels for final two meets of regular season

(RAIDERS RELEASE)

The Wright State track and field team will compete at the 54th Gina Relays hosted by Hillsdale College on Thursday and Friday, before traveling to the RedHawk Invite* on Saturday. The Raiders are coming off a fourth-place finish at the Grizzly PR Classic hosted by Oakland last weekend.

*The RedHawk Invite is a closed meet and no spectators will be allowed.

LAST TIME OUT

GRIZZLY PR CLASSIC – Wright State turned in 18 Top-10 finishes on Saturday, as Callista Hess paced the Raiders with her second-place finish in the triple jump, jumping 10.22 meters. The 4×100 meter relay team of Jayla Tarver, Cameron Campbell, Kayle Willis, and Morgan Miller finished fourth with a time of 50.61 seconds.

Amelia Harlow and Tatiana Brown both placed fifth in the high jump, jumping 1.45 meters. While in the javelin throw, Tatiana Brown set a personal best with her throw of 26.01 meters. Emily Maclean also competed in the javelin throw placing sixth (22.34 meters).

EASTERN KENTUCKY – Shelby Nolan and Abigail Halsey represented Wright State at the Rick Erdmann Twilight on Saturday in Richmond, KY. Nolan recorded her eighth school record and 11th career with her time of 16:29 in the 5000 meters to finish seventh in the event. Halsey also competed in the 5000 meters (32nd, 18:21.35).

The Gina Relays and RedHawk Invite will be the final two regular-season meets for Wright State before heading to the Horizon League Outdoor Track & Field Championships May 7-9 hosted by Youngstown State. 

DAYTON VOLLEYBALL: UDVB’s Peterson Named AVCA Third Team All-American

(FLYERS RELEASE)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Dayton junior outside hitter Jamie Peterson has been named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Third Team. This is Peterson’s second All-America honor as she was named to the Honorable Mention Team in 2019, becoming Dayton’s 17th All-American.

This is the third time in program history a Flyer has earned mention on the All-America Third Team.

Peterson, this year’s Midwest Region and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, paced the Flyer offense with 4.21 kills/set (36th NCAA) and 0.56 aces/set (9th NCAA) while carrying a .307 hitting percentage. She recorded four double-doubles and had three matches with 20 or more kills, including a career-high 28 in Dayton’s 3-2 win at Wright State on Feb. 16.

Each of the three AVCA All-America Teams is comprised of 14 athletes. The AVCA All-America Honorable Mentions are selected in combination with all players named Conference Player of the Year and a group of 30 additional athletes identified by the All-America Committee. The Division I AVCA National Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year will be announced on April 22nd.

CINCINNATI MEN’S BASKETBALL: Men’s Basketball To Play In 2021 Hall of Fame Classic

(CINCINNATI RELEASE)

CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team will join three other storied programs, Arkansas, Illinois and Kansas State, in the 2021 Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker Nov. 22-23 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
 
The four programs have combined to win three NCAA Titles and reach 21 Final Fours. UC will play in the event for the first time. 
 
The 2021 Hall of Fame Classic is the first piece of UC’s 2021-22 schedule to be announced under Head Coach Wes Miller.
 
“At Cincinnati, we want to play in college basketball’s best preseason tournaments year-after-year to compete at the highest possible level,” Miller said. “The Hall of Fame Classic is one of those events and we are excited to be part of it.”
 
The Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker is part of Kansas City’s Hall of Fame Weekend, which also includes the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 induction celebration. The 2021 Hall of Fame Classic will mark the event’s 21st season of operation in Kansas City.
 
The Hall of Fame Classic semifinals will take place on the evening of Nov. 22 at T-Mobile Center, followed by the consolation and championship games on Nov. 23. 
 
Specific matchups, game times and ticket information will be announced later. All four games will air on ESPN networks.

