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The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Football Players of the Week - Week 4

Kenneth Butler (Notre Dame), Justin Avery (Charleston) and Kyle Kaplan (Notre Dame) have been named Mountain East Conference Players of the Week.

Butler, a sophomore from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is the league’s Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for an MEC record 230 yards as the Falcons picked up a 47-44 road victory over West Virginia Wesleyan. Butler, who was making his first career start, carried the ball 42 times and averaged 5.5 yards per carry and added a touchdown for NDC.

Avery, a senior linebacker from Charlotte, NC, is the MEC’s Defensive Player of the Week after helping UC to a 30-14 home victory over UVa-Wise. Avery finished the game with 10 tackles, including two for a loss and one sack as the Golden Eagles improved to 3-0 on the year.

Kaplan, a sophomore from Hilliard, Ohio, collects MEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his efforts in Notre Dame’s win over West Virginia Wesleyan. Kaplan was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including a 40-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. He was also 5-for-5 on extra point attempts to finish with 17 points on the day.

Other Top Performances

Offense: Jeremy Musselman (West Virginia Wesleyan) tied an MEC record with six touchdown passes in a loss vs. Notre Dame ... Rahmann Lee  (Glenville State) had 300 all-purpose yards (220 rushing, 80 receiving) in a narrow loss against Fairmont State ... Cooper Hibbs (Fairmont State) was 25-of-36 for 374 yards and three touchdowns to get the Falcons past the Pioneers ... Ryan Stewart (Concord) pulled in three touchdown passes vs. Bowie State and has seven TD receptions in the last two weeks ... Jeff Ziemba (Shepherd) was 17-of-22 for 239 yards and two touchdowns ... Joey Augustin (Charleston) had seven grabs for 136 yards and a touchdown ... Dakota Conwell (West Liberty) threw for 135 yards and three touchdowns and also racked up 103 yards on the ground for the ‘Toppers.


Defense: Octavius Thomas (Shepherd) had nine tackles, including 1.5 for a loss ... Demonnne Cox (Fairmont State) had seven tackles, forced a crucial fumble in the third quarter, and also batted down a pass in FSU’s win over Glenville State ... Marcus Schumacher (West Liberty) had 10 total stops and a sack ... Claudy Matieu (Notre Dame) recorded three sacks ... Terrell Hudson (Urbana) had 13 total tackles, including 1.5 for a loss.


Special Teams: Torie Wagner (Charleston) had 116 punt return yards and a touchdown ... Ben Rogers (West Liberty) had a 51-yard punt return to spark the ‘Toppers against West Virginia State ... Johnny Dearstine (Fairmont State) had a field goal and five extra points ... Will Greathouse (Concord) blocked a field goal in CU’s three-point win against Bowie State ... Ross Snodgrass (Urbana) averaged 47.8 yards per punt, including a 70-yard boot.

2014 MEC Players of the Week
Week Offense Defense Special Teams
September 08 Brian Novak (CU) Marlon Oden (NDC) Anton McCallum (WLU)
September 15 Ray Russ (NDC) Shaneil Jenkins (SU) Josh Wilson (WLU)
September 22 Kenneth Butler (NDC) Justin Avery (UC) Kyle Kaplan (NDC)

►  MEC Football Preview - Week 4


West Virginia Wesleyan (1-2, 1-2) at #11 Shepherd, Noon

Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Shepherd won 45-10

Notes: WVWC’s Jeremy Musselman will test the NCAA leader in total defense at Shepherd ... Musselman thew for 442 yards and 6 TDs last week ... SU has won each of their first three games by an average of 38.6 ppg.

West Liberty (2-1, 2-1) at Concord (3-0, 2-0), Noon

Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Concord won 20-3

Notes: CU and WLU are giving up nearly the same amount of yards per game ... WLU’s defense has just one interception on the year, while CU has a league-best six.

Fairmont State (1-2, 1-2) at West Virginia State (1-2, 0-2), 1:00 PM

Live Stats

Last Year
: Fairmont State won 56-3

Notes: FSU’s last road win came in 2011 against WVSU ... Yellow Jackets are looking for their first MEC victory ... both QBs average over 200 yards of total offense.

Urbana (1-2, 1-2) at Glenville State (0-3, 0-3), 1:00 PM

Audio | Video | Live Stats

Last Year: Urbana won 12-9

Notes: GSC held UU to its lowest offensive output of the season last year but failed to score an offensive touchdown in the loss ... two of GSC’s three losses have been by four points or less ... GSC leads MEC in rushing ... UU is giving up just 3.6 yards per rush.

Charleston (3-0, 2-0) at Notre Dame (3-0, 3-0), 2:00 PM 

AudioLive Stats

Last Year
: Charleston won 34-32

Notes: Matchup of two unbeaten MEC teams ... UC won last year on a last-second field goal ... UC’s pass defense (155.3) is ranked second in the league, NDC’s pass offense (301.7) is third in the conference, and NDC’s rush defense is second (96.3) and UC’s rushing offense is third (218.3) ... ... NDC has allowed just one rushing TD ... both teams averaging over 35 ppg.

UVa-Wise (0-3) at Wofford (1-2), 7:00 PM 

Audio | Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Did not meet

Notes: MEC is 3-0 in non-conference games (all against DII opponents) ... Wofford (Division I FCS) has losses against Georgia Tech and Gardner-Webb ... UVa-Wise has the fewest penalty yards of any team in the MEC.

News & Notes

• The only two 200-yard rushing performances in the MEC both came last week in NDC’s Kenneth Butler’s 230 yards and GSC’s Rahmann Lee’s 220 yards.

• There have been seven total 200-yard rushing performances in the MEC with three of those coming from Notre Dame running backs (two from Pedro Powell in 2013 and one from Butler).

• In addition to 220 yards rushing, Rahmann Lee also had 80 yards receiving to finish with 300 all-purpose yards. That total currently ranks as the fourth-most in a single game in the NCAA this season.

• Lee ranks second among active players in all-purpose yards per game (157.12), third in rushing yards per game (128.5) and fourth for rushing yards (3,212).

• Four different MEC quarterbacks have two 300+ yard passing games this season: Cooper Hibbs (FSU), Jeremy Musselman (WVWC), Brian Novak (CU) and Ray Russ (NDC).

• The MEC’s four unbeaten teams are also the only four teams in the league that average 30 or more minutes of possession this season.

• SU quarterback Jeff Ziemba’s 16-of-16 passing against Fairmont State in week two established a new conference record for completion%age. In a span of two games, he completed 18-straight passes, which is also a new league mark.

• Ziemba has yet to throw an interception this season (61 attempts).

• The Shepherd defense has posted four shutouts since the start of the 2013 season.

• Urbana became just the second MEC to rush for over 100 yards against Shepherd since 2013 with 104 yards on the ground in week three. Shepherd has held its opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 11 of its last 13 regular season games dating back to last season.

• Shepherd leads the country in total defense allowing just 155.3 yards per game.

• SU has yet to allow a point in the first and third quarters of games this season.

• After giving up just 34 points in two games, Concord allowed 34 last week to Bowie State.

• Seven of Brian Novak’s 10 touchdown passes this season have gone to Ryan Stewart. Stewart’s seven TD receptions are the most in the country.

• Novak already has more touchdown passes this season than he did all of 2013, and needs just 500 more yards to surpass last season’s total in that category. He ranks ninth in the country in passing yards with 1,020.

• UC’s Marvin Elam has lost just seven yards on 66 rushing attempts this season. He is second in the MEC with 121.3 rushing yards per game to go with a league-best seven rushing touchdowns.

• Charleston’s Torie Wagner’s 116 punt return yards last week are the most by any player in NCAA Division II so far this season.

• Notre Dame’s Ray Russ has not thrown an interception in his last 102 pass attempts.

• NDC is one of only two teams in the MEC (Shepherd is the other) to hold teams to under 100 yards rushing per game this season (96.3).

• West Liberty’s 38 points last week against West Virginia State were its most in a game since October 27, 2012 against Seton Hill (41).

• WLU’s Alec Wood is the league’s top tackler with 11.0 stops per game.

• Fairmont State is second the MEC in red zone offense converting six of its seven chances so far this season.

• WVWC quarterback Jeremy Musselman tied an MEC record last week with six touchdown passes in week three against Notre Dame. His 442 passing yards were the second-most in league history.

• Urbana’s Cale Burdyshaw is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and 14.7 yards per completion.

• West Virginia State’s Wenley Beliard leads the league in tackles for a loss with six, all of which were solo stops.

• UVa-Wise has the fewest penalty yards per game in the league.

• Terrence Younger’s 6.7 receptions per game are second-most in the MEC.

• Glenville State has converted three two-point conversions this far. No other conference team has converted more than one.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 5 Games in the Area

Class A

Gilmer County (2-2)  @  #7 Buffalo (3-1)

Tyler Consolidated (2-2)  @  Calhoun County (2-2)

#2 St. Marys (4-0)      BYE WEEK

#15 Valley Fayette (3-1)  @  Parkersburg Catholic (2-2)

Wirt County (0-4)      BYE WEEK

Philip Barbour (0-4)  @  Tucker County (1-3)

Class AA

Roane County (2-2)  @  Braxton County (2-2)

#1 Williamstown - A (4-0)  @  #4 Ravenswood (3-0)

East Fairmont (1-3)  @  #6 Bridgeport (3-1)

#7 Ritchie County (3-1)  @  #15 Doddridge Co. - A (2-1)

#9 Clay County (3-1)  @  #16 Nicholas County (2-1)

#11 Liberty - Harrison (3-1)  @  #14 Weir (3-1)

Robert C. Byrd (2-2)  @  #15 Grafton (3-1)

Webster County (2-2)      BYE WEEK

South Harrison - A (1-2)  @  Lincoln (1-3)

Notre Dame - A (1-2)  @  River View (1-3)

Class AAA

#11 Lewis County (3-1)  @  Lincoln County (0-4)

#7 Parkersburg South (3-1)      BYE WEEK

Parkersburg (1-2)  @  Marietta, OH (2-2)

Buckhannon-Upshur (2-1)  @  Oak Hill (0-3)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Recruits Think Highly Of Marshall and Where Program Is Going

Doc Holliday has said over and over that players buy with their eyes. As Marshall assistant coaches left on recruiting trips during the bye week, the prospects they are trying to persuade to sign with Marshall, must like what they are seeing.

While Holliday and coordinators Bill Legg and Chuck Heater reviewed footage from the Akron game, seven other assistants hit the recruiting trail this week in Florida, California, Georgia and other areas looking for the next crop of Herd players. Each year Holliday has led the Marshall program, the quality of the recruits signing with the Herd has improved. He believes prospects are holding a higher opinion of Marshall than when he first arrived.

“Number one, we have great facilities,” explained Holliday. “They are going to walk on campus and see one of the nicer indoor football complexes, new training center, and the hall of fame. We are going to have as nice facilities as anyone in the country when they come here.”

But they also like winning.

“They like the style that we play here on offense, whether it be wide-out, quarterback, or skill guy, I think you will want to play in our offense. Because what we do offensively and defensively is the same deal. Those corners out there like to play man-press and like to get involved in the very aggressive-type defense, which we are. They like our style of play and like winning.”

That style of play has led to Marshall averaging 45.5 points a game while only allowing 16.2.  That style of play has elevated the Thundering Herd from an afterthought in Conference USA to the favorite to win the league and a possibly be the team that represents the G-5 schools in an access bowl at the end of the season.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that Marshall has received national exposure this year for the first time in more than a decade. Quarterback Rakeem Cato has been featured in various national publications and on ESPN’s College Gameday. Even Coach Doc Holliday has made appearances on both Jim Rome’s radio and television shows.

All of that helps the program’s reach.

“All these kids throughout the country, whether California, Florida, Georgia, they can turn on the T.V. and can watch Marshall, Cato and all those guys play. You add playing pretty well, which we are right now, to that and people talking about us then it definitely going to help us recruit.”

Sustaining a high level of play might be more difficult that rebuilding a program. That is the next step for Holliday and his staff. At least now, Marshall looks good, from facilities to performance, to the next crop of recruits.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Oklahoma State Gets Past Texas Tech in Big 12 Shootout

Daxx Garman threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as 24th-ranked Oklahoma State outgunned Texas Tech, 45-35, in the Big 12 opener for both programs.

Garman hooked up with James Washington for two scores and finished with 370 yards and two interceptions for the Cowboys (3-1, 1-0 Big 12), who have won three straight since a season-opening loss to No. 1 Florida State.

Davis Webb also tossed four touchdown passes and had Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1) within striking distance before going down with a left shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter.

The teams combined for 1,034 yards of offense and 287 penalty yards.

“I’ve never seen a team shoot itself in the foot as many times as we did tonight. It was embarrassing football,“ Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “It’s just bad football, and it’s on me. I have to get it fixed.“

Ben Grogan connected on a 42-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend Oklahoma State’s lead to 38-28, and any chance of a Red Raiders comeback took a hit when Webb was shaken up on the ensuing drive.

Patrick Mahomes took over under center, and an interception on his first pass turned into seven more Cowboys points. After a roughing the passer penalty on third down extended the drive, Garman ran eight yards on a bootleg to all but secure the victory.

Mahomes threw a 4-yard TD pass to Jakeem Grant with 5:52 remaining to account for the final margin.

The Red Raiders took the opening kickoff and went 83 yards in 10 plays, with Reginald Davis hauling in a pass over the middle for the final 21 yards to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead.

Garman threw an interception in Texas Tech territory on Oklahoma State’s first possession but connected with Washington on a go route for a 33-yard touchdown later in the opening quarter.

Webb also shook off an interception with an 18-yard TD pass to Bradley Marquez in the right corner of the end zone early in the second quarter.

Jeremy Seaton’s 28-yard catch set up Desmond Roland’s 1-yard touchdown run, and one play after another Webb interception, Garman found Washington again, this time for a 39-yard score.

Garman threw an interception in the end zone in the final minute of the first half to keep it a 21-14 game in the Cowboys’ favor, but the junior quarterback rebounded with a pair of long TD passes in the third quarter.

“I thought he handled himself really well. It was his first Big 12 game and only his third game at this level,“ Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said of Garman. “He’s learning, and he’s getting better.“

Blake Jarwin hauled in a 47-yard strike, and Tyreek Hill got behind the secondary for a 50-yard score on the next Oklahoma State possession.

Justin Stockton took a screen pass and scored from 17 yards out between those scores, and a second Webb-to-Davis hookup of 22 yards pulled Texas Tech within 35-28 heading into the fourth.

Game Notes

Webb completed 35-of-54 passes for 374 yards ... Oklahoma State earned its 25th straight home victory over an unranked opponent ... The Red Raiders have dropped six straight meetings and have not won in Stillwater since 2001 ... Cowboys cornerback Ashton Lampkin appeared to suffer a serious ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return ... Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman had a game-high 130 receiving yards on six catches ... Grant caught a dozen passes for 100 yards ... Texas Tech gained 33 first downs to 23 for the Cowboys.

The Gilmer Free Press


Final Score: (11) UCLA 62, (15) Arizona State 27

Brett Hundley returned to the field on Thursday and showed why he was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, throwing four touchdown passes and running for another in No. 11 UCLA’s 62-27 rout of 15th-ranked Arizona State. Hundley played with a heavily wrapped left arm after leaving last week’s win over Texas with an elbow injury. He played through the pain and delivered the best game of his collegiate career, completing 18-of-23 passes for 355 yards. He also gained 72 yards on eight carries. UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) benefited from the big play, scoring four touchdowns of 80-plus yards. Ishmael Adams was responsible for two of those, returning an interception and kickoff for long scores. Jordan Payton made five catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Eldridge Massington’s lone reception went 80 yards for a tally. Paul Perkins gained 137 yards on the ground, with 81 of those coming on a run late in the contest that included a highlight reel juke at the end of it. Mike Bervocivi made his first career start in place of the injured Taylor Kelly for the Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1) and threw early and often, completing 42- of-68 passes for 488 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Jaelen Strong made a game-high 12 catches for 146 yards.

Final Score: (24) Oklahoma State 45, Texas Tech 35

Daxx Garman threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as 24th-ranked Oklahoma State outgunned Texas Tech, 45-35, in the Big 12 opener for both programs. Garman hooked up with James Washington for two scores and finished with 370 yards and two interceptions for the Cowboys (3-1, 1-0 Big 12), who have won three straight since a season-opening loss to No. 1 Florida State. Davis Webb also tossed four touchdown passes and had Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1) within striking distance before going down with a left shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter. The teams combined for 1,034 yards of offense and 287 penalty yards.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NFL SCORES Week 4

Final Score: NY Giants 45, Washington 14

The New York Giants may have finally found their tight end of the future. Eli Manning tossed three of his four touchdown passes to Larry Donnell, who became the first Giants tight end to haul in three scores in 52 years, and New York routed the Washington Redskins, 45-14, on Thursday night. New York has employed five different starting tight ends since Jeremy Shockey’s departure in 2007, with the Giants’ leading one averaging 42 receptions for 539 yards during the six-year span. Shockey, meanwhile, averaged 62 catches and 705 yards a season during his six- year stint with the Giants from 2002-2007. Donnell finished with 54 yards on seven receptions for New York (2-2), which has won its last two games after beginning 0-2. Joe Walton was the last Giants tight end to score three touchdowns in 1962. Manning, who also added a score on the ground, completed 28-of-39 passes for 300 yards. Rueben Randle posted eight catches for 89 yards and Victor Cruz caught six balls for 108 yards in the triumph. After going 30-of-48 for a career-high 427 yards and three touchdowns in his first start of the year for the injured Robert Griffin III Sunday against Philadelphia, Kirk Cousins came back down to earth Thursday. He was 19-of-33 with a touchdown and four interceptions—all in the second half. He also lost a fumble. Alfred Morris carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards and a score for the Redskins (1-3), who have lost their last two games.

►  Bears Sign LB Sharpton

The Chicago Bears on Thursday signed linebacker Darryl Sharpton to a one-year contract.

Sharpton participated in 42 games (19 starts) over four seasons with the Houston Texans from 2010-13, totaling 144 tackles, one sack and an interception.

To make room on the roster, the Bears terminated the contract of vested veteran and fullback Tony Fiammetta with an injury settlement.

►  Titans’ Locker Misses Second Straight Practice

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker sat out a second consecutive practice Thursday due to an ailing right wrist, putting his availability for this weekend’s game at Indianapolis squarely in question.

Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt hinted that Locker could miss Friday’s practice as well, telling reporters after Thursday’s session that the oft- injured signal-caller’s status for Sunday’s matchup against the Colts likely won’t be determined until Saturday.

“I guess he’s got a shot until he doesn’t have a shot, that’s the best way to look at it,“ said Whisenhunt. “I know he’s studied the plan, we talk about it on the practice field all the time. It’s a question of where he progresses physically. I think we’ll know more (Friday).“

If Locker, who sustained the injury during last week’s 33-7 loss at Cincinnati but played the entire game, cannot go, veteran Charlie Whitehurst will draw his first start since 2011.

Locker struggled for a second straight week during Tennessee’s rout at the hands of the Bengals, completing just 17-of-34 passes for 185 yards and two interceptions. The embattled former first-round selection also was picked off twice in a home loss to Dallas the previous Sunday.

The 26-year-old Locker has missed a total of 14 games over the previous two seasons due to an assortment of injuries, most notably a dislocated left shoulder and a foot problem that required surgery.

►  Lions WR Johnson Misses 2nd Practice

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson missed his second straight practice Thursday with an ankle injury he suffered Sunday against the Packers.

The star receiver is one of four Detroit players who haven’t practiced this week as the Lions gear up to play the New York Jets.

Safety Don Carey (hamstring), linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) and cornerback Cassius Vaughn (ankle) have also sat out the last two days.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said tight end Joseph Fauria missed practice Thursday with a twisted his ankle he suffered at home.

►  Bucs Promote QB Kafka with McCown Ailing

In a strong indicator that Josh McCown is likely to miss some time with his right thumb injury, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed quarterback Mike Kafka to the active roster from the practice squad on Thursday.

Kafka, who attempted 16 passes over four games with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, is expected to serve as the backup to Mike Glennon when the Buccaneers visit the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.

McCown was forced to exit Tampa Bay’s forgettable 56-14 loss at Atlanta on September 18 after spraining his throwing thumb while attempting a pass. The journeyman signal-caller hit his right hand on a helmet to cause the injury, which kept him out of Wednesday’s practice.

Glennon, a 13-game starter as a rookie for Tampa Bay last season, played the entire second half against the Falcons and completed 17-of-24 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.

McCown, signed to a two-year contract by the Bucs during the offseason, has struggled through Tampa Bay’s first three games, throwing four interceptions and losing two fumbles while managing just 420 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Guard Rishaw Johnson, inactive for each of Tampa Bay’s three games this season, was waived to make room for Kafka.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Suns, Bledsoe Agree to $70M Deal

The Phoenix Suns and restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe have settled their differences and agreed to a five-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

The reported $70-million deal is a substantial increase over the reported four-year, $48 million that the Suns had offered Bledsoe at the start of free agency in July. Phoenix and Bledsoe renewed negotiations this week.

“I learned long ago that it doesn’t matter how stormy the sea is as long as the ship comes in and today we are thrilled that the ship has come in and Eric will remain a Sun for a long time,“ said president of basketball operations Lon Babby. “He will be an integral part not only of our basketball team, but our Phoenix community.“

The 24-year-old Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 43 games last season. He missed a majority of the season with a torn meniscus in his knee that required surgery.

“Lon, Ryan (McDonough) and the Suns have shown confidence in me, and I am looking to take that responsibility and help our team get better from last year and position ourselves to win an NBA championship,“ said Bledsoe. “It’s why I came back to Phoenix. All summer, I knew that I really would be most comfortable coming back to Phoenix because of the great fans, my Suns teammates and our coaches. I am very happy it was able to work out this way.“

Bledsoe had planned to sign a one-year qualifying offer of $3.7 million with the Suns at the end of this week had a deal not been reached so he could be an unrestricted free agent next year.

Prior to joining the Suns, Bledsoe played the first three seasons of his professional career with the Clippers.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Stewart Named Diamondbacks GM

The Arizona Diamondbacks have made former major league pitcher Dave Stewart their new general manager, with the team to formally introduce the four-time 20-game winner during a press conference scheduled for Friday.

In addition to Stewart, who will take over for the recently fired Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have hired Los Angeles Dodgers executive De Jon Watson as the organization’s senior vice president of baseball operations.

Both men will report directly to Diamondbacks CEO Tony La Russa, who managed Stewart for seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics from 1986-92. Stewart put together four consecutive campaigns of 20 or more victories (1987-90) during that period, finishing in the top five in voting for the American League’s Cy Young Award in each of those years.

After retiring as a player after the 1995 season, Stewart worked in the front offices of the A’s, San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays and also served as a pitching coach for the Padres, Blue Jays and Milwaukee. The 57-year-old has been operating his own sports agency, Sports Management Partners, since 2002.

“I’ve known Stew for nearly three decades and his diverse background includes championships on the field as both a player and coach, in the front office and in contract negotiation as a player representative,“ said La Russa in a statement.

Stewart, a member of three World Series champion teams during his 16-year playing career, will become the fourth GM in Diamondbacks’ history and inherits a team that currently owns the worst record in baseball at 63-96. That lack of success led to Towers’ dismissal on September 05.

Ironically, Stewart was a special assistant to Towers with the Padres in 1997.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy success as a player and coach and really enjoyed my time representing players, but this is the perfect challenge for me,“ said Stewart. “To try and put together the pieces of a championship team is something I can’t wait to begin and I could not be more excited about doing it with De Jon and alongside a Hall of Famer who I respect greatly in Tony.“

Watson has spent the past eight years in the Dodgers organization, most recently as the club’s vice president of player development. The 48-year-old has overseen several homegrown products emerge as All-Stars during his tenure, including reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and sluggers Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig.


Final Score: San Francisco 9, San Diego 8

Pablo Sandoval went 3-for-3 with four RBI as the San Francisco Giants snuck past the San Diego Padres, 9-8, in a wild opener of a four-game series. Yasmani Grandal hit a go-ahead gram slam in the seventh inning, but the Giants responded with three runs in the bottom half to retake the lead. Brandon Belt, who along with Brandon Crawford hit solo home runs, knocked in the tying run with a base hit before Hunter Pence scored on a suicide squeeze. The playoff-bound Giants won for just the second time in seven games and still trail the Pirates by one game for the top wild card spot in the NL. The club clinched a playoff berth thanks to the Brewers’ loss earlier Thursday.

Final Score: Cincinnati 5, Milwaukee 3

Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer and scored twice as Cincinnati claimed a 5-3 victory over Milwaukee in the rubber match of a three-game series, eliminating the Brewers from playoff contention. Jay Bruce finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored for the Reds, who also received two hits and on RBI from Yorman Rodriguez. David Holmberg (2-2) allowed two runs and three hits over six efficient innings. Aroldis Chapman earned his 35th save with a perfect ninth. Rickie Weeks ended up 2-for-3 with a solo shot for the Brewers, whose loss clinched the last NL playoff spot for the San Francisco Giants Yovani Gallardo (8-11) was tagged for 10 hits and five runs—three earned—over five-plus frames.

Final Score: New York 7, Washington 4 (Game One) Final Score: Washington 3, New York 0 (Game Two)

Gio Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings to help the Washington Nationals to a 3-0 win over the New York Mets and a split of a day-night doubleheader on Thursday. Gonzalez (10-10), allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out 12 for the Nationals, who have won six of seven. The Nationals stretched their lead over the idle Dodgers to 2 1/2 games for the top overall spot in the NL. Zack Wheeler (11-11) gave up three runs on four hits over five innings for the Mets, who lost two of three in the set. In the opener, Curtis Granderson went 3-for-4 to help the Mets to a 7-4 victory.

Final Score: Miami 6, Philadelphia 4

Casey McGehee doubled home two runs in the seventh inning and the Miami Marlins notched a 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies to wrap up a three-game series. McGehee drove in three runs, Garrett Jones went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Donovan Solano had two hits, two runs and an RBI for the Marlins, who had lost five of six coming in. Tom Koehler (10-10) gave up four runs on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings to pick up the win. Chase Utley and Domonic Brown each drove in two runs for the Phillies, who have dropped five of seven. David Buchanan gave up two runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings, while Jake Diekman (5-5) was handed the loss for giving up the lead in the seventh.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 10, Atlanta 1

Edinson Volquez’s latest sensational start, combined with an offensive barrage, enabled the Pittsburgh Pirates to further close the gap in the National League Central race by virtue of a 10-1 rout of the Atlanta Braves. Behind Volquez’s seven scoreless innings and a 16-hit onslaught, the Pirates pulled within one game of St. Louis for the NL Central lead entering the season’s final weekend. Andrew McCutchen knocked in three runs, Josh Harrison went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Travis Snider finished a triple shy of the cycle to back a season-best 10-strikeout effort out of Volquez (13-7), who yielded just four singles and a walk to extend his unbeaten streak to 12 consecutive outings. David Hale (4-5), called upon for a spot start with Mike Minor shut down for the season, allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings for Atlanta.


Final Score: Seattle 7, Toronto 5

Logan Morrison cracked two homers and drove in four runs, helping the Seattle Mariners snap a five-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. Mike Zunino also homered for the Mariners, who salvaged a win in the four-game series as they try desperately to stay alive in the hunt for an AL wild-card berth. The Mariners entered play three games behind Kansas City and Oakland in the wild-card race and gained one game on Oakland. They have a three-game series ahead against the AL-West champion Angels in Seattle this weekend. Seattle went 4-7 on an 11-game road trip that started in Anaheim. Toronto’s Kevin Pillar hit a leadoff homer off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning, but the Mariners closer shut the door for his MLB-leading 47th save. The Blue Jays won the first three games of the series by a combined score of 25-6.

Final Score: New York 6, Baltimore 5

Derek Jeter, naturally, knocked in the winning run in storybook walk-off fashion Thursday in the future Hall-of-Famer’s final game at Yankee Stadium. The ever-dramatic Jeter stepped to the plate with a runner on second in the ninth inning and laced a patented opposite-field single through the hole between first and second base. Antoan Richardson slid in safely in front of Nick Markakis’ throw, and the Yankees swarmed Jeter to celebrate the poetic 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Jeter knocked in a pair prior to the ninth, including the go-ahead run in a three- run seventh inning that gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead. David Robertson, however, blew the lead in the ninth by surrendering a two-run homer to Adam Jones and a two-out solo blast to Steve Pearce. That set up the fitting home half, which began with Jose Pirela greeting Evan Meek (0-4) with a base hit. Richardson pinch-ran for Pirela and had enough speed to beat Markakis’ throw from shallow right.

Final Score: Detroit 4, Minnesota 2

Victor Martinez had three hits, including a two-run homer, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series. The Tigers, who have already clinched at least a wild-card berth, remained two games up on Kansas City for first place in the AL Central. Miguel Cabrera added a solo homer for the Tigers, who have won three in a row and are 12-5 in their last 17 games. Max Scherzer (18-5) struck out nine in six innings to remain unbeaten in five September starts. Twins rookie Trevor May (3-6) had seven strikeouts in six innings but suffered his second straight loss. Scherzer gave up two runs on five hits and four walks, while May yielded three on five hits and one walk. Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 34th save.

Final Score: Boston 11, Tampa Bay 1

Christian Vazquez smacked a two-run homer among his four hits, three RBI and two runs scored as the Boston Red Sox routed the Tampa Bay Rays, 11-1, in the rubber match of a three-game set. Rusney Castillo belted a three-run shot for his first career homer for Boston, which has won four of its last six games. Allen Webster (5-3) allowed a run on seven hits and a walk over seven innings to notch the win. Jeremy Hellickson (1-5) surrendered six runs—five earned—on eight hits over 2 1/3 frames for the Rays, who have dropped five of their last seven contests.

Final Score: Texas 2, Oakland 1

Adrian Beltre’s home run in the ninth inning gave the Texas Rangers a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a four-game series. Beltre stepped up to the plate with one out against Luke Gregerson (5-5) and drove the second pitch he saw over the right field wall for his 19th home run of the season and the win. Elvis Andrus drove in the other run for the Rangers, who have won 12 of their last 13 games. Colby Lewis pitched seven innings and gave up a run on six hits with five walks and seven strikeouts. Neftali Feliz (2-1) picked up the win for tossing a scoreless ninth. Jason Hammel went six-plus innings and let up a run on six hits while Geovany Soto drove in the lone run for the Athletics, who have lost three straight. Oakland fell a game back of Kansas City for the top wild card spot in the American League.

Final Score: Kansas City 6, Chicago 3

Eric Hosmer went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI and the Kansas City Royals picked up another crucial win with a 6-3 takedown of the Chicago White Sox from U.S. Cellular Field. Hosmer has been one of the hottest bats in the league over the last week for the Royals, who moved a game ahead of the Athletics for the top spot in the American League wild card race. Hosmer is 13-for-29 over his last seven games. Lorenzo Cain went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of runs scored to back a quality start by James Shields. Shields gave up three runs on five hits in six innings and Kansas City’s bullpen did its job the rest of the way, with Kelvin Herrera (4-3), Wade Davis and Greg Holland each tossing a scoreless inning to secure the win. Josh Phegley homered for the White Sox, who have lost three in a row. Jose Quintana (9-11) absorbed the loss, falling to 0-6 lifetime against the Royals after giving up five runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Former Tour Champion Cadel Evans Announces Retirement

Former Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has announced his retirement.

Evans won cycling’s most prestigious event in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2007 and 2008.

The 37-year-old Australian made the announcement Thursday with a statement on his personal website. Evans said he will finish his career in an event in his native country next February.

“After a long period of contemplation within, and with those closest to me, I feel it is the right time to end my journey in competitive professional cycling,“ Evans said.

Evans also won the UCI Road World Championship in 2009.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Logano Rewarded with Contract Extension from Penske

Joey Logano has already advanced to the next round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs and on Thursday signed a contract extension to remain with Team Penske.

Terms of the multi-year agreement for the Chase for the Sprint Cup contender were not disclosed.

“Joey Logano has been everything we hoped he would be, both as a driver and as a representative of our organization and for our partners,“ said owner Roger Penske in a statement Thursday. “He continues to put points on the board for us and the continuity and chemistry he has developed within the team has been terrific. We believe he can be a leader and championship-level driver for Team Penske for years to come.“

Logano has seven career NASCAR Sprint Cup race victories, including five since joining Team Penske for the start of the 2013 season. He has four wins this year and sits second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings after last week’s win at the Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire.

“I am fortunate and excited to be a part of Team Penske for the foreseeable future,“ said Logano. “Mr. Penske gives us everything we need to keep our eye on the prize and compete for wins and championships. I think that is clear by the number of wins we have across the board this year. I think our best years are in front of us for sure.“

The 24-year-old Logano was the 2009 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year and finished a career-best eighth in last year’s Chase standings.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Opening Ryder Cup pairings released

The Ryder Cup opening ceremony is in the books and with that the pairings for Friday’s four-ball matches have been announced.

United States captain Tom Watson has Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson as his lead pairing. European captain Paul McGinley countered with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Of the four, Stenson is the only non-major winner, but he did win the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai on the European Tour to end the 2013 season.

The second four-ball match will pit Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker against Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer. Fowler finished in the top five at all four majors this season, while Walker won three PGA Tour events this season. Kaymer won the U.S. Open in a rout.

Ryder Cup rookies Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth will be the third American group. They will face fellow Ryder Cup rookie Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter, who owns a 12-3 record at the Ryder Cup.

The final match is the marquee grouping. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson will battle the European duo of Sergio Garcia and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy. Bradley and Mickelson are 5-1-1 combined at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. McIlroy, who won the final two majors this season, and Garcia will be paired for the first time at this event.

<The Gilmer Free Press
2014 FIBA World Cup - Basketball
Group AWL
Group BWL
Puerto Rico14
Group CWL
United States50
Dominican Republic23
New Zealand23
Group DWL
South Korea05
Saturday, August 30
Group B: Croatia 81, Philippines 78
Group C: Ukraine 72, Dominican Republic 62
Group D: Angola 80, South Korea 69
Group A: Serbia 85, Egypt 64
Group C: Turkey 76, New Zealand 73
Group B: Argentina 98, Puerto Rico 75
Group D: Slovenia 90, Australia 80
Group A: Brazil 65, France 63
Group B: Greece 87, Senegal 64
Group D: Lithuania 87, Mexico 74
Group C: United States 114, Finland 55
Group A: Spain 90, Iran 60
Sunday, August 31
Group C: Dominican Republic 76, New Zealand 63
Group B: Croatia 90, Argentina 85
Group D: Australia 89, Korea 55
Group A: France 74, Serbia 73
Group C: Finland 81, Ukraine 76
Group B: Senegal 82, Puerto Rico 75
Group D: Slovenia 89, Mexico 68
Group A: Brazil 70, Iran 50
Group B: Greece 82, Philippines 70
Group D: Lithuania 75, Angola 62
Group C: United States 98, Turkey 77
Group A: Spain 91, Egypt 54
Monday, September 01
Group B: Senegal 77, Croatia 75
Group A: Serbia 83, Iran 70
Group B: Argentina 85, Philippines 81
Group A: France 94, Egypt 55
Group B: Greece 90, Puerto Rico 79
Group A: Spain 82, Brazil 63
Tuesday, September 02
Group D: Mexico 79, Angola 55
Group C: Ukraine 64, Turkey 58
Group C: United States 98, New Zealand 71
Group D: Australia 82. Lithuania 75
Group D: Slovenia 89, South Korea 72
Group C: Dominican Republic 74, Finland 68
Wednesday, September 03
Group B: Puerto Rico 77, Philippines 73
Group D: Australia 70, Mexico 62
Group C: New Zealand 73, Ukraine 61
Group A: Iran 88, Egypt 73
Group B: Argentina 81, Senegal 46
Group C: Turkey 77, Finland 73 (OT)
Group D: Slovenia, 93, Angola 87
Group A: Brazil 81, Serbia 73
Group B: Greece 76, Croatia 65
Group D: Lithuania 79, South Korea 49
Group C: United States 106, Dominican Republic 71
Group A: Spain 88, France 64
Thursday, September 04
Group D: Angola 91, Australia 83
Group B: Phillippines 81, Senegal 79 (OT)
Group C: New Zealand 67, Finland 65
Group A: Brazil 128, Egypt 66
Group C: United States 95, Ukraine 71
Group D: Mexico 87, South Korea 71
Group A: France 81, Iran 76
Group B: Croatia 103, Puerto Rico 82
Group C: Turkey 77, Dominican Republic 64
Group D: Lithuania 67, Slovenia 64
Group A: Spain 89, Serbia 73
Group B: Greece 79, Argentina 71
Saturday, September 06
Round of 16: United States 86, Mexico 63
Round of 16: France 69, Croatia 64
Round of 16: Slovenia 71, Dominican Republic 61
Round of 16: Spain 89, Senegal 56
Sunday, September 07
Round of 16: Lithuania 76, New Zealand 71
Round of 16: Serbia 90, Greece 72
Round of 16: Turkey 65, Australia 64
Round of 16: Brazil 85, Argentina 65
Tuesday, September 09
Quarterfinal: Lithuania 73, Turkey 61
Quarterfinal: United States 119, Slovenia 76
Wednesday, September 10
Quarterfinal: Final - Serbia 84, Brazil 56
Quarterfinal: Final - France 65, Spain 52
Thursday, September 11
Semifinal: United States 96. Lithuania 68
Friday, September 12
Semifinal: Serbia 90, France 85
Saturday, September 13
Third Place Game: France 95, Lithuania 93
Sunday, September 14
Final: United States 129, Serbia 92

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Quarterbacks

Although the top fantasy quarterback, Peyton Manning is on a bye week, quarterback is probably the position least effected by the six teams on bye in Week 4.

