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Archive for March, 2014

(file photo)

(file photo)

(Cincinnati) (AP) – Yadier Molina’s homer broke a seventh-inning tie and drew another round of loud boos while he rounded the bases on Monday, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds were blanked on opening day for the first time since 1953, ending the second-longest streak of scoring in at least one run in season openers in major league history. The Phillies went 62 years without being blanked in an opener from 1911-72.

Adam Wainwright used his refined sinker to finally get the best of the Reds, who have hit him like no other team. Wainwright allowed three hits in seven innings, fanning nine.

St. Louis escaped a threat in the eighth. Trevor Rosenthal retired all three batters in the ninth, finishing a three-hitter for the defending National League champions.

Bryan Price lost his managing debut with Cincinnati, which opened the season with eight players on the disabled list, its most since 2007.

During pregame introductions, Molina got by far the loudest boos from the crowd of 43,134 – the second-largest for a regular-season game in Great American Ball Park history. Fans still haven’t forgiven the five-time All Star catcher for a 2010 brawl at home plate with Brandon Phillips.

They were booing again after his first-pitch homer in the seventh, his second career off Johnny Cueto. It was one of only three hits off Cueto in seven innings.

The combination of Wainwright and Molina was enough.

Wainwright won 19 games and finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting last season, when he had his biggest trouble with the Reds. He went 1-3 in four starts with a 7.77 ERA against Cincinnati, getting knocked around so much that he called it a “head-scratcher.”

Wainwright (1-0) refined a sinker in spring training and was in control on a breezy, 64-degree afternoon. He fanned new Reds leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton four times.

The Reds’ best chance came in the eighth, when the Cardinals committed two errors. Phillips became the first Reds runner to reached third base, but was caught in a rundown on Jay Bruce’s grounder. Carlos Martinez fanned Todd Frazier for the final out, stranding a runner at third.

Cueto’s third straight opening-day start was a reminder that it’s a matter of staying healthy. He was on the disabled list three times last season, limited to 11 starts. He changed his delivery slightly to try to avoid injury, and was on the mark on opening day until Molina connected.

There were no close plays that merited replays.

One noticeable change: Price will do more defensive shifting. When lefty Matt Adams came to bat, Frazier moved from third base to the second baseman’s normal position while Phillips moved into short right field. Adams went the other way, getting a single and a double in his first two at-bats – the only hits off Cueto (0-1) through six innings.

libertySoccerLiberty Lady Eagles win Greenwood Tournament with wins over Central and Greenwood.

Liberty beat Springfield Central in game 1.. 4-3 in OT. Central was up at half 2-1 and was able to increase their lead in 2nd half 3-1 but with 10 min left Liberty picked up another goal to close the gap to 1, then with just minutes to go in the game Liberty got a chance to tie it with a penalty in the box and Jess Mantel delivered scoring the PK to send the game into OT. Liberty won in sudden death in the first few minutes of OT with a goal from Junior Natalie Henry assisted by Ledgerwood.

Scoring for Liberty were #14 N Henry 2 goals #8 Ledgerwood 1 goal and 2 assists and #5 Mantel 1 goal (PK)
Goals stops #15 S Henry 13 stops.

Championship Game was versus the home team Greenwood.

Liberty with wind in their favor jumped out to a 6-0 lead by half.  Greenwood was able to get one in the goal in the second half but Liberty wouldn’t be denied the win and finished the game winning 10-1.

Scoring for Liberty #14 N Henry 4 goals, #8 Ledgerwood 6 goals and 1 assist and #5 Mantel 2 assists #1 Daniels 1 assist #12 Yarber 1 assist #24 Miller 2 assists
Goal stops #15 S Henry 12 stops.

Liberty is now 4 – 0 on the season and will play their first home game on Tuesday April 1st versus the Republic Lady Tigers.

