The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram » Sports http://www.pressherald.com Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:13:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.4 Soccer roundup: Portugal reaches semifinals in European Championships http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/soccer-roundup-portugal-reaches-semifinals-in-european-championships/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/soccer-roundup-portugal-reaches-semifinals-in-european-championships/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 03:41:21 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/soccer-roundup-portugal-reaches-semifinals-in-european-championships/ MARSEILLE, France — Ricardo Quaresma scored the winning penalty Thursday as Portugal beat Poland 5-3 in a shootout to reach the semifinals of the European Championship.

With the quarterfinal at 1-1 after extra time, Quaresma fired his spot kick past Lukasz Fabianski to line up a match against Wales or Belgium in Lyon, France, on Wednesday.

Having previously scored an extra-time winner in the Round of 16 against Croatia, Quaresma’s penalty sent Portugal into the semifinals for the fourth time in the last five European Championships.

Poland winger Jakub Blaszczykowski came into the match as his team’s top scorer, but had a poor game and saw his penalty saved one-handed by Rui Patricio, allowing Quaresma to finish the job with the next kick.

On a night when captain Cristiano Ronaldo turned in another disappointing performance, 18-year-old midfielder Renato Sanches stepped up to tie it for Portugal in the first half. Sanches was his team’s main threat for much of the game with his smart movement and passing in his first international start.

“It’s wonderful for the team, for me as well for scoring the goal,” he said. “People criticize us but we don’t care because in the end we’re in the semis.”

Portugal’s last six games at European Championships have been drawn after 90 minutes in a run dating to its loss to Spain on penalties in the 2012 semifinals.

Robert Lewandowski put Poland in front with the quickest goal of the tournament, scoring inside two minutes.

Portugal right-back Cedric Soares misjudged a cross-field ball, allowing Kamil Grosicki to break into space on the left flank and send in a low cross for Lewandowski to convert with a first-time shot.

Poland’s lead lasted until the 33rd minute, when Sanches tied it.

Poland had chances to win the game in the second half, notably when Patricio stopped a diving header from Lewandowski.

THE UNITED STATES will play Cuba in a friendly for the first time since 1947 on Oct. 7 in Havana.

It will be just the second visit to Cuba in the last 69 years for the American men, who won 1-0 on Sept. 6, 2008 in a World Cup qualifying match. The exhibition comes a month after the United States ends the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying for the World Cup with matches against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, then against Trinidad and Tobago.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC, a Swede who is one of the world’s top strickers, announced that he will be joining Manchester United.

Ibrahimovic willl be joining as a free agent, with his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expiring in the offseason.

VICENTE DEL BOSQUE said he’s standing down after eight years in charge of Spain, having guided the team to World Cup and European titles.

Del Bosque, 65, said he has “no intention of continuing” in the job after Spain’s European title defense ended Monday in the Round of 16 with a loss to Italy. His contract was due to expire next month.

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Major league roundup: Yankees rally for another win http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/major-league-roundup-yankees-rally-for-another-win/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/major-league-roundup-yankees-rally-for-another-win/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 03:26:54 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/major-league-roundup-yankees-rally-for-another-win/ NEW YORK — Chase Headley scored on a passed ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the Yankees won in their final at-bat for the second straight game to beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Thursday.

Four New York pitchers combined to strike out 16 Rangers as the teams split the four-game series. Didi Gregorius, who had the winning home run Wednesday night, hit a solo shot in the fifth to tie the score after Shin-Soo Choo homered to lead off the game.

Tony Barnette (5-3), the third Rangers reliever of the afternoon, walked Headley to lead off the bottom of the ninth. With runners on second and third and two outs, his pitch got through catcher Robinson Chirinos and Headley just beat the throw.

Aroldis Chapman (2-0) earned the win with a scoreless ninth.

INDIANS 4, BLUE JAYS 1: Carlos Carrasco struck out a season-high 14, Jason Kipnis and Rajai Davis hit solo home runs, and visiting Cleveland matched a franchise record by winning its 13th straight game.

Cleveland’s streak is the longest by any team this season, and the longest for the Indians since winning 13 straight in 1951. Cleveland also won 13 in a row in 1942.

Indians starting pitchers are 10-0 during the streak, and Cleveland has outscored opponents, 80-26.

WHITE SOX 6, TWINS 5: J.B. Shuck’s two-out single scored the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning and Todd Frazier hit his 23rd home run as Chicago won at home.

Fernando Abad (1-2) got the first two batters in the eighth before consecutive walks.

Shuck’s career high-tying third hit of the game scored Avisail Garcia from second.

TIGERS 10, RAYS 7: Cameron Maybin capped a dramatic eight-run ninth inning with a tiebreaking three-run double, and Detroit overcame a five-run deficit to win at St. Petersburg, Florida.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

DODGERS 8, BREWERS 1: Trayce Thompson, Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager hit home runs, leading Los Angeles to a win at Milwaukee.

Kenta Maeda (7-5) held the Brewers to one run over six innings as the Dodgers won the season series from the Brewers, five games to two.

METS 4, CUBS 3: Yoenis Cespedes socked a colossal home run, Jeurys Familia pitched out of a huge jam in the ninth inning and rookie replacement Brandon Nimmo keyed a three-run rally in the seventh that sent host New York past Chicago in their first meeting since last year’s NL Championship Series.

New York, which swept Chicago last October to reach the World Series, had lost nine straight regular-season games to the Cubs dating to August 2014.

NATIONALS 13, REDS 4: Danny Espinosa hit a grand slam and a three-run homer to finish with a career-high seven RBI as host Washington cruised to its fifth straight victory.

INTERLEAGUE

ROYALS 4, CARDINALS 2: Kendrys Morales homered and recorded his sixth straight multi-hit game in a win at St. Louis.

Kansas City won for the fourth time in five games and took the two-city, four-game series three games to one.

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Local baseball: Coastal Landscape scores Legion victory http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/local-baseball-coastal-landscape-scores-legion-victory/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/local-baseball-coastal-landscape-scores-legion-victory/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 03:16:26 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/local-baseball-coastal-landscape-scores-legion-victory/ Griffin Watson scored on a passed ball in the fifth inning Thursday and Coastal Landscape went on to a 3-2 victory against Andrews Post in an American Legion Zone 3 baseball game.

Watson was 2 for 3 with a pair of stolen bases and scored twice for Coastal (6-3).

Charles Bernard had a pair of singles for Andrews (3-6).

James Sinclair pitched a four-hitter with six strikeouts for Coastal.

FAYETTE-STAPLES 12, NOBLE 3: Fayette-Staples totaled eight runs in the first two innings at Saco.

Brady Lambert had a triple and scored three runs for Fayette-Staples.

Jacob LaPlume picked up the win, pitching four innings, allowing two runs, six hits, one walk and striking out two.

YANKEE FORD 7, SUMMIT GAS 3: Nate Ingalls had three hits, including a triple, as Yankee Ford (6-0) beat Summit Gas (1-9) at South Portland.

Drew Abramson hit a two-run single in the sixth inning for Yankee Ford.

Chris Romano and Jordan Brown had two hits apiece for Summit Gas.

STAPLES CROSSING 6, BONANZA 1: Staples Crossing (6-3) scored the final five runs to pull away from Bonanza (1-6) at Sanford.

Max Horton went 2 for 2 and drove in a pair of runs, and Jack Cahill finished with two hits for Staples.

Nathan Martineau had two hits for Bonanza.

SEBAGO LAKERS 8, LIBBY-MITCHELL 5: The Sebago Lakers (4-2) scored six runs in the second inning, including a two-run triple by Brady Grass and a two-run single by Zach Alpern, and downed Libby-Mitchell (5-4) at Standish.

Tanner Laberge of Sebago allowed five runs on nine hits, striking out seven and walking none, and also went 2 for 2 with a pair of RBI.

Bailey Welsh had a pair of singles for Libby-Mitchell. Tim Carion added two hits.

JUNIOR LEGION

WESTBROOK 5, CHEVERUS 4: Derrick Higgins delivered a walkoff two-run single in the eighth inning to lift Westbrook at home.

Cheverus hit a two-run single in the sixth to tie the game and added a two-run single in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, Eli Higgins of Westbrook hit an RBI groundout, followed by Higgins’ winning single.

Kyle Hebert of Wesbtrook pitched eight innings, allowing one walk and striking out three.

CAPE ELIZABETH 4, BIDDEFORD 2: Jack Glanville had a triple and double for Cape Elizabeth (3-6), which scored four unanswered runs to rally at Biddeford.

Carter Brunell of Biddeford had three hits, including a double, and scored.

BRUNO’S 5, FAYETTE-STAPLES 0: Giovanni Ruotolo pitched a no-hitter for Bruno’s (6-3) at Portland.

Donny Tocci had a pair of hits with an RBI and scored twice, and Ruotolo picked up his first win of the season.

DEERING 4, BONNY EAGLE 3: Jacob Gikas hit a two-run single to complete a seventh-inning rally as Deering won at Portland.

Kolby Lambert of Bonny Eagle struck out 11 over six innings as Bonny Eagle built a 3-0 lead.

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Sports Digest: Cheverus names Cloutier as new field hockey coach http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/sports-digest-cheverus-names-cloutier-as-new-field-hockey-coach/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/sports-digest-cheverus-names-cloutier-as-new-field-hockey-coach/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 03:16:05 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/sports-digest-cheverus-names-cloutier-as-new-field-hockey-coach/ HIGH SCHOOLS

Cheverus names Cloutier as new field hockey coach

Gary Hoyt, athletic director at Cheverus High in Portland, announced that Sally Cloutier has been hired as the varsity field hockey coach.

Cloutier, a graduate of South Portland High, graduated and played college field hockey at Boston University.

She previously has served as a graduate assistant at BU and is an inductee in the Maine Field Hockey Hall of Fame.

BASEBALL

EMPIRE LEAGUE: Shaun Cooper went 3 for 4, including a two-run homer in the second inning as the Old Orchard Beach Surge shut out the Sullivan Explorers 6-0 at Old Orchard Beach.

For the Surge, Michael Volpe went seven innings, allowing four hits and striking out 11.

Joshua Martinez and Richard Baerga each threw hitless innings in relief for the Surge.

Jacob Fabry added a pair of hits for Old Orchard.

NECBL: Nelson Mompierre crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Sanford Mainers pulled away from the Newport Gulls for a 7-2 win at Goodall Park in Sanford.

The Mainers added a pair of runs in the seventh inning on an RBI double by Zach Jancarski, who later stole third base and scored on a catcher’s error.

Jancarski was 2 for 3 and scored twice for Sanford.

GOLF

PGA: William McGirt opened with a 6-under 64 for a three-shot lead in the Bridgestone Invitational as he goes for another victory at Akron, Ohio.

McGirt broke through for his first PGA Tour victory last month at the Memorial. In his World Golf Championship debut, he made six birdies and finished off his round with a 45-foot par save.

Jason Day, the No. 1 player in the world, was among those at 67.

U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson had a U.S. Open kind of round – 15 pars, two birdies and a bogey – for a 69.

Jordan Spieth closed with four birdies and shot 68.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In the midst of drastic changes to his swing, Rory McIlroy shot a level-par 71 at the French Open to lie five shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard after the first round at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

McIlroy had four birdies and four bogeys.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR: Denny Hamlin insists he didn’t let retiring star Tony Stewart win last week at Sonoma Raceway.

Asked about his runner-up finish at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Hamlin made it clear that his mistake was the main reason Stewart got by him in the final turn Sunday to break an 84-race winless streak.

BOXING

MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Gennady Golovkin is closing in on a deal to defend his three title belts against Britain’s Chris Eubank Jr.

Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, said the sides are “working on finalizing details.”

Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) holds the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight title belts. The Kazakh-born power puncher has stopped 22 straight opponents since 2008, dominating his division and becoming a pound-for-pound star.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: Nneka Ogwumike had a career-high 38 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Atlanta Dream, 84-75.

Ogwumike, the league leader in field-goal percentage at 68.3 percent, was 13 of 14 from the field and 12 of 14 at the free throw line.

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Olympic notebook: Franklin endures another swimming failure http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/olympic-notebook-franklin-endures-another-swimming-failure/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/olympic-notebook-franklin-endures-another-swimming-failure/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:52:56 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/olympic-notebook-franklin-endures-another-swimming-failure/ OMAHA, Neb. — For Missy Franklin, it was another miss at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Thursday night.

Franklin, the star of the London Games, struggled to an 11th-place showing in the semifinals of the 100-meter freestyle, failing to even reach the final.

That leaves Franklin with one individual race in Rio and one more chance to bulk up her program: the 200 backstroke.

No matter what, Franklin will be much less of a presence at these Summer Games than four years ago.

“That speed just doesn’t feel like it’s quite there this meet,” she said. “No idea why. It’s super disappointing but I really feel like my endurance is there, so it gives me a lot of hope for my 200 back.”

While Franklin struggles, another Olympic gold medalist will get a chance to defend his title.

Nathan Adrian, the burly 27-year-old who won the 100 freestyle in London, used a powerful finishing kick to win in 47.72 seconds. Caeleb Dressel also will get to swim the down-and-back sprint in Rio, taking second at 48.23.

Anthony Ervin, 35, the oldest swimmer at the trials, got off to a blistering start and led at the turn. He couldn’t hold on, fading to fourth in 48.54, touching behind Ryan Held (48.26).

But the top four are assured of spots on the team for the 400 free relay, meaning Ervin will be headed to his third Olympics.

On the fifth night of the meet, Josh Prenot became the latest Olympic rookie to make the team, knocking off Kevin Cordes in the 200 breast stroke. Cordes already had won the 100 breast and was more than a second under world-record pace at the final turn of the longer race.

But Prenot, furiously bouncing up and down in the water, surged past Cordes on the final lap to win in 2 minutes, 7.17 seconds, setting an American record and finishing just off the world mark of 2:07.01 held since 2012 by Akhiro Yamaguchi of Japan.

Cammile Adams won the 200 butterfly after being briefly disqualified one day earlier during the preliminaries. The ruling that she made an illegal turn was quickly overturned after a review provided by the underwater camera, and Adams took advantage of her second chance to win with a time of 2:06.80. Hali Flickinger took the second Olympic spot in 2:07.50.

THE U.S. OLYMPIC Committee approved a nearly 25 percent funding increase to the country’s anti-doping agency, choosing money over words in an effort to fix a worldwide system that its CEO, Scott Blackmun, said is broken.

The USOC board approved the increase starting next year from $3.7 million to $4.6 million annually for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is tasked with testing American Olympic athletes, and international competitors who train in the United States.

KENYAN TRIALS: Sally Kigyego, the 2012 London Games silver medalist, finished sixth in the women’s 10,000 meters and didn’t make the team for Rio.

David Rudisha, the world-record holder and Olympic champion in the 800 meters, qualified for the trials final in his event after winning his semifinal in 1 minute 43.40 seconds. That was Rudisha’s best time of a slow season so far.

Also, the 2015 world silver medalist, Caleb Ndiku, set up another shot at Olympic and world champion Mo Farah in Rio after winning a ferocious men’s 5,000 meters final. Ndiku won a sprint finish over the world championships bronze medalist, Isiah Koech, who also qualified. Kenya’s track federation has yet to announce the wild card in the men’s 5,000.

THE U.S. OLYMPIC roster stands at 299 with more than 200 more athletes still to be named.

Alan Ashley, chief of sport performance for the U.S. Olympic Committee, expects a team of 552 when all the qualifying is complete by mid-July.

MARIA MICHTA-COFFEY and Miranda Melville earned spots on the Olympic team in the 20-kilometer race walk at the U.S. trials.

They finished 1-2 in the race, held in Salem, Oregon, and were the only two who have met the Olympic qualifying standard.

Matthew Forgues of Boothbay was sixth in the men’s race. None of the men reached the Olympic qualifying standard to take part in the Games.

NICK SYMMONDS, the 800-meter runner and an activist for runners, won’t compete at the Olympic trials because of a left ankle injury.

He said he has a torn ligament and a stress fracture. Symmonds, 32, said he isn’t retiring but his season is over.

THE RUSSIAN men’s quadruple sculls team was disqualified from the Olympics for a doping violation, and will be replaced by New Zealand, the world rowing ruling body announced.

MICHAEL PHELPS marked his 31st birthday at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. Asked how he plans to celebrate, he said, “I’m not.”

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On baseball: Sea Dogs have two All-Stars still under the radar http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/on-baseball-sea-dogs-have-two-all-stars-still-under-the-radar/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/on-baseball-sea-dogs-have-two-all-stars-still-under-the-radar/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:35:22 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/on-baseball-sea-dogs-have-two-all-stars-still-under-the-radar/ The buzz at Hadlock Field has concerned the recent influx of prospects from advanced Class A Salem. The likes of Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi and Mauricio Dubon are common names among Red Sox fans.

So what to make of catcher Jake Romanski and reliever Williams Jerez?

They are possibly hidden gems on this Portland Sea Dogs roster. They could someday reach Fenway Park. Or maybe be part of a trade package by the end of the month. Or … who knows?

For now we can say that Romanski and Jerez are All-Stars.

Both were named Thursday to the East team for the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 13 in Akron, Ohio.

Of course, making a minor league All-Star Game is hardly a ticket to the big leagues – and some other deserving Sea Dogs have been promoted to Triple-A, while others have not been in Double-A long enough.

But don’t dismiss Portland’s two selections so quickly.

Romanski, 25, has been Portland’s most dependable hitter, batting .306 after Thursday night’s 8-5 loss to Hartford. Romanski has had only two hitless streaks – one lasting three games, the other two games.

“He has not slowed down. He’s been consistent from day one,” Manager Carlos Febles said. “He’s been able to bounce back from (hitless games).

“He’s been very impressive with the way he’s swinging the bat and with his catching, for the most part.”

Behind the plate, Romanski is receiving better, and he’s always been a strong catch-and-throw player. He leads the Eastern League in throwing out 48.3 percent of potential base-stealers (29 of 60).

“It definitely feels good,” Romanski said of his consistency. “Showing up to the yard and just trying to do the best I can every day. But, honestly, we’re trying to get as many wins as possible. From that aspect, it has not gone as well as we want it to. I’m hoping we can turn that ship around. That’s what I’m focused on.”

The Sea Dogs are in last place in the East with a 27-51 record, and only one other team (New Hampshire) had as few as two players selected to the All-Star Game.

Every Eastern League team had at least one pitcher selected. Among Sea Dogs pitchers who have been here since April, Jerez had the fourth-best ERA (3.72), but the other three – Aaron Wilkerson, Justin Haley and Chandler Shepherd – have been promoted to Pawtucket.

Jerez has been effective at times, but his real value is his potential – at least that’s what the Red Sox are banking on. Jerez, 24, was the touted outfielder (second-round draft pick, 2011) who struggled with the bat and turned to pitching in 2014.

A left-hander, Jerez caught on quickly to make it to Portland at the end of 2015. He was named the Red Sox minor league pitcher of the year after a combined 2.54 ERA at three levels.