The likes of Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan will all be back at it with favorable matchups this Sunday. Brees is taking on a Cowboys team that he made history against last season as the Saints offense earned 40 first downs. Even on the road, it could be a breakout game for Brees and his receivers.

Luck and Ryan are fresh off huge games from last week and are ranked in the top five.

It is time that we finally give Philip Rivers some respect. To our credit, he has been up against some of the best defenses in the league during the first three games, so it was tough to rank him very high. That is not the case this week as Rivers and the “Super Chargers” play Jacksonville at home. The Jaguars allow 306 passing yards per game, the most in the NFL.

Those owners on Aaron Rodgers’ case need to slow down a little bit. The Jets and Lions have top-10 pass defenses and the Seahawks are, well, the Seahawks. Rodgers should get it going against Chicago.

Kirk Cousins and Eli Manning will likely slug it out through the air just as the Redskins and Eagles did last week. Both quarterbacks are still available in over 50% of Yahoo Leagues and are quality replacements while Peyton sits.

Nick Foles and Colin Kaepernick could also be in a high-scoring affair. The San Francisco defense ranks just 15th in the league against the pass and Philadelphia has continued to struggle to stop anyone’s air attack.

All eyes will be on Brees, and for good reason, to see what he does for an encore to last year’s, 49-17, victory. But don’t be surprised if Tony Romo plays well too. His fantasy totals have increased every week, and the Saints allow the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles each get their first career start this week, but we would like to see more before even ranking them a QB2 in a 10- team league.

Top-25 Quarterback Rankings


1) Drew Brees, New Orleans

2) Philip Rivers, San Diego

3) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis

4) Matt Ryan, Atlanta

5) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

6) Kirk Cousins, Washington

7) Nick Foles, Philadelphia

8) Tony Romo, Dallas

9) Matt Stafford, Detroit

10) Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco

11) Jay Cutler, Chicago

12) Tom Brady, New England

13) Cam Newton, Carolina

14) Eli Manning, New York Giants

15) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

16) Joe Flacco, Baltimore

17) Alex Smith, Kansas City

18) Geno Smith, New York Jets

19) E.J. Manuel, Buffalo

20) Derek Carr, Oakland

21) Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota

22) Ryan Tannehill, Miami

23) Blake Bortles, Jacksonville

24) Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston

25) Josh McCown, Tampa Bay

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Wide Receivers

From an outsider’s perspective, Calvin Johnson has a difficult matchup in Week 4 against the Jets, who are ranked ninth in passing yards allowed through three games.

A well-researched owner, however, will know that the Jets allow the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Not that you really needed any reassurance to start “Megatron,“ but if you did, he is again ranked the top wide receiver for this week.

Jordy Nelson and Julio Jones could also score some big numbers and round out the top-three wideouts. Nelson will go up against a battered Chicago secondary that saw both safeties injured on Monday night. The Bears are already missing top cornerback Charles Tillman. Jones visits Minnesota after nine catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns last Thursday night.

Week 4 could also be a week of redemption for some quieter fantasy wide receivers so far.

The Green Bay offense hasn’t been itself yet, but again, against an injury- plagued Bears secondary, expect Aaron Rodgers to throw a lot. That means Randall Cobb has his first real chance to hit the century mark this week.

Cordarrelle Patterson flashed his fantasy potential in Week 1, but that was mostly on the ground, racking up 102 yards rushing. One would hope that rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, in his first start, will look Patterson’s way a lot. Through three games, Patterson has more rushing fantasy points than receiving.

Thirdly, Keenan Allen was arguably a top-10 fantasy wide receiver in preseason, but he has been a huge disappointment so far. Philip Rivers should have a day though, up against Jacksonville, who has permitted the most passing yards in the league. It would be a crime to sit Allen now.

Youngsters, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin and DeAndre Hopkins provide interesting WR2 or FLEX potential this week. Jordan Matthews and Stevie Johnson also have high ceilings in what could be a high-scoring affair between the Eagles and 49ers.

Top-50 Wide Receiver Rankings


1) Calvin Johnson, Detroit

2) Jordy Nelson, Green Bay

3) Julio Jones, Atlanta

4) Dez Bryant, Dallas

5) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

6) Brandon Marshall, Chicago

7) Michael Crabtree, San Francisco

8) Randall Cobb, Green Bay

9) Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota

10) Andre Johnson, Houston

11) Julian Edelman, New England

12) Keenan Allen, San Diego

13) Sammy Watkins, Buffalo

14) Pierre Garcon, Washington

15) Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia

16) T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis

17) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago

18) Mike Wallace, Miami

19) Victor Cruz, New York Giants

20) DeSean Jackson, Washington

21) Brandin Cooks, New Orleans

22) Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina

23) DeAndre Hopkins, Houston

24) Golden Tate, Detroit

25) Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay

26) Marques Colston, New Orleans

27) Terrance Williams, Dallas

28) Anquan Boldin, San Francisco

29) Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville

30) Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore

31) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis

32) Roddy White, Atlanta

33) Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia

34) Kendall Wright, Tennessee

35) James Jones, Oakland

36) Malcom Floyd, San Diego

37) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City

38) Reuben Randle, New York Giants

39) Stevie Johnson, San Francisco

40) Torrey Smith, Baltimore

41) Harry Douglas, Atlanta

42) Eric Decker, New York Jets

43) Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis

44) Riley Cooper, Philadelphia

45) Kenny Stills, New Orleans

46) Greg Jennings, Minnesota

47) Allen Hurns, Jacksonville

48) Kenbrell Thompkins, New England

49) Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets

50) Andre Roberts, Washington

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Running Backs

In preseason, the Sports Network identified the top-three fantasy running backs as Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

We all know about the off-field problems for Peterson while Charles and Foster sat out last weekend with injuries. You will find Charles on this week’s list, due to the fact that he practiced last week and has continued to practice, but we don’t believe Foster will be ready when the whistle blows.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We’re riding the hot hand in Dallas running back DeMarco Murray. He’s averaging a league-leading 128.3 rushing yards per game on 25 carries. Dallas will want to keep the ball out of Drew Brees’ hand for as long as possible, so Murray figures to see 25-plus touches for another weekend. While I don’t believe he can handle this workload level for a full 16-game schedule, while he’s healthy, I’m happy to put him on top of the list.

I love the way the Steelers are using running back Le’Veon Bell, in both the running and passing games. It’s that versatility that should allow him to be a consistent scorer for fantasy owners whether the Steelers are playing with a lead or trying to come from behind. Against Tampa Bay, his running talents should be most useful and I’m expecting a 100-yard effort.

You know the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.“ Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy has been talking this week, as did Coach Mike McCarthy who called out Lacy on Monday at his press conference saying he “needs to play better.“ Figure McCarthy to call Lacy’s number a lot this Sunday and Lacy to be extra motivated. They face a Bears’ defense missing multiple pieces due to injury and I think Lacy finally makes fantasy owners smile.

I also have Miami’s Lamar Miller (vs. Oakland) and San Diego’s Donald Brown (vs. Jacksonville) putting up top-10 performances against weak opponents.

Top-50 Running Back Rankings


1) DeMarco Murray, Dallas

2) Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh

3) Eddie Lacy, Green Bay

4) Rashad Jennings, New York Giants

5) Alfred Morris, Washington

6) Matt Forte, Chicago

7) LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

8) Lamar Miller, Miami

9) Donald Brown, San Diego

10) C.J. Spiller, Buffalo

11) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City

12) Stevan Ridley, New England

13) Khiry Robinson, New Orleans

14) Reggie Bush, Detroit

15) Frank Gore, San Francisco

16) Joique Bell, Detroit

17) Trent Richardson, Indianapolis

18) Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville

19) Steven Jackson, Atlanta

20) Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis

21) Matt Asiata, Minnesota

22) Alfred Blue, Houston

23) Knile Davis, Kansas City

24) DeAngelo Williams, Carolina

25) Pierre Thomas, New Orleans

26) Darren Sproles, Philadelphia

27) Shane Vereen, New England

28) Chris Ivory, New York Jets

29) Fred Jackson, Buffalo

30) Darren McFadden, Oakland

31) Carlos Hyde, San Francisco

32) Chris Johnson, New York Jets

33) Shonn Greene, Tennessee

34) Bernard Pierce, Baltimore

35) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

36) LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh

37) Daniel Thomas, Miami

38) James Starks, Green Bay

39) Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland

40) Bishop Sankey, Tennessee

41) Darren Reaves, Carolina

42) Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore

43) Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay

46) Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland

47) Darrel Young, Washington

48) Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta

49) Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

50) Branden Oliver, San Diego

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Tight Ends

As a whole, the tight end position is solid this season, from the spectacular assault on defenses by Jimmy Graham through the understated efforts from former backups-turned-starters Niles Paul and Larry Donnell.

Every owner in a 12-team league should have a viable fantasy tight end who can post a respectable number.

Of course, Graham tops almost every list. In Week 4 he should be particularly effective playing against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has yielded the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Graham has been good this season, but not great ... yet. He leads the league in tight end receiving yards, but has scored just twice. That shortcoming should be remedied this weekend.

The worst team in the league for defending the tight end through three games is the Indianapolis Colts (18.9 fantasy ppg). Which explains while Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker is listed at No. 2.

I’m expecting big things from the San Diego passing offense in Week 4 and that means the Philip Rivers-to-Antonio Gates hookup should be a big part of it. The Jaguars are No. 32 (out of 32 teams) in passing yards allowed yielding 306 ypg and Gates is going to get a good chunk of it.

One of the big surprises so far this season has been the play of Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. He’s second at the position in fantasy scoring, primarily due to four touchdowns, over the first three games. He’s been a big weapon for quarterback Jay Cutler in the red zone. That could change as his two talented wideouts, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, get healthier but for now, he’s still a top-10 fantasy option.

Top-25 Tight End Rankings


1) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

2) Delanie Walker, Tennessee

3) Antonio Gates, San Diego

4) Greg Olson, Carolina

5) Vernon Davis, San Francisco

6) Rob Gronkowski, New England

7) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

8) Martellus Bennett, Chicago

9) Jason Witten, Dallas

10) Niles Paul, Washington

11) Owen Daniels, Baltimore

12) Travis Kelce, Kansas City

13) Larry Donnell, New York Giants

14) Charles Clay, Miami

15) Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis

16) Coby Fleener, Indianapolis

17) Heath Miller, Pittsburgh

18) Jace Amaro, New York Jets

19) Anthony Fasano, Kansas City

20) Clay Harbor, Jacksonville

21) Eric Ebron, Detroit

22) Andrew Quarless, Green Bay

23) LaDarius Green, San Diego

24) Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets

25) Derek Carrier, San Francisco

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Kickers

Well that was quick. After three weeks of the NFL season, we already have our first kicking change.

Nate Freese is out for the Detroit Lions, after going 3-for-7 on field goal attempts, and 0-for-4 on kicks longer than 40 yards. Former Philadelphia Eagle Alex Henery takes Freese’s spot in Detroit, but is not a recommended fantasy play, as his field goal%age has dropped each year he has been in the league (2011 - 88.9%, 2012 - 87.1%, 2013 - 82.1%).

Speaking of the Eagles, Philadelphia’s place kicker Cody Parkey takes down our top spot, heading into Week 4. Parkey has been a pleasant surprise for the Eagles, going 8-for-9 in field goal attempts, including two 51-yarders. He leads all standard leagues with 38 total points.

One of our biggest risers of the week hails from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Shaun Suisham has yet to miss this season (8-for-8), and with Pittsburgh’s Week 4 opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers letting up an average of 11.00 points per game (standard leagues) to kickers, Suisham makes for a solid fantasy play.

A guy owners may want to start thinking about staying away from was a preseason favorite - Mason Crosby, Crosby has failed to impress this year, especially on the road. He has five combined fantasy points in two road contests, and with Green Bay heading to Chicago to take on the Bears, owners should be aware that we have dropped Crosby to No. 12 in our weekly rankings.

The consistent Stephen Gostkowski remains in our top-two, which should not surprise anyone.

One surprise, however, could be the emergence of Dan Bailey. Not only is he tied for second in standard fantasy leagues with 35 points, Bailey also has a juicy matchup against the New Orleans Saints, who on average are giving up the second most amount of points to kickers, at 13 points per game. Bailey’s jump from the No. 20 spot in Week 3 to a top-three spot in Week 4, is certainly warranted.

Top-25 Kicker Rankings


1) Cody Parker, Philadelphia Eagles

2) Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

3) Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys

4) Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts

5) Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons

6) Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers

7) Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers

8) Nick Folk, New York Jets

9) Dan Carpenter, Buffalo Bills

10) Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers

11) Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

12) Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers

13) Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins

14) Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears

15) Kai Forbath, Washington Redskins

16) Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings

17) Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders

18) Josh Brown, New York Giants

19) Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers

20) Josh Scobee, Jacksonville Jaguars

21) Shayne Graham, New Orleans Saints

22) Randy Bullock, Houston Texans

23) Ryan Succop, Tennessee Titans

24) Alex Henery, Detroit Lions

25) Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Defense

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Bill Belichick. You hear those names, and fantasy owners would not expect to hear that New England’s defense is arguably their biggest asset.

After topping our defensive rankings in Week 3, the Patriots remain in that same spot, as they head into Week 4’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. New England’s 39 total fantasy points (standard scoring leagues) leads all defenses by at least eight fantasy points. To go along with that impressive stat, the Patriots have only given up a combined total of 16 points, over the past two weeks.

Since, we mentioned New England’s opponent already, we can’t help but, to break down the Chiefs a little more. After finishing the 2013 season as the third ranked fantasy defense in standard leagues, the Chiefs have struggled mightily in 2014. Week 3 was the team’s best statistical week thus far, with only five fantasy points. With the Patriots coming into town, it is time to start thinking about better options.

Another team that owners tend to think about from an offensive standpoint, is the Detroit Lions. After not being ranked in our top-25 a week ago, Detroit soars into the top-five, as they are now second overall in standard leagues, with 31 total fantasy points. With potential to force some turnovers against Geno Smith and the New York Jets, in Week 4, the Lions are a recommended fantasy play.

Carolina had an off week, to say the least, as the Panthers put up an abysmal minus seven fantasy points during Week 3. With all the talent on this team, combined with the fact they had a combined total of 25 fantasy points through the first two weeks, we feel Carolina will rebound nicely during Week 4, in Baltimore.

The Chiefs and the Houston Texans have essentially switched places. Houston was the 29th ranked fantasy defense in 2013, and are now tied for third in 2014. J.J. Watt is back creating havoc, and with Buffalo coming off a rough loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Texans will look to take full advantage of the Bills, and force as many turnovers as possible.

Week 4 Defense/Special Teams Rankings


1) New England Patriots

2) Carolina Panthers

3) Houston Texans

4) Detroit Lions

5) Pittsburgh Steelers

6) Atlanta Falcons

7) San Diego Chargers

8) San Francisco 49ers

9) Miami Dolphins

10) Indianapolis Colts

11) Baltimore Ravens

12) Chicago Bears

13) New York Jets

14) Philadelphia Eagles

15) Buffalo Bills

16) New Orleans Saints

17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18) New York Giants

19) Washington Redskins

20) Kansas City Chiefs

21) Dallas Cowboys

22) Oakland Raiders

23) Tennessee Titans

24) Green Bay Packers

25) Minnesota Vikings

The Gilmer Free Press


Major League Baseball - National League
Miami at Washington, 1:05 PM - FS-Florida, MASN, DSS
Miami at Washington, 7:05 PM - FS-Florida, MASN, DSS
Atlanta at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - FS-South, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 7:10 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-Ohio, DSS
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee, 8:10 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
St. Louis at Arizona, 9:40 PM - FS-Midwest, Arizona, DSS
Colorado at Los Angeles, 10:10 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, SportsNet LA, DSS
San Diego at San Francisco, 10:15 PM - FS-San Diego, CSN-Bay, DSS

American League
Tampa Bay at Cleveland, 7:05 PM - SunSports, SportsTime Ohio, DSS
Baltimore at Toronto, 7:07 PM - MASN2, SNET, DSS
Minnesota at Detroit, 7:08 PM - FS-North, Detroit, DSS
NY Yankees at Boston, 7:10 PM - My9, NESN, DSS
Oakland at Texas, 8:05 PM - CSN-California, TXA21, DSS
Kansas City at Chicago WSox, 8:10 PM - FS-Kansas City, WCIU, DSS
LA Angels at Seattle, 10:10 PM - FS-West, ROOT-Northwest, DSS

Houston at NY Mets, 7:10 PM - CSN-Houston, SNY, DSS

National Hockey League - Preseason
Boston at Washington, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, NHL Network
Toronto at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - SN1
Montreal at Colorado, 7:00 PM - RDS
New Jersey at NY Islanders, 7:30 PM - MSG+
NY Rangers at Chicago, 8:30 PM - MSG, CSN-Chicago+
Calgary at Vancouver, 10:00 PM - NHL Network

Canadian Football League
Montreal at Ottawa, 7:00 PM - TSN, RDS,
Saskatchewan at Edmonton, 10:00 PM - TSN,

College Football
Fresno State at New Mexico, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, 8:00 PM - FS1

Major League Soccer
New England at Kansas City, 8:00 PM - NBCSN

PGA/EUROPEAN - Ryder Cup Matches, 2:30 AM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Nature Valley First Tee Open, 4:00 PM - Golf Channel

Auto Racing
NATIONWIDE - 5-Hour Energy 200 practice, 10:00 AM - FS1
SPRINT CUP - AAA 400 practice, 11:00 AM - FS1
NATIONWIDE - 5-Hour Energy 200 practice, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2
SPRINT CUP - AAA 400 qualifying, 3:30 PM - ESPN 2

Sports Brief - 07.28.14

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  GCHS FOOTBALL FITTING:  Football fittings for the Middle School (6th, 7th, and 8th) and High School programs of the Gilmer County High School football will be Wednesday, July 30, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Brooklyn Field House in Glenville.