OHIO STATE BASEBALL: BUCKEYES BACK HOME LOOKING TO TURN THE TIDE

(OSU RELEASE)

Ohio State vs. Penn State
Game 1
Date:
 April 23, 2021 | Time: 6:05 p.m. | Watch: BTN Plus+ | Scoring/Listen
Probable Starters:
Ohio State – Garrett Burhenn (Jr. | RHP | 2-1 | 4.15 ERA | 34.2 IP | 36 K | 13 BB)
Penn State – Bailey Dees (Jr. | RHP | 2-2 | 4.24 ERA | 40.1 IP | 39 K | 17 BB)

Game 2
Date:
 April 24, 2021 | Time: 3:05 p.m. | Watch: BTN Plus+ | Scoring/Listen
Probable Starters:
Ohio State – Seth Lonsway (R-Jr. | LHP | 1-4 | 4.45 ERA | 32.1 IP | 54 K | 21 BB
Penn State – Conor Larkin (Jr. | RHP | 1-4 | 3.99 ERA | 38.1 IP | 65 K | 25 BB)

Game 3
Date:
 April 25, 2021 | Time: 1:05 p.m. | Watch: BTN Plus+ | Scoring/Listen
Probable Starters:
Ohio State – Jack Neely (Jr. | RHP | 1-2 | 5.20 ERA | 27.2 IP | 35 K | 18 BB)
Penn State – Kyle Virbitsky (Jr. | RHP | 1-2 | 4.69 ERA | 40.1 IP | 42 K | 10 BB)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After spending the last two weekends on the road, Ohio State returns home to Bill Davis Stadium this weekend to begin a key stretch of games that opens against Penn State on Friday night. The Buckeyes will play nine of the next 12 games at home. Ohio State and Penn State are both riding modest losing streaks as the Buckeyes have dropped the last five games and the Nittany Lions have lost the last four.


TICKETS

A limited number of general admission tickets are available for all remaining home games this season. For instructions on how to purchase, please visit the Ohio State Ticket Office online by CLICKING HERE.


The Opponent

  • Penn State was swept at home last weekend by league-leading Nebraska and enters the weekend at 8-16 overall and in 12th place in the Big Ten Standings.
  • The last win for the Nittany Lions was an 11-0 thrashing of Purdue on April 10 in East Lansing, Mich.
  • The Nittany Lions are much like the Buckeyes in that just one player is batting over .300 and that’s Gavin Homer, who is hitting .346.
  • Penn State leads the league in doubles with 54 but is second-to-last in runs scored at 4.3 per game.
  • On the mound, Penn State is like Ohio State in that both teams like to pitch inside. Penn State is second behind the Buckeyes in hit batters at 40 and 48, respectively.

Ohio State Quick Hitters

  • Ohio State enters the weekend at 13-12 overall and in a tie for fifth place in the Big Ten standings.
  • The Buckeye pitching staff leads the Big Ten in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.9 which is also 14th nationally.
  • The OSU staff is also third in the Big Ten in hits allowed by batter per nine innings (7.90) and opponent batting average (.234).
  • Seth Lonsway leads the conference and is fourth nationally at 15.03 strikeouts per nine innings. He is also second in the Big Ten in hits allowed per nine innings at 4.70.
  • Lonsway has recorded double-digit strikeouts in each of his last three starts and has 10 double-digit strikeout games in his career. This current streak ties the longest of his career.
  • TJ Brock has seven saves on the year which is tops in the Big Ten and tied for 11th nationally.
  • Freshman Kade Kern continues to lead the team in hitting at .340, which is 12th in the league. He also tops the team with 19 RBI and an OBP of .396. Kern has seven multi-hit games on the season including a five-hit game in the opener which is the most in a game by a Big Ten player this season.
  • Brent Todys is currently riding a career-high five-game hitting streak. He is hitting .350 with a home run, two doubles and five RBI over those five games.
  • Conner Pohl has hit safely in seven consecutive games which is two shy of his career-high. Pohl leads the team with seven home runs and is tied for the team lead with 12 walks.
  • Pohl has had a hit in 17 of the 25 games this season. He has reached base in all but two of the games this year.
  • Zach Dezenzo has hit safely in 12 of the last 15 games and is hitting .333 with three home runs and six doubles over that stretch. He has also reached base safely in the last 12 games which is the longest streak of his career.