But to start this year, Jerez had a 4.87 ERA for the first month.

“It’s been a little tough but I’m trying to compete,” Jerez said. “Day to day, I’ve been working on little things that will help me.”

Before Thursday night, Jerez appeared to be turning it around – five earned runs in his last 18 1/3 innings (2.45 ERA).

“Overall, he’s getting better,” pitching coach Kevin Walker said. “He’s really starting to come into his own. … I’ve seen an uptick in velocity. His slider is getting better. It’s just about him going out and getting more experience.”

But Jerez took a step backward Thursday with one of his roughest outings – four hits, two walks and four earned runs over two-thirds of an inning.

“The more innings he pitches, the more experience he gets, the better and more consistent his stuff will get,” Walker said.

Hidden gem? We’ll see.

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Yard Goats rally to top Sea Dogs, 8-5 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/yard-goats-rally-to-top-sea-dogs-8-5/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/yard-goats-rally-to-top-sea-dogs-8-5/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:27:59 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/yard-goats-rally-to-top-sea-dogs-8-5/ The struggling Portland Sea Dogs featured some decent pitching early in the year, but with little offense to back it up.

Three months into the season, the roles are reversed.

The Sea Dogs recorded nine hits and held a 5-2 lead at one point. But it was not enough as the Hartford Yard Goats rallied for an 8-5 victory Thursday night before a crowd of 4,373 at Hadlock Field.

Hartford (43-34) recorded 15 hits and took the lead for good with a four-run seventh inning. Portland dropped its fourth straight, falling to 27-51.

The first inning was a hitters’ delight with Portland taking a 4-2 lead.

Yoan Moncada led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple off the right-field wall. Mauricio Dubon, Nate Freiman, Jake Romanski and Tim Roberson all recorded RBI singles.

Roberson’s single, with two outs, chased Hartford starter Alex Balog. As Balog was leaving the mound he said something to plate umpire Jorge Teran and was ejected.

Roberson later added a solo home run in the fourth for a 5-2 lead, but Hartford’s bullpen shut down the Sea Dogs from there, allowing only three more hits.

Sea Dogs starter Teddy Stankiewicz gave up two more runs – including a Rosell Herrera home run – leaving with a 5-4 lead after six innings. Reliever Williams Jerez (1-3) began the seventh with a strikeout, but Yard Goats leadoff batter Raimel Tapia blooped a double to left. Three more hits and two walks followed as Hartford took a 7-5 lead.

Jerez exited with two outs and the bases loaded. Reliever Ben Taylor walked in a run before ending the rally. Taylor finished with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit.

Hartford reliever Austin House (3-0) got the win with 22/3 innings of one-hit ball. Matt Carasiti struck out the side in the ninth for his 23rd save.

NOTES: Friday night’s scheduled game has been changed to a doubleheader starting at 6 p.m. … Freiman reached base in all four of his plate appearances with two singles and two walks. … Moncada went 1 for 5 and is batting .250 (10 for 40). … Dubon (1 for 4) is hitting .304. … Andrew Benintendi (0 for 4) dropped his average to .276 but is batting .351 in his last 19 games. … Former Sea Dogs catcher Dan Butler had a home run and four RBI to lead Pawtucket to a 6-4 win. … Former Sea Dogs and Red Sox pitcher Michael Bowden is now pitching in South Korea. He recorded a no-hitter Thursday, leading the Doosan Bears to a 4-0 win.

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Olympics: Table tennis teen hopes his paddle is as good as gold http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/olympics-table-tennis-teen-hopes-his-paddle-is-as-good-as-gold/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/olympics-table-tennis-teen-hopes-his-paddle-is-as-good-as-gold/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:10:39 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/olympics-table-tennis-teen-hopes-his-paddle-is-as-good-as-gold/ Kanak Jha is having quite a year. He spent nine months playing professional table tennis in Europe, threw out the first pitch at a New York Mets game on his birthday and qualified for the Rio Olympics.

And get this: He’s only 16.

“I’m happy that I’m the youngest but I don’t think about it so much,” said Jha, who in April, when he was still 15, became the youngest male to qualify for table tennis in Olympic history. “In the end it’s just men.”

If he sounds mature for his age, he comes across that way. Jha is competitive during a match but easygoing away from the table. He recently trained at the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center in the New York area with his five Olympic teammates and signed autographs.

“He has a good fighting spirit,” said U.S. Olympic Coach Massimo Costantini. “Sometimes at that age they get upset and are not mature. We’re working on the mental side to make him stronger. A simple mistake can compromise the entire match.

“You need a strong mental balance. It’s not just managing success, but failure.”

Yip, who competed for the U.S. in table tennis at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Games, is one of the national team coaches. She hosted the current Olympic team, which wrapped up three days of practice with an exhibition match at her club in Dunellen, New Jersey.

During the match, Jha started his serve by holding the ball and paddle a few inches from his nose, then tossing the ball 4 feet into the air before making contact. After the point he wiped the table with his hand, a common players’ habit before serving.

Although he lost to an older and higher-rated Chinese player, Jha drew warm applause from the mostly Asian audience.

Gordon Kaye, CEO of USA Table Tennis, said it’s rare to find a young player “of his caliber that is so aware and comfortable within his surroundings.”

It’s certainly not your basement pingpong, with quick best-of-seven singles matches played to 11 points. There are different styles – defensive “choppers” or offensive “loopers,” who play a more aggressive game.

The Chinese men and women are the best, winning Olympic gold with regularity. Since the 1988 Olympics, China has won 47 medals, followed by South Korea (18) and Germany (5).

The U.S. has never medaled in the sport, which offers singles and team competition. Gold medalist Jike Zhang will return to defend his title in Rio, where competition begins Aug. 6.

So why are the Chinese so good, aside from their devotion to the sport and its prominence in the culture?

“They’re very strong, especially in the first three shots of the rally – serve, receive and third-ball attack,” Jha said. “They really dominate the rally.”

Yue (Jennifer) Wu, like Yip, was born in China before becoming an American citizen. She moved from Beijing to New York eight years ago and improved her English by coaching at the club run by Wang Chen, a U.S. Olympian in 2008.

Wu, 26, gives lessons in New York at Spin, a table tennis club and restaurant co-owned by Susan Sarandon. Wu recently went home to Beijing and Japan to train, and played tournaments in Croatia and Slovenia.

“Table tennis in China is like the NBA here, everybody plays,” Wu said. “My mom plays three times a week and people love to watch.”

She ate no meat for a month while in Beijing, saying her concerns about banned steroids given to cattle trump those of the Zika virus in Rio. Wise decision, because drug testers arrived at 6:40 a.m. when she returned home to Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Wu said it was a “big dream” to make the Olympics since she was 8 years old. She was quiet on the bus after qualifying for the Rio Olympics at the Pan Am Games last year because it’s “hard to make Olympics, you work so very hard.”

Jha, who took up the sport at 5 at a recreation center near San Jose, California, lived in Sweden with his 19-year-old sister, Prachi, who played on the national team but didn’t qualify for Rio. He took online courses as a sophomore in high school.

“There’s a consistent training system,” Constantini said of the European circuit. “A coach, trainer, physiotherapist. It’s something you can’t find in the U.S.”

Jha’s parents are from India and he was born in the U.S. His father, Arun, came to America to study business and works at Oracle. His mother, Karuna, worked at Sun Microsystems before starting her own hypnotherapy and reiki business.

“She feels my energy,” Kanak said of the reiki treatments.

Kanak uses positive imagery and self-talk before and during matches. “It’s kind of a ritual,” he said. “I just keep reviewing strategy and say some motivational things to myself. I talk (silently) to myself a lot. More than other athletes.”

The personal pep talks and affirmations seem to work. Even so, his mom says she was “so nervous watching” the Olympic qualifying event in April in Markham, Ontario.

Jha said he’s looking forward to the athletes’ village and mingling with players from all over the world.

“It’s a great opportunity at this young age to see how the Olympics works,” Constantini said. “He will be ready by 2020.”

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Major league notebook: Dodgers place Kershaw on 15-day disabled list http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/major-league-notebook-dodgers-place-kershaw-on-15-day-disabled-list/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/major-league-notebook-dodgers-place-kershaw-on-15-day-disabled-list/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:08:54 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/major-league-notebook-dodgers-place-kershaw-on-15-day-disabled-list/ MILWAUKEE — The Los Angeles Dodgers say ace Clayton Kershaw received an epidural injection for his sore lower back and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Manager Dave Roberts said before Thursday’s game in Milwaukee that Kershaw received the epidural Wednesday and the team should know in a few days how he responded to it.

The three-time NL Cy Young winner is 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA. He lost his last start on Sunday in Pittsburgh, giving up four runs and nine hits in six innings.

The Dodgers acquired veteran pitcher Bud Norris from the Atlanta Braves. Over his last five starts, Norris is 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA, 29 strikeouts and eight walks over 291/3 innings.

Norris is in his eighth season and this year is 3-7 with a 4.22 ERA.

PHILLIES: Minor league pitcher Matt Imhof lost his right eye after a freak accident with exercise equipment.

Imhof said in an Instagram post Thursday that he had surgery Tuesday to remove the eye. He said the first operation couldn’t restore his vision and he opted to have a prosthetic put in.

The 22-year-old left-hander was a second-round pick in 2014 out of Cal Poly. He was pitching for Single-A Clearwater.

Imhof was injured after a game Friday night when a piece of metal broke off an exercise machine and hit him in the head and eye. He also suffered a broken nose and two broken orbital bones.

Imhof has not said if he plans to continue playing baseball.

MARINERS: Seattle recalled former first-round pick Mike Zunino from Triple-A Tacoma after backup catcher Steve Clevenger broke a bone in his hand.

Seattle made the roster moves on Thursday before opening a four-game series against Baltimore.

METS: Curtis Granderson was out of the New York Mets’ lineup again Thursday night because of an injured right calf and is expected to miss at least a couple of games.

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NFL notebook: Cowboys’ McClain gets 10-game suspension http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/nfl-notebook-cowboys-mcclain-gets-10-game-suspension/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/nfl-notebook-cowboys-mcclain-gets-10-game-suspension/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 01:24:37 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/nfl-notebook-cowboys-mcclain-gets-10-game-suspension/ IRVING, Texas — Two people with knowledge of the situation said Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first 10 games next season for his second violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy in as many years.

McClain was suspended the first four games last season. He signed a second straight one-year deal with the Cowboys in March, this one worth $5 million.

The people, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the NFL hasn’t announced the suspensions, also said defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence’s appeal was denied. Lawrence will be suspended the first four game for a substance-abuse violation.

JOHNNY MANZIEL has been suspended for the first four games of next season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and the free-agent quarterback could face further discipline over his domestic violence case if he signs with a team.

The suspension isn’t related to the league’s domestic violence policy, but Manziel would be subject to standards that were toughened two years ago if he signs with another team.

The 23-year-old Manziel, released by Cleveland in March, faces a misdemeanor assault charge in Dallas involving his former girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. As Manziel’s domestic case has played out, he has been photographed partying from Hollywood to Las Vegas to New York in recent months.

JETS: Sheldon Richardson was suspended by the NFL for the first game of the 2016 regular season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Richardson will be eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Sept. 12 following the team’s Sept. 11 opener against Cincinnati. But he can participate in all preseason practices and games.

He pleaded guilty in January to resisting arrest after police clocked him driving at speeds as high as 143 mph in Missouri last July. Resisting arrest is listed by the NFL as a violation of the personal conduct policy.

GIANTS: Almost a year after mangling his right hand in a fireworks accident, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul made a public service announcement about keeping children away from fireworks, and warning everyone to handle the pyrotechnic devices with care.

The announcement was unveiled at a fireworks safety event in Washington by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot F. Kaye.

Pierre-Paul lost an index finger and part of his thumb, and was required to have reconstructive surgery to save his middle finger when a device exploded in his hand on July 4.

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Maine Majestix preparing for return to field hockey National Club Championship http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/maine-majestix-preparing-for-return-to-field-hockey-national-club-championship/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/maine-majestix-preparing-for-return-to-field-hockey-national-club-championship/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:46:22 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/maine-majestix-preparing-for-return-to-field-hockey-national-club-championship/ July and early August are jam-packed with elite field hockey competition for Josie Varney, so the 15-year-old from Oakland plans on taking it easy over the Independence Day holiday.

Varney is headed to USA Field Hockey Junior National Camp as one of 50 players from across the country trying out for the Under-17 national team in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her teammates with the Waterville-based Maine Majestix Under-16 field hockey team will join her in Lancaster as they return to the National Club Championships for the third year in a row on July 10-12. After that, it’s off to Houston, where she and teammates Autumn Littlefield and Maliea Kelso will be three of 128 players from around the nation competing in the Junior Olympics, August 2-6.

For now, Varney is trying to keep the whirlwind tour on the back burner.

“I tend to over-think things a little, so I’m trying to relax,” said Varney, who attends St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. “I play a lot of field hockey, so I’m going to take a few days and sit back and relax and hang out with my friends and family so I’m rested and ready for it.”

The Majestix have come a long way since the first week of March, according to coach Amy Bernatchez. Practices at Thomas and Colby colleges and the Alfond Youth Center included some hard-learned lessons from the Majestix U19 team. But it was great preparation for May’s New England regional for the National Club Championships.

They finished third at regionals, losing to champion North East Elite by one goal a day after beating them. Since more than half of last year’s team, which finished 11th at the 2015 Club Championships, moved up to the U19 team, Bernatchez was pleased with the outcome and prepared for a quiet summer. But then she learned the Majestix won an at-large bid to be one of the 16 teams competing in Lancaster.

“There are a lot of great teams they could give that bid to and we’re thrilled they gave it to us,” she said.

Bernatchez said the Majestix’ presence at last year’s tournament and their impressive performance at regionals, where they outscored opponents 18-4 over the two days, helped give them the inside track.

She admitted there were times early in the spring she “thought it would be a miracle” for her young team were to reach nationals. But the players’ resilience and hard work, and some lopsided scrimmages with the U19 team, paid off,

“The U19 team really challenged us every single week in practice,” she said. “I think they’re as good as any U16 we’ll see at nationals.”

Veterans such as Varney, Littlefield, of Messalonskee, and Amy Gaiero of Belfast stepped up into key leadership roles this year, Bernatchez said. New contributors called up from the U14 team such as Lexi Lewis of Lawrence scored key goals, and McKenzie McConnell of Skowhegan and Brooke Richards of Belfast filled the void in the cage when starting goalie Brooke Bolduc of Mt. Blue tore her ACL during softball season.

The veterans expect the experience and confidence gained from last year’s tournament will help them in Lancaster next week. Ranked 21st in the nation by USA Field Hockey, they also relish their role as underdogs going up against teams that play together year-round.

“We were really happy with how we finished last year,” Varney said. “It was a tremendous improvement from previous teams. We want to do even better this year. We’re really excited.”

“We know it’s going to be a challenge,” Bernatchez said. “We know we’re going to see great teams. We’re in a tough pool, but we’re ready.”

Besides the competition, another feature of the tournament is that it draws college coaches from all over the country and gives them a rare opportunity to see some of Maine’s top players in person. Those players, who watched Majestix alumni Kristy Bernatchez play in the NCAA championship for the University of North Carolina and saw former teammates such as Riley Field, Ally Corbett, Haley Lowell, Emily Hogan, Lydia Dexter and Lilla Tilton-Flood commit to Division I schools recently, value that exposure.

“Being competitive on a national stage, it’s nice to see Maine kids get those opportunities we might not otherwise get,” said Varney, a midfielder who will be a sophomore at St. Paul’s in the fall. “The youth tournaments are how you get recruited to the big colleges, so it’s really important, especially for us in Maine because we probably don’t get that exposure otherwise.”

A number of Majestix players opened eyes at the National Futures Championship in late June. The tournament brings together the top 10 percent of all players in the USA Field Hockey system.

Representing the Majestix in the U14 tournament were Annie Corbett and Chloe Tilley of Messalonskee; Littlefield, Kelso, Varney, Lizzie York of Skowhegan and Moriah Hajduk of Winthrop took part in the U16 games. Lowell and Field, of Messalonskee, and Delaney Wood of Winslow played in the U19 championships. Lowell and Varney were selected to play in the all-star game.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

rwhitehouse@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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Bruins dump top defenseman http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/bruins-dump-top-defenseman/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/bruins-dump-top-defenseman/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 22:17:06 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/bruins-dump-top-defenseman/ A day before free agency begins in the NHL, the Boston Bruins cut ties with one of their top defensemen Thursday.

The Bruins placed Dennis Seidenberg on buyout waivers. Seidenberg had two years left on his contract at a salary-cap hit of $4 million. The buyout saves the Bruins $2.83 million next season.

“It’s a shock,” Seidenberg told the Boston Herald. “(General Manager) Donnie (Sweeney) called me (Thursday morning) and he said it was a tough call to make but he had to buy me out, that they were going with the kids. Told me I was a great guy and that was it.”

Seidenberg, who helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup championship in 2011, said he cherished his time in Boston.

“I loved playing there, I loved living in the city. I’m going to miss it,” he said.

There had been speculation that Seidenberg could be a target of a buyout, but with the buyout period coming to an end at 5 p.m. Thursday, he thought he might be safe.

Sweeney reportedly has been trying to acquire another top-four defenseman on the trade market. If that continues to fail, he’ll go into the unrestricted free-agent market Friday.

But it sounds like Colin Miller and Joe Morrow, and perhaps even first-year pros like Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk, will get an opportunity to play regardless of what acquisition is made.

On Thursday, Boston signed Torey Krug to a four-year contract worth $21 million, giving the team four NHL defensemen – Krug, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller – under contract, with deals to be worked out for Morrow and Colin Miller.

Seidenberg will be an unrestricted free agent, but with the timing of the buyout he didn’t get to benefit from the open interview period.

“That would have been nice but oh well. I guess I’ll just go into free agency (Friday) and go from there,” said Seidenberg, who will turn 35 on July 18.

In his prime, Seidenberg teamed with Chara as a great lockdown defensive pair, especially during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

But after signing a four-year, $16 million extension prior to the 2013-14 season, he was beset by injuries.

In the middle of that first season of the extension, he suffered two knee ligament tears and was done for the season. He played the entire next season, but his play was not at the same high level it had been before he was hurt.

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College World Series: Coastal Carolina tops Arizona http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/college-world-series-coastal-carolina-tops-arizona/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/college-world-series-coastal-carolina-tops-arizona/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 20:36:32 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/college-world-series-coastal-carolina-tops-arizona/ OMAHA, Neb. — Coastal Carolina Coach Gary Gilmore often said he just wanted his team to reach the College World Series. Until this week, he never imagined the Chanticleers would do so much more.

They’re heading back to Conway, South Carolina, with the school’s first national championship in any sport.

Coastal Carolina capitalized on two errors on the same play for four unearned runs in the sixth inning, and the Chanticleers defeated Arizona 4-3 in the deciding Game 3 of the College World Series finals on Thursday.

