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Archive for October, 2013

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks struggled on offense against the scrappy St. Louis Rams, so they had to leave Monday night’s game in the hands of one of the NFL’s most stingy defenses.

With its back on the goal line, the defense answered the challenge.

The Seahawks stuffed Daryl Richardson on third-and-goal, and then caused Kellen Clemens to overthrow his intended target in the corner of the end zone on the final play of a nerve-wracking 14-9 victory.

”The defense did a tremendous job, coming up with a huge stop there,” said Seahawks star Russell Wilson, who was sacked a career-high seven times.

The outcome capped a lousy night for St. Louis sports fans. The Cardinals lost 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series, played just up Broadway at Busch Stadium.

”I’m proud of our guys,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. ”We felt like we had a chance.”

Seattle (7-1) extended the best start in franchise history despite gaining just 135 yards, with 80 coming on Wilson’s second TD pass to Golden Tate. It was the third-fewest yards in a victory for the Seahawks, and their seven first downs were the fewest in a win in franchise history.

”We were very fortunate,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ”Under the circumstances with a new quarterback, they did a great job. We just couldn’t get going on offense. Fortunately, the defense hung together and gave us a chance to win the game.”

Clemens finished with 158 yards passing in place of the injured Sam Bradford, but he also threw two interceptions. Zac Stacy ran for a career-high 134 yards to pace the Rams (3-5).

”It’s not always going to be pretty,” said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who grabbed his fourth interception of the season. ”You have to be able to win ugly.”

The World Series no doubt contributed to the stale atmosphere inside the Edward Jones Dome, where the announced crowd of 55,966 was in reality much smaller. Many of the fans who did show up wore Cardinals gear, and Cardinals-Red Sox highlights were shown on the big screen.

Greg Zuerlein staked St. Louis to an early lead with his first of three field goals, but Sherman’s pick put the Seahawks in business. Seattle scored six players later, when Wilson hit Tate from the 2-yard line.

Zuerlein got the Rams within 7-6 late in the third quarter, but the Seahawks answered.

Wilson went deep down the sideline to Tate, who made an acrobatic leaping catch over Janoris Jenkins. Tate regained his balance and then mockingly waved at safety Rodney McLeod as he ran to the end zone, earning an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

”He just was so in the moment and just made an unbelievable catch,” Wilson said. ”You’ve got to give him credit for just attacking the football right there.”

Zuerlein connected again to get St. Louis to 14-9, but he missed a 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. That proved to be critical because the Rams would have needed just another field goal from him on their final drive, rather than a touchdown, to steal the win.

They still had a chance after they took over at their own 3-yard line with just over 5 minutes left, and methodically marched down field. They had first-and-goal at the Seattle 6 with about a minute left, and Richardson carried the ball to the 2.

An encroachment call on Seattle put the ball at the 1, but Richardson was stuffed on third down and Clemens misfired on fourth down as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

”We needed 97 yards, we got 96,” Clemens said. ”There was such a great sense of resolve in the huddle as soon as I walked in the huddle. Everybody knew. Nobody really had to say anything. We gave ourselves a win at the end, but unfortunately we didn’t make the play.”

NOTES: Rams DE Robert Quinn had three sacks, all in the first half. … Seattle had minus-1 yard of offense in the first quarter, and 38 yards at the half, its fewest since gaining 37 in the first half against Kansas City in 1998, according to STATS LLC. … Seahawks WR Sidney Rice left late in the first half with a knee injury and did not return.

mlbf_31192651_th_10Up 3-2, Boston gets second look at rookie, while turning to vet Lackey

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

ST. LOUIS — World Series. Game 6. Fenway Park. That’s a combination that evokes one of the most famous home runs in Fall Classic history. In the 1975 Series, Carlton Fisk used every bit of body language he could muster to urge his long fly to left off Reds reliever Pat Darcy to stay fair in the bottom of the 12th inning. It did, keeping Boston’s hopes alive for another night, before The Big Red Machine prevailed in Game 7.

The next chapter of the Red Sox’s World Series saga will be written Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET airtime on FOX, 8:07 p.m. first pitch). The details remain to be revealed, but the stakes are simple: A Sox win gives them their third World Series championship in the last 10 years, while St. Louis needs a victory to force a decisive Game 7 on Thursday night.

“Our guys have been backed up against the wall before,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. “This isn’t something that’s foreign to them. They know what we have to do: Go out and play the game [and] try not to make too much of it.”