Tom Benyo Class A GCSAA
Willow Springs Municipal Golf Course

Successful Aerification

Aerification and topdressing went extremely well.  While it was cold working that day the crew did an awesome job.  Virtually all the hole were filled with sand after the brushing and then hand brooming that the crew did.  We tried something new this year.  We used our powerful leaf and debris blower to blow off excess sand after the holes were filled.  That did a great job and made the greens much better for play a lot earlier than normal.  By the time you read this we will have mowed them also and then the healing can begin in earnest.  Some warm growing weather will help that.  From the looks of the forecast we should get that wish also.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the crew.  Besides Dave and I we had Josh and Darrell from the Street Department, Brad from the Parks, Shawn from the Electric and Johnny from the Water Department.  Dave Baird also volunteered to help us as well.  Those guys did a terrific job and with all of the inter-departmental help we have a job well done.

YMCA Tourney

The annual YMCA tournament, a 2-person scramble will be Saturday April 26.  Sign ups are at the Y only…469-5101.  Get registered for this first tournament of the year.

Upcoming Events

The WSHS Golf team will have their first match of the year on Tuesday April 8.  The course will be closed that day at 3:00 pm.

Leagues will be starting up soon.  The Monday Casual League will start on Monday April 14 at 6:00.  That league costs a dollar for the year ending steak cookout and a quarter for the hole prize.  The Cat and Dog League will start on Tuesday April 15 at 6:00.  Cost for that is a dollar for the prize money and a quarter for closest to the pin.  Nonmembers are invited to play in both leagues and the cost is only $5 for the green fee instead of the usual $10 for 9 holes.  Men’s League will be on Thursdays and should be starting soon also.

Surgery

Surgery is finally here…Wednesday April 2 brings a new hip for me as I have hip replacement surgery then.  Full recovery is about 6 weeks but I am sure I’ll be back before then.  It is all about the rehab effort and there is plenty of motivation to hit that hard.  With the Master’s and start of the baseball season I’ll have plenty to keep me entertained when I’m laid up.

In 2013, Steven Jackson compiled the lowest rushing total of his career and broke his personal streak of eight straight 1,000-yard seasons.

The 31-year-old back missed four games due to injury, compiling just 543 yards on 157 carries and six touchdowns in an effete Falcons rushing attack. But coach Mike Smith has faith Jackson will bounce back in 2014.

“Unfortunately, Steven was injured last year and we didn’t really get a chance to see what he was capable of doing until the last four or five games,” Smith said this week at the NFL Annual Meeting, per ESPN.com. “But you’ve got to have a big back when you have to get the two or three yards. Especially late in the season, you’ve got to be able to run the football.”

Jackson signed a three-year, $12 million contract last season, which in today’s running back market is a king’s ransom.

Smith believes Jackson is capable of being his pounding runner, but admitted the position necessitates a rotation.

“The running back position is going through a transition in terms of its value,” Smith said. “It’s more of a position where you want to have two or three running backs running the ball. It’s probably the most punishing position on the field. You look at it as a position that you want to have a first-down runner, a change of pace runner, there’s different body types and there’s different skill sets.”

The shifty Jacquizz Rodgers provides the change of pace Smith is looking for but, with no other depth at the position and the possibility that Jackson — with 2,553 career carries on his legs — never returns to form, the Falcons are primed to take a running back in the middle rounds of May’s 2014 NFL Draft.

The latest “Around The League Podcast” offers a full recap of the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, then proposes player moves that won’t happen (but probably should).

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Friday. Here are the scenarios:

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Penguins would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Blackhawks would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the Ottawa Senators OR if the Dallas Stars lose to the Nashville Predators in any fashion.

COLORADO AVALANCHE
Avalanche (idle) would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if the Stars lose to the Predators in any fashion.

The Bruins are the only team in the Eastern Conference to have clinched a postseason spot. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks already are in from the Western Conference.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it is now division-based and a wild-card system has been added.

The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It is possible for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.

Seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second-fewest points.

The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. There is no reseeding as the tournament moves to the second round and winners of that series advance to the conference championship series and the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 28, 2014) – NASCAR introduced an evolution in innovation today – the results of which will continue to elevate a fan’s race-viewing experience to an even greater level.