Coastal Carolina (55-18) became the first team since Minnesota in 1956 to win the title in its first CWS appearance. Arizona (49-24) was trying for its second national title since 2012.

“We’re not the most talented team in America. We’re just the national champion,” Gilmore said. “That’s all that matters.”

Andrew Beckwith (15-1), the national leader in wins, went 52/3 innings after pitching two complete games and picked up his third victory of the CWS. He was named the Most Outstanding Player.

“He’s been coaching for 21 years, and he deserves every bit of it,” Beckwith said of Gilmore. “We got him to Omaha and we got him a national championship. The senior class, the hard work in the fall, the dedication of the guys who don’t play much. It doesn’t go unnoticed. It was a full team effort the whole College World Series, and we got it done.”

Alex Cunningham earned his first save, striking out Ryan Haug with a full-count fastball to end the game after Arizona had pulled within a one in the bottom of the ninth. When Haug swung and missed, Cunningham turned to his dugout, beat his chest with his fist three times and saluted before flipping his glove away to start the celebration.

“The last three innings, all I’ve been doing in the dugout is folding my hands and praying to God that this is His will,” Gilmore said. “I know my dad’s up there. I lost him two years ago, and I wanted him so bad to be here with me. I know he’s watching over me right now.”

Arizona’s Bobby Dalbec (11-6) also worked 52/3 innings, with all the runs coming against him. He struck out eight to increase his CWS total to 25 in 20 innings.

The championship also was the first in a team sport in the 33-year history of the Big South Conference. The Big South could savor the accomplishment for only about eight hours. The Chanticleers become members of the Sun Belt Conference on Friday.

“This program has been a lot better than people give it credit for,” Gilmore said. “They thought we played in a small conference and couldn’t get this done. This bunch wanted to prove everybody wrong.”

Arizona, which came into the day with just two errors in seven CWS games, saw second baseman Cody Ramer commit two on the same play in the sixth inning. Ramer couldn’t get a handle on Zach Remillard’s grounder, allowing David Parrett to score from third. Then Ramer tried to get Michael Paez running from second to third, but he overthrew Kyle Lewis. That allowed Paez to come home. G.K. Young then launched a no-doubt homer into the seats above the right-field bullpen for a 4-0 lead.

“It’s the best feeling of my life,” Young said. “I’m trying not to cry right now. Just dreaming of that in my head since I was 10 years old, hitting a home run in the College World Series. I never would have thought it would come in the championship game.”

All four runs in the sixth were unearned, and Dalbec was relieved by Cameron Ming after facing one more batter. Before the sixth inning, Ramer hadn’t committed an error in 17 games.

The Wildcats cut the lead in half with two unearned runs in the bottom half of the sixth against a tiring Beckwith. An error on first baseman Kevin Woodall Jr. and a walk loaded the bases before Jared Oliva’s two-RBI single knocked out Beckwith. Bobby Holmes relieved and struck out No. 9 batter Louis Boyd to end the inning.

Coastal Carolina caught a break in the third inning after Ramer sent a liner into right field that got under Connor Owings’ glove and rolled to the wall. Ramer made it to third on the two-base error. Zach Gibbons then hit a comebacker to Beckwith, who went home as Ramer tried to score. After catching Beckwith’s wide throw, catcher Parrett reached back to put the tag on Ramer, who was called out on an extremely close play.

Arizona’s first two batters in the bottom of the ninth reached base against Cunningham, and Gibbons’ sacrifice fly made it a one-run game with two outs. Ryan Aguilar then doubled into the left-field corner, but Ramer was held at third to bring up Haug.

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Manziel suspended 4 games in NFL’s substance-abuse policy http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/manziel-suspended-4-games-in-nfls-substance-abuse-policy/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/manziel-suspended-4-games-in-nfls-substance-abuse-policy/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:39:23 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/manziel-suspended-4-games-in-nfls-substance-abuse-policy/ DALLAS — Johnny Manziel has been suspended for the first four games of next season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

The suspension announced Thursday is not related to the NFL’s domestic violence policy, but the free agent quarterback would be subject to it if he signs with another team. Manziel, released by Cleveland in March, is facing an assault charge in Dallas involving former girlfriend Colleen Crowley. The league is reviewing that case.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Texas A&M was suspended the same week he posted pictures on Instagram from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The post included a reference to his father, Paul Manziel, who called his son a “druggie” following a report from The Associated Press of one of his attorneys mistakenly sending a text that indicated doubts whether Manziel could stay clean.

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Wimbledon: Sun comes out, but 18 seeded players fall http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/wimbledon-round-up-muguruza-loses-venus-williams-advances/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/wimbledon-round-up-muguruza-loses-venus-williams-advances/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:35:35 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/wimbledon-round-up-muguruza-loses-venus-williams-advances/ LONDON — After two days filled with rain, the sun actually made an appearance at Wimbledon on Thursday, allowing for plenty of play all around the grounds, a chance to finally conclude the first round – and several surprises, the biggest of which was French Open champion Garbine Muguruza’s exit.

No. 2 Muguruza, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the All England Club a year ago and won her first Grand Slam title less than a month ago, was one of the 18 seeded players who lost on Day 4, including 11 women.

Admittedly lethargic and displaying none of the verve or confident shotmaking she’s known for, Muguruza lasted less than an hour in the second round, beaten 6-3, 6-2 by Jana Cepelova of Slovakia, a qualifier ranked 124th.

“My energy was not really there,” Muguruza said. “I was trying but (it) didn’t work at all.”

That same sentiment might have been expressed by some of the other players who joined her on the way out of the tournament, including No. 31 Kristina Mladenovic in a weather-delayed first-round match, and No. 7 Belinda Bencic, No. 14 Sam Stosur, No. 15 Karolina Pliskova, No. 16 Johanna Konta, No. 17 Elina Svitolina, No. 20 Sara Errani, No. 22 Jelena Jankovic, No. 30 Caroline Garcia and No. 32 Andrea Petkovic, all in second-round matches.

That group includes a Grand Slam champion (Stosur), major finalists (Errani, Jankovic), the first seeded British woman at Wimbledon since 1984 (Konta, eliminated by 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard) and a top-10 player considered a possible future star of the sport (Bencic, who retired because of a left wrist injury while trailing American qualifier Julia Boserup).

There was nearly another big name gone. But No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up, saved three match points, then took advantage when her opponent, 18-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia, twisted her right ankle by accidentally stepping on a tennis ball during a point. That happened at 7-all in the third set and, although Konjuh continued to play after a medical timeout, Radwanska was able to finish off a 6-2, 4-6, 9-7 victory.

The seven seeded men who lost, all in the second round, were No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 13 David Ferrer, No. 16 Gilles Simon, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic, No. 25 Viktor Troicki – who launched an epic tirade at the chair umpire because of a call two points from the end of his five-set defeat – No. 26 Benoit Paire and No. 30 Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Muguruza was never able to get going, making 22 unforced errors and managing to produce only nine winners.

Asked whether coming into Wimbledon as the owner of a major trophy made her feel a weight on her shoulders, Muguruza replied: “No, not pressure. I think, for sure, more expectations from other people.”

Cepelova equaled her best showing at a major by reaching the third round, but this was not her first significant result. She beat Simona Halep in the first round at Wimbledon a year ago, also on No. 1 Court, and defeated Serena Williams at a tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2014.

“Yeah,” Cepelova said, “I like to play on the big courts.”

As the owner of seven Grand Slam singles titles, including five at Wimbledon, Venus Williams is accustomed to being – and succeeding – on those stages. But on Thursday, she found herself on Court 18, with its seating capacity of 782 – a far cry from the nearly 15,000 at Centre Court.

Williams, seeded eighth, had some trouble and needed 21/2 hours but wound up getting past 20-year-old qualifier Maria Sakkari 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 – one of the 10 singles victories for Americans.

Williams, who was a leading voice in the push to get Wimbledon to offer equal prize money to men and women, didn’t complain about her placement at that venue.

But asked whether she could imagine a five-time men’s champ being on a smaller court, Williams replied: “I haven’t seen that in the scheduling yet.”

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On Baseball: Wins are few, but Febles keeping Sea Dogs loose http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/wins-are-few-but-febles-keeping-sea-dogs-loose/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/30/wins-are-few-but-febles-keeping-sea-dogs-loose/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=948788 The players walk out of the Portland Sea Dogs’ clubhouse with their heads up. The workout begins and Hadlock Field is a picture of motion.

There is chatter, smiles and hustle.

Amidst the bustle, Carlos Febles strolls about, a fungo bat in his hand. The first-year Sea Dogs manager will stop to joke with one player, then offer instruction to another.

“This is a team that not’s winning, and you wouldn’t know that by the way he goes about it, and by the way his staff goes about it” Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett said. “I think that trickles down to the players.”

Following Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss in Trenton, the Portland Sea Dogs feature one of the worst records in the minor leagues at 27-50.

Yet, Crockett continues to sing praises for his Double-A manager.

“Carlos does a tremendous job,” Crockett said. “He’s a great communicator. He’s a really detailed teacher of both infield play and the fundamentals of the entire game.

“He’s got a really good rapport with the players. He can be tough when he needs to and he can keep it loose, without putting pressure.”

In the major leagues, when a team is struggling, fans call for the manager to put more pressure on his team – MAKE them play better. Major league success is only defined in wins and losses, and most managers with too many of the latter are soon unemployed.

Consider that Febles, 40, who began his minor league managing career in 2011, has yet to have a winning record. Yet Febles has moved up from short-season Lowell (2011), to two seasons in Class A Greenville and two more in advanced Class A Salem.

One reason for the losing seasons is simple: The players Febles has to work with. While the Red Sox minor league system is considered strong, Febles rarely has enough top prospects to compete.

Febles took over in Salem in 2014, a year after Billy McMillon’s Salem team won the Carolina League championship. But when Febles came in, most of those players – including Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart – moved with McMillon to Portland. The 2014 Sea Dogs won a franchise-record 88 games.

As if to prove the managers’ overstated influence on winning and losing in the minors, McMillon managed the 2015 Sea Dogs – this time without prospects – and Portland set another franchise record, for fewest wins (53).

Recently, Febles received some of Boston’s prized prospects, second baseman Yoan Moncada, center fielder Andrew Benintendi and shortstop Mauricio Dubon, as well as some veteran bats (Nate Freiman, Ryan Court and Cody Decker).

But at the same time, Portland’s two most reliable starters (Aaron Wilkerson and Justin Haley) and its best reliever (Chandler Shepherd) moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket, as did Court.

“We’ve been in this game long enough,” Febles said, “that we all understand that sometimes you don’t have the personnel to win a lot of games.

“But, at the same time, we bring it every day and try to make them better.

“A lot of things have to click to win a lot of games. We don’t get caught up in that. We come in and have fun and just try to help the guys the best we can.”

Having fun can be interpreted a lot of ways. Febles’ way does not mean screwing around.

“We tell the guys to play the game hard and have fun. At the same time, you have to play under control and be smart,” Febles said.

“It’s a fine line there. To me, keep loose, go out there and play free, don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

Playing “free” is a huge theme for Febles. A player who is too tight will not let his talent come out.

That is how Febles learned to play when he came up through the Kansas City Royals’ organization as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic. He went from a 19-year-old in rookie ball to making his major league debut at 22 during a September call-up.

“I came up in an organization that allowed me to be myself,” Febles said. “Play the game. When I made mistakes, they’d approach me and say ‘Carlos you shouldn’t do this.’ It wasn’t like ‘don’t do this and don’t do that.’ It was ‘go play the game and we’ll teach you as you go.’ That’s the way I operate, too.

“I jump in whenever I have to. Other than that, it’s like, just do it.”

And when Febles reached Kansas City that September of 1998, he played free and batted .400 in 11 games, the start of a six-year major league career.

When Moncada arrived in Portland last week, Febles noted that “he plays free.” Moncada, like everyone else, will make mistakes. Febles believes those will be corrected. For now, it’s more important to play relaxed – and hard.

“Carlos keeps it loose,” said catcher Jake Romanski, in his third season with Febles. “He keeps us good. He doesn’t think about the negatives. He keeps us positive.

“He shows up to work every day and he’s working for us. It’s really awesome to learn from him.”

Febles jokes around, but he does have rules.

“Simple rules,” he said. “To me, you have to be on time. No reason for players to be late. That’s my No. 1 rule. No. 2 is come ready to work every day and work hard. No. 3 is play the game hard. Give me everything you have night in and night out.

“I make it real simple for the guys. If you can’t follow those three simple rules, you got problems.”

This Sea Dogs team is losing, yet Febles calls it a good season.

“I think the winning and losing is not showing it,” he said. “But so far it’s been pretty good. On the personal side of things, I have a good staff that works their tails off.

“If your main goal is to develop the players and make them better, it’s easier (to deal with losses). When you’re thinking about yourself, it’s hard. Of course, we’re competitive. We want to win games.

“But we’re here to prepare them, to see them in the big leagues. That’s our goal.”

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Major league roundup: Trumbo sparks Orioles to 12-6 win over Padres http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/major-league-roundup-trumbo-sparks-orioles/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/major-league-roundup-trumbo-sparks-orioles/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 03:48:18 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/major-league-roundup-trumbo-sparks-orioles/ SAN DIEGO — Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 23rd homer and drove in four runs for the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles, who beat the San Diego Padres 12-6 Wednesday for their seventh straight win.

The Orioles tied the 1996 Oakland A’s for the most homers in June, 55. Overall, the Orioles lead the majors with 124.

The Orioles hit four home runs in sweeping the two-game series, including three in Tuesday night’s 11-7 win.

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and a two-run double in the ninth. Manny Machado had two hits and three RBI, and pitcher Yovani Gallardo singled twice and scored a run.

BLUE JAYS 5, ROCKIES 3: Aaron Sanchez allowed one run in eight innings and Josh Donaldson homered to lead Toronto at Colorado.

Sanchez (8-1) extended his unbeaten streak to 12 games.

INDIANS 3, BRAVES 0: Danny Salazar threw seven innings, Lonnie Chisenhall hit his second homer of the series and Cleveland stretched its winning streak to 12 games with a win in Atlanta.

TIGERS 10, MARLINS 3: Miguel Cabrera hit one of three homers for host Detroit.

Cabrera hit his 18th homer of the season in the fourth inning, tying former Chicago Cub Billy Williams at No. 48 on baseball’s career list with 426.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

ASTROS 10, ANGELS 4: Jose Altuve went 4 for 5 and scored four runs to help Houston complete a three-game sweep at Anaheim.

It was the second time Houston has swept Los Angeles in the last two weeks.

YANKEES 9, RANGERS 7: Brian McCann hit a tying, three-run homer off Sam Dyson, Didi Gregorius capped a six-run ninth inning with his two-run shot and New York rallied late to win at home.

WHITE SOX 9, TWINS 6: James Shields broke out of a slump with 62/3 innings against one of baseball’s worst lineups, helping Chicago win at home.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

CUBS 9, REDS 2: Anthony Rizzo legged out his first inside-the-park homer and Chicago won at Cincinnati for a three-game sweep.

NATIONALS 4, METS 2: Daniel Murphy homered twice, tormenting his former team yet again, and Washington completed a three-game sweep at home.

PHILLIES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 8: Pinch-hitter Tyler Goeddel hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and Philadelphia completed a sweep at Arizona.

BREWERS 7, DODGERS 0: Junior Guerra allowed two hits over eight innings, and Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer and a two-run double to carry host Milwaukee over Los Angeles, spoiling the debut of Brock Stewart.

NOTES

NATIONALS: Sidelined since June 13 with a right intercostal strain, closer Jonathan Papelbon threw a simulated game Wednesday and is headed to Double-A Harrisburg for a rehab assignment.

ROYALS: Center fielder Lorenzo Cain went on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

METS: Pitcher Noah Syndergaard acknowledged he has a bone spur in his elbow, but called it “pretty insignificant.”

Syndergaard (8-3) struggled Monday in Washington, squandering a 4-0 lead in a loss that ended his six-game winning streak.

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Olympic notebook: Russian whistleblower seeks exemption http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/olympic-notebook-whistleblower-seeks-exemption/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/olympic-notebook-whistleblower-seeks-exemption/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 03:33:59 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/olympic-notebook-whistleblower-seeks-exemption/ MOSCOW — Russian doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova could race at next week’s European championships as the first exemption from Russia’s doping ban if an imminent IAAF ruling goes her way.

Stepanova was one of the world’s top 800-meter runners before she and her husband Vitaly Stepanov, a drug-testing official, provided evidence to the World Anti-Doping Agency that doping was systematic in Russian track and field, with officials helping to cover it up.

Stepanova, who had provided undercover footage of athletes and officials apparently admitting their use of banned substances, left Russia in 2014, saying she feared for her safety.

While Russia is still banned from Olympic track and field events ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Games because of its doping record, track and field’s governing body is preparing to rule on whether to exempt some Russians from the ban, including Stepanova.

The International Association of Athletics Federations says it will rule on the first set of names “by the end of this week,” opening the door for Stepanova to race at the European championships in Amsterdam next week.

LOOKING FOR a Lolo Jones fix? Don’t look in Rio this year.

The popular and polarizing hurdler took to Instagram on Wednesday to announce she won’t be healthy enough to compete at U.S. Olympic Trials.

Jones had hip surgery in November and isn’t healed enough to compete later this week.

The 33-year-old, who also competed for the U.S. in bobsled at the Sochi Olympics, has irritated many in track circles because of her knack for getting attention that doesn’t measure up to her results.

“I may have not shown you over the course of my career how to win an Olympic gold medal, but I hope my journey has shown you how to get back up when you get knocked down, how to try again when you feel like you’ve already tried so many times,” Jones said.

AUSTRALIAN SALLY Pearson will not defend her Olympic hurdles title in Rio after tearing a tendon in her hamstring – yet another setback in a year beset by injuries.

Pearson, the 100-meter hurdles Olympic gold medalist in London in 2012 and silver medalist at Beijing in 2008, told Australia’s Channel Nine that she was shocked at the extent of the training injury and didn’t have enough time to recover fully.

“I’m disappointed – I’m gutted,” she said. “It’s the biggest sporting event in the world that I’m missing out on.”

ONE OF Brazil’s top security officials says the political turmoil that has brought repeated changes to key government positions will not affect security at the Rio Olympics.

Andrei Rodrigues, responsible for overseeing Brazil’s security at special events, said there will be no impact on the games despite staff turnover triggered by impeachment proceedings against suspended President Dilma Rousseff.

“We are absolutely sure of the quality of the operation we are assembling,” Rodrigues said. “We already did it in the (football) World Cup two years ago, this is no rhetoric. Rio does successful events every year, this will be no different.”

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College World Series: Weather delays deciding game http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/college-world-series-weather-delays-deciding-game/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/college-world-series-weather-delays-deciding-game/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 03:23:50 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/college-world-series-weather-delays-deciding-game/ OMAHA, Neb. — The College World Series championship game between Coastal Carolina and Arizona was postponed until Thursday because of inclement weather on Wednesday night.