Maryland Weekend Recap

  • It was a long weekend in College Park as the Buckeyes came home winless in three tries.
  • Maryland scored seven runs in the sixth inning on Friday night to take game one 10-6. On Saturday, the Buckeyes got two runs in the seventh and ninth innings to force extras but fell 5-4 in 10 innings. And on Sunday, the Terrapins scored nine unanswered runs to run away with the finale 9-4.
  • Remarkably, the Buckeyes out-hit Maryland 24-17 in the series but were out-scored by 10 runs. The Terrapins took advantage of 21 walks, eight hit batters and 10 wild pitches by Buckeye pitchers over the three games.
  • At the plate, Brent Todys, Conner Pohl and Zach Dezenzo each had a hit in all three games while Kade Kern collected five hits in the last two games after going hitless in the opener.
  • Pohl went deep twice in the series.

IU EAST WOMEN’S TENNIS: RIBEIRO NAMED UTR/ITA NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

(IUE RELEASE)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Indiana University East’s Nora Ribeiro is the UTR/ITA NAIA National Player of the Week, the ITA announced April 21.

The UTR/ITA Player of the Week honors a collegiate tennis player whose increase in UTR rating throughout the previous week was indicative of a high level of performance, including notable wins such as clinching matches and upsets. One NAIA men’s player and one NAIA women’s player are selected for this honor each week.

Ribeiro went 4-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles this past week during IU East’s regular-season ending rush, including victories at No. 3 doubles and No. 5 singles against Asbury University on April 18 that helped the Red Wolves to a team win that clinched a share of the River States Conference regular-season title for the first time in program history for IU East.

The Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) is a global rating system that promotes fair and competitive play across the tennis world. All players, regardless of age, gender, geography, or skill level, are rated on the same scale between 1 and 16.50 based on actual match results. Sosa’s UTR rating increased markedly based on his results last week.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body of college tennis, overseeing varsity college tennis at all levels.

Ribeiro and the Red Wolves play at the RSC Championships this coming weekend in Nicholasville, Ky.

TODAY IN BASEBALL IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1876       Three thousand fans attend the Philadelphia Athletics’ 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Caps in the first game ever played in the National League. When rain washes out the other scheduled games, the Athletic Park contest becomes the new circuit’s inaugural event by default

1891       Exposition Park, which opened last year as the home of the Pittsburgh Burghers of the short-lived Players’ League, hosts its first Pirates game, a National League contest that the Bucs lose to Chicago, 7-6. The ballpark located on the north side of the Allegheny River, across from Pittsburgh’s downtown area, will be the team’s home until they move to Forbes Field in 1909.

1898       Today marks the first time two no-hitters occur on the same day when Orioles (NL) right-hander Jay Hughes and Reds southpaw Theodore Breitenstein keep their opponents hitless, respectively beating the Beaneaters, 8-0, and the Pirates, 11-0. A double no-no on the same date will not happen again until June 29th, 1990, when A’s Dave Stewart and Dodger Fernando Valenzuela accomplish the feat with gems against the Blue Jays and Cardinals.

1903       In the first game of franchise history, the New York Highlanders (later to be renamed Yankees) lose their opener to Washington at American League Park, 3-1. Jack Chesbro takes the loss, but the 28 year-old right-hander will finish the season with a 21-15 record (.583) along with an ERA of 2.77.

1914       Babe Ruth, in his first pro game, blanks Providence to give Baltimore a 6-0 International League victory. Eighteen of the 94 major league victories thrown by the future ‘Sultan of Swat’ will be shutouts.

1915       Similar to the looks of the Pirates, the Yankee uniforms feature pinstripes for the first time. The Bronx Bombers will abandon the fashion statement for two seasons, in 1913-1914, but will return to the style for good in 1915.

1922       With George Sisler aboard each time, Browns’ left fielder Ken Williams hits three home runs, becoming the first American League player to accomplish the feat in a game. The outfielder’s three round-trippers lead St. Louis to a 10-7 victory over Chicago at Sportsman’s Park.