The Toyota-hauled next generation of Air Titan, the cutting-edge track-drying technology, made its race weekend debut at Martinsville Speedway today. Air Titan 2.0 is a more compact, more nimble and more environmentally friendly version of its innovative predecessor – one that since its introduction in February 2013 has rescued multiple races, including this year’s Daytona 500.

Air Titan 2.0 signals a major step forward in NASCAR’s innovation cycle. It replaces the bulky support vehicles required by Air Titan 1.0 with a single, self-contained unit that’s perched on the bed of a Toyota Tundra. By addressing the size of the power source, NASCAR now has the ability to deploy up to 21 units in Toyota Tundras at larger venues and operate more efficiently on smaller tracks.

The Air Titan 2.0 more than triples the blade capacity of the original version and deliver 2.6 times more air volume at a speed of 568 mph, while raising the air temperature by 70 degrees over ambient. With the combination of water removal and accelerated evaporation, the ultimate goal is to reduce track-drying time by 80 percent.

Air Titan 2.0 will consume nearly 80 percent less fuel and emit 80 percent less carbon dioxides. Air Titan 2.0 works in conjunction with the Eco-Infused Elgin Track Vacuum/Sweeper and existing jet dryers. In coordination with the roll out of the Air Titan 2.0, Elgin has now become the Official Sweeper of NASCAR Green.

“Developed by our engineers at the NASCAR R&D Center, Air Titan 2.0 will help us more quickly return to racing, which serves our most important mission – the enjoyment of our fans,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “It’s faster, more agile and eco-friendly. The new Air Titan creates the ultimate win-win-win for our sport, our fans and our environment.”

In 2012, France challenged the NASCAR R&D Center to develop a system to significantly reduce track-drying time to enhance the fan experience. NASCAR R&D responded to France’s vision and rolled out the initial Air Titan configuration during Daytona Speedweeks in 2013.

“The first phase of the Air Titan system has been an overwhelming success,” said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president, innovation and racing development. “Based on our experience and learning, the staff at the NASCAR R&D Center has worked tirelessly to develop Air Titan 2.0. We will continue to innovate and develop the technology to further increase its efficiency and sustainability.”

Air Titan 2.0 aligns perfectly with NASCAR Green and will display its colors on the side of the Toyota Tundras and Eco-infused Elgin sweepers. Since its inception in 2008, NASCAR Green has become one of the most powerful environmental awareness platforms in the country. NASCAR has the largest recycling and tree planting programs in sports; has put more than five million miles on Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel blended with 15 percent American-made ethanol from American-grown corn; and has the largest renewable energy stadium projects in the world.

“The Air Titan 2.0 is the latest example of NASCAR making substantive changes to our operations and business practices to help reduce the environmental impact of our sport,” said Dr. Mike Lynch, NASCAR vice president of green innovation. “We welcome Elgin to the consortium of more than 20 Official NASCAR Green Partners that utilize the platform as a proving ground to validate its green technologies.”

Kentucky head coach John Calipari, left,
and Louisville head coach Rick Pitino

INDIANAPOLIS – Kentucky is a blue state. Kentucky is a red state.

Kentucky is the Wildcats, and the Commonwealth of Calipari. Kentucky is the Cardinals, and the Republic of Pitino. At 40,411 square miles, Kentucky is hardly big enough for the both of them, and that includes Friday night in the Midwest Region.

Kentucky vs. Louisville. Few sentences in college basketball come with more buzz, especially in March.

This from the Kentucky side, and Willie Cauley-Stein. “If you aren’t from Kentucky, you don’t understand it. It’s that simple.”

 

This from the Louisville side, and Russ Smith, “It’s a rivalry game. There’s no way to run around it.”

Of course, survival and not bragging rights is a much more important issue Friday night.

This from the Kentucky side, and John Calipari:  “People grieve for a year after the game. People celebrate for a year after the game. I’ve tried to not make it bigger than what it is, but it doesn’t work. ‘It’s one game. They’re in different leagues.’ It doesn’t matter what I say. But I have told the team: We will not make this game bigger than it is.”