NCAA officials waited 2 hours, 23 minutes after the scheduled start time to postpone the game. More rain and lightning were forecast for the area in the early morning hours, meaning a delay would have been likely.

Coaches Gary Gilmore of Coastal Carolina (54-18) and Jay Johnson of Arizona (49-23) agreed with the decision to play Thursday.

Neither announced whether their pitching plans would change with the extra time off. Coastal Carolina was to start Alex Cunningham (10-4, 3.64 ERA) against Arizona’s Bobby Dalbec (11-5, 2.65). Both pitched on Saturday.

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Sports Digest: UMaine hockey team to play at frozen Fenway http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/sports-digest-umaine-hockey-team-to-play-at-frozen-fenway/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/sports-digest-umaine-hockey-team-to-play-at-frozen-fenway/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 03:19:24 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/sports-digest-umaine-hockey-team-to-play-at-frozen-fenway/ COLLEGE

UMaine hockey team to play at frozen Fenway

The University of Maine men’s hockey team will return to Fenway Park next winter for the first time since 2014.

Maine will face Hockey East foe UConn on Jan. 14 as part of a doubleheader that includes New Hampshire playing Northeastern.

In two previous appearances at Fenway, Maine beat Boston University, 7-3 in 2014, and UNH, 5-4 in overtime, in 2012. Ticket availability has yet to be announced.

FOOTBALL: The NCAA has cleared up its bowl-selection process, assuring that no eligible teams with .500 records are passed over for postseason play in favor of more well-known schools with fewer than six wins.

The new rule, which was implemented by the NCAA’s Division I Council on Wednesday in Indianapolis, will be put in place for the upcoming season and declares bowl- eligible teams with 6-6 records must be selected for bowl games before any 5-7 teams are considered.

The NCAA’s football oversight committee first made the recommendation for the new rule to the council, following a season that saw only 77 teams eligible for the 80 bowl slots. The three remaining slots were filled by 5-7 teams – Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State.

GOLF

ICONIC COURSE CLOSED: It could be a month or two until the Old White TPC golf course at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, reopens after deadly, damaging floods, but its maimed championship golf course may not be ready for play much before the PGA Tour rolls through next July, resort owner Jim Justice said.

The floods that swept through West Virginia last week and killed at least 23 people statewide carved a path of destruction unseen in generations at the historic Greenbrier.

The Old White had been manicured to host some of golf’s biggest names at a tournament starting July 7. The event was going to be free for the first time, and about 300,000 fans were expected. But then the rains began, and the water rose and kept rising.

BASEBALL

EMPIRE LEAGUE: Shaun Cooper went 3 for 4, including a pair of doubles, and scored twice to pace the offense as the host Old Orchard Beach Surge cruised by the Sullivan Explorers 9-1.

Benny Collesano started for Old Orchard Beach (15-11), going seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits, fanning two and walking one.

Nate Coranado had a pair of hits for Sullivan (13-13).

Cody Frank and Eric Kline each threw a hitless inning of relief for the Surge.

NECBL: The Newport Gulls jumped to a fast start, scoring three runs in each of the first two innings and rolled past the Sanford Mainers 8-1 at Cardines Field in Newport, Rhode Island.

Troy Dixon led the way for Newport (8-10), going 4 for 5 and scoring twice, and Jake Brodt went 3 for 5, including a two-run homer.

John Cresto had a pair of hits for Sanford, now 8-10.

SOCCER

ARGENTINA: Soccer great Diego Maradona urges fellow countrymen to leave Lionel Messi alone over the current star’s decision to retire from Argentina’s national team following its loss to Chile in the Copa America title match.

In a radio interview, Maradona also ridiculed people who have criticized Messi for missing his shot as Chile won a penalty shootout, questioning those who find fault with a soccer star’s play “without ever having touched a ball.”

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Thunder strike late to finish three-game sweep http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/thunder-strike-late-to-finish-three-game-sweep/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/thunder-strike-late-to-finish-three-game-sweep/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 02:12:58 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/thunder-strike-late-to-finish-three-game-sweep/ TRENTON, N.J. — The Trenton Thunder scored five unanswered runs to rally past the Portland Sea Dogs 5-1 and complete a sweep of a three-game series.

Trenton (50-29) starter Chase Adams gave up a solo home run to Andrew Benintendi with two outs in the first inning, and then settled down to hold the Sea Dogs hitless over the next 61/3 innings.

Adams allowed just the single run, holding the Sea Dogs to a one hit, striking out seven and walking four.

The Thunder took the lead in the sixth inning as Portland (27-50) starter Mitch Atkins loaded the bases with a walk and a pair of soft singles.

Sacrifice flies by Dustin Fowler and Miguel Andujar gave Trenton a 2-1 lead.

The Thunder added a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth.

Atkins, in his longest outing of the season, went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out seven with one walk.

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NHL notebook: P.K. Subban dealt to Nashville for Shea Weber http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nhl-notebook-p-k-subban-dealt-to-nashville-for-shea-weber/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nhl-notebook-p-k-subban-dealt-to-nashville-for-shea-weber/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 01:45:18 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nhl-notebook-p-k-subban-dealt-to-nashville-for-shea-weber/ The Nashville Predators acquired P.K. Subban from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Shea Weber on Wednesday in a blockbuster swap of All-Star defensemen two days before free agency opens.

Subban won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2013 and had six goals and 45 assists last season before suffering an injury. The dynamic, offensive-minded 27-year-old has 63 goals and 215 assists in 434 career games, all with the Canadiens.

He said he was not surprised by the trade because there had been so many rumors since he signed a $72 million, eight-year contract in the summer of 2014. Subban’s no-movement clause that would’ve allowed him to block any trade was set to kick in on Friday.

“With a lot of the chatter that kind of happened over the little while, I’m a firm believer that usually where there’s smoke there’s fire,” Subban said on a conference call. “Obviously it’s a little bit surreal but it happened.”

Subban was not always a favorite of Coach Michel Therrien despite his playmaking ability. Still, Montreal General Manager Marc Bergevin said trading Subban was “one of the most difficult decisions” he has had to make.

“P.K. Subban is a special and very talented player, Bergevin said. “He provided the Canadiens’ organization with strong performances on the ice and generous commitment in the community,” including a $10 million donation to Montreal Children’s Hospital last year.

Nashville GM David Poile said the trade was first discussed at the draft last weekend in Buffalo. It was worth it for Poile giving up Weber for Subban.

“P.K. Subban is an elite offensive defenseman with tremendous skill and contagious energy that makes the Nashville Predators a better team now and into the future,” Poile said. “Superstar defensemen of his caliber are a rare commodity, and we are thrilled to add him to the organization.”

DEVILS-OILERS: The Devils finally have a legitimate goal scorer, and he is coming to New Jersey with a chip on his shoulder after a surprising trade.

The Devils acquired a ‘slighted’ Taylor Hall from Edmonton in a straight-up deal for defenseman Adam Larsson.

The move gives the goal-starved Devils an exciting young left wing who was the No. 1 pick overall in 2010, while the Oilers get a solid defenseman who went No. 4 overall in 2011.

An emotional Hall said the move caught him off guard after six losing seasons in Edmonton.

“It’s tough,” the 24-year-old Hall said in a conference call. “I have a pretty deep connection to the city of Edmonton. I felt I did everything I could there so it’s pretty hard not to feel slighted.”

LIGHTNING: Captain Steven Stamkos is staying put.

The 26-year-old Stamkos tweeted that he was “excited to be back for 8 more years” and three people familiar with the decision confirmed the move. One said Stamkos will average $8.5 million per season.

BLUE JACKETS: Columbus signed defenseman Seth Jones, a restricted free agent, to a $32.4 million, six-year contract.

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NBA notebook: Smart weighs in on busy offseason http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nba-notebook-smart-weighs-in-on-busy-offseason/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nba-notebook-smart-weighs-in-on-busy-offseason/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 01:41:44 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nba-notebook-smart-weighs-in-on-busy-offseason/ WALTHAM, Mass. — Free agency, and the Celtics’ first official pitch to Kevin Durant, is two days away.

It’s a time when everyone in the organization from Danny Ainge to Isaiah Thomas can polish their recruitment points. In truth, the latter began his efforts a while ago, with a quickly deleted tweet once Durant’s season ended with a Game 7 conference finals loss to Golden State.

Marcus Smart has a connection, too. While at Oklahoma State, Smart visited Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. They in turn came to watch him at OSU. It’s thin, perhaps, but Smart is willing to try.

“If I get his number,” the Celtics’ guard said with a laugh after arriving at Brandeis University for the start of his annual summer camp.

Though he won’t play in summer league competition for the first time since joining the Celtics two years ago, Smart’s time is about to accelerate anyway – on one hand with an international session of his camp in the Canary Islands, and on the other as a member of the USA Basketball Select Team that will train against the Olympic squad in late July.

In the meantime, the Celtics are about to go through a fresh round of growing pains – if Ainge is able to succeed in free agency and the trade market.

News that the Celtics were considering point guard Kris Dunn with the third pick in the draft made Smart pause – the Providence star would have been the third first-round point guard drafted by Ainge since Smart in 2014 – but he shrugged it off.

“That was weird because Danny being a defensive-minded guy, so you kind of would’ve thought that was where he was going,” said Smart. “We were excited for whoever we got and we are excited with the picks that Danny has picked, and the front office, and we’re ready to go.”

But count Smart as already impressed by one aspect of his new teammate, Jaylen Brown, who arrived with that third overall pick. It has something to do with what Brown said about wanting to rip an opponent’s head off.

Not even Smart could have articulated his own approach to the game so well.

“I laughed. I like it. I like it. And I think Danny loves it,” he said, already familiar with Brown’s playing style.

CAVALIERS: LeBron James is about to hit the free-agent market and stay right at home.

James declined his $24 million player option for next season Wednesday but has made it clear he does not plan to leave Cleveland.

MAGIC: Orlando extended qualifying offers to swingman Evan Fournier and center Dewayne Dedmon, giving the team the right to match any offer sheet either player receives from another team.

The Magic acquired guard Jodie Meeks from Detroit for a 2019 conditional second-round pick. Meeks played only three games last season because of a foot injury.

TRAIL BLAZERS: The team extended qualifying offers to guard Allen Crabbe and forwards Myers Leonard and Maurice Harkless.

THUNDER: Oklahoma City will play two preseason games in Spain – against Real Madrid on Oct. 3 and FC Barcelona Lassa on Oct. 5.

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NFL notebook: Luck the highest-paid QB with deal through 2021 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nfl-notebook-luck-the-highest-paid-qb-with-deal-through-2021/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nfl-notebook-luck-the-highest-paid-qb-with-deal-through-2021/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 01:36:24 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nfl-notebook-luck-the-highest-paid-qb-with-deal-through-2021/ INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck has signed a new contract with the Indianapolis Colts that covers the next six seasons through 2021.

The $140 million deal was completed Wednesday with Luck, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft. Owner Jim Irsay revealed the maximum value on Twitter, calling it the biggest contract in NFL history.

Luck has been one of the most productive quarterbacks the NFL has ever had over a player’s first four years as a pro. He was the third-fastest to 13,000 career passing yards, in 49 games.

Before last season, the Colts exercised the fifth-year option on Luck’s contract to guarantee him more than $16.1 million for the 2016 season. The new deal adds five years, giving Luck another chance to cash in with a big contract around age 32.

JAMES HARRISON wants the NFL to provide “credible evidence” before he agrees to an interview with league officials regarding a media report that linked him and other players to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The NFL Players Association sent a letter on behalf of the Pittsburgh linebacker to NFL executive Adolpho Birch asking for more information.

“We have repeatedly requested that the NFL inform him and the NFLPA whether the NFL possesses any credible evidence (e.g., verified documents or verified testimony of witnesses) that warrants an interview of Mr. Harrison regarding a potential violation,” union attorney Heather M. McPhee wrote.

The other active players implicated by the Al-Jazeera report are Green Bay linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and free-agent linebacker Mike Neal, who played the past six seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

The NFL first notified Matthews, Peppers, Harrison and Neal about its investigation into the report on Jan. 11.

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Phelps qualifies for a fifth Olympics http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/phelps-qualifies-for-a-fifth-olympics/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/phelps-qualifies-for-a-fifth-olympics/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 01:08:31 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/phelps-qualifies-for-a-fifth-olympics/ OMAHA, Neb. — Michael Phelps is heading back to the Olympics.

So is Missy Franklin.

Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, held off a stiff challenge from Tom Shields to win the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. swimming trials Wednesday night. Phelps whipped around to look at his time – a bit slower than he probably would’ve liked – and held up all five fingers on his right hand.

Yep, it’s Olympics No. 5, making him the first male swimmer to compete in that many Summer Games.

“I think that means the most tonight,” Phelps said, pausing to compose himself. “Just being able to finish how I want to is so important to me. Getting on this team is what I wanted to do.”

Franklin, meanwhile, turned in one of the gutsiest performances of her career to earn a spot for Rio in the 200 freestyle. One night after she struggled to seventh in the 100 backstroke – an event she won four years ago in London – there was plenty of speculation that she’d be hard-pressed to qualify for any individual events at these games.

Franklin herself sounded as though she’d be happy just getting on the team as a relay swimmer.

Turns out, she’ll be busier than that in Brazil.

While Katie Ledecky romped to victory in the 200 free, earning a second individual event at the Olympics, Franklin rallied over the second half of the race to claim the runner-up spot.

Ledecky touched in 1:54.88, following up her easy victory in the 400 free.

Franklin’s coach, Todd Schmitz, pumped his fists and charged down the steps of the arena to congratulate his bubbly swimmer, one of the biggest stars of the London Games.

She finally had reason to smile.

“Last night was really tough and coming back from that, I was telling myself, ‘I’m not done fighting. I’m not done with believing in myself,”‘ Franklin said. “That’s probably the most proud race I’ve ever swam in my entire career, coming back from such a loss last night and telling myself that I still have it in me to do whatever I believe I can do.”

Franklin touched in 1:56.18, edging out Leah Smith by just under a half-second. Allison Schmitt, the defending gold medalist, settled for fourth but that will at least be good enough to get another star from the London Games on the team as a relay swimmer.

Phelps, who retired after the last Olympics but soon reversed his decision, took the 200 fly in 1:54.84 – far off the world record of 1:51.51 he set at the 2009 world championships while wearing one of the high-tech suits that have since been banned.

But there’s time to work on his speed between now and Rio. For now, Phelps is thrilled to be going back to the Olympics, where he’ll get a chance to add to the already staggering amount of hardware he’s accumulated at the last four Olympics: 18 golds and 22 medals overall.

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NBA free agency: League awash in cash http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nba-free-agency-league-awash-in-cash/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nba-free-agency-league-awash-in-cash/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:31:06 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/nba-free-agency-league-awash-in-cash/ NBA owners are used to shelling out big bucks to land players.

But never like this.

When the free-agency floodgates open Friday, teams and agents will be negotiating all-time-high contracts for their millionaire clients.

Thanks to the league’s behemoth new television deal, the salary cap is projected to jump from last year’s $70 million to around $94 million and more teams than ever will be able to offer maximum contracts.

For a veteran with more than 10 years of experience, say LeBron James – who on Wednesday declined the player option on his contract, becoming a free agent – a maximum contract will now be worth north of $30 million per season. Last year, Kobe Bryant was the league’s highest-paid player at $25 million.

Kevin Durant is the most desirable player testing the market, with at least six teams reportedly lined up to make pitches.

Most max-level players, like DeMar DeRozan, Al Horford and Mike Conley, will find themselves with plenty of offers, but might see little incentive to leave home. The real intrigue may play out with role players.

A sixth man could cost eight figures.

In the end, it is easier for teams to overpay for players they covet. Bidding wars become all the more competitive. Likewise, it will be tougher than ever to pry a restricted free agent away from a rival with an enormous offer.

Harrison Barnes is an interesting study. A restricted free agent, the Warriors forward disappeared in the NBA finals, but seems bound for a maximum deal anyway. If the Warriors miss out on Durant and match a maximum offer sheet on Barnes, the former North Carolina star will become the Warriors’ highest-paid player – earning more than two-time league MVP Steph Curry and All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson.

It’s a great year to be a free agent, especially with another healthy salary cap bump (to a projected $108 million) due next summer. Expect elite players like James to seek “one-and-one” contracts this summer that include a player option after the first season, so they can opt out and sign a new max-level contract when the cap reaches another apex next summer. Yes, by 2020, there will be players making $40 million per season.

The windfall of cash isn’t the only change during this free agency period. The league also has cut the moratorium period in which contracts can be negotiated but not signed, from 10 days to five (players can sign at midnight July 6).

The reason?

Last year, the Clippers seemingly lost DeAndre Jordan to a max contract offer from Dallas. But with nothing but time to think about his decision, Jordan memorably reneged on his pledge to the Mavs and re-signed with the Clippers.

The shorter waiting period is aimed at eliminating that scenario, which left the Mavericks high and dry.

That’s not something players have to worry about. After this summer, they’ll all be swimming – in cash.

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AUTO RACING NOTES: Cassius Clark finds home in Canada http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/auto-racing-notes-cassius-clark-finds-home-in-canada/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/auto-racing-notes-cassius-clark-finds-home-in-canada/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 21:13:23 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/auto-racing-notes-cassius-clark-finds-home-in-canada/ Cassius Clark stands on the front stretch after driver introductions and hears the national anthem playing over the track’s warbled public address system.

He’s the only driver from the United States in the field, and he realizes the anthem is playing to recognize his participation in the Parts For Trucks Maritime Pro Stock Tour at Petty International Raceway in New Brunswick, Canada.

“It makes you feel good. It tells you what kind of people they are up there,” said Clark, of Farmington. “It makes you feel wanted.”

With a laugh, Clark realizes that he might not be wanted all that much longer north of the border — not if he keeps on running circles around his Canadian counterparts.

Clark has won two of the first four Tour races this season, in addition to another open show at the beginning of the year.

Through four of 12 races on the schedule, Clark leads the point standings. After winning the season opener in May, his part-time plans turned into a full-time chase of the series championship.

Additionally, the team will run other select races, including the Oxford 250, the IWK 250 at Riverside Speedway in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, the Atlantic CAT 250 at Scotia Speedworld and the Auto Value 250 at Speedway 660.

“We didn’t even really plan on doing anything, then we found ourselves kind of racing for a championship now,” Clark said. “That’s what (car owner Rollie MacDonald) wanted, so I want to be able to get that for him. He’s a hard-nosed competitor, a Hall of Fame driver up there. He’s a racer just as much as we are, and he’s put all this effort into running for the championship up there. It wasn’t on my mind, but I want to do it for him.”

Clark, the 2008 Pro All Stars Series national champion and 2013 PASS North Series champion with 17 career wins in that series, seems as settled as he’s ever been in his career. He’s found himself in good equipment and surrounded by a team that both wants to win every week and has the resources to do it. He raves about the competition level in the Maritime provinces, even if many of the drivers and teams are unknown to New England race fans.