By losing two straight at home for the first time since Aug. 9-10, the Cards squandered the home-field advantage they had after splitting the first two games in Boston. Two years ago, they won the last two games of the World Series to take home the trophy, but they did it at home.

“We’re not out of it,” said Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who took the loss in Game 5 on Monday night after allowing three runs in seven innings. “I fully believe that our team can go into Boston and win two games. In the postseason, pitching always rules.”

The pitching matchup Wednesday night will be a reprise of Game 2, with sensational 22-year-old Redbirds rookie Michael Wacha opposing Red Sox veteran John Lackey. Wacha got the better of the first meeting of the right-handers, getting the win while allowing just two runs on three hits in six innings at Fenway.

“What more can you say about this guy?” second baseman Matt Carpenter asked rhetorically about Wacha. “He’s got his own highlight tape.”

Will Boston’s hitters be able to adjust the second time around? There’s not enough of a track record to know for sure. Yes, Wacha was just as effective against the Dodgers when he faced them a second time in the National League Championship Series. But his nine regular-season starts were against nine different teams. And there’s also this: Wacha’s splits this year were markedly better at Busch Stadium (2.15 ERA, .174 opponents’ batting average, .504 OPS) compared to on the road (4.34 ERA, .316, .814). He did, however, beat the Red Sox at Fenway in Game 2.

It’s not that Lackey pitched poorly, either. He allowed just three runs in 6 1/3 innings in Game 2, while adding a scoreless inning of relief in Game 4.

Manager John Farrell acknowledged the obvious, that the Red Sox have another World Series championship very much within their grasp.

“The fact is, we’re going home, going back to a place our guys love to play in, in front of our fans,” Farrell said.

With the return of the designated hitter, Boston will also be able to put torrid David Ortiz back at DH and start Mike Napoli at first base. And of the previous 62 times a team has taken a 3-2 lead in the World Series, it has gone on to win 66.1 percent of the time. Still, the Sox know nothing is guaranteed.

“As a team, we do a really good job of focusing on the task at hand,” said catcher David Ross, who had the go-ahead RBI in Monday night’s 3-1 win. “We’re excited, but we know there’s a lot of work left to do. That’s a really good ball team over there. They’re not giving up.”

In 2004, the Red Sox celebrated their Fall Classic title in St. Louis. In ’07, they did it in Denver. This will be the first time anyone currently with the team has had a chance to win the World Series at Fenway. Wacha admitted he expects the atmosphere to be frenzied.

“I’m just going to go out there and try to make effective pitches and try not to let the crowd control the game,” the rookie said.

World Series. Game 6. Fenway Park. This will be the fourth time that trifecta has come in. The Sox have won each of the previous three.

Wednesday night will echo 1967, when the Red Sox, down 3-2, needed to beat the Cardinals to force a deciding seventh game. St. Louis scored twice in the top of the seventh to tie the score, but Boston responded with four in the bottom of the inning to win.

The Red Sox last celebrated clinching a World Series championship on the historic parcel of land surrounded by Lansdowne, Van Ness and Ipswich Streets, and what is now known as Yawkey Way in 1918. That happened when they beat the Cubs, 2-1, in Game 6. And there are a few interesting notes that came out of that game.

Both Red Sox runs were unearned. The official attendance was 15,238. A young pitcher-outfielder named Babe Ruth came in as a defensive replacement in left field in the top of the eighth. And it was the fourth time the Sox had won it all in seven years. It would be 86 more years before they did it again.

Fast forward to the present and the Cards know what they’re up against.

“It’s going to be tough,” Carpenter said. “There’s no doubt about it. We just have to find a way to win two games in Boston.”

Right fielder Carlos Beltran said he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“Being able to win the second game shows us we can win over there,” Beltran said. “We just have to find a way to win and push it to a seventh game. We have the same confidence in [Wacha] as we have in Wainwright, so it’s a good feeling.”

World Series. Game 6. Fenway Park. Those words conjure up a lot of memories. One way or the other, more history will be made Wednesday night.

 

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

(West Plains) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team will close out its regular season at 6 p.m. today with a home match against Indian Hills Community College from Ottumwa, Iowa, in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.

The Grizzlies, now 20-12, enter the contest on an 11-game winning streak following victories late last week against Mineral Area College (MAC) in Park Hills, Mo., and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College and Illinois Central College of East Peoria in the Jefferson College Halloween Classic at Hillsboro, Mo.

Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann reminded tonight is “Dig for a Cure Night” in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For the sixth year in a row, Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic (PTSC) is hosting the fund-raiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. PTSC representatives will be selling T-shirts, pink bracelets and cancer ribbons and providing information about their services. Breast cancer survivors will be admitted free and will be recognized during the evening. Those who make a $5 donation will receive a free ticket to the game, which begins at 6 p.m.

In addition, the team’s sophomores and Adopt-A-Grizzly host families will be recognized during the game.

“We hope everyone comes out tonight. Not only will they be supporting a worthy cause, they’ll also see a great match,” Wiedemann said. “We’ve won 15 of our last 16 matches, but we know we’ve got to continue to work to get better. Our players have been responding well to the way we want them to play, and it’s giving them the confidence they need to face good teams in close matches. This will be another great match that will help prepare us for this weekend and the postseason.”

Last Thursday’s 25-15, 25-20, 24-26, 25-23 win over Region 16 rival MAC gave the Grizzlies the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s Region 16 Championship Tournament, set for Friday and Saturday at the civic center.

“It was a good region win,” Wiedemann said. “They’re a talented team, and it’s tough to play at their place. We did some good things to keep them on their heels, especially in the first two sets, but they started doing the things they do well – pass and play defense – which helped them stay in the match. They went up 24-19 in the third set, but we came back and tied it at 24 before they finished it out. Still, we carried our momentum into the fourth set, and even though it was close, I felt like we were in control in that last set.”

Statistical leaders for the Grizzlies were sophomore outside/middle attacker Nella Ioramo, who had 21 kills, an attacking percentage of .460 and 24.5 points earned; freshman setter Brianna Zebert with 50 assists; freshman middle attacker Leondra Barrett with 3.5 blocks; and freshman libero Alyssa Aldag with 28 digs.

Friday, the Grizzlies defeated Hutchinson 28-26, 22-25, 21-25, 17-15 and Illinois Central 25-27, 25-23, 25-7, 25-23. Wiedemann called the Hutchinson match one of the best defensive efforts by both teams this season. “Hutchinson did a good job creating one-on-one situations, and that’s something we needed to experience. I felt like, as the game progressed, we got better and made good adjustments, especially when they were passing well. It was a really good match to be a part of and to watch. It will prepare us for what we’ll face down the road. We will have to be able to fight to beat the good teams,” the coach said.

Illinois Central, the No. 6 team in NJCAA Division 2, also proved to be a tough competitor, but the Grizzlies’ size eventually made the difference in the match, Wiedemann said. “They’re extremely well coached and one of the top D-2 teams year in and year out. They’re scrappy and they make you earn points. The first two sets were tough, but we were extremely efficient on offense. As a team, we hit .500. We really began to separate ourselves in the third set when Nella began putting on a show. She had nine kills in 11 swings in that set alone. She was absolutely unstoppable. The angles she was hitting and the things she was doing, she just took over.

But Illinois Central turned around in the fourth set, refocused and began playing well. Even so, I still felt we were in control because we were taking care of the ball,” the coach said.

Statistical leaders for the two tournament matches were Ioramo, who had 47 kills and 48 points earned; sophomore outside attacker Helena Peric, who led in attacking percentage with .529; Zebert with 112 assists; Barrett with 3.5 blocks; and Aldag with 70 digs.

“Alyssa is just getting better and better,” Wiedemann said. “She had seven digs per set against MAC, nine per set against Hutchinson and six per set against Illinois. She’s so good at evaluating another team’s strengths and weaknesses, and she pays attention to their hitters.”

Wiedemann also praised Peric’s play against Illinois Central. She had 18 kills with no errors on 29 attempts.

Complete statistics for all Grizzly matches can be found at http://stats.njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2013-14/div1/teams/MissouriStateUniversityWestPlains.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.

WEST PLAINS AT SPRINGFIELD HILLCREST

CABOOL AT ST. GENEVIEVE VALLE CATHOLIC

CRYSTAL CITY AT THAYER

PLEASANT HOPE AT LIBERTY

CUBA AT MOUNTAIN GROVE

HOUSTON AT STRAFFORD

BUFFALO AT AVA

HAIKOU, China (AP) — Tiger Woods issued a veiled challenge to Golf Channel over a column written by analyst Brandel Chamblee that a series of rules violations by Woods amounted to cheating.

Woods spoke publicly for the first time since Chamblee, a longtime critic of the world’s No. 1 player, wrote a column for SI Golf Plus in which he gave Woods an “F” for his season for being “a little cavalier” with the rules.