A parent meeting is also scheduled on this date at 6:00 PM for both programs.

This will be the only time scheduled for fittings.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  WESLEYAN OFFICIAL: NBA-BOUND BEILEIN ‘GOT THE MOST OUT OF HIS TALENT’:  Patrick Beilein will leave West Virginia Wesleyan for a job with the NBA’s Utah Jazz, according to multiple reports.

Beilein, the former WVU guard, has accepted a position on Quin Snyder’s staff, working in a player development and video coordinator role. Snyder is entering his first season as Utah head coach after serving last year as an assistant on Atlanta’s staff.

In two seasons with the Bobcats, Beilein turned a losing program into one that posted a 22-9 overall record in 2013-14.

A former sharpshooting guard on West Virginia teams that reached the Elite Eight and Sweet 16, Beilein will join Quin Snyder’s staff “in a player development and video coordinator role,” according to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, who first broke the story citing NBA sources.

Beilein, age 31, the son of ex-WVU and current Michigan coach John Beilein, had a 32-27 record in his stint as a college head coach, highlighted by a 20-12 record last season. He interviewed for the head coaching position at Marist in June, a job that ultimately went to another coach with WVU ties, Mike Maker of Division III Williams College.

After becoming a 1,000-poit scorer for the Mountaineers, Beilein served as a graduate assistant at Michigan and a full-time assistant at Dartmouth. He also worked as director of basketball operations at Bradley.

Beilein played for his father, John Beilein, during his college career and scored 1,001 points over four seasons while helping the Mountaineers to a Sweet 16 and an Elite Eight. He ranks third in 3-point field goals made in program history, behind Alex Ruoff and Kevin Pittsnogle.

Beilein hired a former WVU teammate, Frank Young, as an assistant coach at Wesleyan after his preview assistant jobs at Bradley and Dartmouth.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  WVU MEDIA CONTRACT TO STAND, JUDGE SAYS:  A Monongalia County judge’s ruling will allow West Virginia University’s third-tier rights agreement with IMG College to continue, denying a motion for summary judgment by West Virginia Radio Corporation.

The university has 11 years remaining on the $86.5 million, 12-year agreement enacted with IMG in the summer of 2013.

Business Court Circuit Judge Thomas Evans validated the contract, which resulted from a second round of bidding last year after the state attorney general’s office nixed the first request for proposal process.

After West Virginia Radio, the parent company of MetroNews, contested elements of the first round of bidding, State attorney general Patrick Morrisey said in April 2013 his office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in Oliver Luck’s handling of the initial bidding.

Then-WVU president Jim Clements removed Luck and other members of an evaluation panel from taking part in the second round of bidding.

West Virginia Radio sued the WVU Board of Governors, WVU Foundation, Inc., West Virginia Media Holdings, Andrew Payne, David Alvarez, Bray Cary, Ralph Ballard, Luck, Clements and IMG College.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  SCOTT TO COACH LAKERS:  Byron Scott has agreed to become the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, although the team has yet to confirm the deal.

The former Lakers star has agreed to a four-year, $17 million deal to replace Mike D’Antoni in Los Angeles, reported Saturday evening.

“It feels fantastic. This is a dream come true. I always wanted to coach the Lakers, especially when I got to coaching. This is so unreal right now,“ Scott told KCBS-TV’s Jim Hill.“

Scott was fired in April 2013 at the end of his third season as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He has also coached the Nets and Hornets since a 14-year playing career that included three NBA title runs with the Lakers in the 1980s.

D’Antoni resigned as Lakers coach in April after one of the worst seasons in franchise history and less than 18 months after he was brought in to replace Mike Brown early in the 2012-13 season.

Kobe Bryant’s rookie season came with Scott on the floor in his final NBA season with the Lakers. Now, Scott has a chance to coach Bryant.

“Kobe and I got a great relationship,“ Scott told Hill. “We’ve been talking back and forth pretty much throughout this whole summer. I’m excited to have the privilege of coaching a guy like that. This is a future Hall of Famer.

“Not only am I going to be coaching him, but I think he is going to help me as well. I think we see the game very similar. We know on the defensive end, that’s where it’s going to have to be done first.“

►  LEBRON JAMES GOING BACK TO NO. 23:  There is good news for any fan who held on to their LeBron James No. 23 jersey.

It is relevant again.

James said Sunday he will wear the uniform number again with the Cleveland Cavaliers after spending four seasons in a different jersey in Miami.

“23 it is! It’s only right I go back,“ James said as part of a message posted on his Instagram account.

James wore the No. 23 from his years in high school through the time he played for the Cavaliers until he signed with the Heat in 2010. He changed his number to 6 and reached four straight NBA Finals with Miami, winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and ‘13.

James returned to Cleveland on a two-year, $42.1 million deal earlier this month. He played his first seven NBA seasons for the Cavs, taking them to the Finals once in 2007.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  MADDUX, GLAVINE, COX HIGHLIGHT HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS:  The Atlanta Braves won 14 straight division championships, and a big part of the success came from manager Bobby Cox along with former Cy Young Award winners Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.

The trio made up half of the class that was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday afternoon.

“I can honestly say, I would not be standing here today if it weren’t for you guys,“ Cox said of Maddux and Glavine. “Together, these guys earned six Cy Young Awards wearing Braves uniforms.“

Frank Thomas, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre were also honored at the Hall in Cooperstown.

While Maddux didn’t go into the Hall of Fame officially as a Brave, it’s clear he was largely responsible for Atlanta’s success. The winner of four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards from 1992-95 and a record 18 Gold Glove Awards in a 23-year career, Maddux was the first one inducted on stage behind the Clark Sports Center.

“My first day in the big leagues, the starting pitchers were Nolan Ryan and Jamie Moyer. Twenty minutes before the game, I was sitting on the bench, and my first manager Gene Michael thought I was the bat boy,“ Maddux said during his speech. “The nickname stuck for a few years, but faded over time.“

During his career, Maddux compiled a 355-227 record with a 3.16 earned run average and 3,371 strikeouts, playing for the Chicago Cubs, Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

Maddux and Glavine became the first “primary teammates” elected together by the BBWAA since Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle in ‘74. They are the first pair of 300-game winners inducted in the same year since 1973—Warren Spahn (363) and Mickey Welch (307).

Glavine, a longtime teammate with Maddux in Atlanta, was a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner (1991 and ‘98) and 10-time All-Star. He posted a 305-203 record with a 3.54 ERA over 22 seasons with the Braves and New York Mets. The left-hander was a five-time 20-game winner and won four Silver Slugger Awards.

In 1984, Glavine was drafted by the Braves and also by the Los Angeles Kings. Glavine turned down a career in the NHL and instead chose baseball, and the lefty vaulted to Hall of Fame status. Glavine was actually drafted two rounds ahead of future star Brett Hull and five rounds in front of Luc Robitaille.

“I had a difficult choice to make and as a left-handed pitcher I thought that was the thing that would set me apart and make baseball the smartest decision,“ Glavine said. “Of course, I always wonder what would have happened if I had taken up hockey. In my mind, of course, since I was drafted ahead of two Hall of Famers, Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull, that obviously means I would have been a Hall of Famer in hockey too.“

Cox, La Russa and Torre were dominant managerial figures in baseball since the mid-1990s. They all rank in the top five in managerial wins, all with well over 2,000 to their credit.

Torre, who is fifth on that list with 2,326 victories, started his managerial career as a player-manager for the New York Mets and also skippered the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees.

“I might as well cut to the chase. I’m here because of the New York Yankees,“ Torre said.

Of course, it was with the Yankees that Torre had his most success, as he racked up 1,173 of his wins, while leading them to four World Series titles, six American League pennants, 10 AL East titles and a postseason berth in all 12 of his seasons with the club.

Cox, meanwhile, is fourth on the all-time managerial wins list with 2,504 victories. He guided the Atlanta Braves to the 1995 World Series title. His Braves teams lost four World Series in his time at the helm.

La Russa managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals for 33 seasons. He compiled 2,728 wins to rank third all-time behind Connie Mack and John McGraw and won three World Series titles, one with the A’s in 1989 and twice with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011.

“I think leadership is more important than ever in baseball,“ La Russa said. “Because of free agency and guaranteed contracts, guys seeking fame and fortune, they grew up kind of entitled, it’s more important than ever, the people who are trying to put (players) into position to win have real leadership skills and really work at it.“

Nicknamed the “Big Hurt” for his immense power and the plate, Thomas won consecutive American League MVP Awards with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and ‘94, placing in the top three in the voting five times overall. He finished his 19-year career with 2,468 hits, including 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI and 1,494 runs scored.

“In my career I had so many magical moments in all three uniforms,“ Thomas said. “I will always be thankful, for all of you.“

►  REDS ACTIVATE HANNAHAN:  Cincinnati’s Jack Hannahan, who has been on the disabled list all season while recovering from right shoulder surgery, was activated from the 60-day disabled list.

Hannahan was listed as batting sixth and playing first base in the lineup for Sunday’s home game against the Washington Nationals.

Hannahan, who had surgery in October 2013, hit .216 with a homer and 14 RBI in 83 games last season.

The Reds also optioned pitcher Curtis Partch to Triple-A Louisville to make room on the roster.

►  JAYS ACTIVATE REIMOLD, DESIGNATE ROGERS:  The Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday activated outfielder Nolan Reimold from the 15-day disabled list and designated pitcher Esmil Rogers for assignment.

Reimold had been sidelined with a left calf strain, and hasn’t played since July 11.

The former Oriole, who was claimed off waivers by Toronto in early July, collected four hits in 12 at-bats over four games, including three doubles, before his injury. He also spent 17 games at Double-A Bowie in the Baltimore system, hitting .315.

Rogers failed to record a decision in 16 appearances for the Blue Jays this season, pitching to a 6.97 earned run average after allowing 16 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  SABRES RE-SIGN ADAM:  The Buffalo Sabres re-signed restricted free agent forward Luke Adam to a one-year, two-way contract on Sunday.

Adam, selected by the Sabres in the second round (44th overall) of the 2008 draft, appeared in 12 games with the Sabres last year, scoring one goal.

The 24-year-old native of Newfoundland has picked up 15 goals and 11 assists in 87 career NHL games over parts of four seasons.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  ITALY’S NIBALI WINS TOUR DE FRANCE:  Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France on Sunday, the first Italian in 16 years to capture cycling’s most prestigious event.

Germany’s Marcel Kittel captured the final stage on the Champs-Elysees for a second straight year, this time narrowly beating Norwegian Alexander Kristoff at the finish line.

Nibali, 29, became the sixth rider to win all three of the Grand Tours—France, Italy and Spain—and is the first Italian to capture the Tour de France since Marco Pantani in 1998, the year before Lance Armstrong claimed the first of his now-vacated seven straight victories.

Nibali won the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 and the Giro d’Italia in 2013.

“Those past few days, when I was asked which one was my best moment of the Tour, I anticipated that no feeling of happiness could be compared to what we feel on the podium at the Champs-Elysees,“ Nibali said.

“It’s even more beautiful than what I could imagine. I want to dedicate this victory to my team and my family. Hadn’t I had my wife Rachele and my baby girl Emma on my side, hadn’t I grown up as a young cyclist with parents like mine, I’m not sure I would have made it to here. I have felt such a strong emotion very few times in my life. So I say thanks to the Tour, thanks to all the French people and thanks to everyone.“

Nibali led the race for 18 of the 21 days and had four stage victories.

France’s Jean-Christophe Peraud crashed during the final stage but was brought back onto his bike by some teammates and still finished in second place behind Nibali, 7 minutes, 37 seconds off the pace. France’s Thibaut Pinot was third, followed by Spain’s Alejandro Valverde Belmonte and American Tejay van Garderen.

Kittel had four stage wins this year and Germany had seven, a new record. He finished in a time of 3 hours, 20 minutes and 50 seconds and passed Kristoff just before the finish line. Lithuania’s Ramunas Navardauskas was third, followed by Germany’s Andre Greipel and Australia’s Mark Renshaw.

This year’s race was wide open after past champions Chris Froome and Alberto Contador and top rider Mark Cavendish were forced out due to crashes.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  EDWARDS LEAVING ROUSH FENWAY RACING AT SEASON’S END:  Carl Edwards will not be a part of Roush Fenway Racing’s driver lineup for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season.

Roush Fenway revealed on Sunday its Sprint Cup driver lineup for next year, which includes Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne, who is a full-time competitor in the Nationwide Series this season. The team noted that “Edwards will not be with the team for the 2015 season.“

Edwards has driven for the racing organization since 2003. All 357 of his career starts in the Cup Series, including Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, have been as driver of the No. 99 Ford for the team. Edwards made his Sprint Cup debut on Aug. 22, 2004 at Michigan. He competed in the Camping World Truck Series full time for Roush from 2003-04.

“I will always be thankful for Carl’s contribution and the role he played in many Roush Fenway wins and championships,“ team co-owner Jack Roush said. “We wish him well for the future. In the meantime, we are excited about continuing our quest for a championship with Carl and the No. 99 team in 2014.“

Roush Fenway will not replace Edwards for next season. His departure from the team at the end of this year does not come as a surprise. There had been months of speculation that Edwards would leave Roush Fenway. It is widely rumored that he will join Joe Gibbs Racing next year.

Edwards has scored 23 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series, including two this season (Bristol and Sonoma). He is currently sixth in the point standings and is expected to make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Edwards has finished second in points twice in his Cup career—2008 and 2011. He lost the ‘11 championship on a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart.

“Right now, we need to win this championship and this race, the Brickyard 400, and that is the mission,“ Edwards said on Sunday morning at Indy. “I drive for Jack Roush. I drive the No. 99 Fastenal [team sponsor] Ford. And that’s what I do right now.

“From a housekeeping standpoint, obviously Roush Fenway has to announce what they’re going to do next year. I’ll soon announce what I’m going to be doing next year. But I just want to be real clear that the focus is to win the championship this year.“

Edwards won 38 Nationwide races and captured the championship in that series in 2007 with Roush. He also notched six wins in the Truck Series.

Biffle signing a contract extension with Roush Fenway has ended any rumors that he would be leaving the team at the end of this season.

Biffle, who has 746 starts combined in NASCAR’s three national touring series, joined Roush Fenway in 1998 and gave the team its first championship in trucks in 2000 and its maiden title in Nationwide in 2002. He has qualified for the Chase in five of the last six seasons. Biffle finished second in Cup points in 2005.

“I don’t have the words for what Jack Roush has meant to my career,“ Biffle said. “During our 16 years together, we have won multiple championships and numerous races on every level. I am as excited about what the future holds for me here as I am about what we have been able to accomplish in the past. Our goal remains to run up front, win races and become the sports’ first triple- crown winner by having a championship in all three series.“

Stenhouse is in his second full season of Sprint Cup competition. He has been with Roush Fenway since 2008. Stenhouse won back-to-back Nationwide championships from 2011-12 before graduating to Cup in 2013, earning rookie- of-the-year honors.

Fastenal will serve as primary sponsor for Stenhouse’s No. 17 team next year.

Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, joined Roush Fenway in 2010 and has competed full-time in Nationwide, in addition to running a limited Sprint Cup schedule with Wood Brothers Racing. He will drive the No. 6 Ford, and AdvoCare will be the primary sponsor of his team next season.

►  RICCIARDO WINS HUNGARIAN GP, HAMILTON FINISHES THIRD:  Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull battled changing weather conditions, benefited from a pair of safety-car periods and capitalized on superb pit strategy to win Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo overtook Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for the lead with three laps remaining and then beat Alonso to the finish line by 5.2 seconds for his second career win in Formula One. The 25-year-old Australian scored his maiden victory in the June 8 Canadian Grand Prix.

“Winning this today, it honestly feels as good as the first [in Canada],“ Ricciardo said. “This one sank in a lot quicker. Crossing the line today, I knew what was going on a bit more. And I could enjoy it immediately rather than it being delayed. It was awesome. To have to pass guys again to win the race, as I did in Canada, makes it a lot more satisfying, knowing that we did have a bit of a fight on our hands.“

After starting from the 22nd position and from pit lane, Lewis Hamilton charged through the field in this 70-lap grand prix to finish third, one spot ahead of his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, the current F1 championship leader.

Hamilton started from the pit lane for the first time in his F1 career after he suffered an engine fire in the early going of Saturday’s qualifying at the Hungaroring. His team had to make a chassis, engine and gearbox change, which forced Hamilton to start the race from the pits. On the opening lap, Hamilton experienced a brake issue, causing him to slide off of the slippery track and into the barrier. He did not sustain any significant damage to his car during the incident.

“It is a great result today,“ Hamilton said. “I was just pushing as hard as possible to get as high as I could. It was obviously damage limitation after what happened yesterday. I can’t express the pain I feel when we have issues such as in the last couple of races. It’s hard to swallow and difficult to come back the next day and get the right balance between not attacking too much but pushing to the limit.“

A heavy shower moved over this 2.722-mile (4.381-kilometer), 14-turn circuit shortly before the start of this race. The wet surface caused numerous crashes, forcing the deployment of the safety car two times.

It was deployed for the first time on lap 8 when Marcus Ericsson from Caterham lost control exiting turn 3 and slammed hard into the barrier. The final safety-car period occurred on lap 23 when Force India’s Sergio Perez ran wide coming out of a corner and made heavy impact with the wall. The two periods set up various tire strategies for teams when they pitted. The strategies worked towards Ricciardo and Hamilton’s favor.