“People don’t realize how much hard work it takes just to be competitive in these things,” Clark said. “And then even if you get to the caliber where you can compete for wins every week, the amount of work it then takes to stay there or to get out of a slump.”

There haven’t been any slumps for Clark in the No. 13, not since he hooked up with the team on a part-time basis in 2012. He’s won four 250-lap events and, Florida’s annual Snowball Derby in December aside, has never finished worse than sixth for King Motorsports.

In all, he has seven career wins in parts of four seasons with the team.

Last season, he was sixth in the Oxford 250 and fourth in the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge in a race he might have won were it not for a broken fuel vent hose late in the race.

“It’s a lot of travel, so it’s a lot of work there. Driving 500 miles a week, and I’ve really got to thank my dad for that,” Clark said. “It’s a lot of traveling, but it’s great equipment and a great group of people. It’s a lot of fun.”

• • •

It’s been the talk of the stock car racing world, an incident that didn’t even involve any cars.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series battled at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, last Saturday night, in a race that looked a bit like a lot of Truck races tend to — contact, spins, hot tempers.

But the hottest tempers erupted after the trucks of Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley came to a rest following their second incident late in the 200-mile event.

It was then that the conversation devolved into equal parts comedy sketch, amateur wrestling match and fistfight.

If you could call it that.

“I wouldn’t call it a ‘fight,'” Clark said. He saw the video clips of it while driving home late Saturday night from Petty.

“It’s kind of what the sport’s gone to, really, unfortunately. Most of the kids now don’t deserve to be there. They’re just riding off their parents’ money. Most of them can’t drive and most can’t fight their way out of wet paper bag, either, apparently.”

To be certain, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison — of 1979 Daytona 500 fame for their brawl in the Daytona infield — aren’t worried about losing their trophy for “Best NASCAR Fight.”

Gallagher and Townley “fought” for nearly a full minute, eventually giving up before any officials even attempted to intervene.

LEFT TURNS: Dustin Hubbard of Unity won the 50-lap Pro Stock event at Unity Raceway on Sunday, the first race of the track’s Triple Crown series. … Gary Smith of Bangor won the 50-lap Super Late Model feature at Oxford Plains Speedway, making it nine different winners in nine races this season at the track. … Points leader Zach Audet of Skowhegan won the 25-lap Outlaw Mini Stock feature at Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday. … Oxford Plains has a 100-lap Super Late Model event for non-PASS winners over the last five seasons. The winner Sunday earns an Oxford 250 provisional starting spot.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

tbarrett@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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Price, Red Sox beaten by Rays, 4-0 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/moore-rays-shut-down-red-sox-4-0/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/moore-rays-shut-down-red-sox-4-0/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 19:23:11 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/moore-rays-shut-down-red-sox-4-0/ ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Price has always been his own toughest critic.

The new Red Sox ace blames himself for Boston’s recent struggles, saying Wednesday he hasn’t set a tone for the team to be successful by pitching deeper into games.

“I need to pitch better. It’s nothing else, it’s not bad luck – it’s me. I’ve got to get better,” Price said after a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays dropped Boston to 13-19 since May 26.

The Red Sox have lost seven of their last 10 games, including 2 of 3 to the Rays, who entered the series on an 11-game losing streak.

Price (8-5) was outpitched Wednesday by former Tampa Bay teammate Matt Moore. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed four runs and nine hits while striking out 10 in 61/3 innings.

“On a day when I thought overall he probably had his best stuff of the season, in terms of velocity, in terms of the shape to his secondary pitches, they bunched a couple hits together,” Boston Manager John Farrell said.

Tampa Bay’s Brandon Guyer returned from a three-week stint on the disabled list and hit a solo homer in the second inning. He doubled down the left-field line in the third, driving in another run to make it 4-1.

Price was a lot more critical of his performance than Farrell was.

“That’s probably the worst change-up I’ve had in a month. My curveball was awful. I can’t move my cutter and slider how I want to, and command my fastball the way I need to,” Price said.

“It’s frustrating. It’s been my worst year,” he added. “It’s unacceptable.”

Moore (4-5) allowed three singles in seven innings and struck out five to beat Price, who fell to 1-3 in five career starts against his former team.

The Red Sox were held hitless until Christian Vazquez singled leading off the sixth. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts followed with hits to load the bases with one out, but David Ortiz popped up and Hanley Ramirez hit a routine fly that ended the threat.

“Moore was very good. … We have the big opportunity with David and Hanley in the middle of the order,” Farrell said. “You figure that’s the time we cash in. But that wasn’t the case.”

Price was beaten by the Rays for the second time this season. He also lost to Tampa Bay 12-8 at Fenway Park on April 21.

“I’m just putting us behind the 8-ball in a lot of games. I’m not setting the tone the way that I need to,” Price said. “It’s crushing me right now, but I’ll get there.”

Boston was shut out for the third time this season. The Rays, who ended a streak of 13 consecutive games in which the pitching staff gave up five or more runs, also blanked the Red Sox 3-0 in 10 innings on April 19.

NOTES: Ramirez felt some discomfort on his right side after swinging and missing in the sixth. He was removed as a precaution in the eighth. “We were just trying to prevent something big,” said Ramirez, who is day to day. “It got a little bit worse, and (Farrell) took me out of the game to prevent something bigger.” … The Red Sox have not announced who will take LHP Eduardo Rodriguez’s spot in the rotation, but Farrell said the replacement will pitch Sunday against the Angels. Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after allowing nine runs over 22/3 innings in Monday’s 13-7 loss to the Rays.

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Wimbledon newcomer’s fairytale ends with Federer win http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/radwanska-wins-quick-match-under-centre-court-roof/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/radwanska-wins-quick-match-under-centre-court-roof/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 15:34:03 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/radwanska-wins-quick-match-under-centre-court-roof/ LONDON — How much money might you be willing to pay for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to play tennis against Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon?

Or merely for the chance to emerge from the tunnel leading out to the green grass there and hear the full-throated yells of nearly 15,000 standing, clapping spectators pulling for you?

Or, perhaps best of all, for the chance to look up at a guest box and see your parents, sister, brother and cousin leaping out of their seats, rejoicing, after you conjured up a beautifully curled lob that floated over the man considered by many to be the sport’s greatest player in history and landed in to win a 14-stroke exchange?

Marcus Willis, who lives at home with mom and dad and works as a tennis instructor at a club in central England, got to experience all of that and more Wednesday, and it didn’t cost the 25-year-old a dime. Actually, Willis earned the biggest paycheck of his career (about $67,000) despite winding up with the sort of result everyone expected when a guy ranked 772nd in the world somehow found himself across the net from the man who spent more weeks at No. 1 than anyone: a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 victory for Federer in the second round at the All England Club.

“I did look up twice as I bounced the ball, and saw Roger Federer, and thought, ‘Oh, haven’t seen this before,'” Willis said. “Yeah, it was surreal. … I had to get used to it and play.”

He earned the right to be out there against the 17-time Grand Slam champion thanks to an improbable, straight-from-a-screenplay couple of weeks that included victories in three matches during a playoff for low-ranked British players, three more in the qualifying rounds at Wimbledon, and then another Monday in his very first tour-level match.

“It’s all been incredible and a bit of a blur,” said Willis, a left-hander with a strong serve who slices shots off both wings. “I’ve gone from one extreme to the other in a matter of days.”

“I said a few days ago: This story is gold,” Federer said. “He’s got a career after this. He definitely made the most of it.”

Federer’s career prize money is just shy of $100 million, and that doesn’t include plenty from endorsement deals. Willis entered Wimbledon with about $350 this year and less than $100,000 for his career in prize money – and, needless to say, zero endorsements. On Wednesday, Willis’ white shirt, which he bought about a year ago, was made by Federer’s apparel sponsor and had the gray initials “RF” etched on the left sleeve.

On another rain-filled day that left a dozen men still unable to complete their first-round matches while No. 3 Federer and No. 1 Novak Djokovic moved into the third, Willis stepped out on court with a wave and the widest smile imaginable, shaking his head at the scene.

He found other reasons to grin and revel in the moment. That shot in the third game that even Federer applauded and allowed Willis to boast with a chuckle later: “I can say, ‘I lobbed Roger Federer.’ ” A 113 mph ace Willis celebrated with arms raised. A forehand winner that finally, a half-hour and more than a set in, gave Willis his first game – and created pandemonium in the stands.

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College World Series: Coastal Carolina forces deciding game http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/college-world-series-coastal-carolina-forces-deciding-game/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/college-world-series-coastal-carolina-forces-deciding-game/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 04:22:15 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/29/college-world-series-coastal-carolina-forces-deciding-game/ OMAHA, Neb. — Connor Owings’ bloop RBI single sparked a three-run eighth inning, and Coastal Carolina beat Arizona 5-4 on Tuesday night to send the College World Series finals to a deciding Game 3.

Mike Morrison was sensational in his first start of the season, helping the Chanticleers rebound from a 3-0 loss to the Wildcats in the opener. The teams meet again Wednesday night to decide the national championship.

Owings was batting .125 (3 for 24) in the CWS when he stepped to the plate against Cameron Ming in the eighth. Owings fought off a high inside pitch, sending it into short left field to drive in Anthony Marks from second base with the go-ahead run.

After Zach Remillard chased Ming (3-3) with a double, G.K. Young followed with a two-run single off Alfonso Rivas to give the Chanticleers a three-run lead.

Arizona (49-23) made it a one-run game in the bottom half. One run came home on Justin Behnke’s groundout, and another when shortstop Michael Paez bobbled a routine grounder.

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Major league roundup: Indians win 11th straight http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/major-league-roundup-indians-win-11th-straight/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/major-league-roundup-indians-win-11th-straight/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 03:53:25 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/major-league-roundup-indians-win-11th-straight/ ATLANTA — Corey Kluber insists no one in the Cleveland clubhouse is talking about the Indians’ longest winning streak in 34 years.

Outside those walls, however, the Indians are big news as the hottest team in the majors.

Carlos Santana hit a tie-breaking single in Cleveland’s three-run ninth inning, Kluber allowed only three hits in eight innings and the Indians beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Tuesday night for their 11th straight win.

The winning streak is Cleveland’s longest since 11 straight from May 23-June 4, 1982 and also the longest in the majors this season.

The unflappable Kluber didn’t sound impressed.

“No one is really talking about the winning streak,” Kluber said. “We realize we are playing well right now. We’re just trying to keep that going. Ultimately an 11-game game winning streak doesn’t mean much if you don’t continue to build the momentum that you have.”

The Indians won 12 straight in 1922. The longest streaks in franchise history were 13 games in 1942 and 1951.

Kluber (8-7) didn’t allow a hit through five innings. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.

Arodys Vizcaino (1-3) walked Tyler Naquin to open the ninth and then walked Juan Uribe on four pitches. With pinch-runner Rajai Davis at first base, and one out, Santana’s single to right field drove in Naquin.

Braves shortstop Erick Aybar mishandled Francisco Lindor’s grounder for an error, allowing Davis to score. Jose Ramirez added a run-scoring single up the middle.

TIGERS 7, MARLINS 5: Miguel Cabrera’s three-run homer highlighted a seven-run fifth inning for host Detroit.

Jose Iglesias and Nick Castellanos also homered during Detroit’s big inning, which came after Adam Conley (4-5) had been dominant through four. Mike Pelfrey (2-7) allowed four runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

CARDINALS 8, ROYALS 4: Just about everybody in the lineup drove in a run, Michael Wacha was good enough on the mound and visiting St. Louis held off Kansas City.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

RANGERS 7, YANKEES 1: Cole Hamels breezed through seven shutout innings to win his fourth consecutive start, Adrian Beltre homered and drove in three runs, and Texas won at New York.

One night after Texas rallied to win at 2:44 a.m. following a 3 1/2-hour rain delay in the ninth inning, the Rangers again played with plenty of spunk and energy.

Carlos Beltran on the Yankees left in the first with a tight right hamstring.

TWINS 4, WHITE SOX 0: Brian Dozier homered twice and drove in four runs, Kyle Gibson pitched seven innings of five-hit ball for his first victory of the season, and Minnesota won at Chicago.

Dozier homered in his third straight game and extended his hitting streak to 10 games as the last-place Twins beat the White Sox for first time in seven tries.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

DODGERS 6, BREWERS 5: Rookie Julio Urias battled through six innings for his first major league victory, Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and Los Angeles won at Milwaukee.

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Thunder stun Sea Dogs with five-run ninth http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/thunder-stun-sea-dogs-with-a-five-run-ninth/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/thunder-stun-sea-dogs-with-a-five-run-ninth/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 03:05:30 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/thunder-stun-sea-dogs-with-a-five-run-ninth/ TRENTON, N.J. — Tyler Wade hit a walk-off inside-the-park home run off Williams Jerez to cap a five-run ninth inning Tuesday night as the Trenton Thunder rallied for a 10-9 victory against the Portland Sea Dogs.

The Sea Dogs (27-49) scored three runs in the top of the ninth to build a 9-5 lead. Andrew Benintendi and Cody Decker hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the inning, and Jake Romanski added an RBI single.

Austin Maddox relieved to start the bottom of the ninth for the Sea Dogs and allowed the first three batters to reach base for Trenton (49-29), including an RBI single by Jose Rosario that cut the deficit to 9-6.

Maddox rebounded to strike out the next two before giving up a tying three-run pinch-hit home run to Mark Payton.

Benintendi went 4 for 5 with a pair of doubles, two runs and an RBI, and Rainel Rosario went 4 for 4 with four RBI to pace Portland’s 16-hit offense.

Romanski finished with three hits, including a double, two runs and an RBI for Portland.

NOTE: Yoan Moncada and Benintendi of Portland will participate July 10 in the All-Star Futures Game in San Diego.

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Local baseball roundup: Yankee Ford improves to 5-0 in American Legion http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/local-baseball-roundup-yankee-ford-improves-to-5-0-in-american-legion/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/local-baseball-roundup-yankee-ford-improves-to-5-0-in-american-legion/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 02:44:44 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/local-baseball-roundup-yankee-ford-improves-to-5-0-in-american-legion/ SOUTH PORTLAND — Sam Troiano pitched a four-hitter, struck out five and had an RBI single Tuesday night to lead Yankee Ford over Coastal Landscape 2-1 in a Zone 3 American Legion game.

Troiano’s single in the bottom of the second gave Yankee Ford (5-0) a 1-0 lead.

Alex Livingston extended Yankee Ford’s lead with an RBI single later in the inning.

Logan McCarthy and Alex Jacobs each had two hits for Coastal Landscape (4-3).

FAYETTE STAPLES 7, STAPLES CROSSING 4: Evan Balzano hit a two-run homer and a double, and scored twice to lead Fayette Staples (7-2) at Saco.

Brandon Hall added two hits and two runs scored for Fayette Staples, which scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to erase a 4-1 deficit.

Staples Crossing was paced by Clint Knowles, who went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.

Zach Hodges added two singles and scored two runs for Staples Crossing.

WELLS 4, SACO & BIDDEFORD SAVINGS 2: Cody Cousins struck out seven in a complete game to lift Wells (7-2) over Saco & Biddeford Savings (7-2) in a Zone 4 game at Biddeford.

Cousins allowed two runs on seven hits and Casey Twomey hit an RBI double in the fourth inning for Wells.

Brady Crepeau pitched a complete game in the loss, allowing two earned runs, nine hits and striking out 10.

Crepeau and Joseph Curit each had two hits for Saco & Biddeford Savings.

SEBAGO LAKERS 6, SUMMIT GAS 4: Troy Bogdhan struck out six in throwing a six-hitter for the Sebago Lakers (3-2) as they rallied for a win over Summit Gas (1-8) at Standish.

D.J. Shea singled and scored a pair of runs for the Sebago Lakers, and Kolby Lambert hit a pair of singles.

JUNIOR LEGION

SACO & BIDDEFORD SAVINGS 12, DEERING 9: Dylan Francoeur hit a two-run double as part of a four-run fifth inning to help Saco & Biddeford Savings (8-0) beat Deering (5-3) at Westbrook.

Francoeur also picked up the win, pitching 2 2/3 innings of relief and striking out three.

Derek Higgins added two hits for Saco & Biddeford Savings.

Jacob Gikas had an RBI single for Deering.

MORRILL POST 7, WINDHAM 0: Zach Johnson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and also hit an RBI single during a three-run first inning to lead Morrill Post (4-2) to a win at Windham.

Johnson struck out eight and walked one, giving up one hit over six shutout innings.

Khem Johnston added a two-run single in the fourth inning to extend Morrill Post’s lead to 5-0.

Jake Poole closed out the game for Morrill Post with two strikeouts in a hitless inning of relief and he also hit a sacrifice fly during the first-inning rally.

Windham broke up the no-hit bid on Derek Foss’ sixth-inning single.

THIRSTY TURF 9, BIDDEFORD 0: Dominic Casale had three hits and drove in two runs as Thirsty Turf (5-2) cruised past Biddeford (1-7) at Portland.

Cam Dube, Nathaniel LaPoint and Tyler Turner combined to pitch a three-hitter for Thirsty Turf.

LaPoint and John Welch added two hits apiece for Thirsty Turf.

BRUNO’S 5, CUMBERLAND 1: Sonny Killan pitched a three-hitter and Jack Kidder hit a pair of singles to lead Bruno’s to a win at Cumberland.

Bruno’s scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to break open a 1-0 lead.

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Major league notebook: Dodgers’ Kershaw to have tests for sore back http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/major-league-notebook-dodgers-kershaw-to-have-tests-for-sore-back/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/major-league-notebook-dodgers-kershaw-to-have-tests-for-sore-back/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 02:43:19 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/major-league-notebook-dodgers-kershaw-to-have-tests-for-sore-back/ MILWAUKEE — Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is returning to Los Angeles this week for tests on his sore back.

Manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that he was still hopeful Kershaw could make his next scheduled start Friday night at Dodger Stadium against Colorado.

Kershaw is 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA this season. He lost his last start on Sunday in Pittsburgh, giving up four runs in six innings.

NATIONALS: The Nationals say the MRI Stephen Strasburg underwent Monday morning has confirmed their diagnosis that the pitcher has an upper-back strain.

Strasburg threw a bullpen session Tuesday afternoon before Washington was set to play the New York Mets. Strasburg was placed on the disabled list Sunday retroactive to June 16.

TIGERS: Anibal Sanchez is heading back to the bullpen. Manager Brad Ausmus says the Tigers will use Sanchez in relief after he returned to the rotation for one start. The right-hander allowed four runs in five innings in a loss to Cleveland on Saturday.

CARDINALS: St. Louis activated catcher Brayan Pena from the disabled list and designated Eric Fryer for assignment.

Pena has been out all season after having surgery on his left knee. The veteran signed a $5 million, two-year deal to back up Yadier Molina.