Chamblee is best known for his work with Golf Channel, though he also is a contributor to SI Golf Plus. He took to Twitter last week to apologize to Woods for “this incited discourse,” though not for the content of his column.

“All I am going to say is that I know I am going forward,” Woods said before his exhibition match with Rory McIlroy at Mission Hills. “But then, I don’t know what the Golf Channel is going to do or not. But then that’s up to them. The whole issue has been very disappointing as he didn’t really apologize and he sort of reignited the whole situation.

“So the ball really is in the court of the Golf Channel and what they are prepared to do.”

Golf Channel has not commented on the flap. Chamblee has said he was not asked to apologize by anyone.

Chamblee saved Woods for last in his report card of 14 players in a column posted Oct. 18 on Golf.com. He told of getting caught cheating on a math test in the fourth grade, and how the teacher crossed a line through his “100″ and gave him an “F.”

Chamblee followed that anecdote by writing, “I remember when we only talked about Tiger’s golf. I miss those days. He won five times and contended in majors and won the Vardon Trophy and … how shall we say this … was a little cavalier with the rules.” He then gave Woods a “100″ with a line through it, followed by the “F.”

In one of his tweets last week, Chamblee said he intended to point out Woods’ rules infractions, “but comparing that to cheating in grade school went too far.”

Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, was so incensed by the column that he issued a statement to ESPN.com that raised the possibility of legal action. Steinberg shared his client’s views.

“I’m all done talking about it and it’s now in the hands of the Golf Channel,” Steinberg said. “That’s Tiger’s view and that’s mine, and all we want to do is move forward. And whether the Golf Channel moves forward as well, then we’ll have to wait and see.”

Woods accepted a two-shot penalty in Abu Dhabi for taking relief from an embedded ball in a sandy area covered with vegetation. Augusta National gave him a two-shot penalty for taking the wrong drop in the second round of the Masters. And the PGA Tour gave him a two-shot penalty after his second round of the BMW Championship when video evidence showed that his ball moved slightly from behind the first green. Even after watching the video, Woods insisted that his ball only oscillated.

Also in question — at least on Internet blogs — was the drop Woods took on the 14th hole of the TPC Sawgrass during the final round of The Players Championship. Woods checked with playing partner Casey Wittenberg on where to take the penalty drop, which is standard procedure. Wittenberg said it was the correct spot.

Chamblee said in an email last week to The Associated Press that he never said outright that he thinks Woods cheated, and that was by design.

“I think ‘cavalier with the rules’ allows for those with a dubious opinion of the BMW video,” Chamblee said. “My teacher in the fourth grade did not have a dubious opinion of how I complete the test. But she was writing to one, and as I was writing to many, I felt it important to allow for the doubt some might have, so I chose my words accordingly.

“What people want to infer about that is up to them,” he said. “I have my opinion, they can form theirs.”

Chamblee has developed a reputation for being critical of Woods, mainly regarding his golf game. His column struck a nerve with many, however, because of the implication that three rules violations and a penalty drop involving Woods amounted to cheating — the strongest accusation possible in golf.

“What brought me here was the realization that my comments inflamed an audience on two sides of an issue,” Chamblee wrote on Twitter when he apologized. “Golf is a gentleman’s game and I’m not proud of this debate. I want to apologize to Tiger for this incited discourse.”

___

AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson in Shanghai contributed to this report.

World Series

Rookie infielder says foot slipped, rendering him unable to beat throw to first

By Chad Thornburg / MLB.com

ST. LOUIS — The outcome of Game 4 was clear across Kolten Wong’s face.

Fighting back emotions amid a pack of reporters just minutes after the Cardinals’ 4-2 loss to the Red Sox in the World Series on Sunday night, a dejected Wong rehashed the toughest moment of his young career.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Allen Craig lined a pinch-hit single to right field and Wong replaced him at first as a pinch-runner. After Matt Carpenter popped out for the second out, Carlos Beltran stepped into the box representing the tying run. Wong, who stole a base in Saturday’s Game 3, advanced a little too far toward second, slipped as he tried to get back and was picked off by Boston closer Koji Uehara.

“I just got a little off the base,” Wong said. “Wanted to go back, and my foot slipped on me. … I just got too far off and he made a good throw.”

After his failed slide attempt, Wong remained on his hands and knees for a few seconds as the Red Sox began to celebrate. He slammed his helmet to the ground, and then returned to the dugout, his eyes fixed on the ground.