The weather improved and the track surface had dried for the second half of the race.

Hamilton trimmed Rosberg’s lead from 14 points to 11.

“The two safety-car periods helped quite a lot, but naturally I looked fast and had the pace this weekend, so there was an opportunity for more points,“ Hamilton said. “I would like to say a big congratulations to Daniel and Fernando. It was close at the end, and it was getting very hard to keep Nico behind, as he was catching at close to three seconds a lap. Coming back, through, shows how great this car and team is, and this result is much more satisfying than an easy win. Going into the break, I’m still in the fight for the championship, which is very satisfying.“

Rosberg started on the pole and ran in front until the first round of pit stops during the safety-car period. The separation between race winner Ricciardo and fourth-place Rosberg was only 6.3 seconds.

“That was a disappointing afternoon,“ Rosberg said. “A few things didn’t work out for me and it was a very up and down race. In the beginning it was all under control. Unfortunately the safety car cost me the lead, because I just missed the pit entry and then I couldn’t pit. I also had some braking issues after the safety car went in and a difficult period of time with handling this, which cost me some positions.“

Alonso’s second-place run marked his best finish of the season. He also earned his and Ferrari’s second podium this year.

“I think it has been a tough weekend, a tough season in general, so to get a podium is always a nice surprise, let’s say,“ Alonso said. “We took a gamble. We risked today just trying to get the victory.“

Felipe Massa from Williams finished fifth, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen placed sixth.

Ricciardo’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel, the four-time F1 world champion, finished seventh after rebounding from a spin at the halfway point. Vettel ran wide just past the entrance to pit lane and did a 360-degree slide before making slight contact with the wall.

“It wasn’t a great race,“ Vettel said. “I spun, which was my mistake, and before that, I was unlucky with the safety car in the first stint. The timing meant the first four cars lost positions to those running behind. Unfortunately, we were then in the wrong mode for the restart, and I lost two positions. It’s good for Daniel that he won today, I’m happy for him.“

Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Jean-Eric Verge (Toro Rosso) and Jenson Button (McLaren) completed the top-10.

With 11 races completed, Rosberg, Hamilton and Riccardo are the only drivers who have won a grand prix this season. F1 takes a three-week “summer vacation” before it resumes its schedule on Aug. 24 with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa- Francorchamps.


Jeff Gordon is hoping to win his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this year, but right now, he’s celebrating his record fifth victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This past Friday, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard declared July 27, 2014 as “Jeff Gordon Day” in Indianapolis, commemorating the 20th anniversary of Gordon’s win in the inaugural Brickyard 400.

It was truly Gordon’s day at this historic 2.5-mile racetrack on Sunday. Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana and will turn 43 years old on Aug. 4, passed Kasey Kahne, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, for the lead following a restart with 17 laps to go. He then held off Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth in the closing laps to become a five-time Brickyard 400 winner.

“I don’t think there is a greater feeling for a race car driver and a race team, because that’s what it took today,“ said Gordon, who scored his 90th career Cup victory in his 22nd full season driving the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick. “It was a total team effort to be here in Victory Lane at Indianapolis. I’m exhausted.“

Gordon has struggled on restarts over the years, but on the final restart for this 400-mile race, occurring on lap 144, he quickly moved to the outside of Kahne and then charged past him for the lead.

“I’m not very good on restarts and wasn’t very good today,“ Gordon admitted. “I finally made the restart of my life today when it counted most. I knew we had a great race car. We just needed to get out front. Kasey kind of hung back, and I kind of got a little ahead of him. I had to back up and was able to stay on his quarter panel, and once we got down into [turns] 1 and 2, I could hear him get loose. I was kind of glad he took the inside, because I really wanted the outside.

“I’ve got to thank him. He raced me awesome and clean, because it could have gotten real ugly down there. Once I got clear of him, I was like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening now. No caution, please no caution now.“

In addition to his 1994 victory, Gordon won the Brickyard 400 in 1998, 2001 and ‘04. He also captured the series title in ‘98 and ‘01.

Gordon had been tied with Jimmie Johnson, his teammate, for most NASCAR victories at Indy with four each. Now, Gordon has moved into a tie with Formula One legend Michael Schumacher for most race wins here. Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix at this track in 2000 and 2003-06.

“This one is for all those fans throughout the years and all weekend long,“ Gordon said. “They were saying we believe you can get [Brickyard 400 win] number 5. We got number 5.“

Gordon’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, won the Brickyard 400 for the first time. Gustafson has been with Gordon’s team since the start of the 2011 season.

“It’s just unbelievable,“ Gustafson said. “I’ve wanted to win this race my whole life and to win here at this unbelievable place and the history of this racetrack. Jeff has an amazing record here. This is the first one for me. I am so proud of everybody at the No. 24 shop.“

Gordon also gave team owner Rick Hendrick his record-extending ninth Cup Series win at Indianapolis.

“I told [Gordon] this morning that this was his day,“ Hendrick said. “He’s been so good on the long runs at every track, and he gets around this place so well. But for him to break that tie is pretty special. We’re a little bit older than we were 20 years ago, but this is a great win. What a way, with Jeff, here in Indianapolis where this is his home track. I remember how good it felt. This one feels just as good.“

Busch finished 2.3 second behind Gordon in the runner-up spot, while Hamlin placed third and Kenseth fourth. Joey Logano was fifth.

Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota failed post-race inspection. Race officials confiscated parts from his car and are taking them to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina for further examination. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said officials “could have possible issues with several rear firewall block-off plates” on his car.

Kahne, who led the most laps with 70, ended up finishing sixth. Gordon led a total of 40 laps.

“Looking back, I should have chosen the top [lane], but I pretty much let Jeff control that last restart,“ Kahne said. “I would have loved to win at the Brickyard. We had a good car. I thought I gave it all I had. The team gave it all they had, but we just came up a little short.“

Rookie Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, the pole sitter, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is Gordon’s teammate as well, and Austin Dillon, also a rookie this season, finished seventh through 10th, respectively.

Johnson, the six-time and defending Sprint Cup champion, was never a factor in this race, as he finished 14th.

Carl Edwards placed 15th several hours after he and Roush Fenway Racing announced his departure from the team at the end of this season. Edwards has been with Roush Fenway since 2003 and driving the No. 99 Ford for the organization since ‘04.

With his second win this season and currently holding the points lead, Gordon clinched a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, assuming he attempts to qualify for each of the remaining six races in the regular season. Gordon’s first victory this year happened on May 10 at Kansas. This was the seventh straight race that he has been atop the point standings.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  VIKINGS’ RUDOLPH SIGNS EXTENSION:  The Minnesota Vikings signed tight end Kyle Rudolph to a contract extension on Sunday night.

The 24-year-old Rudolph caught 30 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns in 2013.

“I’m extremely excited to get this extension completed and continue my career with the Minnesota Vikings. I’ve said all along I wanted to stay in Minnesota. I love the fans, the community and, most importantly, I’m excited about where this team is going. I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and helping this organization reach our ultimate goal,“ Rudolph said.

The 2012 Pro-Bowl MVP has already racked up 15 scores, ranking him fifth in Vikings history for tight ends.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  HORSEY TOPS MCGRANE TO WIN RUSSIAN OPEN:  David Horsey made par on the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Damien McGrane and win the Russian Open.

Horsey closed with an even-par 72, while McGrane rallied with a 6-under 66 as they both finished at 13-under-par 275 at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.

The duo returned to the 18th for the playoff, and both players found the fairway off the tee. McGrane knocked his approach over the green and into a bunker, while Horsey’s second shot stopped 25 feet short of the hole.

McGrane blasted to about 10 feet. After Horsey’s birdie try stayed above ground, McGrane missed his par putt and tapped in for bogey.

Horsey then kicked in his par effort for his third European Tour title.

“I’m relieved really. That’s the word that sums it up. It was quite similar to my last win, in Morocco, where I made a bit of a mess of a couple of holes on the back nine,“ Horsey said. “I didn’t know where I was in the tournament until the 17th. I hit it through the back of the green there and then realized I was three behind and needed to do something drastic quite quickly.“

Scott Jamieson bogeyed the 17th to fall out of a tie for the lead and parred the last to end one back at minus-12 after closing with a 69.

Sam Hutsby carded a 4-under 68 to end alone in fourth at 11-under 277. Peter Whiteford, who shared the third-round lead with Horsey, stumbled to a 3-over 75 and finished in fifth at minus-10.

Whiteford and Horsey shared the lead at the start of the day. Horsey bogeyed five and six after Whiteford bogeyed the second and sixth, and they both were back at minus-11 and tied for the lead.

Horsey seemingly took control of the tournament with a long birdie putt on the seventh. He followed with an up-and-down birdie on the par-5 eighth and that moved him two clear of Whiteford, who played the final 10 holes in 1-over par to end three back.

After three straight pars around the turn, Horsey hit a bad drive on the par-4 12th into the long grass. He took a drop, then hacked his third down the fairway. He chipped to 10 feet, but 2-putted for double-bogey.

Horsey’s approach on the 14th buried in a greenside bunker and he could only blast out into the rough. He got up and down for bogey to fall to 10-under, where he was two behind Jamieson. That was the first time since early in round one that Horsey was out of the lead.

Jamieson followed birdies at three and four with bogeys on the next two holes. He then converted three birdies in a 4-hole span from the eighth to jump to 12-under. After a bogey on 12, Jamieson birdied the 14th and led by one.

The Scotsman birdie the 16th, but found water with his second at the 17th and that led to a bogey, which dropped him one back.

Meanwhile, McGrane was making a run. After four birdies in the first 10 holes, he parred four in a row from the 11th. McGrane drained an 8-foot birdie putt on the 15th to kick off a run of three straight birdies.

That spurt moved McGrane to 14-under. He found sand off the 18th tee and just blasted into the fairway. McGrane played his third to eight feet, but missed the par putt for the win.

“I played lovely all week, so I’m very pleased with my week. I’m a little disappointed not to do better in the playoff there, but I’ve hit good shots all week and putted reasonably well,“ McGrane stated. “All in all, I’m very positive and it’s good for me mentally as well. I can push on for the rest of the season with my card secure.“

Horsey, who was in the group behind McGrane, birdied 15 to get back to minus-11. He missed the green at the par-5 17th, but chipped in for eagle and a share of the lead with McGrane, who was playing the last. Horsey got up and down for par at the last to force the playoff.

“I knew the chip on 17 had to go in. I knew by that point that I was three behind so I needed it to go in. This is a very special win,“ said Horsey. “I was trying to make birdie at the last. I didn’t realize Damien had dropped one, but I managed to get up and down there and was fortunate to win the playoff as well.“

NOTES: Horsey, who posted his fifth top-10 finish in 16 starts, earned 166,660 euros for the win ... His last victory was in 2011 at the Trophee Hassan II ... The tour is in the United States for the next two weeks for the WGC- Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship ... Tiger Woods will defend his title at the WGC next week.

►  GRECIET ROLLS TO WIN IN PRAGUE:  Julie Greciet fired a 5-under 66 on Sunday and rolled to a 2-stroke win at the Sberbank Golf Masters.

Greciet collected her first career win on the Ladies European Tour at 17- under-par 196.

Greciet, who was the second-round leader, birdied the first hole to move to minus-13, but as she parred her next seven holes, Amy Boulden opened her round with five birdies over her first six holes to meet her atop the leaderboard.

Greciet, however, regained sole possession of the lead with three straight birdies from the ninth, and later reached 18-under with consecutive gains at the 14th and 15th before play was suspended for an hour due to rain.

When play resumed, Greciet followed a pair of pars at Nos. 16 and 17 with a bogey at the 18th to finish at 17-under and claim the win.

Lee-Anne Pace (65) took second place at 15-under, while Boulden (65) ended in third at minus-14.

Anne-Lise Caudal (62), Nikki Garrett (66) and Sophie Giquel-Bettan (67) shared fourth place at Golf Park Plzen at 12-under 201.


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►  ANDUJAR CAPTURES GSTAAD TITLE:  Spain’s Pablo Andujar captured his third ATP title with a 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Juan Monaco of Argentina at the Swiss Open Sunday.

Ranked 71st in the world, the 28-year-old Andujar improved to 3-3 in career finals by winning this clay-court event. His other championships came in Casablanca in 2011 and 2012.

“I knew it was going to be a fight, physically. The first set was decided on two points,“ Andujar said. “He got the advantage in the second set, but I played aggressively in the important and final points. I have worked a lot and it is amazing to win a trophy. I finished with an ace, the only ace I hit the whole match.“

Spaniards have won the Gstaad crown 13 times since 1990.

The 30-year-old Monaco was playing in his first final since losing at Kitzbuhel in July last year. He has won seven of his eight career titles on clay. Monaco dropped to an 8-11 record in championship matches.

“I would like to congratulate Pablo. I think he had an amazing run this week,“ Monaco said. “He won a couple of good matches and played well to win today.“

►  SVITOLINA REPEATS AS BAKU CHAMPION:  Elina Svitolina of Ukraine successfully defended her title at the Baku Cup with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) triumph over Serbian Bojana Jovanovski Sunday.

The second-seeded Svitolina, who captured her second career championship, breezed through the first set in 22 minutes. Although the second set was much tougher, she won the first four points of tie tiebreaker and finally closed out Jovanovski on Centre Court.

The was just the second career final for the 19-year-old Svitolina, who claimed the $43,000 first-place prize. She is the first teenager to win multiple WTA titles since Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who actually captured three as a teenager (Monterrey and Istanbul in 2010 and Monterrey in 2011).

The 22-year-old Jovanovski captured her first crown at this event in 2012. She also won a tournament in Tashkent last year.

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MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014

Major League Baseball - National League
San Diego at Atlanta, 12:10 PM - FS-San Diego, SportSouth, MLB Network, DSS
Philadelphia at NY Mets, 7:10 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, SNY, DSS
Arizona at Cincinnati, 7:10 PM - FS-Arizona, Ohio, DSS
Washington at Miami, 7:10 PM - MASN, FS-Florida, DSS
Colorado at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Pittsburgh at San Francisco, 10:15 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, NBC Bay, DSS

American League
Toronto at Boston, 7:10 PM - SNET, NESN, DSS, ESPN
NY Yankees at Texas, 8:05 PM - YES, FS-Southwest, DSS
Oakland at Houston, 8:10 PM - CSN-California, Houston, DSS

Milwaukee at Tampa Bay, 7:10 PM - FS-Wisconsin, SunSports, DSS

Indiana at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - Time Warner, NBA TV

Major League Soccer
Los Angeles at Seattle, 10:00 PM - ESPN 2


Sports Brief - 07.27.14

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►  SHAQUILLE RIDDICK, DE, WEST VIRGINIA:  The Mountaineers’ disappointing 4-8 campaign a season ago can be largely contributed to their porous defense, which allowed 33.3 points and 455.0 yards per game, but they are hoping that the addition of one of the FCS’s most disruptive forces will help turn things around.

In 11 games for Gardner-Webb in 2013, Riddick racked up 19.0 TFL, 8.5 sacks and 17 QB hurries.

It remains to be seen whether his skill set will translate to the Big 12, but Riddick is an athletic freak in a similar mold as Hunter (6-6, 244), and only figures to help a WVU squad that finished with only 16 sacks a season ago.


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►  RB GROOMS DISMISSED FROM TEAM FOLLOWING SATURDAY ARREST:  Marshall running back Kevin Grooms, whose on-field accomplishments had been coupled with several off-the-field problems, was dismissed from the football team Saturday morning following his arrest on several charges.

Grooms, age 22, was arrested Saturday on charges of misdemeanor domestic assault by threat, felony burglary and daytime breaking and entering, misdemeanor petit larceny and fleeing on foot.

Marshall’s athletic department announced Grooms’ dismissal through an emailed statement, saying he was off the team for a “violation of team rules and policies” and there would be no further comment.

This is Grooms’ third arrest since April 2013. On April 21, 2013, he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of underage consumption and obstruction.

Grooms also was one of five people named in a civil suit filed in May seeking damages following a vehicle-pedestrian collision on April 21, 2013.

The suit claims that on that day, Grooms was driving a Toyota Camry owned by Alyssa Rae Bartley, also named in the suit, “while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, operating said motor vehicle at excessive speed” in the 1200 block of Fourth Avenue in Huntington, when it struck Jordan Badalucco-Crist as he was crossing the street, severely injuring his leg.

Grooms was arrested on November 30, 2013 on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and obstruction.

He was suspended indefinitely following the November arrest, missing Marshall’s Conference USA championship game at Rice and its Military Bowl win over Maryland. He was allowed to return to the team for spring practice.

Grooms was named C-USA’s freshman of the year in 2012, after leading all conference freshmen with 737 rushing yards.

He suffered a high ankle sprain during the 2013 preseason and was hobbled by it for much of the season. He shared carries with Essray Taliaferro and Steward Butler in 2013, finishing third on the team with 503 yards and six touchdowns on 91 carries.


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►  ERIC STRIKER, LB, OKLAHOMA:  Striker is already a well-known commodity for the Sooners.

After receiving virtually no playing time as a freshman in 2012, he emerged last season to start all 13 games while leading the team in TFL (10.5) and sacks (6.5).

He saved his breakout performance for the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, where he logged three sacks and a forced fumble, and if that showing was any indication for what’s to come, Striker could be one of the nation’s premiere pass-rushing linebackers in 2014, and a hot commodity in next spring’s NFL Draft.


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►  SAINTS TE GRAHAM RETURNS IN FORM, AND WITH HUMOR:  Aside from the New Orleans Saints’ fleur-de-lis symbol, star tight end Jimmy Graham never associated playing pro football with flowers.

That is, until this week, when he reported to training camp at The Greenbrier resort and found his room adorned in wallpaper heavy on a pink floral print.

The room choice for Graham was an apparent practical joke. Teammate Pierre Thomas captured Graham’s reaction on video that was posted to social media, proclaiming, “They got you so good.“

Graham can afford to have a sense of humor about it. After missing all of the Saints’ offseason because of a protected contract holdout, Graham is finally back with the team, thanks to a four-year, $40 million deal struck between him and the club last week.

After his first practice on Friday, Graham, smiling, described his room as “a little bit more floral than I’m used to.“

But Graham was pleased to be back among teammates after a well-publicized contract negotiation.