METS: Pitcher Steven Matz has a bone spur in his left elbow and will have his next start pushed back from Wednesday to Thursday.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson says the 25-year-old lefty will continue pitching through the bone spur because doctors have assured the team he cannot do damage to it.

Braves: The Braves placed rookie right-hander John Gant on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained side.

Gant left Monday night’s 8-3 loss to Cleveland in the third inning with the left oblique injury.

TWINS: Right-hander Phil Hughes will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on July 16.

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Red Sox power past the Rays http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/red-sox-power-past-the-rays/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/red-sox-power-past-the-rays/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 02:40:01 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=947528 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Rick Porcello pitched six strong innings, Travis Shaw homered and drove in five runs for the third time this season and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-2 on Tuesday night to end a three-game losing streak.

Porcello (9-2) retired the last nine batters he faced after giving up a bases-loaded walk to Nick Franklin in the fourth. That was the only run the right-hander allowed while also yielding five hits.

Shaw had a solo homer, a two-run double and a two-run single for the Red Sox, who broke a close game open with a three-run seventh. David Ortiz continued to climb the career RBI list with a third-inning double, and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hanley Ramirez also drove in runs for Boston.

Ortiz’s hit gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead against Chris Archer (4-11), who’s gone from being an All-Star a year ago to leading the major leagues in losses this season. One night after moving ahead of Reggie Jackson for sole possession of 24th on the career RBI list, the slugger pulled even with another Hall of Famer, Frank Thomas, for 23rd with 1,704.

Light-hitting Tampa Bay snapped an 11-game losing streak on Monday night, pounding out a season-high 18 hits in a 13-7 win that saddled Boston with its sixth loss in eight games.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Hank Conger, left, looks on as Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hits a RBI-double to right field during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Hank Conger, left, looks on as Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hits a RBI-double to right field during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Jackie Bradley Jr. scores on a two-run double hit by Travis Shaw. Associated Press/Steve Nesius

Jackie Bradley Jr. scores on a two-run double hit by Travis Shaw. Associated Press/Steve Nesius

The offensive outburst didn’t spill over to Tuesday.

The Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but only scored once — with Porcello’s third walk of the inning forcing in the run. The Boston right-hander, who had not walked more than two batters in any of his previous 19 starts, wiggled off the hook by getting Logan Forsythe to fly to right field and fanning Hank Conger and Brad Miller.

Porcello and reliever Junichi Tazawa didn’t allow another baserunner until Miller’s solo homer trimmed Tampa Bay’s deficit to 6-2 with two outs in the seventh.

Archer, who allowed four runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings, fell to 1-8 lifetime against the Red Sox, who’ve won eight straight decisions against the right-hander.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts, who leads the majors with 109 hits and is batting .343, had a scheduled day off. … C Ryan Hanigan (strained neck) will have his status evaluated after catching a full game Wednesday with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Rays: OF Corey Dickerson (sore left thumb) missed his third straight but was available to pinch hit. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to throw a batting practice session Thursday.

CLOSING TIME

Rays closer Alex Colome was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right medial biceps tendinitis. The move was retroactive to June 19, so the right-hander is eligible to come off the DL on Monday. “We’re not too concerned,” said manager Kevin Cash, who plans to mix-and-match late in games with Colome sidelined.

MOVING DAY

Red Sox: Reliever Pat Light was recalled from Pawtucket to take the roster spot of LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, who was optioned to the International League club after allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in Monday night’s 13-7 loss to the Rays. The outing increased Rodriguez’s ERA from 6.41 to 8.59. Boston won’t need a starter to replace Rodriguez until sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.

Rays: They purchased the contract of LHP Dana Eveland from Triple-A Durham to fill Colome’s roster spot.

LUCKY CHARM?

A group of Rays players put items they used during an 11-game losing streak into a “BURN BOX'” in the clubhouse before Monday’s victory over Boston. Items included shoes, batting gloves, a jock strap and one of Dickerson’s bats.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP David Price (8-4, 4.68 ERA) starts the series finale against his former team. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner ranks among the league leaders in strikeouts, innings pitched and wins. He has an AL-leading four outings with double-digit strikeouts, most by a Boston pitcher in a single season since Jon Lester had seven in 2010.

Rays: LHP Matt Moore is 3-4 with a 5.40 ERA in eight career appearances against Boston, including seven starts. He’s 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.

 

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Famed golf course washed away by deadly storm http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/famed-golf-course-washed-away-by-deadly-storm/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/famed-golf-course-washed-away-by-deadly-storm/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 02:38:28 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=947540  

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — At West Virginia’s usually immaculate Greenbrier resort, the grandstands set up for a PGA tournament that was supposed to start the week of July Fourth now look out on a muddy, gouged-out golf course strewn with trash, tires, refrigerators and severed trees.

The devastating floods that swept through West Virginia last week and killed at least 23 people statewide carved a path of destruction unseen in generations at the historic Greenbrier.

Running through the Old White TPC golf course, Howard’s Creek raged over its banks during the pounding storms Thursday. When the worst of it was over, Greenbrier employees came upon two bodies on the resort grounds, and they are draining a lake on the 16th fairway to search for more.

Dating back to 1778, the 700-room resort with an iconic white facade has long been one of the jewels of West Virginia’s tourism industry, hosting presidents and royalty and holding a once-secret underground bunker built for Congress in case of nuclear attack during the Cold War.

But on Tuesday, 300 of the neediest victims from the flood-ravaged area occupied the rooms, and the hotel was closed for business while it fed and sheltered the disaster refugees.

“West Virginians are tough, loving, prideful, good people. They’ll bond together, and I’ve said this many times, they’ll get through this,” said billionaire Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, who threw open the place for use as a shelter.

“We won’t forget it, and we’re not supposed to forget it. And we’ll be scarred with it forever, but we’ll survive it, and we’ll figure it out.”

Fifteen people died in the resort’s namesake county, Greenbrier, where many were swept away by swift, mucky floodwaters. A dead 14-year-old boy washed up against a maintenance shed at the resort, and the body of an elderly man was pulled from of a lake on the grounds.

The Old White had been manicured to host some of golf’s biggest names at a tournament starting July 7. The event was going to be free for the first time, and about 300,000 fans were expected. But then the rains began, and the water rose and kept rising.

On Thursday evening, pro golfer Bubba Watson, who has a home at the resort, tweeted a video that showed that the course had become a flowing river of brown water.

After the rain stopped, Justice checked out a high-water mark on the 15th hole, a record that was set in 1915. This flood topped it by 5 feet.

The tournament has been canceled.

The Greenbrier’s newly built chapel was filled with 4 feet of mud. At the tennis complex, mud coated a few levels of seats around the year-old center court. Water spilled into several areas of the resort’s main building, but Justice said it might be able to reopen in a month or two.

The golf course is another story. It might take a full year to bring Old White back into proper shape so the PGA Tour can come back in 2017 as expected, Justice said.

“In all honesty, the course will probably have to be completely redone,” he said.

The Greenbrier is also set to host the New Orleans Saints’ training camp starting in late July. The NFL team said it is still coming.

Justice, a coal and agriculture magnate who is the Democratic nominee for governor in November, has put the campaign on hold for at least two weeks.

“Honest to Pete, that’s the last thing that I need to be doing today,” he said.

Instead of campaign checks, money to help the victims is starting to roll in. Justice’s flood-relief charity, Neighbors Loving Neighbors, has received $600,000 in commitments in just a few days, include five-figure pledges from former NBA star and West Virginia native Jerry West, Rite Aid and a FirstEnergy executive, he said.

As they grabbed a free lunch Tuesday, flood victims staying at the Greenbrier said they were grateful.

Kenneth Hoke, 45, fled his home Thursday in Monroe County to stay at the Greenbrier with his wife, Melanie. By the time he left, water had crept up to the bottom of the stairs and was rising quickly. He hasn’t been home since.

“We were hit pretty hard in the hollow,” Hoke said. “We lost everything we had.”

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Sports Digest: President of Argentina hopes to woo Messi back http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/sports-digest-former-nfl-coach-buddy-ryan-dies/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/sports-digest-former-nfl-coach-buddy-ryan-dies/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 02:21:20 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/sports-digest-former-nfl-coach-buddy-ryan-dies/ SOCCER

The president of Argentina said he hopes to meet Lionel Messi next week and convince him to return to the national team.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he had spoken by telephone with Messi, who announced his retirement after a loss to Chile in the Copa America final.

FOOTBALL

NFL: Seattle and wide receiver Doug Baldwin agreed to a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2020 season.

ZURLON TIPTON, a former Indianapolis running back, died after accidentally shooting himself at a car dealership in suburban Detroit. He was 26.

COLLEGE

BAYLOR SUIT: Three more women joined a federal lawsuit against Baylor University, accusing the school of doing nothing to help them after they reported being sexually assaulted on or near campus.

The former Baylor students are identified only as Jane Doe. They joined a lawsuit filed by three other women on June 15. They claim sexual assaults dating from 2005-14.

GOLF

MONTGOMERIE QUALIFIES: Colin Montgomerie will play at the British Open for the first time since 2010 after qualifying for golf’s oldest major.

Montgomerie, 53, shot rounds of 66 and 71 to secure one of the three places available from final qualifying.

HOCKEY

NHL: The league fined the Vancouver Canucks $50,000 for tampering after General Manager Jim Benning mentioned specific players the team might be interested in.

Benning noted the Canucks’ interest in Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban and Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos last week during a radio interview before the NHL draft in Buffalo, New York.

TELEVISION

MAINERS ADVANCE: Jessie Labreck of Oakland, a former Messalonskee High track star who still holds 11 University of Maine records, and Jon Alexis of Waterville advanced to the regional finals of the NBC obstacle course competition show, “American Ninja Warrior.”

The next round will be televised Aug. 22.

BASEBALL

NECBL: Sam Stauble and Zach Jancarski hit RBI singles in the eighth inning as the Sanford Mainers (8-9) rallied for a 5-4 win over the Valley Blue Sox (9-7) at Sanford.

Jancarski finished with three hits and a run, and Todd Czinege added an RBI double for the Mainers, who trailed 4-1 after two innings.

EMPIRE LEAGUE: Jacob Fabry and Chris Allen delivered RBI singles during a five-run first inning to help the Surge (14-11) beat the Sullivan Explorers (13-12) 8-4 at Old Orchard Beach.

– From staff and news reports

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Olympic notebook: Gold medalists find the going tough in swimming trials http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/olympic-notebook-gold-medalists-find-the-going-tough-in-swimming-trials/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/olympic-notebook-gold-medalists-find-the-going-tough-in-swimming-trials/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 01:55:02 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/olympic-notebook-gold-medalists-find-the-going-tough-in-swimming-trials/ OMAHA, Neb. — One by one, some of America’s biggest swimming stars are going down at the Olympic trials.

First, Ryan Lochte. Then, Missy Franklin.

Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist but slowed by a groin injury, missed out on his second chance to make the team in an individual event with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle. There was some consolation: Lochte at least clinched a spot in the 800 relay, so he’ll be in Rio.

Franklin can’t say that yet. Franklin, a star of the 2012 London Games, struggled to a seventh-place finish in the 100 backstroke, denying her a chance to defend the gold medal she won four years ago.

Racing just 23 minutes after qualifying for the final of the 200 free, Franklin, 21, couldn’t pull off the grueling double. She finished nearly a body length behind winner Olivia Smoliga and runner-up Kathleen Baker, who will represent the U.S. in what was Franklin’s signature event.

The only swimmer to finish behind Franklin was 12-time gold medalist Natalie Coughlin. The 33-year-old likely missed out on her best chance to make the team in an individual event, though there’s a chance she could still qualify in a relay.

In the men’s 200 free, Lochte was second at the final turn but couldn’t hold on, either. Townley Haas surged to the victory, followed by Conor Dwyer.

“I’m just happy that I’m going to Rio,” Lochte said. “You can never go in knowing that you’re going to make the team, just because the U.S. is one of the hardest countries to make the Olympic team.”

For good measure, another stalwart of the 2012 U.S. team failed to qualify for Rio. Matt Grevers, the defending Olympic gold medalist in the men’s 100 backstroke, finished third behind Ryan Murphy and David Plummer.

Yet another Olympic gold medalist, Jessica Hardy, finished sixth in the 100 breast stroke to also miss out on the U.S. team. Lilly King and Katie Meili were 1-2 in the final, extending what has become a definite changing of the guard in Omaha.

It’s not a total makeover.

Katie Ledecky is living up to her staggering expectations, and the most decorated Olympian of them all, Michael Phelps, looked as dominant as ever in his first event of the trials.

Ledecky was easily the top qualifier in the semifinals of the 200 free, more than a second ahead of everyone else, as she looks to add a second event to her Rio schedule. She already won the 400 free, will be an overwhelming favorite in the 800 free and also entered the 100 free.

Then there’s Phelps, who already has 18 golds and 22 medals overall, and came out of retirement seeking to win a few more before calling it quits again.

He was more than a second ahead of the next-fastest swimmer in the semifinals of the 200 butterfly, powering through the water with ease.

Phelps couldn’t help but notice all the newcomers on the U.S. team – as many as 17 likely claiming spots through the first three days of the meet.

“I don’t even know half of them,” he said. “It’s exciting to have new faces, where people are really pumped to come up in the sport. That’s a good thing to see as I’m on my way out.”

Three swimmers with Maine connections competed earlier but failed to reach the finals: James Wells, a four-time state champion at Morse High, in the 100 backstroke; and Emma Waddell of Bath and Caitlyn Tycz of Bath in the 100 butterfly.

RUGBY: Pairings are set for the first Olympic rugby competition in 92 years with the draw placing favorites New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa in different groups in the men’s tournament.

Group A of the men’s tournament is made up of Fiji, the United States, Argentina and Brazil. Group B has South Africa, Australia, France and Spain. New Zealand leads group C, which also includes Britain, Kenya and Japan.

The women’s tournament also will be split into three groups. Group A has Australia, the United States, Fiji and Colombia. Group B includes New Zealand, France, Spain and Kenya. Brazil will be in group C with Britain, Canada and Japan.

TELEVISION: NBCUniversal’s TV and digital networks will show a record 6,755 hours of action. The previous high was 5,535 hours from the 2012 London Games.

The main NBC network will broadcast more than 260 hours, including the opening and closing ceremonies, and extensive coverage of swimming, gymnastics and track and field.

AUSTRALIA: Hurdles gold medalist Sally Pearson reportedly withdrew because of a hamstring injury.

The Herald Sun newspaper and other Australian media reported that Pearson, the 100-meter hurdles Olympic champion in London four years ago and silver medalist at Beijing in 2008, injured her hamstring while training on Australia’s Gold Coast.

SOCCER: The U.S. women’s national team will have a new home uniform this summer at the Olympics.

The white Nike uniforms feature a red stripe down the right side of the jersey and shorts, with a blue stripe down the left side. Silver threads run through the sleeves. The uniform includes socks that fade from white to blue at the foot.

The U.S. Soccer crest is replaced with a blue “USA” to conform with Olympic regulations.

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Top golfers withdraw from the Olympics http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/top-golfers-withdraw-from-the-olympics/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/top-golfers-withdraw-from-the-olympics/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 01:38:20 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=947423  AKRON, Ohio — Jason Day pulled out of the Olympics on Tuesday because of the Zika virus, costing golf its No. 1 player as it returns from a century-long absence at the games.

The sport has lost two of its biggest stars in the last week, adding to the perception that the Olympics are not a high priority. Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion, also said Zika will keep from competing in Rio de Janeiro.

“The sole reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife’s future pregnancies and to future members of our family,” Day said in a statement. “I have always placed my family in front of everything else in my life.”

Day and his wife, Ellie, had their second child in November, and he has said they want more children.

Also Tuesday, Shane Lowry of Ireland said he would withdraw because of the Zika virus.

Lowry, who got married in April, said he wants to start a family and soon and he received “firm medical advice” from doctors in Dublin that he should not go to Rio. He joins Rory McIlroy as the top two Irish golfers who won’t be in the Olympics because of Zika concerns.

That means Padraig Harrington at No. 159 in the world and Seamus Power (No. 283) would play for the Irish flag in Rio.

“There’s too much of a gray area for me,” Lowry said. “There’s not a 100 percent way of saying you have it or you don’t have it when you get back, so that’s a problem for me and my wife, especially. If I came back from Rio and was able to say 100 percent that I didn’t have it? Then it might be a different story.”

Day and Lowry are the fifth and sixth golfers to withdraw from the competition. The others are McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Marc Leishman, whose wife’s immune system has not fully recovered after she nearly died last year of toxic shock syndrome.

American cyclist Tejay van Garderen is among a handful of athletes outside of golf who also cited Zika as the reason behind not going to Rio. Basketball star Stephen Curry didn’t specifically cite Zika but noted that “other factors” played a role in his decision to skip the games.

Brazil has been the hardest hit of the approximately 60 countries that have reported an outbreak of Zika, the mosquito-borne virus linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.

Day first expressed concern a month ago at the Memorial and said he had been consulting doctors so he could make a smart choice.

“Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risks to me and to my family,” Day said. “While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family. I will not place them at risk. … I hope all golf and Olympics fans respect and understand my position.”

Australia has three players in the top 50 in the world, and all of them have withdrawn — Day, Adam Scott (No. 8) and Leishman (No. 39). Next in line would be Scott Hend (No. 75) and Marcus Fraser (No. 81).

Day had been among the strongest proponents of competing in the Olympics, as had McIlroy and other young stars. But as the July 11 deadline nears for qualifying for Rio, some top golfers have been wavering.

Among the stars who plan to play or have not decided are Jordan Spieth, U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Masters champion Danny Willett of England.

Golf already has lost three of the top 10 players in the world. Scott was the first to withdraw. He said Olympics were never his priority in a year in which the schedule is crammed with major championships with far more historical significant than an Olympic medal.

The sport has not been part of the Games since 1904 in St. Louis.

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa cited scheduling concerns when he withdrew. Vijay Singh of Fiji briefly mentioned Zika but was more bothered by the schedule. Graeme McDowell, who was in line to replace McIlroy, withdrew late last week because his wife is due with their second child a few weeks after the Olympics and he did not want to be out of the country in the weeks leading to the birth.

 

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Wildlife officials lead tour in Hallowell, address concerns about timber harvesting http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/wildlife-officials-lead-tour-in-hallowell-address-concerns-about-timber-harvesting/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/wildlife-officials-lead-tour-in-hallowell-address-concerns-about-timber-harvesting/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 01:12:55 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/wildlife-officials-lead-tour-in-hallowell-address-concerns-about-timber-harvesting/ HALLOWELL — Wildlife officials hosted a site walk at the Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area in Hallowell on Tuesday to shed some light on an upcoming timber harvesting project that has drawn criticism from hikers and others.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has begun preparations for the project at the nearly 1,000-acre property in Hallowell, Farmingdale and Manchester, which is expected to begin later this summer. It’s the first timber harvesting project at Jamies Pond in more than 10 years.