1925       In their home opener against Cincinnati at Sportsman’s Park, Branch Rickey’s Cardinals collect 12 hits in the first frame to establish a National League mark. The batting barrage accounts for 11 runs scoring in the inning en route to the Redbirds’ 12-3 rout of the Reds.

1947       The Phillies players, inspired by their Alabama-born racist skipper Ben Chapman, repeatedly shout racial epitaphs, throw beanballs, and intentionally spike Brooklyn’s rookie first baseman, the first African-American to play major league baseball in the 20th century. The incident is so severe that Philadelphia’s that infielder Jeep Handley will later publicly apologize, and baseball commissioner Happy Chandler will chastise team’s manager for his bigoted leadership.

1956       New York starter Don Larsen hits a grand-slam off Frank Sullivan in the Yankees’ 13-6 victory over Boston at Yankee Stadium. The 26 year-old right-hander, a good-hitting pitcher, will finish his 14-year career with 14 home runs and a .242 average.

1957       Entering the game as a pinch-runner, John Kennedy becomes the first black to play with the Phillies, the last National League team to integrate. The former shortstop for the Birmingham Black Barons and Kansas City Monarchs will bat only twice in the major leagues, striking out and reaching on an error.

1959       Although it takes extra innings, Whitey Ford ties the Yankees’ record for strikeouts, fanning 15 batters when he beats the Senators in 14 innings, 1-0. ‘Slick’ equals the mark established by Bob Shawkey in 1919, when the right-hander defeated Philadelphia in a nine-inning game, 9-2.

1959       Bill Skowron homers to deep left field off Chuck Stobbs in the top of 14th inning, accounting for the lone run in the Yankees’ victory over the Senators at Griffith Stadium. Whitey Ford goes the distance for the win in the longest American League 1-0 game to be decided by a home run.

1959       In the seventh inning of a 20-6 rout of Kansas City, the White Sox score 11 runs on just one hit. The other Municipal Stadium baserunners get on thanks to two errors, ten walks, and one hit batsman.

1970       On the day he is presented with his Cy Young Award, Mets’ fireballer Tom Seaver ties a major league record by whiffing 19 Padres, including the last ten he faces, to gain a 2-1 win at Shea Stadium. Batterymate Jerry Grote sets the major league mark with ten consecutive putouts in a game for a catcher.

1973       Designated hitter Ron Lolich, Mickey’s cousin, hits the third of his four career home runs, a two-out walk-off grand slam, giving the Indians an 8-7 comeback victory. Boston had scored three runs in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 deadlock.

1976       It takes two days to accomplish the feat, but Tim Foli becomes the first Expo to hit for the cycle when he homers in the eighth inning of a suspended game. Before the Wrigley Field contest was halted yesterday because of darkness, the Montreal shortstop had stroked a single, double, and triple in the club’s eventual 12-6 victory over Chicago, in that order, for a rare ‘natural cycle’.

1988       Two weeks into the season, the World Champion Twins deal their reliable right fielder Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for second baseman Tommy Herr. Minnesota had hoped their newly acquired switch-hitting infielder would be an ideal No. 2 hitter in front of Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, but the 32 year-old will hit .263, playing in only 86 games due to injuries.

1991       During the first night game in the new ballpark, Frank Thomas hits the first White Sox home run in Comiskey Park, contributing to Chicago’s 8-7 victory over Baltimore. In the south-side stadium debut three days ago, Jack McDowell surrendered the park’s first homer to Cecil Fielder in a 16-0 rout of the home team by Detroit.

1993       Mariner right-hander Chris Bosio walks the first two batters he faces in the Kingdome, but is perfect the rest of the way, throwing the second no-hitter in franchise history when he beats Red Sox, 7-0. The 30 year-old Seattle’s no-no is kept intact by several outstanding plays from his infielders, including shortstop Omar Vizquel’s barehanded play on a chopper hit by Ernest Riles for the game’s final out.