“These last three days have been awesome,“ Graham said. “I told the guys, ‘You don’t know how much you miss it until you are gone for that amount of time and knowing everyone else is together.‘

“I missed the locker rooms. I missed the coaches. I missed the guys. Today was a special day for me.“

Graham’s deal makes him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, topping the $9 million per season earned by New England’s Rob Gronkowski.

Quarterback Drew Brees didn’t seem to think Graham’s holdout had been too detrimental to his form on the field.

“Jimmy is Jimmy,“ Brees said. “Ran the best time in conditioning tests yesterday, so there’s no doubt he’s in shape and ready to roll.“

Much of that can be attributed to Graham’s support system in his offseason home of Miami, including former Saints linebacker and unsigned free agent Jonathan Vilma, a fellow former Miami Hurricane.

“When I’m down there in Miami ... that’s all we do is work,“ Graham said. “We took on this year just like we did the lockout year (2011). For me, that’s how I saw it. I knew that whenever my number was called or whenever something was figured out, that I could just show up and prove myself.“

That has not been a problem during his first four NFL seasons. Graham has become an integral part of the Saints’ high-powered offense, with 301 career receptions for 3,863 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Saints coach Sean Payton was impressed by the maturity with which Graham handled the situation.

“We have seen a guy come in here young and all of a sudden in a short period of time accomplish a lot of great things, and still has a lot of things I’m sure he wants to be able to accomplish,“ Payton said.

Graham, a former third-round pick who signed his rookie deal with little fanfare, called his first major contract negotiation “a tough process.“

“It really is,“ Graham said. “You don’t really get into football to do things like that. You never see the business side of it. You never experience litigation and things like that. So for me it was an eye-opener. But in the same respect, I’m just happy that all that mess is over and that I can just focus on this team and this season.“

►  PACKERS GIVE WR NELSON CONTRACT EXTENSION:  The Green Bay Packers signed wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a contract extension on Saturday.

According to multiple reports, Nelson and the team agreed on a four-year extension worth $39 million.

“Jordy’s hard work and dedication has made him a good player, teammate and a core member of this team,“ Packers general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement. “We are pleased to come to an agreement that will extend his Packers career.“

Nelson, 29, is coming off a season in which he caught 85 passes for 1,314 yards—both career highs—and eight touchdowns.

Selected by Green Bay in the second round of the 2008 draft, the Kansas State product has 302 receptions for 4,590 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career.

►  49ERS RB HUNTER TEARS ACL:  San Francisco 49ers running back Kendall Hunter suffered a torn ACL during Friday’s practice.

The injury likely sidelines Hunter for the season.

Hunter, 25, has rushed for 1,202 yards on 262 carries with seven touchdowns over his three-year NFL career—all with the 49ers.


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►  NIBALI CLOSES IN ON TOUR TITLE AFTER TIME TRIAL:  Italian Vincenzo Nibali is set to become the winner of the 2014 Tour de France after a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s time trial.

German Tony Martin won Stage 20 after completing the 54-kilometer ride from Bergerac to Perigueux in a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 21 seconds. It was his second stage won of this year’s Tour.

Nibali crossed the finish line 1:58 behind Martin, but increased his lead in the overall standings.

With Nibali in firm control of the yellow jersey, Saturday was a race to reach the podium in Paris.

Only 15 seconds separated Frenchmen Jean-Christophe Peraud and Thibaut Pinot and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde in a heated battle for second and third at the start of the stage.

Peraud placed seventh to jump ahead of Pinot for second. He trails the leader by 7:52. Pinot is 32 seconds behind his countryman after finishing 12th, while Valverde is another 1:31 slower in fourth after placing 28th Saturday.

The Tour concludes on Sunday with the traditional finish along the Champs Elysees in Paris.


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►  CARDINALS SIGN C PIERZYNSKI:  The St. Louis Cardinals have signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

The Cardinals expect the 37-year-old veteran to join the team in Chicago on Saturday.

Pierzynski was released by the Boston Red Sox on July 16 after batting .254 with four home runs and 31 RBI over 72 games.

The Cardinals have been searching for a viable replacement since losing Yadier Molina, who had surgery earlier this month to repair a ruptured thumb ligament.

Catcher George Kottaras was designated for assignment to clear a spot for Pierzynski on the active roster.

►  BRAVES OPTION PASTORNICKY, RECALL GOSSELIN:  The Atlanta Braves optioned second baseman Tyler Pastornicky to Gwinnett on Saturday and recalled fellow infielder Phil Gosselin from the Triple-A club.

Pastornicky has batted .200 with one home run and a .321 on-base%age in 28 games for the Braves this season. His 2013 season was cut short by surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Gosselin was hitting .344 in 96 games for Gwinnett this season. He had two hits in six at-bats for the Braves last season in his first major-league action.

►  INDIANS PROMOTE MCALLISTER FOR ANOTHER START:  The Cleveland Indians recalled pitcher Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus to start Saturday’s game against Kansas City.

McAllister, who has made 12 starts for the Indians this season, was brought up from the minors for the third time this month.

The right-hander is 0-1 in two July starts with four runs given up in 12 1/3 innings. The Indians are 6-6 this season in games he has started.

Cleveland optioned righty Josh Tomlin to Columbus to make room on the roster.

►  GIANTS ADD PEAVY IN TRADE WITH RED SOX:  The Boston Red Sox shipped veteran Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.

The Giants hope the move bolsters their rotation as they are locked in a tight battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers for NL West supremacy.

Boston acquired two minor league pitchers, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, in exchange for the 33-year-old Peavy and cash considerations. Escobar and Hembree were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

A former National League Cy Young Award winner, Peavy was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 outings for the Red Sox this season. The right-hander’s run support average of 2.76 was the second-lowest among all AL starting pitchers.

►  RAYS RECALL HELLICKSON FROM MINORS:  The Tampa Bay Rays recalled right-hander Jeremy Hellickson from the minors, in order to take the mound Saturday against the Boston Red Sox.

Hellickson had been optioned to Double-A Montgomery on July 13, in order to give him more time to rehab from offseason elbow surgery which had limited him to one start this year.

The 27-year-old had gone 12-10 with a 5.17 earned run average in 31 starts last season.

To make room on the roster, the club designated pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo for assignment. The pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez went 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 32 appearances for Tampa in 2014.

►  METS PLACE MATSUZAKA ON DL WITH SORE ELBOW:  The New York Mets placed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a sore right elbow.

The move is retroactive to Friday, a day after the right-hander gave up three runs in two innings out of the bullpen in a loss to Milwaukee.

Matsuzaka, who started the season in Triple-A, is 3-3 with a 3.87 ERA in 28 games for the Mets this season, including nine starts.

The Mets selected the contract of righty Buddy Carlyle from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill the roster spot.

►  PADRES ACTIVATE 1B ALONSO:  The San Diego Padres activated first baseman Yonder Alonso from the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game against Atlanta.

Alonso was batting .210 with five homers and a .250 on-base%age when he went on the DL last month with right wrist tendinitis.

The Padres optioned utility man Jake Goebbert to Triple-A El Paso to make room.


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►  ROSBERG ON POLE, HAMILTON AT THE BACK FOR HUNGARIAN GP:  Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg captured his sixth pole of the season while his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, experienced an engine fire in the early going of Saturday’s qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Rosberg bumped Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel from the pole position in the closing seconds when he made a lap around the Hungaroring circuit in 1 minute, 22.715 seconds.

A brief shower interrupted the start of the final qualifying round (Q3). With slippery conditions in turn 1, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen spun out and slammed into the barrier. Magnussen was not injured during the incident but qualifying was stopped briefly for repairs to the barrier.

Rosberg is seeking his fifth grand prix victory of the season. He won last weekend’s German Grand Prix, his home race.

“That was a very tough qualifying session today, especially with the rain at the beginning of Q3,“ said Rosberg, who claimed his 10th career pole in F1. “It’s difficult to judge which braking point is best in changing conditions, so I was a bit over the limit at times, especially in turn 1. I was lucky there, but in the end, I nailed the last lap. So I’m quite happy to be starting from pole.“

Hamilton, who has won the Hungarian GP four times, including victories the past two years, qualified 21st after failing to set a time in Q1 due to his engine fire. He had posted the fastest laps in all three practice sessions for this race.

“I can’t really believe it today. There was just nothing I could do,“ Hamilton said. “There was an issue with the car as I was coming out of the second-to- last corner and then the engine just cut out. I thought we could get it back to the garage, but then I looked in my mirrors and saw the whole rear end was on fire and that was it. Now we need to see what damage has been done to the car and see if the gearbox or engine needs to be changed.“

Hamilton, the 2008 F1 world champion, had a disastrous qualifying session in Germany as well. He suffered brake disc failure on his right-front, causing him to spin out and slam hard into the barrier. Hamilton later received a grid penalty for an unapproved gearbox change. He started 20th but rebounded nicely with a third-place finish in the German GP.

“It’s getting to the point where it’s beyond back luck now,“ he said. “As a team, we need to do better. I need to somehow find the way to turn this into a positive for tomorrow, then build on that going into the race. It will be very difficult, as [Hungaroring] is one of the hardest circuits to overtake on.“

Rosberg enters Sunday’s 70-lap Hungarian GP with a 14-point lead over Hamilton.

“It’s a real shame for Lewis and the team,“ Rosberg said of Hamilton’s qualifying incident in Hungary. “I know how much it hurts to have technical failure where there is nothing you can do as a driver. We need to sort out the reliability issues, but I know that tonight there will be a great team effort to fix his car, just like in Hockenheim [German GP] where the whole garage pitched in to help rebuild it.

“It takes away a bit of the excitement when there is no gloves-off battle because that’s what we are here for. But tomorrow is a long race, and I’m sure that Lewis can get another good result.“

Vettel’s final lap in Q3 was clocked in 1:23.201, giving him the provisional pole. The four-time F1 world champion had P1 for only a few seconds before Rosberg completed his last lap and took the pole. Vettel matched his best qualifying finish of the season. He also qualified second for the Malaysian Grand Prix in March.

“I think historically we’ve always had a competitive car around here,“ Vettel said. “It seems that we are a little bit closer, but Nico’s final lap was very good. The gap was bigger than we were hoping for because if we get everything perfect and Nico maybe has a bit of a wobble then we can have a crack. But it didn’t happen.“

Valtteri Bottas from Williams placed third in qualifying, while Vettel’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, took the fourth spot. Fernando Alonso from Ferrari was fifth.

Finishing sixth through ninth were: Felipe Massa (Williams), Jenson Button (McLaren), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India).

Magnussen did not post a time in Q3 due to his accident, as he finished 10th in qualifying. But Magnussen will have to start the race from pit lane after his team had to make a chassis and gearbox change to his badly-damaged car.

“Starting from the pit lane will make life more difficult, but I’m determined to have a strong race,“ Magnussen said.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen failed to advance into Q2 after he opted not to run another lap late in the opening round. Raikkonen held a transfer spot until he was bumped in the final seconds of Q1. He qualified 17th.

Pastor Maldonado from Lotus did not record a lap in Q1 when he experienced a problem with his car and came to a halt on the track in the opening minutes. Maldonado will start alongside Hamilton on the last row.

►  DILLON HOLDS OFF BUSCH FOR FIRST NATIONWIDE WIN AT INDY:  Rookie Ty Dillon became a first-time race winner in the Nationwide Series after passing Kyle Busch for the lead late in the race and then holding off Busch in the closing laps in Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dillon, the 22-year-old grandson of NASCAR multi-team owner Richard Childress and younger brother of Sprint Cup Series rookie Austin Dillon, pulled ahead of Busch and took the lead for the first time following a restart on lap 77. The driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing ran in front for the final 24 laps around this historic 2.5-mile racetrack to claim his maiden win in Nationwide, which occurred in his 31st career start.

“When you got the best guy in the business [Busch] behind you, it’s tough,“ Dillon said. “It’s tough to stay focused and not give up.“

Dillon also collected a $100,000 bonus from series title sponsor Nationwide Insurance for being the highest finisher among the four drivers eligible for the “Dash 4 Cash” at Indianapolis.

“The emotions are incredible,“ he said. “I came here [to Indy] two years ago and finished third in my second Nationwide race ever. There’s just something about this place that feels right to me. I feel comfortable. I don’t know what it is. But the main thing was [crew chief] Danny Stockman Jr. gave me a car that I felt like I could go out there and win with from the moment we unloaded. He put me in a position to win, and we did it.

“I wasn’t going to let this thing go. I wasn’t going to let it slip. My guys have gone through some hard stuff this year, and they haven’t given up on me. So I was definitely going to give them all I had.“

Dillon had scored 11 top-10 finishes in the first 17 Nationwide races in 2014 but had not posted a top-five run this season until last weekend’s event at Chicagoland.

“It was really cool to see him win,“ Childress said of his grandson’s victory at Indianapolis. “He’s had a tough year this year. He’s had some close runs. But to come up here and win at Indy and race with the guys that he was racing with, it was a great day for RCR, Ty Dillon and the whole family.“

Dillon competed in the Camping World Truck Series full-time from 2012-13, winning three races. He graduated to Nationwide this season, replacing his brother in the No. 3 car for RCR. Austin Dillon won last year’s Nationwide championship and then moved on to Sprint Cup competition.

Busch, a Sprint Cup regular and winner of the 2013 Nationwide race at Indy, tried to catch Dillon during the final laps but came up 0.8 seconds short at the finish. Busch started on the pole and led just 10 laps in this event. In last year’s race here, he started first and led 92 of 100 laps.

“It’s unfortunate that we weren’t as good as we were last year,“ Busch said. “I thought we were, but we weren’t. Maybe it was the cloud cover today, or whatever. I don’t know. Felt that we would be better than that, and we just weren’t. There at the end, I had a restart and couldn’t get through turn 1. Just slipped. I don’t know what happened. [Dillon] just drove right by me. That was it. That was the race.“

Sprint Cup regulars Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Paul Menard finished third through sixth, respectively. Harvick led the most laps with 33.

Rookie Chase Elliott, who won at Chicagoland, Trevor Bayne and Brian Scott were the other drivers qualified for the Dash 4 Cash at Indianapolis. Scott, the winner of the bonus at Chicagoland, finished seventh. Bayne placed ninth, and Elliott was 12th.

Dillon, Scott, Bayne and Regan Smith qualified for the fourth and final round in the Dash 4 Cash, which is the Aug. 2 race at Iowa.

Elliott remained atop the championship standings, but Smith moved to within four points of his JR Motorsports teammate following his 10th-place finish at Indy. Elliott Sadler placed 15th and fell 11 points behind.

Dillon is now 15 points out of the lead.

►  HARVICK WINS BRICKYARD 400 POLE WITH NEW TRACK RECORD:  Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for the Brickyard 400 after a dominating performance in Saturday’s qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Harvick, in his first season as driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, posted the fastest lap in all three rounds of knockout qualifying at this historic 2.5-mile racetrack. His lap at 188.470 mph during the final round earned him the top starting position for Sunday’s 400-mile Sprint Cup Series race here.

The 38-year-old Harvick scored his 10th career pole in Sprint Cup, including his second at Indianapolis. He started on the pole and won the 2003 Brickyard 400. Harvick now leads the series with four poles this season.

“After the first lap, I was probably more nervous than I have been in a while for qualifying,“ Harvick said. “I wasn’t really expecting to have the car run that fast. From there, they [the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team] are all looking at you and saying, ‘Alright if you screw this up, it’s on you buddy.‘

“It’s great to have fast cars. They do a great job preparing the cars and just being able to come to the racetrack and know the cars are going to be fast takes a huge burden off of everybody’s shoulders just to get the balance right.“

Harvick turned a lap at 188.889 mph during the first qualifying round, which set a new track record at Indianapolis. The previous record was 187.531 mph, set by Ryan Newman in 2013. Harvick’s best lap in the second round was clocked at 188.281 mph.

It’s the 14th time this season that a new track record has been set in the series.

Jeff Gordon, the current points leader and four-time Brickyard 400 winner, qualified second with a lap at 187.770 mph. Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994. His most recent victory in this race occurred 10 years ago.

“We didn’t have anything for Kevin today but what an incredible [car] that we have this weekend,“ Gordon said. “Qualifying second is so huge here. To be on that front row and 20 years after that first Brickyard 400, I get excited about that.“

Brad Keselowski, who has won two of the last three Sprint Cup races, qualified third, while Newman, who is the defending winner of the Brickyard 400, placed fourth. Brian Vickers was fifth.

Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch will start sixth through 12th, respectively. Montoya, a full-time competitor in the IndyCar Series this year, is making his second Sprint Cup start this season. Johnson is also a four-time winner Brickyard 400 winner, with his most recent victory here in 2012.

“We had a solid day, but in that last [qualifying] session, you could just tell in the first corner that it just wouldn’t turn in the center like I needed it to,“ Johnson said. “It’s the first time we went three laps on qualifying tires. We didn’t have much time to practice this morning to work on that kind of stuff. But I’m sure we definitely learned a lot in today’s qualifying session.“

Among those drivers failing to advance into the third qualifying round were: Matt Kenseth (qualified 13th), Danica Patrick (14th), rookie Kyle Larson (15th), Clint Bowyer (16th), rookie Austin Dillon (17th), Carl Edwards (18th), Greg Biffle (19th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (23rd) and Jamie McMurray (24th).

Denny Hamlin and Paul Menard, the 2011 Brickyard 400 winner, did not make it into the second round. Hamlin qualified 27th and Menard 29th.

Brett Moffitt, David Stremme and Matt Crafton failed to qualify.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  LANGER LEADS SENIOR OPEN BY 8:  Bernhard Langer carded his third straight round in the 60s on Saturday and he extended his lead to a record- tying eight strokes after three rounds of the Senior Open Championship.

Langer shot 3-under 68 in round three to end 54 holes at 14-under-par 199. His 8-shot lead matched Jack Nicklaus’ tour record for largest 54-hole lead. Nicklaus led by eight after three rounds at the 1991 Senior PGA Championship.

Langer, the 2010 champion and last year’s runner-up, will go for his fourth major championship on the Champions Tour on Sunday.

Rick Gibson fired a 5-under 66 to jump into second place at minus-6. Bob Tway is one stroke further back at 5-under 208 after a third-round 68 at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.

Three-time champion Tom Watson shot 69 to move into a share of fourth at minus-4. He was joined there by Chris Williams (71) and Scott Dunlap, who matched the low round of the week with his 6-under 65.