G. Keel Kemper, a regional wildlife biologist for the wildlife agency, tried to alleviate the concerns of several of the two dozen or so people who attended the walk. Kemper said it’s not the agency’s intention to disrupt the management area’s vast and expansive trail system and to cut down 70 percent of the trees, as one person feared.

“There will be activity on 70 percent of the property, but we aren’t cutting 70 percent of the forest,” Kemper said. “If we were going to cut up that much of the forest, they’d rightfully string us up.”

The agency’s plan for the management area includes removal of certain trees to allow other trees to flourish, thus increasing foraging opportunities for deer, snowshoe hare and turkey, work on a deer wintering area to increase browse, and patching openings in aspen-dominated areas to provide habitat for both grouse and woodcock.

Much of the opposition to the plan is because people are afraid that their hiking trails and walking trails will be disturbed. Joan Sturmthal, of Hallowell, wrote a letter; to the Kennebec Journal blasting the plan, and her opinion didn’t change after walking with and speaking to the wildlife officials on Tuesday.

“I would rather see it as a park, and I haven’t been swayed,” Sturmthal said. “I think they’ll feel like they went through the process to inform people, and they are a great bunch of guys just doing what they were hired to do, but it’ll still change the nature of the park.”

Biologist Eric Hoar, the ground manager for the project, led the 45-minute walk through the forest, stopping at three different spots to illustrate what kind of work would be done and why the work was necessary. Several trees were marked with an X, which means they were to be saved, while others were marked for removal.

Hoar described why several oak trees were set to be removed in order to release hemlock trees, much to the dismay of many, including George Smith, who said he couldn’t understand why hemlocks were valued more than oak trees. Smith is the former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and is a Kennebec Journal columnist.

Kemper said while there is plenty of value placed on the area’s oak trees, in this specific location, the oaks’ removal is necessary for the hemlocks to flourish.

Ted Elliott, of Augusta, said he understands that ultimately it is a wildlife management area being managed for wildlife.

“It is kind of my wishful thinking that it just stays the way it is,” Elliott said after the walk was over. “It sounds like they are going to do a better job than I thought, so I am cautiously optimistic.”

Ryan Robicheau, wildlife management section supervisor for the department, and Kemper acknowledged that the area is a popular destination for hikers, cross-country skiers and fishermen. He said some people get the impression that Jamies Pond is a park and they want it to stay a certain way.

“It will change after we’re done,” Robicheau said. “But we’re not looking to impact people’s use or enjoyment of the property.”

Robicheau and Kemper said the department takes into account all of the recreational activities that happen at Jamies Pond. But first and foremost the project and treatments involved are geared toward wildlife and wildlife management.

“We are equal opportunity recreationalists,” Kemper said. “But for the most part, our primary management objective is wildlife management.”

The wildlife agency manages 62 areas in the state, representing about 105,000 acres. Kemper said this was the fourth public event about this project, and he wanted to make sure everyone knows how much planning went into the project.

“This didn’t just happen willy-nilly,” Kemper said. “We’ve been planning this for about four years.”

There will be an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the City Hall Auditorium in Hallowell, and Kemper said to expect extensive details and a “much more in-depth Power Point presentation.”

Jason Pafundi can be contacted at 621-5663 or at:

jpafundi@centralmaine.com

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Coaches with Maine ties owe plenty to Summitt http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/coaches-with-maine-ties-owe-plenty-to-summitt/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/coaches-with-maine-ties-owe-plenty-to-summitt/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 01:04:41 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/coaches-with-maine-ties-owe-plenty-to-summitt/ Joanne P. McCallie composed herself and walked to midcourt to shake Pat Summitt’s hand.

It was the night of April 3, 2005, and McCallie’s Michigan State women’s basketball team had stunned everyone, rallying from a 16-point deficit with 14 minutes remaining to defeat Summitt’s Tennessee team 68-64 in the national semifinals.

“It was such a great game,” said McCallie. “And when I was shaking her hand afterward, I just said, ‘I’m sorry.’ I know that was a weird thing to say and it makes no sense. But she was such a mentor to me.”

Pat Summitt, who died Tuesday at age 64, was a mentor – and much more – to generations of women’s basketball coaches and players. She was, said McCallie, the Brunswick High graduate and former University of Maine coach who is now at Duke, “the heart and soul of women’s basketball, always will be, always has been.”

Summitt coached Tennessee for 38 years, winning eight national championships and compiling a record of 1,098 wins, 208 losses. She never had a losing season.

But she meant more to the women’s game – and women’s sports – than just wins and losses.

“She was a great advocate for Title IX and women in sport,” said Richard Barron, the UMaine women’s basketball coach. “She was one of the people who kind of changed the perception of what it meant to be feminine. She showed you could be athletic and feminine at the same time. It was like a river cutting a canyon over a 38-year career.

“I don’t know that’s what she set out to do. She set out to win games. That’s what drove her. She was fiercely competitive. She wanted to win. And because of that drive and persistence, she ended up being such a bigger influence than just a coach in women’s basketball. She transcended even sports.”

Summitt was so respected that other coaches – including males – sought her out for advice. McCallie, who began her coaching career at Tennessee rival Auburn as an assistant, used her as a reference when she applied for the UMaine job.

“I just called her office and went through her secretary,” said McCallie. “She knew who I was and that I was interested in the Maine job, and said she was happy to be a reference.”

But that wasn’t surprising.

“Everyone has a story of Pat making a phone call, making a reference,” said McCallie. “It’s amazing how far her reach is.”

It reached down to the high school level as well.

Lynne Hasson, the coach at South Portland High, said she read all of Summitt’s books and Tennessee was “my favorite team forever.”

“Obviously she is at the forefront of women’s basketball, certainly one of sport’s greatest coaches, male or female,” said Hasson. “She did so much, when you look at how she started and women had nothing. She led the way for a lot of women’s coaches.”

Samantha Allen also followed Summitt’s teams closely. Now the women’s basketball coach at the University of Southern Maine, Allen was a star at Lake Region High in Naples, where a poster of Summitt hung in the team locker room.

“Growing up, everybody wanted to play for the Volunteers and everybody knew who she was,” said Allen. “She was somebody we all wanted to play for because we knew she would be tough on us and push us to our absolute brink.”

Allen remembers playing in AAU tournaments attended by Summitt.

“If you got a glimpse from Pat Summitt, it was pure gold,” she said. “Just to be in her presence was awe-inspiring.”

Allen is holding a day camp at USM this week and talked about Summitt to her campers Tuesday. While few knew who Summitt was, Allen said her impact will continue to be felt.

“I look back at a lot of the things she’s done and it’s not that I want to emulate what she’s done, but I want to inspire people the way that she has,” said Allen. “I just really appreciate what she brought to the game.”

Summitt retired in 2012, one year after announcing that she was suffering from early onset dementia.

“She was always very gracious,” said UMaine’s Barron. “She was always willing to help with young coaches; I know she did it with me. She would invite me or my team into practices, give tours of the locker room and talk about the qualities she looked for in players. She was always helpful with my teams.”

When Barron was the head coach at Princeton, he went back and played Tennessee. “It was the best 50-point loss I’ve ever had,” he said.

McCallie said her greatest legacy may be that she demanded excellence from her players on and off the court.

“When I came through, in the early years of Title IX, we studied her, we looked up to her, we understood how great she was at her craft,” said McCallie. “She set the standard so high. She was not afraid to demand of women and challenge women.”

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Commentary: Golf swinging and missing at its Olympics shot http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/commentary/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/commentary/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:36:45 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=947282 AKRON, Ohio — For the longest time, golf’s biggest headache in preparing for a return to the Olympics was getting a new course built in Rio de Janeiro.

That seems like a nuisance compared with its next major hurdle.

Who’s going to play?

Ten eligible players over the last two months have pulled out of the Olympics, six of the specifically citing concerns about the Zika virus. The last week alone was particularly devastating to a sport wanting to make a good impression after being gone from the games for 112 years.

Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion with the broadest global appeal among young stars, was the most prominent player to withdraw. That was until Tuesday when Jason Day, the No. 1 player in the world, said he would not be going. Shane Lowry and Branden Grace are planning to start families and will stay home because of Zika.

That’s four players from the top 25 who won’t be in Rio, and dread that more might follow.

One of them might be Jordan Spieth, who described his Olympic position Tuesday as “uncertain.”

“I’ve always been excited about the possible opportunity, but there’s quite a few different factors that would turn somebody away from going. It’s not just one, there’s quite a few factors,” Spieth said, mentioning Zika, security and reports of violence.

The International Golf Federation stopped responding to each withdrawal because it was repeating the same statement: It is disappointed, but understands that each player has to decide on his own.

“Unfortunately with what’s going on with Brazil and Rio with the Zika virus, there’s a small chance it could happen, and I just can’t put my family through that, especially with the future children we’re looking at having,” Day said.

While the sport is assured a spot in 2020 in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee will vote next year to decide if golf stays longer than that. And it doesn’t help when there’s an All-Star roster of players who won’t be there for whatever reasons.

Because countries are limited to two players (a maximum of four if they are among the top 15), only 18 players from the top 50 will be in Rio — as of Tuesday.

IGF executive director Antony Scanlon, who has been involved in nine Olympics, believes golf still can put on a good show.

“We gave a commitment to have the best players there,” Scanlon said. “The decision they’re making are personal. We can’t make those decisions for them. All you can do is understand the decision they’re making. After the games, we’ll have two worthy champions, gold medalists that history will look back on. When the IOC members come to the venue, they’re going to have a great time. They’ll experience a sport where you can get close to the players and see their passion and determination.

“All we can do is make sure we deliver a great event.”

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.

When golf made its pitch to get back into the Olympics for the first time since St. Louis in 1904, the IGF presented video support from Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and other top players who offered enthusiasm and unconditional support for Olympic competition.

That was in 2009, before Brazil was devastated by political corruption and an economic meltdown, before concerns over polluted water and whether Rio could provide adequate security. And that was before Zika.

Brazil has been the hardest hit by the outbreak of Zika, a mosquito-borne virus linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults. Schwartzel and Lowry said if the Olympics were anywhere else, they would be there.

“The Olympic committee has to look at this and go, ‘Look, it was a weird situation, so don’t penalize golf because of a weird situation,'” Bubba Watson said.

But is it as simple as blaming it on Rio?

No women eligible for the Olympics have dropped out, and they would seem to be at greater risk from Zika. Then again, the women do not have the chance to play on a big stage like the Olympics. All three of their U.S. majors are held the week before the men’s majors and often get lost in coverage.

The perception is that Zika is an easy way out from going to South America for an Olympic competition that has little history behind it in golf. And the leading organizations did themselves no favors by cramming their biggest events into the summer ahead of the games. The final two majors, the British Open and PGA Championship, will be held in the month before the competition in Rio.

After the Olympics, PGA Tour players go right into the lucrative FedEx Cup, and then for Americans and Europeans, it’s off to the Ryder Cup and its flag-waving fervor.

“Other athletes have been training four and eight years to go to the Olympics. I can see why they’re going because it’s the pinnacle of their sport,” Lowry said. “It’s not the pinnacle of golf yet. It could be in 20 years’ time. But it’s not like winning the U.S. Open or winning the Masters or playing in the Ryder Cup.”

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Stanley Cup likely to visit Biddeford on Aug. 3 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/stanley-cup-likely-to-visit-biddeford-on-aug-3/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/stanley-cup-likely-to-visit-biddeford-on-aug-3/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 18:50:27 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/stanley-cup-likely-to-visit-biddeford-on-aug-3/ Details are far from set but it is very likely the Stanley Cup, hockey’s famous championship trophy, will be visiting Biddeford with Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman and Biddeford native Brian Dumoulin on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

“It’s August 3rd until we’re told it’s not August 3rd,” said Pete Dumoulin, Brian’s father.

The Penguins won the NHL championship by beating the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven series. Dumoulin, an NHL rookie, played a key role in the playoffs, logging the second-most playing time on the team in the Stanley Cup finals and scoring the first goal in the series-clinching win.

It is tradition for each member of the winning organization to have a period of time to share the Stanley Cup with family and friends.

Pete Dumoulin said specific plans for when and where the Stanley Cup will be on public display have not been finalized.

 

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Serena Williams struggles, but still wins first-round match at Wimbledon http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/serena-williams-struggles-but-still-wins-1st-round-match-at-wimbledon/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/serena-williams-struggles-but-still-wins-1st-round-match-at-wimbledon/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 16:24:20 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/serena-williams-struggles-but-still-wins-1st-round-match-at-wimbledon/ LONDON – Leave all the chatter about Serena Williams’ pursuit of her 22nd major singles trophy to others.

Williams and her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, do not discuss that number.

“We don’t talk about it all. Zero,” Mouratoglou said Tuesday at Wimbledon after watching Williams win her first-round match.

Why is that?

“Because there is nothing to talk about. We have a Grand Slam (title) to win, and that’s what’s most important. We don’t talk about the reward,” he said. “We talk about the work we have to do.”

That is going to include some extra time spent fine-tuning the top-seeded Williams’ serve after she delivered five double-faults, including three in one game, and faced five break points during an uneven 6-2, 6-4 victory over Amra Sadikovic, a Swiss qualifier ranked 148th and making her Grand Slam debut.

“It’s very rare that everything works perfectly the first round. It’s one of the things that were not good today, so we’re going to work on it,” Mouratoglou said. “But it’s not a big deal. I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

Didn’t take long for the first rain of this year’s tournament, which cut short action in the early evening and limited play to the main stadium, the only venue with a roof at the All England Club. In all, 14 matches were suspended in progress and 16 were postponed altogether.

Of the matches that did conclude, zero seeded players lost.

Winners included No. 2 Andy Murray, the 2013 champion, in the first all-British men’s match at Wimbledon since 2001; No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, who eliminated 18-year-old American Taylor Fritz and now faces 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, participating in his first Grand Slam tournament in 2½ years after three operations on his left wrist; No. 7 Richard Gasquet, No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 15 Nick Kyrgios.

Among the top women, No. 6 Roberta Vinci — who stunned Williams at the U.S. Open last year, ending the American’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam — beat Alison Riske of the U.S. 6-2, 5-7, 6-3; No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated unseeded Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who hasn’t won a match at a major in 2016; and No. 27 CoCo Vandeweghe of the U.S. had little trouble getting past Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 7-6 (3) under the roof in the day’s last match.

Since earning her sixth Wimbledon championship and 21st Grand Slam title a year ago, Williams has gone 18-3 at majors, with the losses coming in the U.S. Open semifinals, the Australian Open final and the French Open final.

That led some to surmise that Williams has been beset by nerves as she seeks No. 22, which would equal Steffi Graf’s Open-era record (Margaret Court holds the all-time mark of 24).

Williams dismissed the notion of a mental stumbling block.

“I think more or less about winning Australia. I think about winning the French Open. Didn’t happen. I think about winning Wimbledon,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think about winning ’22.'”

Then, in what sounded like a reference to various health issues that have put her in the hospital and kept her off the tour for months — blood clots on her lungs in 2010, for example — Williams continued: “Mentally I’ve been further down than anyone can be. Well, maybe not anyone, but I’ve been pretty low. There’s nothing … mentally too hard for me.”

With her mother sitting in Centre Court’s Royal Box, Williams trailed 15-40 in Tuesday’s opening game, then won 13 consecutive points and grabbed a 3-0 lead. In the second set, Williams made four unforced errors in one game to get broken and fall behind 2-1. But she broke right back.

When the players met at the net after Williams’ return winner ended the match, they embraced like old friends.

Turns out that was Sadikovic’s idea. She was a bit awe-struck by the occasion — and rightly so.

Sadikovic quit playing tennis two years ago, because she wasn’t enjoying life on tour and had financial problems. After more than a year off, giving tennis lessons, she returned. So while Sadikovic knew she’d have a better chance to win against pretty much any other opponent, she was thrilled to play Williams.

“I always looked up to Serena, because she’s like a beast, but in a positive way,” Sadikovic said. “I always asked myself the question: How does it feel … to play the best player in the world?”

Now she knows.

“I just wanted to hug her, to be honest,” Sadikovic said. “And I asked her. She was like, ‘Yeah, sure!'”

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Buddy Ryan, NFL coach and defensive mastermind, dies at 82 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/buddy-ryan-nfl-coach-who-helped-with-2-super-bowls-dies-at-82/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/buddy-ryan-nfl-coach-who-helped-with-2-super-bowls-dies-at-82/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 13:27:53 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/buddy-ryan-nfl-coach-who-helped-with-2-super-bowls-dies-at-82/ Buddy Ryan took a back seat to no one. Neither did his fierce defenses that won two Super Bowls.

The pugnacious coach and defensive mastermind whose twin sons have been successful NFL coaches, died Tuesday. He was 82.

His death was confirmed by the Buffalo Bills, where Rex Ryan is the head coach and Rob Ryan an assistant. James Solano, Buddy Ryan’s agent, said he died in Kentucky but did not give a cause. Ryan lived on a ranch in Shelbyville.

“Buddy was a legend in our league in so many ways,” the Bills said in a statement. “His defenses were innovative and he was a master at putting his talented and tough players in a position to succeed. He was a real game changer, and much of his philosophies and defensive tactics are still utilized effectively by teams today.”

Ryan was a linebackers coach for the 1968 champion New York Jets and coordinated the ground-breaking 46 defense for the title-winning 1985 Chicago Bears, one of the NFL’s greatest defenses. He was a head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986-90 and for the Arizona Cardinals in 1994-95, compiling a 55-55-1 overall record.

A few years ago, Ryan attended a Cowboys-Jets game, traveling to New Jersey despite cancer to see then-Jets head coach Rex go against then-Dallas defensive coordinator Rob.

James David Ryan was a Korean War veteran who went to Oklahoma State, then earned a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State even while coaching. He got his first major job in the pros in New York, then of the AFL, in 1968. Ryan was the linebackers coach for the Joe Namath-led Jets, a boastful, confident team that fit his personality.

Those Jets led the AFL in defense in his first season on staff, then shocked the Colts in the Super Bowl, 16-7.

“That’s something my dad was very proud of,” Rex said. “When (former Jets coach Weeb) Ewbank hired him, he had to make a difference. If he felt he wasn’t making a difference, then his career as a professional coach would be short.”

Instead, it was very long.

Ryan’s first job as a defensive coordinator came in 1976 with the Vikings under Bud Grant, like Ewbank a Hall of Fame coach. He spent two years there, with the 1977 team losing to Oakland in the Super Bowl. He then moved to the rival Bears, where he concocted the 46 defense that overwhelmed the league with its aggressiveness and unpredictability.

Ryan’s defenders, featuring such Hall of Famers as linebacker Mike Singletary and ends Dan Hampton and Richard Dent, came from all angles and was nearly impossible to budge on the ground. Not that teams had more success in the air, either.

“Some say the 46 is just an eight-man front,” said Ryan, who named the scheme after safety Doug Plank, who wore that number. “That’s like saying Marilyn Monroe is just a girl.”

