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Archive for July, 2013

(West Plains) – All adult softball games in the city of West Plains for Tuesday, July 30 have been cancelled due to the rain.

Since the beginning of this year’s training camp, Rams coach Jeff Fisher has made no secret about the fact that he wants to foster an atmosphere of competition, regardless of position or presumption.

Some spots have been more obvious than others in terms of how they’re being contested. Outside linebacker, left guard and wide receiver are among the glaring spots in which competition has been fierce and deep.

But Fisher’s ideals for creating a competitive camp became more evident last week when a new battle for a starting job popped up on the radar. This time, it was at right tackle where, after about a week and a half of all Jason Smith all the time, suddenly Barry Richardson popped up with the first group without warning.

Richardson stepped in for Smith mid-way through last week. The next day, Richardson stepped in again. And again the following day. By Sunday, when the Rams and Colts opened the preseason at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Richardson actually worked with the starting group in that spot.

Fisher knows exactly what he wants out of the battle at right tackle.

“I want to get the level of play up; increase it,” Fisher said. “The understanding, the awareness, the playing physical in the run game and knowing exactly what you’re doing in pass protection in the passing game.”

The sudden switch to Richardson isn’t some sort of message the staff is trying to send. Instead, Fisher and Co. view it as a legitimate competition that has been a direct result of Richardson’s performance in the opening two weeks of camp.

Smith got the bulk of the reps with the first team in the opening days of camp and had his hands full with defensive end Chris Long, which isn’t unusual for anybody playing in that spot, really.

Richardson worked with the second unit and apparently did enough to earn a look with the top unit.

“The more familiar he becomes with our system, the better he is,” Fisher said. “There’s a lot of competition all over the roster and Barry’s created some competition at that right tackle.”

Richardson signed with the Rams on May 15 after he had previously paid a visit to St. Louis in March. He came to St. Louis from Kansas City, where he spent his first four seasons after the Chiefs made him a sixth-round selection (No. 170 overall) out of Clemson in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Despite being a late-round pick, Richardson did enough to earn a starting role in Kansas City, becoming a mainstay at right tackle in 2010 after bouncing from the active roster to the practice squad in his first two seasons.

Upon taking over the starting right tackle job, Richardson held it down for every game in the past two seasons, totaling 32 consecutive games with one of those coming on the left side.

“It gives you confidence,” Richardson said. “You don’t get nervous or anything going against these big marquee guys like (Indianapolis ends Dwight) Freeney and (Robert) Mathis last week. It’s not new to you; you’ve played it week in and week out so it’s easy.”

But when Richardson became a free agent at the end of the 2011 season, Kansas City was only interested in retaining him as a swing tackle. Richardson went in search of a better opportunity that would at least afford him the chance to compete for a starting job.

Amongst interest from other clubs, Richardson opted for the Rams because it did indeed afford him the chance to battle for a spot at the top of the depth chart.

“It’s a new beginning, I mean it’s a new situation, new offense, new head coach, new whole management team,” Richardson said. “That was really appetizing when I thought about it.”

That’s not to say Richardson expected to be embroiled in a competition for the job and running with the first team so soon.

“There’s always a chance to be a starter,” Richardson said. “In this league, the percentage of injuries is 100 percent. It’s going to happen; it’s bound to happen so you never know when it’s your turn.”

With that in mind, Richardson made it a point to return to camp in better shape than ever. He’s a massive man at a listed 6’6, 319 pounds and is a big fan of run blocking.

“Camp is probably where you have got to make your name,” Richardson said. “That’s when you become a starter. Offseason workouts, they are still just trying to build a team and figure out who they want to take to camp. When you get to camp that’s when you have got to put on your best show. You have got to be in the best shape of your life. A lot of injuries happen when you are not in shape.”

Smith, on the other hand, returned to the Rams in the offseason with a clean slate and a fresh start, both of which he wasn’t certain he’d have when the Rams brought in Fisher and general manager Les Snead in the winter.