Langer led by seven entering the third round and did little to cost himself that big margin. He got on the board with a birdie at the second.

The German birdied the fourth and 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 sixth. He has birdied both of those holes all three days.

Around the turn, Langer tripped to just his third bogey of the week at the 10th to dip to 13-under. He was eight clear at that point, and remained comfortably ahead with seven pars in a row from the 11th.

“I got off to a good start, and got 3-under after six, I think, and then, you know, maybe played a little more safe a couple of holes and hit one shot fat which wasn’t great, but made bogey there, but the rest, again, the long putting was very good,“ Langer stated.

Langer hit his drive on the par-5 18th over 380 yards and had just a short iron into the par-5. He dropped his approach inside 15 feet and 2-putted for birdie to end eight ahead of Gibson.

“I hit a couple of good trick shots towards the end, and drove the ball very well, hit some amazing straight drives and long drives. I mean the one on 18 I can’t believe how far I went, but that’s how it is right now,“ said Langer. “It’s very bouncy and firm, and I was fortunate not to end up in a bunker there on 18.“

Gibson, whose last tour start was at the 2012 Senior Open Championship, stumbled to a bogey at the first, but he came right back with a birdie on the second. He parred three in a row from the third, then dropped in a birdie chance on No. 6.

The Canadian converted back-to-back birdie chances from the eighth en route to making the turn at minus-4.

Gibson birdied the 12th, then ran off five pars in a row. He closed his round with his second birdie in three days at the 18th to briefly move within seven of Langer, but Langer also birdied the last to lead by eight.

“Obviously, Langer is playing extremely well and the rest of us are packed in behind him. But links golf has its reputation for a reason, and I understand we’re going to get some wind tomorrow. At least that’s what people keep telling me,“ Gibson said. “We’ve only had light breezes so far, and Bernhard is the only one who’s figured it out. So with some wind tomorrow it’s going to be very interesting.“

Montgomerie, the Senior PGA and U.S. Senior Open champion, birdied three of five holes from the fourth, and he was seven back of Langer at that point. However, the Scotsman double-bogeyed the 10th before making bogey at 11 and 18 to tumble 11 behind Langer.

NOTES: Noboru Sugai led the 2002 Senior Open Championship by six strokes after three rounds, and that had stood as the largest 54-hole lead in championship history ... Bob Charles won this event by seven in 1989 and that is the largest winning margin ... Langer’s 14-under score matched the lowest third- round score in championship history - Carl Mason was 14-under in 2003 ... Langer has led 10 senior majors after three rounds, but is just 3-7 in those 10 ... Three of the four 54-hole leaders in majors this season have won the title ... Greg Turner had a hole-in-one on the 15th for the 11th ace since this championship became a major in 2003.

►  U.S. OUSTED AT INTERNATIONAL CROWN:  Korea’s So Yeon Ryu and Inbee Park both birdied the first playoff hole on Saturday to oust the United States and earn the final spot in Sunday’s singles matches at the International Crown.

“You know, when I won the U.S. Women’s Open, I had a playoff, but I wasn’t that nervous. This was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life,“ Ryu said.

Ryu and Park beat Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr in the extra session. Thompson and Kerr made a par and birdie, respectively. They had beaten the Jutanugarn sisters, Ariya and Moriya, to move the U.S. to six points.

However, Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum and Onnarin Sattayabanphot fended off Paula Creamer and world No. 1 Stacy Lewis, 1-up. Thailand and Spain topped group A with seven points, while Chinese Taipei was eliminated with four points.

Japan split its two matches with Korea, but still finished atop group B with eight points. Sweden beat Australia in both matches Saturday to earn four points and moved into second place with seven points.

Korea finished with six, while Australia was ousted with just three points.

Korea and the United States went to the par-5 16th for the playoff at Caves Valley Golf Club. All four players found the fairway off the tee, but only Kerr reached the green in two.

Park laid up, then chipped her third to five feet. Ryu and Thompson both came up just short with their second shots. Thompson putted onto the green, but was still 15 feet short of the hole. Ryu chipped to about three feet.

After Kerr missed her lengthy eagle attempt, Thompson’s birdie try stayed above ground and she was conceded par. Kerr made her birdie try before both Park and Ryu made their birdies to win the final spot in Sunday’s singles.

“Lexi hit an awesome shot in here (at 16), but that’s golf. We can’t just say that one shot was it. There’s four players on this team, and (Cristie) said that we win together and we lose together,“ said Creamer.

After getting shutout on Thursday, the U.S. rallied with four points on Friday.

“First day was really the killer. Honestly, the format in this event is hard, it’s really hard and to have a playoff end on one hole is really hard too,“ Kerr stated.

Kerr birdied the second and parred the fourth to give the U.S. a 2-up lead against the Jutanugarns. The teams halved seven in a row from the fifth before Thompson birdied 13 and 14 to give the U.S. a 4-up lead. The Jutanugarns birdie the 15th to get within 3-down, but after two more halves, the U.S. won that match, 3 & 2.

In the final match on the course, Lewis and Creamer trailed much of the way. The Thai duo of Phatlum and Sattayabanphot won the second and fifth with birdies.

Lewis answered with a birdie on No. 7 and the U.S. also birdie the eighth to square the match. After Phatlum birdied the 11th, Lewis answered with an eagle on No. 12. The U.S. had two chances to birdie the 13th and go 1-up, but both players missed.

Phatlum made an 8-footer for birdie on 14 and stuffed her second to a foot on the 15th. After Lewis missed, the U.S. duo was 2-down with three to play. Lewis was conceded a birdie on 16 after just missing her eagle try. Both Thai players missed birdie chances and the U.S. was back within 1-down.

Sattayabanphot 2-putted for par on the 17th to halve the 17th after Phatlum went in the water with her tee ball. Creamer and Lewis had similar birdie chances on the 18th, but neither was able to convert and the Thai duo earned two points to advance and the U.S. was later ousted in the playoff for the final spot.

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz rolled to a 6 & 5 win over Taipei’s Yani Tseng and Phoebe Yao. Spain also claimed the other match as Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari held off Candie Kung and Teresa Lu, 1-up. Those two wins gave Spain seven points and a spot in Sunday’s singles matches and those results ousted Taipei.

In group B, Park and Ryu cruised to a 4 & 3 victory over Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato, while Japan’s Sakura Yokomine and Ai Miyazato rallied for a 3 & 2 win over Korea’s Na Yeon Choi and I.K. Kim.

Sweden earned two huge wins to earn the second spot in group B. Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist easily took down Australia’s Minjee Lee and Karrie Webb, 5 & 3. Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid trounced Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright, 7 & 5. That was the largest win of the week.

NOTES: The United States had been the top-seeded team in the event ... Kirk and Wright lost six of their last seven holes on Friday, and lost six of the first 12 on Saturday.

►  SUCHER REMAINS IN LEAD AT MIDWEST CLASSIC:  Zack Sucher carded a third-round, 7- under 64 and he extended his lead to three shots heading into the final day at the Midwest Classic.

Looking for his first win on the Tour, Sucher finished 54 holes at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate at 20-under-par 193 and he holds a 3-shot lead over Aaron Watkins heading into Sunday.

Watkins also fired a 7-under 64 on day three and he is alone in second place at 17-under 196. Right behind him is Jason Gore at 14-under. Gore did not quite go as low in his round, finishing with a 68. He is six shots off the lead after beginning the day just two shots back.

Bill Lunde is in sole possession of fourth place at 13-under after his 66. Tom Hoge just missed out on the third 59 in Tour history, but he finished his day with an 11-under 60, vaulting him into a tie for fifth at 12-under. Hoge began the day 12 shots back.

Joining Hoge at minus-12 are Aron Price (63), Rod Pampling (64) and Shane Bertsch (66).

Sucher’s lead was just one as he began his round with Hoge right behind him. Sucher did not begin his round well as he double-bogeyed the first hole to briefly drop out of the lead.

A birdie at the par-4 second got Sucher back on track and he pulled even with Hoge at minus-12. Sucher settled for five straight pars from No. 3 before pouring in three straight birdies from No. 8.

Already on a roll as he made the turn, Sucher made par at No. 11 and then rattled off four straight birdies from No. 12 to move to minus-6 for the day. Another birdie at No. 17 put Sucher at 7-under for the day and minus-20 for the week. He parred the final hole to finish there.

“It’s hard to find something positive when you start out with a double,“ Sucher said. “I guess it was a really good two-putt. My irons were really good today, probably better than they were yesterday. The pins weren’t so hard that you couldn’t get close to them. The greens are soft and if you’re hitting the ball well you can get to any of them.“

Watkins had a relatively quiet front nine, making two birdies at two and nine to go along with seven pars.

Like Sucher, the back nine was where Watkins did his work. After starting the last nine with a birdie at No. 11 sandwiched in between pars at 10 and 12, Watkins made three straight birdies from No. 13. Watkins’ final birdie of the day came at No. 17 and he ended his round with a par at the last.

Hoge started his round off right with a birdie at one, and it only got better from there. Another birdie at No. 3 preceded three straight birdies from No. 5.

Making the turn at minus-5 for the day, Hoge crushed the back nine as well with seven birdies and just two pars. Hoge made back-to-back gains at 12 and 13 as well as 17 and 18. He also dropped in birdies at 10 and 18 to complete an incredible round.

NOTES: While Sucher has never won on the Tour, he does have three top-10 finishes this year, with his most recent one coming at last week’s Albertsons Boise Open, where he finished tied for fourth ... Watkins is also seeking his first win on tour ... Hoge nearly joined Will Wilcox (2013 Utah Championship) and Russell Knox (Albertsons Boise Open) as the only players to shoot a 59 on tour.

►  ZALATORIS TOPS RILEY TO WIN U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR:  William Zalatoris defeated Davis Riley 5 & 3 to win the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship 36-hole match play final on Saturday.

Playing in his fifth U.S. Junior Amateur, Zalatoris won holes 30, 32 and 33 to clinch the championship. For the second straight year, Riley finished runner- up at this event. He also lost in the 36-hole final to Scottie Scheffler last year.

Through the first 18 holes on the Nicklaus Course at The Club at Carlton Woods, Zalatoris and Riley went back-and-forth, with both of them holding a lead at some point.

Zalatoris struck first at the par-4 second, pouring in a birdie to go 1-up. Riley came right back with a birdie of his own at No. 3, but he tripped to a double-bogey on No. 4 to go 1-down again.

The two kept trading blows as Riley won the fifth hole to get to all-square, but Zalatoris answered yet again with a birdie at No. 6 to go 1-up. After they both halved seven and eight, Zalatoris bogeyed No. 9 to drop back to all- square.

Riley took his first lead of the day with a birdie at 11 and he kept rolling with his second straight birdie at 12 to win back-to-back holes and take a 2- up lead.

Zalatoris trimmed that lead to one with a birdie at No. 13 and he squared things up with another birdie at 15. Riley responded with a win at No. 17, but Zalatoris had an answer again with a birdie and a win at No. 18, making the match all-square through 18.

Starting the second 18 at the first hole again, Zalatoris earned back-to-back wins at 19 and 20 to go 2-up, and he never trailed again.

Riley birdied No. 21 to get back to 1-down, but he bogeyed No. 23 to fall back. Zalatoris grabbed his biggest lead to that point with a birdie and a win at No. 26, moving him to 3-up.

A birdie on the 29th hole got Riley back to 2-down, but Zalatoris won No. 30 to recapture a 3-up lead.

An incredible shot at No. 32 all but sealed the deal for Zalatoris as he holed out from the fairway for an eagle. A par on No. 33 was good enough for Zalatoris to win the hole and the championship.

►  SUPERAL EDGES NAVARRO TO WIN GIRLS’ JUNIOR TITLE:  Princess Mary Superal bogeyed the 37th hole on the Meadow Course at Forest Highlands Golf Club, but it was good enough to defeat Marijosse Navarro, 1-up, to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship on Saturday.

Navarro, a three-time Mexican Women’s Amateur champion, found water on the first extra hole. After Superal’s par putt just missed, Navarro conceded the hole and the match.

Superal was in control throughout most of the day, but she could not quite shake Navarro until the very end. The two halved the first three holes before Superal took her first lead of the day with a birdie at the par-4 fourth.

She remained 1-up until the eighth hole, where Superal made par to go 2-up. Navarro won her first hole at No. 10 when she made birdie on the par-4.

Superal and Navarro matched each other on the next six holes before Superal went back to 2-up with a win at No. 17. Navarro responded with a birdie at 18 to get back to 1-down after the first 18 holes.

After the break, Superal and Navarro halved the next three before Navarro got things back to all-square for the first time since the third hole with a birdie on No. 22. Superal had another answer, however, as she birdied the 23rd hole to regain the lead.

Superal got to 2-up with another birdie on No. 27 and Navarro came back with a birdie at 29. Superal got right back to 2-up with a birdie at No. 30, but Navarro responded with back-to-back wins at 32 and 33, evening things up with three holes to play.

For the first time all day Navarro took the lead with a par at No. 35, but it was short-lived as Superal birdied the final hole of regulation to square the match and send it into extra holes.

►  WHITEFORD JOINS HORSEY IN RUSSIAN OPEN LEAD:  Peter Whiteford fired a 6-under 66 on Saturday to claim a share of the lead of the Russian Open.

Whiteford was joined atop the leaderboard at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club at 13- under-par 203 by David Horsey (70), who has held at least a share of the lead since the end of the first round.

Whiteford is seeking his first career title on the European Tour, while Horsey is a two-time tour winner.

“I’m hoping I wake up tomorrow with a better swing. I had a lot of good luck today,“ said Whiteford. “It might be a bit like match play on the front nine tomorrow.“

Andrea Pavan carded the low round of the day with an 8-under 64 to vault into a tie for third place with Scott Jamieson (69) and Thomas Pieters (72) at minus-9.

Damien McGrane (69), Sam Hutsby (70) and Gary Boyd (72) shared sixth at 7- under 209.

Horsey entered the day with a 2-stroke lead and birdied the first and third to move to 13-under and remain on top of the leaderboard despite Whiteford’s hot start that included five birdies over his first six holes.

That brought Whiteford within one of the lead at minus-12 before a bogey at the seventh halted his momentum and handed Horsey back his 2-shot advantage.

Whiteford, however, bounced right back by holing out from a bunker for an eagle at the eighth to claim a share of the lead.

Horsey then bogeyed the ninth to fall to 12-under and give the outright lead to Whiteford.

Pieters, who was also playing in the final group, had recorded birdies at the fourth, seventh and ninth during his front nine to meet Horsey in second place at 12-under.

A flurry of activity at the 10th put Horsey back in the lead as he rolled in a birdie at the hole to move to 13-under while Whiteford bogeyed the hole to drop to minus-12. Pieters also tripped to a bogey at the 10th to fall two shots off the pace.

Horsey made it two gains in a row at the 11th to move two clear, but gave both of those shots away with bogeys at the 13th and 15th to drop into a tie for the lead with Whiteford.

Whiteford and Horsey both birdied the 17th to reach 13-under and both parred the last to remain tied heading into the final round.

“Pete started like a train and I was just trying to tell myself to concentrate on my own game,“ Horsey said. “I didn’t quite maintain it that well on the back nine, but I kept myself in there and hopefully it’ll be a little better tomorrow.“

NOTES: Whiteford’s best finish of the season was a tie for 17th at the South African Open Championship. He has missed the cut in 16 of his 19 starts since ... Horsey has four top-10 finishes this season, with the most recent coming at the Lyoness Open in June ... Pavan’s 64 was also the best round of the tournament so far.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  LOVE WITHDRAWS FROM TEAM USA:  Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has informed USA Basketball that he will be unable to participate with the men’s national team this summer.

Love cited his current status with the Timberwolves as the reason he will be unavailable. The three-time All-Star has recently been involved in trade speculation after informing Minnesota he will not re-sign with the team when his contract expires.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors have reportedly been the teams with the most interest in landing Love.

“The fact is we can only look to the players we have available,“ Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “Our job is to get the job done with our very, very deep roster, and we’re anxious to get things started.“

The news comes just days before Team USA is set begin training camp for the FIBA World Cup.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  SVITOLINA, JOVANOVSKI TO MEET IN BAKU FINAL:  Former champions Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and Serbian Bojana Jovanovski reached the final of the Baku Cup with three-set victories in the semifinals on Saturday.

The second-seeded Svitolina, who won her maiden title here last year, rallied to beat 2010 French Open champ Francesca Schiavone of Italy 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 after the fifth-seeded Jovanovski outlasted Swiss Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Svitolina, 19, will play her second WTA Tour final on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Jovanovski captured her first crown at this event in 2012. She also won a tournament in Tashkent last year.

The 2014 Baku champ will claim $43,000.

►  MONACO, ANDUJAR EYE GSTAAD TITLE:  Juan Monaco and Pablo Andujar will play for the Swiss Open title after both defeated seeded players in the semifinals on Saturday.

Monaco posted a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win over seventh-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase on the red clay at Roy Emerson Arena, then Andujar bested fourth-seeded Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1 in an all-Spanish matchup.

Haase lost in last year’s Gstaad final, while Verdasco was the 2011 runner-up at this tournament.

The 30-year-old Monaco reached his first final since losing at Kitzbuhel in July last year. The Argentine has won seven of his eight career titles on clay.

Andujar, 28, is looking to capture a third career title. He prevailed in the 2011 Casablanca final and successfully defended his crown the following year.

Sunday’s match will be the first meeting between the two on the ATP World Tour.

The 2014 Swiss Open champ will earn $105,000.

►  HEAVY RAINS POSTPONE SEMIFINALS IN UMAG:  Torrential rain has forced the postponement of play at the Vegeta Croatia Open on Saturday.

Both singles semifinals and the doubles championship were pushed back until Sunday.

Top-seeded Fabio Fognini will take on Pablo Cueves of Uruguay, while the other semifinal pits Croat Marin Cilic and Spaniard Tommy Robredo.

The 2014 Croatia Open titlist will collect $105,000.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  WICKED STRONG CLAIMS JIM DANDY STAKES:  Wicked Strong, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, went past favored Tonalist and won Saturday’s $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in advance of next month’s $1 million Travers.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens for Centennial Farms, Wicked Strong was sent off as the 2-1 second pick in the field of six 3-year-olds. Belmont Stakes champ Tonalist was the 9-10 favorite with Kid Cruz at 5-1.