1996       The Mariners surpass the 1984 White Sox record for home runs hit by a team in April with their 39th round-tripper when Alex Diaz takes Paul Quantrill deep in the team’s 11-7 loss at the Kingdome. Seattle will extend the major league mark to 44 homers by month’s end.

2000       After being hit by a pitch thrown by White Sox starter Jim Parque, Dean Palmer charges the mound, beginning a series of brawls that continue to erupt during the beanball-filled game at Comiskey Park. When the dust settles in Chicago’s 14-6 victory over the Tigers, Frank Robinson, baseball’s new disciplinary czar, suspends 16 individuals for a total of 82 games, and he fines a total of 24 players, coaches, and managers for their roles in the brawl.

2000       Homers by Mark McGwire and Fernando Tatis help to establish a National League record for the most team home runs in April when the Cardinals go yard 42 times. The Braves had hit 41 home runs in April of 1998.

2000       Angels Mo Vaughn, Tim Salmon, and Troy Glaus all go deep in the fourth inning against Devil Rays’ hurler Dwight Gooden, and then they again all homer off Roberto Hernandez in the ninth. It is the first time in major league history that the same three players homered in the same inning twice in a game.

2001       A new number, 455, will be added with 3, 5, 14, 18, 19, 21, and 42, on the second deck in right field. The three-digit number will join the other previously Indian retired numbers as an honor to the fans for setting a sellout streak record, which lasted for 455 games over five years at Jacobs Field.

2006       Bill Hall, Damian Miller, Brady Clark, J.J. Hardy, and Prince Fielder all go deep in the bottom of the fourth frame at Miller Park, making the Brewers the fifth team to hit five home runs in one inning. Milwaukee joins the 1966 Twins, 1939 Yankees, 1949 Phillies, and the 1961 Giants to establish the major league mark.

2007       The Red Sox become the fifth big-league team to hit four consecutive homers in an inning when Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek all go deep with two outs in the third inning at Fenway off Yankee starter Chase Wright. J.D. Drew was also part of the quartet of the 2006 Dodgers, who were the fourth major league team to connect for four straight round-trippers in one frame.

2008       In a scheduling oddity, both New York big-league teams play in Chicago, with the Mets playing the Cubs in a matinee, and the Yankees taking on the White Sox in an evening tilt. This unusual occurrence marks the first time in 11+ years that two teams from one city have played as visitors in the same town on the same date, a quirk likely necessitated due to the Pope’s appearance at Yankee Stadium two days ago.

2008       Striking out Nationals second baseman Felipe Lopez on his signature split-finger fastball, John Smoltz becomes the 16th pitcher in big league history to achieve 3,000 career strikeouts. In the 6-0 Braves loss to Washington at Turner Field, the Atlanta ace fans ten batters for the 45th time in his 20-year career.

2010       The Yankees turn their first triple play in 42 years when Alex Rodriguez steps on third to start a 5-4-3 around-the-horn play that results in three outs in a 4-2 loss to the A’s in Oakland. The team’s last triple killing occurred in June of 1968, on a 1-5-3 ground ball hit by Minnesota’s John Roseboro, a play started by pitcher Dooley Womack, continued by third baseman Bobby Cox, and finished by Mickey Mantle, who was playing first base.

2010       The Brewers, with a 20-0 rout at PNC Park, hand the Pirates their most-lopsided loss in the 124-year history of the franchise. The victory completes a three-game sweep of the Bucs in which the Brew Crew outscored their opponents, 36-1.

2018       Brandon Belt works the most extended at-bat in major league history when he sees 21 first-inning pitches from LA’s Jaime Barria in the Giants’ 4-2 victory at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The San Francisco first baseman’s 12 minute and 45-second plate appearance, in which he fouls off 16 balls – including 10 in a row – surpasses the 1998 duel between Indians right-hander Bartolo Colon and Astro infielder Ricky Gutierrez by one pitch.