After agreeing to a pay cut and getting back healthy, Smith worked hard to come back ready to go and intent on proving himself in his fourth NFL season. His first three seasons have been a disappointing series of stops and starts mostly because of recurring injury issues though he hasn’t performed as expected of a No. 2 overall pick when healthy, either.

At the outset of this camp, Smith was given the first opportunity to win the starting job but hasn’t quite been able to get a firm grasp on the gig in the opening parts of camp. He has spent the past four practices plus the first preseason game working with the second team.

So far, Smith is taking the move to the second unit in stride while still aiming to reclaim the job once and for all in time for the opener against Detroit.

“Everything that’s happened to me as far as, I think the word is being demoted, is demoted the word I’m looking for?” Smith said.  “Demoted to the twos, or not working with the starters. I mean, that’s great. I need to earn the job. I need to be accountable when I’m on the field, in the huddle.”

Each practice and preseason game remains important for Smith as he continues to work to salvage his career. He’s almost certain to become a free agent after this season.

New offensive line coach Paul Boudreau has worked with Smith on many of the basics and techniques that Smith said he hadn’t been able to perfect his first three seasons. He’s not a finished product by any means but does believe he’s getting the hang of Boudreau’s guidance.

“There’s been flashes where I’ve done what he’s asked me to do, or shown me,” Smith said. “And there’s flashes where I just look like somebody who’s not even capable of playing football. So I’m honest with myself. And at the end of the day I want to prove my own self and prove my own work. So that’s what I see. I can see it, he can see it, the whole team can see it.”

As the preseason continues, it’s expected the Rams will continue to look at both Smith and Richardson on the right side.

On Tuesday, it was Richardson again taking the majority of the reps on the right side. In the opener against the Colts, Richardson and Smith both fared just fine according to Fisher though there were some hiccups along the way for each, including a sack allowed that really wasn’t the fault of Smith and a false start on Richardson.

There’s no timetable on making a decision for the spot but expect to see plenty of both Smith and Richardson in the next few weeks.

“We’re trying to keep it pretty much even out of fairness,” Fisher said. “Any time you create a competitive situation, you want to be able to evaluate it fairly. We’re splitting the reps here on the practice field and we haven’t decided how we’re going to go in the game, per se. Jason got plenty of reps in the game. He actually got a little more reps than Barry did. So, we’ll just continue with it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a decision before too long.”
Written by Nick Wagoner

(Pittsburgh) (AP) – Francisco Liriano allowed one run over seven dominant innings, Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 27th home run and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-2 Monday night.

Liriano (11-4) struck out eight and walked just two to win his fifth straight start. The Pirates kicked off the key series at PNC Park by sending the Cardinals to their fourth straight loss to pull within a half-game of the lead in the NL Central.

Clint Barmes doubled twice and drove in two runs for Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen added two hits and an RBI.

Jake Westbrook (7-5) continued to struggle against the Pirates. He fell to 1-8 against Pittsburgh in his career after surrendering four first-inning runs. Matt Carpenter and Shane Robinson hit RBI singles for St. Louis, which has scored just four runs during its longest losing streak of the season.

(St. Joseph) (AP) – Clark Hunt couldn’t help but cringe Monday as he watched Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, two years removed from major knee surgery, haul himself up from a soggy practice field.

The Chiefs’ chairman dropped by Missouri Western State University to see his team practice through intermittent showers, and was forced to join the rest of his team in learning exactly what practice is like under Andy Reid.

There’s going to be plenty of hitting, even four days into training camp.

“I will say there a few times out there where you hold your breath,” Hunt said after ducking under a tent to escape the rain, “and you hope the back or receiver pops back up.”

All of them did on this day, although safety Eric Berry left with a minor hamstring injury that was unrelated to the tackling. But the physical nature of the workout nearly two weeks out from the Chiefs’ first preseason game is certainly a departure from the norm in Kansas City.