This from the Louisville side, and Rick Pitino: “We’ve gotten used to the noise. We understand what’s at stake. I’ve been in the state 20 years and the game to me has really only had difficult consequences for the loser twice. Once was two years ago when they stopped our run in the Final Four, and the next game we play.”

The next game? Friday night in Lucas Oil Stadium. So now we can put them next to each other.

Kentucky has played basketball for 111 seasons, won 2,137 games and gone to 54 NCAA tournaments.

Louisville has played basketball for 100 seasons, won 1,728 games, and gone to 40 NCAA tournaments. There have only been two tournaments in the past 48 years without at least one of them.

Kentucky has eight national championships, four by 1958. Louisville has three, none before 1980.

This time last spring, all five Kentucky starters were in high school. This time last spring, four Louisville starters were in playing in the national championship game. “I think everybody wants to say experience is going to be on our side,” said Cardinal Luke Hancock. “But they’re not young guys anymore.”

Calipari is 8-2 in Sweet 16 games. Pitino is 11-0 in Sweet 16 games.

“I can tell you very honestly, with all humility, that I know Kentucky in that locker room are not worried about my resume,” Pitino said. “They’re worried about Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Montrezl Harrell.”

One year ago, Kentucky was losing to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT. One year ago, Louisville was winning the national championship.

Friday will be the 22nd anniversary of the Christian Laettner’s famous jump shot for Duke in a regional final that represents one of the low spots in Kentucky history. Monday will be the one-year anniversary of Kevin Ware breaking his leg in a regional final that represents one of the low spots in Louisville history.

Kentucky was No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll, and is now unranked. Louisville was No. 3 and is now No. 5.

They met in December and the score was 73-66. Kentucky won. Louisville lost.

Calipari embraces social media. But he said he wanted his players’ only electronic interaction this week to be watching the History channel or Biography. Pitino pushes it as far away as his arms allow.

Calipari is one of only two coaches to lead three different schools to the Final Four. Pitino is the other.

Kentucky started as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the Kentucky University. Louisville started as the Jefferson Seminary.

Kentucky’s arena is named after a legendary coach. Louisville’s arena is named after a corporation that sells fried chicken.

Calipari on Louisville: “Of all the teams left, they may be playing better than anybody.”

Pitino on Kentucky: “You have a lot of preparation time this week and you try your best to figure out a team. This is probably one of the more difficult ones that I have faced as a coach, because they have so many weapons that are playing well right now.”

Kentucky is 273rd in the nation in turnover margin. Louisville is first.

Kentucky has lost five of its past 12 games. Louisville has won 14 of its past 15.

Kentucky is counting on size, and the maturation of youth.  “Our freshman, it’s all on them,” Calipari said.

Louisville is counting on speed, and the resolve of veterans. “I think there’s a certain psyche behind the game for seniors,” Smith said. “It means a little bit more. It could be their last game.”

Kentucky has banners hanging from the rafters honoring 42 past greats in its program. One of them is Rick Pitino.

Kentucky has beaten Louisville three times in the NCAA tournament, the most recent in 2012, which was considered Bluegrass Armageddon since it was the first time they played in the Final Four.

Louisville has beaten Kentucky twice in the NCAA tournament, the most recent in the 1983 Mideast Region, which was considered Bluegrass Armageddon since it was the first time they had played in 24 years.

Kentucky’s women’s team is also in the Sweet 16. So is Louisville’s.

John Wooden’s last game was beating Kentucky in the 1975 national championship. John Wooden’s next-to-last game was beating Louisville in the 1975 Final Four.

Some have the perception Calipari doesn’t get along with the 61-year-old Pitino. Others have the perception Pitino doesn’t get along with the 55-year-old Calipari. Both perceptions exist despite the fact they’ve known each other since Calipari was 15, when they met at a basketball camp.

This is how Calipari responded on Thursday:

“I would say we’re friends. We were in touch back and forth throughout the year.

“But one, we’re getting older, both of us, and I think I’m not on his mind and he’s not on my mind, so to speak. … The stuff about ‘They’re at each other’s throats,’ it’s just not accurate. I’d be stunned if he thinks of me in a week. Both of us have tough jobs that we have to be engulfed in what we do.”