Ryan and head coach Mike Ditka often feuded during that 15-1 season and Super Bowl run. They nearly slugged it out at halftime of Chicago’s only defeat, at Miami on a Monday night in December. (Ryan would punch offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on national TV on Jan. 2, 1994 when both were assistant coaches in Houston.)

His work in Chicago got Ryan the Eagles job.

At a meeting the night before the Bears beat New England in the 1986 Super Bowl, Dent said a teary Ryan informed his players that he was going to Philadelphia:

“You guys are going to be my champions. Let’s kick some tail,” Ryan said.

Hampton then kicked a film projector out of defensive line coach Dale Haupt’s hands, and defensive tackle Steve McMichael flung a chair across the room, its legs impaling a chalkboard.

Such was the devotion players felt for Ryan, who guided the Eagles to the playoffs in 1988, ’89 and ’90. But they lost all three playoff games, and he was fired after the 1990 season by Eagles owner Norman Braman despite a 43-35-1 record.

Earlier that season, Ryan bragged that his Eagles would so badly beat up the Redskins in a Monday night game “they’ll have to be carted off in body bags.” The Eagles’ defense scored three touchdowns in a 28-14 win and knocked nine Redskins out of the game, including two quarterbacks.

A year earlier, Philadelphia routed the Cowboys 27-0 on Thanksgiving Day with hardly any holiday feelings in the air. Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas claimed Ryan put a $200 bounty on him, something Ryan laughed off as ridiculous.

After one season as an assistant at Houston, Arizona hired Ryan as head coach in 1994 and the Cardinals went 12-20 in his two years there. He never coached again, letting Rex and Rob carry on the family legacy.

“Buddy’s influence will be carried on by defensive coaches for generations to come, but none more so than by Rex and Rob,” the Bills said.

Ryan also is survived by another son, Jim, the Eagles said.

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Pat Summitt, winningest coach in college basketball, dies at 64 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/pat-summitt-winningest-coach-in-college-basketball-history-dies-at-64/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/pat-summitt-winningest-coach-in-college-basketball-history-dies-at-64/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 10:19:37 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/pat-summitt-winningest-coach-in-college-basketball-history-dies-at-64/ KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women’s game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee, has died. She was 64.

With an icy glare on the sidelines, Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight national championships and prominence on a campus steeped in the traditions of the football-rich south until she retired in 2012.

Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying his mother died peacefully at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.

“Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced,” Tyler Summitt said. “Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.”

Summitt helped grow college women’s basketball as her Lady Vols dominated the sport in the late 1980s and 1990s, winning six titles in 12 years. Tennessee – the only school she coached – won NCAA titles in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996-98 and 2007-08. Summitt had a career record of 1,098-208 in 38 seasons, plus 18 NCAA Final Four appearances.

She announced in 2011 at age 59 that she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia. She coached one more season before stepping down. At her retirement, Summitt’s eight national titles ranked behind the 10 won by former UCLA men’s coach John Wooden. UConn coach Geno Auriemma passed Summitt after she retired.

When she stepped down, Summitt called her coaching career a “great ride.”

Summitt was a tough taskmaster with a frosty glower that could strike the fear of failure in her players. She punished one team that stayed up partying before an early morning practice by running them until they vomited. She even placed garbage cans in the gym so they’d have somewhere to be sick.

Nevertheless, she enjoyed such an intimate relationship with her players that they called her “Pat.”

Known for her boundless energy, Summitt set her clocks ahead a few minutes to stay on schedule.

“The lady does not slow down, ever,” one of her players, Kellie Jolly, said in 1998. “If you can ever catch her sitting down doing nothing, you are one special person.”

Summitt never had a losing record and her teams made the NCAA Tournament every season. She began her coaching career at Tennessee in the 1974-75 season, when her team finished 16-8.

With a 75-54 victory against Purdue on March 22, 2005, she earned her 880th victory, moving her past North Carolina’s Dean Smith as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history. She earned her 1,000th career win with a 73-43 victory against Georgia on Feb. 5, 2009.

Summitt won 16 Southeastern Conference regular season titles, as well as 16 conference tournament titles. She was an eight-time SEC coach of the year and seven-time NCAA coach of the year. She also coached the U.S. women’s Olympic team to the 1984 gold medal.

Summitt’s greatest adversary on the court was Auriemma. The two teams played 22 times from 1995-2007. Summitt ended the series after the 2007 season.

“Pat’s vision for the game of women’s basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possible for the rest of us to accomplish what we did,” Auriemma said at the time of her retirement.

In 1999, Summitt was inducted as part of the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She made the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame a year later. In 2013, she also was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Summitt was such a competitor that she refused to let a pilot land in Virginia when she went into labor while on a recruiting trip in 1990. Virginia had beaten her Lady Vols a few months earrlier, preventing them from playing for a national title on their home floor.

But it was only in 2012 when being honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award that Summitt shared she had six miscarriages before giving birth to her son, Tyler.

She was born June 14, 1952, in Henrietta, Tennessee, and graduated from Cheatham County Central High School just west of Nashville. She played college basketball at the University of Tennessee at Martin where she received her bachelor’s degree in physical education. She was the co-captain of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team, which won the silver medal.

After playing at UT Martin, she was hired as a graduate assistant at Tennessee and took over when the previous head coach left.

She wrote a motivational book in 1998, “Reach for the Summitt.” Additionally, she worked with Sally Jenkins on “Raise the Roof,” a book about the 1997-98 championship season, and also detailed her battle with dementia in a memoir, “Sum It Up,” released in March 2013 and also co-written with Jenkins.

“It’s hard to pinpoint the exact day that I first noticed something wrong,” Summitt wrote. “Over the course of a year, from 2010 to 2011, I began to experience a troubling series of lapses. I had to ask people to remind me of the same things, over and over. I’d ask three times in the space of an hour, ‘What time is my meeting again?’ – and then be late.”

Summitt started a foundation in her name to fight Alzheimer’s in 2011 that has raised millions of dollars.

After she retired, Summitt was given the title head coach emeritus at Tennessee. She had been cutting back her public appearances over the past few years. She came to a handful of Tennessee games this past season and occasionally also traveled to watch her son Tyler coach at Louisiana Tech the last two years.

Earlier this year, Summitt moved out of her home into an upscale retirement resort when her regular home underwent renovations.

Summitt is the only person to have two courts used by NCAA Division I basketball teams named in her honor: “Pat Head Summitt Court” at the University of Tennessee-Martin, and “The Summitt” at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She also has two streets named after her: “Pat Summitt Street” on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus and “Pat Head Summitt Avenue” on the University of Tennessee-Martin campus.

She is survived by son Tyler Summitt.

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Red Sox Farm Report: Boston could use a commanding Owens, while Ball should be bound for Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/red-sox-farm-report-boston-could-use-a-commanding-owens-while-ball-should-be-bound-for-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/red-sox-farm-report-boston-could-use-a-commanding-owens-while-ball-should-be-bound-for-sea-dogs/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=946010 One tall left-hander, Henry Owens, looked like he was getting back in control. But that was a tease.

Another lefty, Trey Ball, appears set to follow the recent pipeline from Salem to Portland.

Owens, 23, pitched a one-hit shutout in a seven-inning game last week for Triple-A Pawtucket. Owens had been struggling, but he said catcher Dan Butler offered advice on his delivery, which helped Owens’ command.

We wanted to believe that because a commanding Owens could play a factor in Boston’s fortunes.

But alas … Owens’ next start Sunday lasted two batters into the fifth inning – with Owens giving up his fifth walk and his sixth hit. His official line featured five earned runs in four innings.

Owens is 5-4 with a 3.69 ERA, with 64 strikeouts and 49 walks in 70 2/3 innings.

When Owens made his three major league starts early in the season, he showed potential, including a solid start against the Yankees (six innings, two earned runs). But he pitched a total of 6 1/3 innings in his other two starts. He was out of control for Boston, with 13 total walks.

Boston so desperately needs dependable starting pitchers, especially if it is to keep up with division-leading Baltimore. Owens could be in that mix. His two best starts last year were against the Orioles – both 7 2/3 scoreless innings (allowing a total of one walk).

The Red Sox need that Owens to show up again.

Ball, like Owens, is 6-foot-6. He also pitched Sunday, for advanced Class A Salem. Ball turned in a seven-inning scoreless performance, allowing two hits and two walks, striking out six.

Ball, who turned 22 on Monday, is 5-3 with a 2.29 ERA (38 strikeouts, 29 walks in 59 innings). He started the season late, recovering from a knee injury. In 11 starts, he has had only one clunker, when he exited in the first inning of a June 6 game after his pitch count reached 40.

This is Ball’s second year in Salem. He is one of Boston’s highest draft picks in history (seventh overall in 2013) and will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft after next season. It’s time for Ball to move along to Portland.

IN PAWTUCKET, Aaron Wilkerson keeps looking like a possible option for Boston’s rotation, with a 4-1 record and 2.20 ERA after Monday night’s 6-2 victory in Rochester. Wilkerson does not light up the radar gun (90-92 mph fastball), but he commands his four-pitch mix.

Reliever Pat Light has earned another call-up to Boston whenever the Red Sox see fit to add him and his 97 mph fastball to the bullpen. In Light’s last 10 appearances, he has allowed no runs, six hits and four walks over 12 innings, striking out 13.

Outfielder Henry Ramos continues to rake since his promotion from Portland, batting .323 with an .841 OPS and two home runs in 18 games.

IN PORTLAND, second baseman Yoan Moncada and shortstop Mauricio Dubon have arrived from Salem. Moncada gets all the hype, and he is 8 for 24 with a double and a home run. He also has no walks and eight strikeouts. A switch hitter, Moncada has batted right-handed four times – striking out every time.

Dubon has had a hot start in three games, going 5 for 11 with a double and triple.

The other touted prospect in Double-A, outfielder Andrew Benintendi, continues to emerge from his early slump. He was batting .205 on June 9. Since then Benintendi is hitting .350 (21 for 60) in 15 games, with six doubles and three home runs.

When reliever Austin Maddox was promoted to Portland, there was little fanfare. But his numbers are grabbing attention: seven appearances, 17 innings, 20 strikeouts, six walks, 0.53 ERA, 0.71 WHIP. Maddox combines a 94 mph fastball with an effective slider.

IN SALEM, third baseman Rafael Devers, 19, is batting .329 with a .761 OPS in June after early struggles. He could be in line for a Sea Dogs sighting in August.

Pitcher Michael Kopech was promoted to advanced Class A after his first start of the year, in Lowell. But Kopech was scratched Thursday from his scheduled start for Salem, reportedly because of a leg cramp.

IN GREENVILLE, outfielder Tate Matheny, 22, is having a nice rebound season, batting .319 with an .822 OPS. A fourth-round draft pick last year out of Missouri State, Matheny was assigned to Lowell and struggled (.181). Matheny is the son of St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny.

Pitcher Anderson Espinoza, 18, is being managed carefully, throwing only 59 pitches in his last start (42/3 innings, three hits, one run). He has a 3.90 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 22 walks over 621/3 innings.

IN LOWELL, right-hander Gerson Bautista, 21, is in the bullpen after two years as a starter at lower levels. Good move, so far. He’s 3 of 3 in save opportunities with six strikeouts and no walks in 41/3 innings, allowing two hits and no runs.

 

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Maine Milestones http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/maine-milestones-47/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/28/maine-milestones-47/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=945725 Terry Nadeau used a pitching wedge to record a hole-in-one on the 11th hole at Martindale Country Club on June 15. Roland Legendre, Rich Charloff and Bob Brickel witnessed the 104-yard shot.

David Gross made his second career hole-in-one on the 13th hole at Fox Ridge Golf Club. Gross used a wedge for the 104-yard shot, which was witnessed by Larry Godin, Vance Pearson and Jace Pearson.

Jason Agren aced the ninth hole at Martindale Country Club on June 16. He used a hybrid club for the 232-yard shot. The feat was witnessed by Andy Bedard, Melinda Bedard and Felix Lincoln.

Daniel Reardon scored a hole-in-one on the seventh hole at South Portland Municipal Golf Course on June 18. Reardon used a 7-iron for the 135-yard shot, which was witnessed by Warren Litchfield.

David Stobo scored an ace on the sixth hole at Deep Brook Golf Course on June 22, using a pitching wedge for the 119-yard shot. His feat was witnessed by Walter Golojuch and Kelly Thibeault.

Cindy Maximic carded a hole-in-one on the fifth hole at The Woodlands on June 26. Dave Maximic, Pam Wichroski and Stephen Monn witnessed the 135-yard shot, which was made with a 5-iron.

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Major league Roundup: Bryant sets a record as Cubs beat Reds http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/27/major-leaguerroundup-bryant-sets-a-record-as-cubs-beat-reds/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/27/major-leaguerroundup-bryant-sets-a-record-as-cubs-beat-reds/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 03:44:04 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/27/major-leaguerroundup-bryant-sets-a-record-as-cubs-beat-reds/ CINCINNATI — Kris Bryant became the first major leaguer to hit three homers and two doubles in a game, and Jake Arrieta added a solo shot in the ballpark where he threw a no-hitter in April, leading the Chicago Cubs to an 11-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.

The Cubs pulled out of their 1-6 slide behind a tandem that’s had some historic moments in Cincinnati.

Arrieta (12-2) threw his second career no-hitter on April 21 during a 16-0 win over the Reds. Bryant led the way with a pair of homers in that game, including a grand slam that gave him a career-high six RBI.

Arrieta struggled in his return to Cincinnati, giving up a season-high five runs in five innings, but Bryant drove in six runs again to help the right-hander pull through. Bryant’s 16 total bases was a Cubs record, and his five hits marked a career high.

Bryant doubled home a run in the first, hit a solo homer in the third and added a three-run shot deep into the upper deck in left field in the fourth off Dan Straily (4-5).

His solo shot in the eighth came off Ross Ohlendorf, who also gave up a homer to Anthony Rizzo.

DODGERS 5, PIRATES 4: A.J. Ellis hit a tiebreaking, two-out infield single that capped a four-run fifth inning, and Los Angeles rallied to win at Pittsburgh and salvage the finale of a four-game series.

Scott Kazmir (6-3), who entered with an 11.17 ERA at PNC Park, won despite allowing four runs, four hits and four walks in five innings. Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ sixth pitcher, got four outs for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

Francisco Liriano (4-8) led by four runs early, and took a two-hitter and a 4-1 lead into the fifth, when he was chased by Yasiel Puig’s two-run, bases-loaded single.

NATIONALS 11, METS 4: Washington dealt Noah Syndergaard his first loss in more than a month in the opener of a three-game series between the division rivals at Washington.

Nationals starter Joe Ross (7-4) gave up four early runs, then retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

Washington increased its lead over idle Miami to 31/2 games in the NL East, while the Mets are four games back.

The Nationals stole six bases, matching their most since the franchise moved to Washington in 2005. Five steals came against Syndergaard (8-3), who had won six consecutive decisions and had not lost since May 6. He lasted only three innings, surrendering season highs in runs (5) and walks (3).

INTERLEAGUE

ROCKIES 9, BLUE JAYS 5: Carlos Gonzalez had two hits, including a three-run homer, as Colorado won at Denver.

INDIANS 8, BRAVES 3: Lonnie Chisenhall hit a three-run homer, and Trevor Bauer gave up two runs in six innings as Cleveland won at Atlanta for its 10th straight win.

Jason Kipnis added a homer in the ninth.

The AL Central-leading Indians extended the majors’ longest winning streak of the season.

It is Cleveland’s longest streak since closing the 2013 regular season with 10 straight wins.

ROYALS 6, CARDINALS 2: Danny Duffy matched a career best with eight sharp innings as host Kansas City won to open a four-game, two-city series.

Kendrys Morales went 4 for 4 and drove in two runs, and Eric Hosmer also had a pair of RBI as the Royals roughed up Adam Wainwright (6-5) to snap a four-game losing streak to their cross-state rival.

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Sports Digest: Sea Dogs fall to Thunder in rain-shortened game http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/27/sports-digest-sea-dogs-fall-to-thunder-in-rain-shortened-contest/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/27/sports-digest-sea-dogs-fall-to-thunder-in-rain-shortened-contest/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 03:19:49 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/06/27/sports-digest-sea-dogs-fall-to-thunder-in-rain-shortened-contest/ BASEBALL

The Trenton Thunder scored two unearned runs in the first and beat the Portland Sea Dogs 3-0 in a five-inning rain-shortened Eastern League game Monday night at Trenton, New Jersey.

Keith Couch (4-4) took the loss for the Sea Dogs, working into the fifth inning and giving up seven hits.

Sean Coyle had two hits for the Sea Dogs and Tim Roberson added a double.

AMERICAN LEGION: Alex Libby tossed a five-hitter as Coastal Landscape beat Libby-Mitchell 5-2 at Portland.

Libby also lined a two-run double as Coastal broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.

EMPIRE LEAGUE: Adrian Gonzalez led off the top of the 10th with a home run as the Sullivan Explorers beat the Old Orchard Beach Surge 6-5 at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

Sean Washington and Luc Pomales each had two hits for the Surge.

NECBL: The Upper Valley Nighthawks beat the Sanford Mainers 4-3 in a 13-inning game at Sanford.

Sanford had taken an early 3-0 lead on an RBI single by John Cresto, Daniel Wilson’s bases-load walk and a double by Cameron Krowski, but did not score after the second inning.

COLLEGES

BASEBALL: John Flanders, a Salem State graduate, is the new coach at Southern Maine Community College. Flanders previously served as head coach at Dean College, where the Bulldogs posted an overall record of 86-82-2 during his five-year tenure.

Flanders also served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Curry College, Stonehill College and Salem State.

nJC Cloney pitched a four-hitter and Ryan Aguilar drove in a pair of runs, leading Arizona to a 3-0 victory over Coastal Carolina in Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

The Wildcats (49-22) can wrap up their second national championship in five years with a win Tuesday.

HIGH SCHOOLS

BOYS’ BASKETBALL: Phil Conley has been hired as the new coach at Scarborough High School.

Conley, a graduate of New England College, served as coach of the South Portland boys’ basketball team for the past eight years.

During his career at South Portland, Conley had a record of 108-51 and won the Western Maine Class A title in 2013.

Conley has been named the SMAA Coach of the Year three times.

FOOTBALL

NFL: Johnny Manziel’s spokeswoman said attorney Bob Hinton, who accidently sent The Associated Press a text message with details related to the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback’s domestic violence case, has resigned from the defense team.

The AP reported last week that Hinton’s inadvertent text indicated he had doubts about Manziel’s ability to stay clean and that he was given a receipt that allegedly shows Manziel may have spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia store the day following a hit-and-run crash.

CYCLING

TOUR DE FRANCE: Thermal cameras will be used on the Tour de France to help eradicate the threat of so-called “mechanical doping,” junior minister for sports Thierry Braillard said.

Thermal cameras help to detect heat produced by a small hidden motor inside a bike.

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