Two years ago, Todd Haley had the Chiefs playing the equivalent of two-hand touch throughout training camp, and the result was a team woefully unprepared for the start of the season.

Hugging was preferred over tackling under Romeo Crennel last season.

Well, all of that is out the window with Reid, who promised during the hands-off offseason program that, well, the gloves would come off when training camp rolled around.

During his time with the Eagles, Reid preferred to hit hard early in training camp and then taper off as the regular season approached. The idea was to toughen up the team early on, and then give them time to heal before the start of a 16-game grind.

Hunt certainly seems to appreciate that strategy.

“Watching practice today was fun. It was much more like watching a game than watching practice,” he said. “It gets you ready to play football. Here in a couple weeks we’ll be playing preseason games and they’re going to tackle to the ground, so from a conditioning standpoint it’s valuable, and also from an execution standpoint it’s valuable.”

The Chiefs put the pads on over the weekend, but the hitting was limited until Monday, when there were about 30 plays of full-tackle practice along with other physical drills.

It didn’t matter whether the ball was in the hands of Charles, who bounced back nicely from his knee injury last season, or Tony Moeaki, who suffered his own torn ACL two years ago. If they were in the open field, someone from the defense was bearing down on them.

Within reason, of course.

“Do you hit Jamaal Charles full speed?” cornerback Sean Smith said, repeating a question from a reporter with a smile. “If the drill is live, yeah, you have to.

“You definitely have to take care of your teammates. You don’t want to take any cheap shots or anything like that,” he said. “But this is football. If we don’t hit them, somebody else will.”

So just like Happy Gilmore stepping into the batting cage – “I’ve gotta toughen up,” Adam Sandler’s character says in the film – the Chiefs are taking their shots.

“Oh yeah, there will be some tackling to the ground,” Reid said, as if the idea of anything else was preposterous. “The thud, just so you know, periodically you’re going to hear me yelling the different tempos, and the thud period is live for everybody.”

The first player to hit the ground in practice was Dexter McCluster, who experienced quite a jolt after catching a pass over the middle. Moeaki took a blow just above his knee that drew a gasp from a couple thousand fans that turned out in the rain to watch the practice.

Rookie running back Knile Davis made a nice cut at the line of scrimmage, headed up field and ran right into safety Kendrick Lewis – the kind of wreck that you’d see during the regular season, when the Chiefs are playing the Raiders or the Broncos rather than themselves.

“This is football,” Smith said. “It’s going to happen.”

Obviously, the coaching staff was still quick to blow their whistles during the lengthy practice, particularly when someone was buried beneath a pile.

The hits that the defense was laying on the offense were probably a bit more measured than they will be Sept. 9, when the Chiefs open their regular season against Jacksonville.

But the point is that by the time that game rolls around, the Chiefs will be ready for it.

“As soon as the season ended last year, we’ve been ready to come out here and play,” cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “We want to make plays in training camp; we’re gelling, getting the chemistry down, so we are definitely 100 percent ready to get back at it.”

(Atlanta) (AP) – All-Star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez was back in the lineup for the Colorado Rockies on Monday night after missing the last three games with a sprained right middle finger.

Gonzalez aggravated the finger last Thursday at Miami and left the game. He was originally injured July 7 while batting at Arizona.

Both times he hurt his finger while striking out.

Gonzalez is batting .298 with 26 homers, second-most in the NL, and 67 RBIs, third-most.

The Rockies announced before Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves that they have recalled infielder Charlie Culberson from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned infielder Jordan Pacheco.

Culberson hit .310 with 14 homers and 64 RBIs in 97 games at Colorado Springs.

  The annual Willow Springs athletic physicals will be given on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.  The physicals are for any Willow Springs student participating in athletics or cheerleading grades 7-12.  The Missouri State High School Activities Association requires a yearly physical before a student is allowed to practice for an activity.  The staff of the Willow Springs Medical Clinic and Willow Springs Schools will conduct the exams.  The examinations will be given in Munford Gymnasium at no cost.