BASEBALL BIOGRAPHY-SPARKY ANDERSON

Sometimes it’s not a lengthy resume of past success that gets one a job, it can be intangible qualities the separates one candidate from another. Such was the case in 1970 when the Cincinnati Reds hired little known Sparky Anderson to become their manager, feeling his managerial style would best compliment their players and offset his lack of managerial experience. Their hunch proved correct as the Reds achieved immediate success and Anderson began a career that would make him one of the most successful managers in baseball history.

As is the case with many managers, Sparky Anderson had a brief and non-distinguished playing career. He toiled in the Dodger minor league system for six years before being traded to the Phillies in 1959. Philadelphia gave him the starting second baseman’s job, but Anderson was hardly up to the task batting a lowly .218 and driving in just 34 runs without a home run for the last place Phils. That would turn out to be his only big league opportunity as he returned to the Minor Leagues and eventually gave up his playing aspirations for managing, taking a Minor League job with Toronto in 1964. He skippered for a total of five Minor League years and then returned to the Major Leagues as a coach with the expansion San Diego Padres in 1969. He was set to begin the 1970 campaign in a similar post with the California Angels, but also interviewed for the vacant Reds managerial job.

Cincinnati had finished third in the National League (NL) West in 1969 and boasted a world of talent with players such as Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez. Reds General Manager Bob Howsam liked what he heard from Anderson in their interview and decided to roll the dice and hire Sparky. “I’ll always gamble…if I believe in the man I’m gambling on. I needed a leader, somebody to get all that ability out of our players” said Howsam. Anderson’s special rapport with his players began right away. “I remember that day in spring training when he told me, I’m here to win, and I want you to help me. Right then he had everybody. We wanted to win for Sparky,” recalled Perez. The gamble paid off as Cincinnati stormed out of the gate winning 70 of their first 100 games and ran away with the NL West Title in Anderson’s first year at the helm. The Reds then swept the Pirates in the Championship Series to bring Cincinnati its first pennant since 1961 and secure a date with the Orioles in the World Series. A controversial home play call hurt the Reds in Game 1 of the Series and they never recovered dropping the Fall Classic to Baltimore in five games.

Cincinnati slumped to a fourth place tie in 1971 but, bolstered by the acquisition of Joe Morgan from Houston, Sparky returned the Reds to winning ways in 1972 and once again won the pennant. But in the World Series they ran into a young, upstart Athletics team, and Oakland went on to edge Cincinnati in seven games, winning their first of three straight World Championships. Another division title was won in 1973, but the Reds were upset by the underdog Mets in the NLCS. Still Cincinnati had found a winning formula, powerful offense and a starting pitching staff that did just enough to turn it over to a bullpen used to perfection by manager Anderson. He was dubbed “Captain Hook” for his many pitching changes, and manipulated the relievers masterfully to get the matchups he wanted. An example of his authoritative managing style was that pitchers were not allowed to speak to him on his mound visits so that his thought process would not be swayed. “Players have two things to do. Play and keep their mouths shut” said Sparky.

In 1975 the Reds, ignited by a regular season lineup change of moving Pete Rose to third base and inserting George Foster in left field, returned to glory winning 108 games, capturing the NL West Title, and sweeping the Pirates to advance to the World Series and face the Red Sox. In one of the most dramatically played series in baseball history, Cincinnati bounced back from an emotional sixth game loss, and came from behind to beat Boston in a seventh game and win the Fall Classic for the first time since 1940. The Reds followed up their 1975 championship season with a splendid 1976 campaign, winning another pennant and sweeping the Yankees in four straight in the World Series. “The Big Red Machine” of 1975 and 1976 is often mentioned when discussing the greatest teams of all time. The Reds slipped to second behind the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978, and following the 78 season Anderson was fired after refusing managements suggestions for changes on his coaching staff. He left behind in Cincinnati team records for wins (863) and winning percentage (.596).