This is how Pitino responded on Thursday:

“I don’t care about perception because perception is not reality. We’re friends. We respect each other’s programs very much.

“We understand what takes place between the lines. We understand the fans’ intensity, but we don’t personalize our battles. We understand what it’s all about; the best team’s going to win.”

Sometimes the best team is Kentucky. Sometimes, it’s Louisville. And the trash talk from each side rings a bell with the other.

“It’s funny, because it’s so similar,” Cauley-Stein said. “They are more alike than what they really think.”

It might not seem that way at 9:45 p.m. ET Friday.

The West Plains High School boys and girls Zizzer Golf teams will be hosting the First Annual Zizzer Golf Tournament three person scramble fundraiser to be held Saturday March 29 at the West Plains Country Club. Registration is 11am, tee-off is at noon. Cost is $150 per team for 18 holes. If you would like to play, sponsor a hole, or donate door prizes please contact Seth Huddleston or Heather Mulford via email at shuddleston@zizzers.org or hmulford@zizzers.org. Persons may also contact the West Plains Country Club at 417-256-2726.

Harlin has more details:

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ORLANDO, Fla. — On the third day of the NFL Annual Meeting, the league’s ownership got down to voting.

One day after approving a rule to allow referees to consult with the officiating department in New York during replay review, the league came to a decision on the rest of the rule proposals on the docket. Here’s a quick summary of the measures, from NFL Media’s Albert Breer:

Rule changes

1. The New England Patriots’ proposal to extend the goal posts five feet has passed. Let’s just call this “The Adam Carolla Rule.”

“It just made sense,” Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garretttold Around the League’s Marc Sessler. It passed “relatively easily.”

2. The “NaVorro Bowman Rule” was passed. That allows the officials to make the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play a reviewable call. This loophole was exposed when Bowman clearly recovered a ball in the NFC Championship Game last year, but the play couldn’t be under review.

3. The game clock will now continue after a quarterback sack outside of two minutes.

Failed proposals

1. Multiple proposals to expand plays that can be reviewed were shot down. The Patriots had suggested allowing all plays to be reviewed. The Washington Redskins wanted personal fouls to be reviewed.

Less than 50 percent of coaches supported the measure to make all plays reviewable, according to the Competition Committee. The committee said the topic inspired a lot of debate.

2. The Redskins’ proposal to move the kickoff to the 40-yard line was shot down. So was their idea to eliminate the training camp roster cutdown to 75 players.

3. The Patriots’ proposal to move the extra point back to the 25-yard line failed, but the league will experiment with a new extra-point system during the preseason. Extra points in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason will be snapped from the 20-yard line. (Making them like a 37-yard field goal.)

4. The proposal to allow an unlimited number of players on injured reserve to return to the active roster failed. Jeff Fisher of the Competition Committee said that vote wasn’t close.

No decision yet

1. The abolition of overtime in the preseason was tabled until May.

2. The idea to expand the practice squad from eight to ten players was also tabled. The same goes for expanding rosters for Thursday night games to 49 from 46.

3. The league also put off deciding whether to allow teams to open their roof during halftime at games for weather reasons.

4. The Competition Committee told the Patriots that it will look at the possibility of adding cameras to all goal lines, side lines and end lines. The NFL will discuss the possibility with its broadcast partners.

Press release by Gregg Rosenthal, NFL: Around The League Editor.

Columbia, Mo. - University of Missouri basketball fans are invited to celebrate the recently-completed 2013-14 season with the team on Wednesday, April 16th, as part of the Missouri Basketball Awards Banquet. Tickets are now on sale for the event, which is scheduled to take place on the Mizzou Arena floor at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:15 p.m.

Missouri is coming off its sixth consecutive trip to postseason play and has won at least 23 games each of the last six seasons.

Tickets for the banquet are now available through the Mizzou Athletics Ticket Office, for $35 to general public, and just $5 for MU students. Business attire is requested. To order tickets, please contact the Ticket Office at 1-800-CAT-PAWS (884-PAWS locally).