All necessary forms will be available on the date of the physical.  Athletes will not be allowed to practice or participate without the proper forms being signed and turned in.

MSU picked eighth in Valley Football preseason poll released Monday

Complete MVFC Release  |  MVFC Media Day Coverage  |  Missouri State Home Page

 

SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State has landed three players on the Missouri Valley Football Conference Preseason Team, the 10-member conference announced Monday (July 29) in advance of its annual Media Day teleconference.

 

All-America safety Caleb Schaffitzel (Jr., Fair Grove, Mo.) and wide receiver Dorian Buford (Sr., St. Louis, Mo.), both returning first-team all-conference players, were tabbed to the Valley Football preseason first team, while defensive lineman Anthony Grady (Sr., Texarkana, Ark.) earned honorable mention distinction on the team. The team was voted on by conference head coaches, media and sports information directors and includes 39 total players.

 

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. (Central) today, the MVFC Media Day teleconference will begin. Media members may dial in at (877) 393-4731. Audio coverage of the event is also be streamed live at http://www.valley-live.tv/.  Missouri State head coach Terry Allen is scheduled to speak at 10:50 a.m.

 

The conference also announced its preseason poll with two-time defending NCAA Division I FCS champion North Dakota State unanimously earning the top spot on all 39 ballots and 390 total points. South Dakota State (323) was picked second, followed by UNI (269), Illinois State (264), Youngstown State (253), Indiana State (197), Southern Illinois (188), Missouri State (123), Western Illinois (77) and South Dakota (61). MSU’s point total in the poll (123) marks its second-highest total since 1993 and its highest predicted finish since being tabbed fifth in 2010.

 

Schaffitzel, Buford and Grady represent three of the Bears’ 17 returning starters and 41 lettermen set to open camp Wednesday. Eighth-year head coach Terry Allen will meet the media at MSU’s annual Media Day event on Monday, Aug. 5 at Plaster Field.

 

Rick Kindhart
Assistant Director of Athletics

Director of Athletics Communications
Missouri State University
Office – (417) 836-5402
Direct – (417) 836-4585
Cell – (417) 849-5865

www.MissouriStateBears.com

www.Facebook.com/MissouriStBears
www.Twitter.com/MissouriStBears

Tomorrow’s championship will not be flighted, in the men’s division we will pay the first 5 to 6 places depending on the # of entrants, & the ladies the first 2 to three, depending on entrants.

Norma Baxter is the Ladies Champion for 2013, it came down to a putt on 18 to break a 3-way tie.

Matthew Cromer is the Men’s Champion with a 2 day total of 137, 5 under par.