Sparky returned to managing in 1979, taking over the American League’s young and improving Detroit Tigers. He proceeded to lead the Tigers to the next level and brought Detroit its first division title since 1972 when the Tigers roared out to a 35-5 mark and cruised to win the AL East. Detroit had little trouble with Kansas City in the ALCS, sweeping the Royals, and then pounded the San Diego Padres in five games to capture the World Series. Detroit won another division title in 1987 and came within a game of another in 1988, but then fell on hard times losing 103 games in 1989. It was Anderson’s first losing season since 1971, and a year Sparky suffered a nervous breakdown and left the team for a period of three weeks. Detroit’s lack of success continued into the 1990’s and Anderson left the Tigers following the 1995 season. He flirted with a managerial comeback with the California Angels in 1997, but eventually retired from managing for good.

Sparky Anderson’s career managerial record is one of the finest ever and perhaps the greatest of anyone who piloted teams in both leagues. He stands third all-time in wins (2194), behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw, and 23rd in winning percentage (.545). He won seven division titles, five pennants, and three world championships. He was the first manager to win 800 games with two teams, Cincinnati and Detroit, and the first to win 100 games in a season and win Manager of the Year in both leagues. He was elected to The Baseball Hall of Fame by the Committee on Baseball Veterans in 2000.

MLB Standings
American League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Boston127.6326 – 66 – 17 – 45 – 30 – 06 – 4L 1
Tampa Bay109.52623 – 47 – 55 – 42 – 11 – 36 – 4L 1
Baltimore810.4443.51 – 67 – 44 – 50 – 03 – 44 – 6L 1
Toronto810.4443.53 – 35 – 75 – 31 – 32 – 45 – 5W 1
NY Yankees611.35354 – 72 – 45 – 100 – 00 – 03 – 7L 1
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Kansas City107.5888 – 52 – 24 – 32 – 24 – 26 – 4W 1
Chi White Sox99.5001.53 – 36 – 62 – 24 – 33 – 45 – 5W 1
Cleveland88.5001.54 – 24 – 60 – 07 – 60 – 05 – 5L 1
Detroit711.3893.54 – 43 – 70 – 03 – 63 – 44 – 6W 1
Minnesota611.35342 – 54 – 61 – 32 – 11 – 61 – 9L 4
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Oakland127.6328 – 64 – 10 – 07 – 02 – 510 – 0W 11
Seattle117.6110.56 – 55 – 23 – 13 – 32 – 17 – 3L 1
LA Angels97.5631.56 – 43 – 32 – 15 – 32 – 35 – 5L 1
Texas910.47433 – 66 – 46 – 41 – 22 – 16 – 4W 1
Houston710.41241 – 56 – 50 – 00 – 37 – 51 – 9L 3
National League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
NY Mets76.5384 – 13 – 55 – 30 – 22 – 16 – 4L 2
Philadelphia99.5000.58 – 41 – 56 – 62 – 11 – 24 – 6W 1
Miami89.47114 – 74 – 24 – 20 – 32 – 17 – 3W 1
Atlanta810.4441.53 – 45 – 65 – 82 – 10 – 04 – 6W 1
Washington79.4381.55 – 52 – 41 – 24 – 22 – 56 – 4W 2
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Milwaukee117.6114 – 57 – 20 – 07 – 53 – 07 – 3W 3
Cincinnati98.5291.57 – 42 – 40 – 05 – 12 – 63 – 7L 3
Chi Cubs89.4712.56 – 52 – 43 – 25 – 70 – 04 – 6W 2
Pittsburgh810.44434 – 34 – 70 – 05 – 72 – 26 – 4L 1
St. Louis810.44432 – 46 – 66 – 62 – 40 – 03 – 7L 2
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
LA Dodgers144.7786 – 08 – 43 – 00 – 08 – 28 – 2W 1
San Francisco117.61135 – 16 – 63 – 32 – 15 – 16 – 4L 1
San Diego1010.50055 – 85 – 20 – 02 – 55 – 53 – 7L 3
Arizona810.44462 – 36 – 72 – 24 – 12 – 56 – 4W 3
Colorado612.33386 – 60 – 61 – 20 – 03 – 103 – 7W 2