“Well, he knew, we had meetings early on, we go over all these guys,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “We talk very clearly about a very good pickoff move. He was reminded once he got on base, and also reminded that run didn’t mean much, [to be] be careful, shorten up. And he got a little extra, then he slipped and the slip cost him.”

Just one night earlier, the rookie second baseman was enjoying one of the best moments of his career. He knocked his first hit of the postseason and stole a base in his first World Series appearance. Twenty-four hours later, the emotions had completely flipped.

“A roller coaster,” Wong said. “Just got to keep going.”

It was the first time in World Series history that a game ended with a pickoff.

“I feel bad for the kid, because I know that he’s trying to steal the base and put himself in a position where he can score, and he ended up getting picked off,” Beltran said. “It has to be a bad feeling for him, but at the same time, I feel that the best way for us to pick him up is being able to come here [Monday] and get a win.”

 

Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

South Carolina's Connor Shaw, center, holds the Mayors Cup as he celebrates with teammates Cody Gibson, left, and Jordan Diaz, right, after the team defeated Missouri 27-24 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

South Carolina’s Connor Shaw, center, holds the Mayors Cup as he celebrates with teammates Cody Gibson, left, and Jordan Diaz, right, after the team defeated Missouri 27-24 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

(Columbia) (AP) – Connor Shaw came off the bench in the second half and threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns and Elliott Fry kicked the game-winning field goal to help No. 20 South Carolina stun No. 5 Missouri 27-24 in two overtimes Saturday night.

After missing the first half with a sprained left knee, Shaw entered the game in the third quarter and helped the Gamecocks score the final 17 points of regulation. He then threw a 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in the Gamecocks’ first overtime to match the Tigers’ Marcus Murphy’s 1-yard scamper.

Fry then kicked a 40-yarder before Missouri’s Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard attempt off the left goal post.

South Carolina (6-2, 4-2 SEC) moves to within one game of the Tigers (7-1, 3-1) for the SEC East Division lead, with home games against Mississippi State and Florida remaining.

(St. Louis) (AP) – Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals is this year’s recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award.

Beltran was seated next to Clemente’s widow, Vera, when he was honored Saturday, about an hour prior to Game 3 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Members of Clemente’s family also attended the news conference.

“I must say this year’s recipient truly exemplifies Roberto’s philosophy,” Vera Clemente said. “Carlos Beltran, you are the pride of all Puerto Ricans.”

Beltran has contributed more than $4 million to his Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico and has hosted fundraising efforts throughout the year.

“A leader by example on the field, Carlos has demonstrated his leadership off the field as well,” Selig said. “The academy has made a real difference in the lives of young men in Puerto Rico.”

The award recognizes the player whose contributions on and off the field best represent the game. The award was named for Pirates Hall of Famer Robert Clemente, who died on Dec. 31, 1972, in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Beltran grew up idolizing Clemente’s achievements.

“I never got a chance to watch him play or anything like that,” Beltran said. “When I was a kid I always wanted to be like him, having an opportunity to play baseball and having an opportunity to give back.”

More than 1.3 million fans voted online with results taken into consideration.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the award last year and David Ortiz of the Red Sox won in 2011.

(Macomb) (AP) – Ashton Glaser threw for one touchdown and rushed for two more as Missouri State posted a 38-27 victory and a season-high score against Western Illinois Saturday night.

Glaser threw a TD pass to Julian Burton for the first score of the game, and later ran in for a TD to end the first quarter. A short 1-yard TD run by Glaser late in the third gave the Bears (3-6, 3-2 MVC) a more comfortable lead at 35-20 after a touchdown by Western Illinois had brought the game within 8.

Trenton Norvell threw four touchdown passes spread between three receivers, accounting for every score for the Leathernecks (3-6, 1-4). Norvell ended with 269 yards passing and two interceptions.

Missouri State’s Caleb Schaffitzel, named last week’s MVC Defensive Player of the Week, ended Western Illinois’ last possession with an interception in the fourth quarter for his third straight game.

(Nashville) (AP) – St. Louis left wing Magnus Paajarvi has left the Blues’ game against the Nashville Predators with an upper-body injury.

The team says he will not return to Saturday night’s game.

Paajarvi played five shifts in the first period of the game Saturday night, but did not return to the ice following the conclusion of his fifth at 10:44.

He was hit by Nashville’s Victor Bartley in the defensive zone at 10:02, but stayed on the ice following the hit.