West Plains Municipal Golf Course - Men’s Individual Championship
July 27 & 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Gross Net
Matthew Cromer 3 4 6 3 3 4 5 4 4 36 4 4 3 4 4 4 5 3 3 34 70 137
2 4 6 3 3 5 3 3 4 33 4 4 4 3 4 3 5 3 4 34 67 1st
Jimmy Harper 3 4 5 4 5 4 4 4 5 38 4 5 4 3 5 3 5 3 4 36 74 152
3 4 7 3 4 5 5 4 5 40 4 5 4 4 4 4 5 3 5 38 78 3rd
Mike Finley 3 3 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 37 4 5 5 4 4 4 4 3 4 37 74 155
4 4 6 3 5 5 4 4 4 39 5 4 4 5 4 4 7 4 5 42 81 4th
Zach Grendell 4 4 5 3 4 5 5 3 5 38 4 4 5 4 3 4 5 3 5 37 75 147
4 5 4 2 4 5 4 4 6 38 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 2 5 34 72 2nd
Rusty Shipley 3 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 36 6 5 4 5 4 4 6 3 4 41 77 157
3 5 5 3 5 5 4 5 4 39 6 5 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 41 80 5th
Andy Hawkins 3 5 5 6 4 6 5 5 4 43 5 4 4 4 4 4 5 2 3 35 78 159
3 4 5 4 4 6 4 4 5 39 5 3 4 5 4 4 6 7 4 42 81
Barry Cox 4 5 5 3 4 4 5 4 4 38 6 5 4 4 4 5 5 4 5 42 80 161
7 5 6 4 4 4 4 3 5 42 4 5 4 4 3 4 6 4 5 39 81
Chris Webster 5 5 6 4 4 5 4 4 4 41 6 4 4 4 4 4 6 3 4 39 80 158
4 4 5 3 4 5 5 4 5 39 4 5 4 4 3 4 6 4 5 39 78
Larry Calton 3 7 5 3 5 5 5 3 4 40 5 4 5 5 4 4 6 3 4 40 80 160
3 5 5 4 4 5 5 5 4 40 4 5 5 4 4 3 6 4 5 40 80
Bill Prewitt 3 4 6 3 4 5 5 3 5 38 5 6 4 5 6 3 6 4 4 43 81 158
3 5 6 4 4 5 4 4 4 39 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 2 5 38 77
Randy Shipley 3 4 6 2 4 5 5 5 5 39 6 5 5 4 4 3 6 5 5 43 82 164
4 7 6 3 4 6 3 3 4 40 6 4 6 4 4 4 6 3 5 42 82
Larry Woolman 3 5 6 3 4 5 5 5 5 41 4 5 4 5 5 3 6 3 6 41 82 WD
0 0 0
Chance Davis 3 4 6 4 5 5 6 4 5 42 5 5 5 4 4 5 5 3 5 41 83 169
4 4 5 5 5 6 5 5 5 44 6 4 5 5 5 4 6 3 4 42 86
Leon Conner 4 4 5 4 4 5 6 3 5 40 5 6 5 5 5 3 7 4 5 45 85 166
4 4 4 3 4 5 5 4 5 38 9 5 4 4 4 4 5 4 4 43 81
Blake Woolman 3 5 7 4 5 4 5 4 9 46 6 4 4 3 4 4 5 4 5 39 85 167
3 4 6 5 3 5 6 5 4 41 5 4 4 6 5 4 5 4 4 41 82
Matt Collins 4 4 5 5 6 5 6 3 5 43 5 5 4 4 4 4 5 4 7 42 85 166
4 4 6 5 4 5 4 5 4 41 4 4 5 5 5 3 5 4 5 40 81
Brian Hoggan 4 4 6 4 5 4 5 4 5 41 6 6 5 5 4 4 6 4 6 46 87 169
3 6 5 3 4 6 5 4 4 40 7 5 5 4 4 3 7 3 4 42 82
Ben Crampton 3 5 6 5 5 5 6 3 6 44 5 7 4 5 6 3 7 4 5 46 90 180
4 4 5 4 5 5 6 4 5 42 6 4 5 5 5 4 5 6 8 48 90
Bob Mizell 5 4 8 4 5 5 5 4 5 45 6 5 5 5 6 3 7 4 6 47 92 176
4 4 6 3 6 5 5 4 4 41 5 6 3 5 5 5 5 4 5 43 84
Trey Fierce 3 5 6 4 5 6 6 5 7 47 5 6 5 5 5 5 6 4 6 47 94 186
3 4 6 6 4 9 4 4 5 45 5 6 5 7 5 4 6 3 6 47 92

 