NBA Division Standings
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia3919.67222-717-1210-225-76-42 L
Brooklyn3920.6610.523-716-136-420-145-51 L
New York3327.5507.020-1013-172-821-178-28 W
Boston3127.5348.018-1113-164-618-158-21 L
Toronto2534.42414.515-1510-194-616-206-44 W
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Milwaukee3522.61418-1017-129-020-105-52 L
Indiana2731.4668.510-1717-145-414-185-51 W
Chicago2434.41411.511-1813-165-414-144-61 L
Cleveland2137.36214.512-169-214-715-174-61 W
Detroit1841.30518.011-167-251-911-234-61 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Atlanta3227.54216-1116-165-318-147-31 L
Miami3128.5251.017-1314-155-517-156-43 W
Charlotte2829.4913.014-1214-177-215-154-61 L
Washington2533.4316.514-1611-172-79-238-26 W
Orlando1840.31013.510-208-204-611-221-93 L
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah4415.74626-318-125-221-96-42 W
Denver3820.6555.520-1018-108-121-128-24 W
Portland3226.55211.516-1416-124-617-163-73 L
Oklahoma City2039.33924.09-2011-193-811-220-1012 L
Minnesota1644.26728.510-196-253-610-244-61 L
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Phoenix4216.72423-919-76-324-108-22 W
LA Clippers4219.6891.524-818-118-225-109-13 W
LA Lakers3523.6037.017-1318-103-621-125-51 L
Golden State2930.49213.517-1012-203-715-146-41 L
Sacramento2435.40718.513-1711-184-612-182-81 W
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Dallas3126.54414-1417-126-417-175-51 W
Memphis2928.5092.013-1616-124-612-205-52 L
San Antonio2829.4913.012-1916-105-615-204-61 L
New Orleans2533.4316.516-159-186-314-174-64 L
Houston1544.25417.07-228-225-710-242-82 L

NHL Division Standings
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Washington Capitals4629134622716314114-6-215-7-26-4-0
New York Islanders4629134622513310619-2-210-11-27-3-0
Pittsburgh Penguins4629143612615913217-3-212-11-16-3-1
Boston Bruins4426126582212711014-6-312-6-37-2-1
New York Rangers4623176522215212411-7-312-10-36-2-2
Philadelphia Flyers452018747181281629-10-411-8-33-4-3
New Jersey Devils451425634141151574-17-310-8-31-9-0
Buffalo Sabres46122773191111565-15-47-12-35-4-1
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
x-Vegas Golden Knights4633112683215510218-4-215-7-09-1-0
Colorado Avalanche433094643015410118-4-212-5-29-1-0
Minnesota Wild4529133612814111817-4-012-9-37-2-1
Arizona Coyotes4720225451712415011-10-39-12-23-7-0
St. Louis Blues431918644171241357-10-412-8-23-6-1
San Jose Sharks461823541131221578-10-210-13-32-7-1
Los Angeles Kings431720640161181288-9-49-11-24-6-0
Anaheim Ducks471426735131041515-16-49-10-33-6-1
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs4628135612715012614-7-314-6-25-3-2
Winnipeg Jets4527153572714412011-7-216-8-16-3-1
Edmonton Oilers4527162562714412514-9-013-7-26-3-1
Montreal Canadiens4420159491913012610-10-210-5-74-6-0
Calgary Flames4519233411811813310-10-19-13-24-6-0
Vancouver Canucks3918183391510912511-9-27-9-16-3-1
Ottawa Senators461626436141261669-10-47-16-04-6-0
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Carolina Hurricanes4530105652614610816-3-414-7-16-2-2
Florida Panthers4730125652915212616-4-314-8-26-3-1
Tampa Bay Lightning4630142622915312117-6-013-8-25-5-0
Nashville Predators4825212522013013714-9-011-12-26-3-1
Dallas Stars45191412501713011312-6-87-8-46-2-2
Chicago Blackhawks4722205492013414812-8-210-12-35-5-0
Detroit Red Wings4816257391510715310-10-46-15-34-4-2
Columbus Blue Jackets481524939131171638-8-77-16-21-8-1