West Plains Municipal Golf Course - June 3 Person Scramble
Week #  6 Jul 24 & 25
Payne hole # 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Championship
Grendell/Miley/Bunch 1st Place $45 3 3 3 3 4 3 4 2 3 28
Montgomery/Dawson/Marshall 2nd Place $30 4 4 3 4 3 2 4 2 3 29
Harper/Cox/Hawkins 3rd Place $15 4 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 29
Pingleton/Trone/VanDyke 4 4 3 3 4 2 4 2 4 30
B.Marcak/Marcak/Osborn 3 5 3 3 3 3 4 3 4 31
Floyd/Lambe/Lambe 4 4 2 3 3 4 4 3 4 31
A – Flight
Woolman/Collins/Collins 1st Place $45 4 4 4 5 3 3 3 3 3 32
Antrim/Webster/B.Marcak 2nd Place $30 5 4 4 3 4 2 4 3 3 32
Webster/Ziegler/Thomason 3rd Place $15 4 3 4 3 4 3 5 2 4 32
Shipley/Shipley/Shipley 4 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4 32
Andrews/Finley/Sanders 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 3 4 33
Jordan/Kittrell/Myers 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 4 4 33
B – Flight
C.Marcak/R.Marcak/A.Marcak 1st Place $45 4 3 4 4 4 4 5 2 4 34
Simoneau/Dakis/Huff 2nd Place $30 5 4 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 34
Dunn/Prewitt/Barnett 3rd Place $15 5 4 3 4 4 3 4 3 4 34
Uphaus/McGinnis/Cunningham 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 34
Holmes/Jones/Smith 4 4 4 4 4 2 5 3 4 34
Eakin/Drumright/Thompson 4 4 4 3 4 3 5 3 4 34
Russell/Murphy/Stone 4 4 3 4 4 3 5 3 4 34
Juline/Juline/Williams 4 4 3 4 4 3 5 3 4 34
C – Flight
Radosevich/Kiefer/Schmitt 1st Place $45 5 3 4 4 4 3 6 2 4 35
Hicks/Crawford/Fisher Tie 2nd $24 5 4 4 4 3 3 5 3 4 35
Collins/Coffman/Richardson Tie 2nd $24 5 4 4 4 3 3 5 3 4 35
Russell/Green/Baumgardner 4 4 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 35
Cromer/Drumright/Fields 5 4 3 5 3 3 4 4 4 35
D – Flight
C.Jordan/Vassar/Barlow 1st Place $45 5 4 5 4 4 3 4 4 3 36
Harris/Lockman/Brake 2nd Place $30 6 4 4 3 4 3 5 3 4 36
Carr/Haefner/Lambe 3rd Place $15 6 4 3 4 4 3 5 3 4 36
Lipford/Bice/Thompson 5 4 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 36
Mattison/Wickham/Guthrie 5 4 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 36
Fox/Johnson/Pace 5 4 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 36
Hoggan/Green/Frost 4 5 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 36
Davis/Davis/Waggoner 4 5 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 36
Rogers/Collins/Anderson 5 3 4 5 4 3 5 3 4 36
Huff/Smith/Middleton 4 4 4 5 4 3 5 3 4 36
Drumright/Tackitt/Johnson 4 4 3 4 5 3 5 3 5 36
E – Flight
Bird/Roberts/Webb 1st Place $45 4 4 5 4 5 4 5 3 3 37
Hall/Simmons/Huffman 2nd Place $30 5 5 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 38
Wiley/Wiley/Deshazo 3rd Place $15 5 5 4 5 4 3 5 4 4 39
Judd/McCallister/Harrison 5 5 4 4 4 3 5 4 5 39
Hoggan/Boughman/Capeder 6 5 4 5 5 4 6 4 4 43

Tom Benyo Class A GCSAA
Willow Springs Municipal Golf Course

Women’s Results

The 6th annual women’s 2-person scramble was held Saturday at Willow Springs.  It took 6 years, but it finally happened…we had a repeat champion.  With 4 of the last 5 champions in the field, Patsy Wyatt and Linda Benyo duplicated their success in 2010 and won the event.  They shot a 3 under 67 to beat out a strong challenge from Carmen Thomas and Carolyn Bunch who shot a 69.  The A Flight first and second place winners were former champions as well.  Connie Bacorn and Barb Tate won the inaugural event on 2008 and shot a 78 to beat out  Sherri Jungferman and Dee Barton who shot a 79.  Sherri and Dee were winners last year.  Next year we will schedule the tournament in September so keep that in mind.  Hole prize winners were Sherri Jungferman, Patsy Wyatt and Linda Benyo for closest to the pin; Nancy Vornold and Carmen Thomas for longest; and Carmen Thomas for longest drive.

League

The Cat and Dog league was rained out this past week, but the Casual League had results.  There was a tie with 2 teams shooting a 32.  Being “Casual” we list 2 winners.  Ronnie Bryan, Sherri Unger and Paul and Sarah Davis were one team of winners and the other was Dave Guyll, Ethan Graves and Tom and Linda Benyo.

Senior Club Championship

The Senior Club Championship will be August 7 and 8.  It will be for all members 60 or older and will consist of a 36 hole aggregate score.  The tournament will begin at 10 AM each day.  All members 60 and older are invite to play.

Up Next

It is a few weeks off, but our last Howl of the year is August 17.  After that our  Senior Cat and Dog will be August 24.  Make plans for both.

(Atlanta) (AP) – Mike Matheny didn’t want Joe Kelly to feel like his start against the Braves was an audition.

Kelly showed no sign of pressure as he held the Braves scoreless into the seventh inning, possibly earning himself another shot in St. Louis’ rotation.

Kelly threw 6 1-3 scoreless innings before Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run double in the eighth inning that lifted Atlanta past the Cardinals 2-0 Saturday in a matchup of NL division leaders.

The 24-year-old Kelly allowed seven hits and three walks in only his fourth start of the season and first appearance since July 12.

“Very, very impressive,” Matheny said. “It was maybe the best I’ve ever seen him throw. Everything. His aggressiveness, his slider, breaking ball, changeup; all of them were as good as I’ve seen.

“That was exactly what we were asking for, and then some.”

Asked if he was intrigued by what Kelly might do if given more regular starts, Matheny said “No question about it.”

It was an indication Kelly may have earned himself another opportunity as the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter.

“I like pitching, period,” Kelly said after lowering his ERA to 3.44. “To be in the rotation would be awesome, but I just take the ball when they tell me and take the opportunity when I get out there.

“I’m pitching right now in the moment. I feel like my stuff is there, in the zone.”

Kelly matched Julio Teheran through the sixth before finding trouble in the seventh.

With one out, Simmons singled and moved to third on pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich’s soft double to the left-center gap.

Kelly issued an intentional walk to Jason Heyward to load the bases. Right-hander Michael Maness replaced Kelly and got Justin Upton to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Teheran allowed two hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking one.

Simmons’ bases-loaded, two-out double came on a 99 mph fastball from Trevor Rosenthal. With the count at 2-1, Simmons was looking for a fastball.

“I know he was behind in the count and I know he’s comfortable with his fastball,” Simmons said. “He throws pretty hard. I was ready for it. … I was just looking for something over the plate and he threw it somewhere I could reach it.”

Randy Choate (1-1) walked Freddie Freeman to open the eighth. Evan Gattis struck out and Brian McCann singled. Rosenthal relieved and struck out Dan Uggla before walking Chris Johnson to load the bases.

Luis Avilan (3-0) pitched a perfect eighth and Craig Kimbrel recorded three outs to earn his 30th save.

Teheran allowed a two-out double to Matt Holliday in the first and then walked Allen Craig. The right-hander permitted only one baserunner – Jon Jay doubled in the fifth – through the next six innings.

“I think that’s the best game I’ve ever pitched,” Teheran said. “The command I had today, I think that’s the best I’ve had this year.”

Holliday was activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game. He had been out since July 12 with a strained right hamstring.

Simmons hit eighth as Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez juggled his lineup. Heyward hit leadoff for only the second game this season. Upton, normally the No. 3 hitter, batted second for the first time in 2013.

Simmons had two hits. Though he ranks second on the team with 14 go-ahead RBIs, Simmons felt he was overdue to deliver the clutch hit.

“I know I’ve been struggling with runners in scoring position this year,” he said. “I’ve been trying, but it’s nice to see results.”