Wicked Strong broke sharply from the gate and proceeded to press from the outside the pace being set by Legend. Tonalist was sitting off the pace up the backstretch in the 1 1/8-mile stakes.

Around the final turn, Wicked Strong drew even with Legend as Tonalist ranged into contention from the middle of the track. Wicked Strong had the lead at the top of the stretch with Tonalist to his outside.

Maragh shook his mount up to draw away from Tonalist down the stretch and post a 2 1/4-length victory over the favorite. Kid Cruz rallied to finish third followed by Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, Ulanbator and Legend. Cousin Stephen was a scratch.

“This is great. This is really great,“ said Jerkens. “The way he works, I don’t think Secretariat worked any better than this horse does in the morning. I know the talent’s there. It’s just getting him to put it all together.

“It was a different dimension today where he was up close to the pace, and he didn’t get by (Legend) too easy. He had to run to get the best of him, and then Tonalist was right there. I think he showed a lot of class today.“

The time for the Jim Dandy on a fast track was 1:49.16.

Wicked Strong, wearing blinkers for the first time, pocketed $360,000 in his Saratoga debut and became a millionaire in the process. The colt has won three of nine career starts for $1,244,610.

“It might be my imagination but he always seemed to be running with his head cocked to the outside in his other races,“ said Jerkens. “I didn’t really notice that today. I thought he ran straight and true.“

The 3-year-old began his season with a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. After a fourth in an optional allowance race, he won the Wood Memorial at 9-1 odds.

Wicked Strong overcame some problems in the Kentucky Derby to finish fourth and again finished fourth, in a dead heat with California Chrome, in the Belmont Stakes.

The 1 1/4-mile Travers, the “Mid-Summer Derby,“ will be run on Saturday, Aug. 23.

Wicked Strong paid $6.40, $3.10 and $2.40. Tonalist returned $2.50 and $2.10, and Kid Cruz paid $2.50 to show.

►  MCWICKED CAPTURES ADIOS PACE AT THE MEADOWS:  Odds-on favorite McWicked set most of the pace and rolled to victory Saturday in the $400,000 final of the Adios Pace at The Meadows.

Trained by Casie Coleman and driven by David Miller, McWicked left from post 2 as the 1-5 favorite in the nine-horse field of 3-year-olds for the mile pace.

McWicked took the lead shortly after the start and set the pace with At Press Time, Cammikey and Somewhere In L A racing right behind him. The favorite took the field into the final turn with Somewhere In L A moving into second on the outside.

McWicked, racing along the rail, turned back the challenge from Somewhere In L A and went on to post a length victory in a time of 1:49 1/5.

“Pretty much loafed around the track, really no pressure at all,“ the winning driver said. “He’s very manageable, he would go a lot slower if I let him.“

Cammikey was third followed by Beat The Drum, At Press Time, Stevensville, Let’s Drink On It, Carracci Hanover and Bushwacker.

Owned by SSG Stables, McWicked added $200,000 with the Adios victory and has won five of his last six starts. The 3-year-old colt has earned $798,447 with nine wins and seven seconds in 19 career starts.

McWicked won an Adios elimination race last week three weeks after claiming the $500,000 final of the Max Hempt Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He had finished fourth in the final of the North America Cup behind JK Endofanera.

Coleman becomes the first female trainer to win an Adios final.

McWicked returned $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10. Somewhere In L A paid $4.40 and $3.60, Cammikey paid $5.00 to show.

►  FED BIZ IS ALL BUSINESS IN WINNING SAN DIEGO HANDICAP:  The far outside post position proved no problem for Fed Biz Saturday in winning the 73rd running of the $200,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar.

The 1 1/16-mile San Diego is a prep for the $1 million Pacific Classic in four weeks.

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, Fed Biz was sent off as the 3-1 second choice behind 2-1 favorite Frac Daddy in the nine-horse field. On Thursday, probable favorite Dance With Fate suffered a catastrophic injury at Del Mar and was euthanized that day.

Fed Biz, breaking from the last post, quickly moved to the inside to take lead setting the pace. Owned by Kaleem Shah, the 5-year-old led the field up the backstretch with very little pressure and easily put away the competition turning for home.

Fed Biz drew away from the field down the stretch to register a five-length victory in his debut effort of 2014. In the process, he set a new track record of 1:41 for 1 1/16 miles, breaking the one held by 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.

“That performance was incredible. This is one race I’ve never been able to win,“ Baffert stated.

Finishing second was 25-1 longshot Footbridge followed by You Know I Know, Frac Daddy, Handsome Mike, Honduran, Soi Phet, Imperative and Battier. Summer Hit was scratched.

Fed Biz notched his sixth lifetime win in 16 starts and adds $120,000 to his earnings. The 5-year-old has banked $660,496.

The horse ran his record at Del Mar to three wins in as many starts. Last year he won the track’s Pat O’Brien Stakes over eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents. Fed Biz was sixth in the Dirt Mile after a two-month absence from the races.

Coming into this year, Fed Biz had the Del Mar record of 1:21.12 for seven furlongs as well.

Fed Biz returned $8.00, $5.40 and $4.40. Footbridge paid $19.00 and $7.60, and You Know I Know paid $4.40 to show.


The Gilmer Free Press

SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014

Major League Baseball - National League
Washington at Cincinnati, 1:10 PM - MASN, FS-Ohio, DSS
Arizona at Philadelphia, 1:35 PM - FS-Arizona, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
NY Mets at Milwaukee, 2:10 PM - SNY, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
St. Louis at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 PM - FS-Midwest, WGN (America), DSS
Pittsburgh at Colorado, 4:10 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain, DSS
San Diego at Atlanta, 5:05 PM - FS-San Diego, South, DSS
Los Angeles at San Francisco, 8:07 PM - ESPN

American League
Toronto at NY Yankees, 1:05 PM - SNET, YES, TBS, DSS
Boston at Tampa Bay, 1:40 PM -  NESN, SunSports, DSS
Cleveland at Kansas City, 2:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, DSS
Chicago WSox at Minnesota, 2:10 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-North, DSS
Detroit at LA Angels, 3:35 PM - FS-Detroit, West, DSS
Baltimore at Seattle, 4:10 PM - MASN2, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Oakland at Texas, 7:05 PM - CSN-California, FS-Southwest, DSS

Miami at Houston, 2:10 PM - FS-Florida, CSN-Houston, DSS

Minnesota at Connecticut, 3:00 PM - WCTX
Atlanta at Washington, 4:00 PM - CSN-DC, NBA TV
Chicago at Tulsa, 4:30 PM - No scheduled television

Major League Soccer
FC Dallas at Vancouver FC, 5:00 PM - Time Warner, TSN, DSS
Portland at Montreal, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, TVA Sports, DSS

International Soccer
AC Milan vs. Manchester City, 4:00PM - FS1
Liverpool vs. Olympiacos, 6:00 PM - FS1
EuroAmerican Cup: San Jose vs. Club Atletico de Madrid, 7:55 PM - beIN Sport

Major League Lacrosse
Chesapeake at New York, 3:00 PM - CBSSN

EUROPEAN - Russian Open, 6:00 AM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Senior British Open, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
PGA - Canadian Open, 1:00 PM - Golf Channel
LPGA - International Crown, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
PGA - Canadian Open, 3:00 PM - CBS

Atlanta Open, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2
World Team Tennis Finals, 6:00 PM - ESPN 2

Auto Racing
FORMULA ONE - Hungarian Grand Prix, 7:30 AM - CNBC
SPRINT CUP - Crown Royal 400/Brickyard, 1:00 PM - ESPN

Tour de France
Stage 21, 9:00 AM - NBCSN

Horse Racing
Haskell Invitational, 5:00 PM - NBC
Big Crosby Stakes, 8:00 PM - TVG

Sports Brief - 07.26.14

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  HOLGORSEN LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014:  The fourth-year head coach of the Mountaineers feels good about his latest squad that will gather in August to begin fighting another fight in the Big 12 Conference.

Of course, before that will become a brutal non-conference slate staring with the Crimson Tide of Alabama.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  MARSHALL PICKED TO WIN C-USA EAST:  A season ago, Marshall’s football program claimed its first-ever division crown in Conference USA and played for the league title with Rice.

In 2014, the Herd is being predicted to again be a part of the C-USA championship tilt.

In the preseason poll, Marshall was unanimously chosen to win the East Division with 91 points, followed by Middle Tennessee (73), Florida Atlantic (60), WKU (57), Old Dominion (33), UAB (31) and FIU (19). The voting was tight atop the West Division, with North Texas (66) edging Rice (65) and UTSA (62), followed by Louisiana Tech (38), Southern Miss (24) and UTEP (18).

This year’s title game - the 10th in league history 0 will be staged on Saturday, December 6.

-Meanwhile, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and defensive lineman James Rouse were named Conference USA’s Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, The honors were chosen by the league’s coaches.

Cato and Rouse are also members of the preseason all-conference team.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  TEXAS TECH REINSTATES BETHEL:  Texas Tech has reinstated defensive back Nigel Bethel II after he was dismissed from the team less than three weeks ago.

Bethel, who is regarded as one of Texas Tech’s highest-rated recruits in its upcoming freshman class, was kicked off the team for punching women’s basketball player Amber Battle and breaking her jaw during a pickup basketball game in late June.

“This is an unfortunate situation with a unique set of circumstances and there are no winners,“ said Texas Tech director athletics Kirby Hocutt. “Every decision related to this case has been the right one at that particular time based upon our principles, student-athlete code of conduct and team rules. As I continued to work with Coach Kingsbury and Coach Whitaker, we looked at the totality of the situation and have arrived at this decision. Two talented young people made a mistake, have shown remorse and learned some very valuable life lessons.“

Bethel also issued a statement through the school’s website.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to come back to Texas Tech,“ said Bethel. “I take full responsibility for my actions and I would like to let everyone know that this won’t happen again. It’s not who I am and I am sorry for the embarrassment this has caused. I want to thank Amber Battle for accepting my apology and for coming forward to say that I deserved a second chance. I would like to thank everyone at Texas Tech, including the coaches, for believing in me and giving me a second chance to show my ability and to receive an education from Texas Tech.“

Bethel is allowed to return to the team, but is suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season.

Battle, who led the Lady Raiders with 16.4 points per game this past season, is suspended for the entire month of November for initiating contact during the incident.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  COLTS RB BALLARD TEARS ACHILLES:  Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard was carted off the practice field Friday after reportedly tearing his left Achilles tendon.

Ballard went down after catching a pass and was scheduled to have an MRI, according to the team’s website., citing a source, said Ballard suffered a torn Achilles.

The third-year back missed all but one game last season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The non-contact injury occurred during practice when Ballard lost his footing on a running play.

He carried the ball 13 times for 63 yards in a Week 1 win over Oakland after rushing for a team-high 814 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in 2012.

►  RAVENS ADD SUSPENDED HILL:  The Baltimore Ravens signed free safety Will Hill on Friday.

Hill, 24, joins the Ravens after being waived by the New York Giants last month following his third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Hill must sit out the first six games of the season because of his latest infraction.

The Florida product also received a four-game ban in 2012, and missed the first four games last season. He started 10 of the remaining 12 games last year for the Giants, registering 77 tackles and two interceptions.

The news of Hill’s signing comes on the heels of cornerback Aaron Ross being lost for the season with a torn Achilles.

►  DOLPHINS’ POUNCEY, MORENO ON PUP LIST:  Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and running back Knowshon Moreno will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey confirmed the moves Friday morning before the start of camp.

Pouncey had surgery in June after reportedly suffering a torn hip labrum during OTAs and could be sidelined for three months. Moreno, who joined the Dolphins in the offseason, underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee last month.

Players can be activated off the PUP list at any time during training camp or the preseason. If a player is on the PUP list to start the regular season, he must miss the first six weeks.

►  EAGLES EXCUSE KEELAN JOHNSON FROM CAMP:  The Philadelphia Eagles have excused Keelan Johnson from training camp in order for the defensive back to deal with his pending legal matters.

The club said in a statement that Johnson, 24, will be excused “for an undetermined amount of time as he tends to matters related to his arrest in Arizona last weekend.“

Johnson met with head coach Chip Kelly on Thursday, and is still on the 90-man roster.

He was arrested Saturday in Arizona following an altercation with a police officer. He was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

The Arizona State product appeared in two games for the Eagles last season.

►  DERRICK BROOKS NAMED NFL APPEALS OFFICER:  Former NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks was named an appeals officer on Friday.

Brooks, a 2014 Hall of Fame inductee, will hear player appeals of on-field discipline. He’ll join former NFL player and coach Ted Cottrell for the 2014 season.

An 11-time Pro Bowl selection in 14 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brooks has also served as president of the Arena League’s Tampa Bay Storm since 2011.

“Derrick views this game with a very unique understanding as both a player and a team president,“ said NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. “His review of appeals will be informed by experience as a player and as an executive.“

The announcement was made jointly by the NFL and NFL Players Association.

“Derrick was jointly selected by the players and the NFL and we expect he will bring expertise and professionalism to his role as an arbitration officer,“ said NFLPA senior director of player affairs and development Jason Belser. “We look forward to working with him.“

Brooks replaces Matt Birk, who was named the NFL’s director of football development earlier this month.

►  VIKINGS PLACE MUNNERLYN ON PUP:  The Minnesota Vikings placed cornerback Captain Munnerlyn on the physically unable to perform list on Friday.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Friday that Munnerlyn has a “slight” hamstring injury, but added that the free agent from Carolina will be “fine.“

Munnerlyn signed a reported three-year deal in the offseason after playing five seasons with the Panthers.

The Vikings also put tight end Chase Ford on the PUP list after he underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot, while safety Andrew Sendejo was also placed on the list because of an ankle injury.

Players can be activated off the PUP list at any time during training camp or the preseason. If a player is on the PUP list to start the regular season, he must miss the first six weeks.

►  RAIDERS RELEASE BURNETT:  The Oakland Raiders released linebacker Kevin Burnett on Friday.

Burnett, who sustained an ankle injury during the offseason, failed to receive medical clearance for training camp.

The 31-year-old Burnett started all 16 games for Oakland last season, recording 105 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and an interception. Over his nine-year career with Oakland, Miami, San Diego and Dallas, Burnett has tallied 628 tackles, 20 sacks and five interceptions.

►  TEXANS SIGN RT TYSON CLABO:  The Houston Texans announced Friday they have signed veteran right tackle Tyson Clabo.

Clabo signed a two-year, $2.4 million contract, according to the Houston Chronicle.

He has started all 116 NFL games he has played, including 15 for the Miami Dolphins last season.

Prior to that, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound tackle spent seven seasons as a starter for the Atlanta Falcons.

►  BROWNS SIGN LB WESTERMAN:  The Cleveland Browns signed linebacker Jamaal Westerman on Friday.

Last season, Westerman played in 12 games with Buffalo before appearing in Pittsburgh’s season finale.

The 29-year-old Rutgers product has recorded 35 tackles and six sacks in 58 career games with five teams.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  BUCS, NICKS PART WAYS:  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and guard Carl Nicks mutually agreed to part ways on Friday.

Nicks signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the Bucs in March 2012. The deal included $31 million guaranteed.

“I’d like to thank the Buccaneers organization for working with me as I have attempted to get myself back on the football field,“ Nicks said in a statement. “However, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to step away from the game. This was by no means an easy decision, but I believe that it is what is best for me and my family as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.“

A Pro Bowl selection in 2010 and 2011 while with New Orleans, Nicks played in just nine games with the Bucs over the past two seasons.

“I know this has been a difficult time for Carl and his family, but we respect his decision and thank him for his effort in trying to get back on the football field,“ Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “Carl is a very prideful athlete and has been an elite level guard in the league. We are all disappointed that he will not be a part of this new chapter of Buccaneers football.“

The 29-year-old Nicks missed the final nine games of the 2012 campaign with a toe injury that led to a MRSA infection. He had been medically cleared for training camp before both sides made the decision to move on.

►  YANKEES ADD CAPUANO TO ROSTER:  The New York Yankees signed recently acquired pitcher Chris Capuano to a major league contract and added him to the 25-man roster on Friday.

The veteran was pitching in the Colorado Rockies’ minor league system when the Yankees obtained him in Thursday’s trade to aid their depleted pitching staff.

Capuano agreed to a minor league contract with the Rockies earlier this month and he made one start for Double-A Tulsa and three for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

The 35-year-old lefty began 2014 with the Boston Red Sox and was released by the club on July 1. He signed with the Rockies three days later.

Capuano has compiled a 74-84 record with a 4.28 ERA in 266 career games (209 starts) with Arizona, Milwaukee, the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston.

Pitcher Chris Leroux was designated for assignment by the Yankees in a corresponding move.

►  GIANTS PROMOTE 2B UGGLA:  The San Francisco Giants placed infielders Ehire Adrianza and Marco Scutaro on the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday’s series opener against the Dodgers and promoted second baseman Dan Uggla from Triple-A Fresno.

Uggla, a three-time All-Star, signed a minor league deal with the Giants on Monday, three days after he was released by the Atlanta Braves.

Uggla’s mostly disappointing tenure with Atlanta came to a close last Friday, less than a week after the team suspended the struggling veteran for its final game prior to the All-Star break for arriving late to a game.

The 34-year-old will start at second base and bat seventh in Friday’s game.

The Giants also added infielder Tony Abreu from Fresno.

Adrianza injured his right hamstring in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Phillies, and Scutaro heads back to the DL with a strained lower back. Scutaro, 38, has played just five games this season.

To make room on the active roster, San Francisco designated pitcher Jose De Paula and infielder Nick Noonan for assignment.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  NAVARDAUSKAS WINS RAINY STAGE 19, NIBALI IN CONTROL OF TOUR:  Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania won Stage 19 of the Tour de France on a rainy Friday, while Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali remained in firm control of the yellow jersey as the overall leader with just two days remaining in cycling’s most prestigious event.

Navardauskas finished the 208.5 kilometers from Maubourguet to Bergerac in a time of 4 hours, 43 minutes and 41 seconds for his first career Tour de France stage win. He crossed the line alone after a crash within the final three kilometers ended the stage win hopes for many of the top sprinters.

“It was a big dream to win a Tour de France stage,“ said Navardauskas. “It’s everyone’s dream.“

Germany’s John Degenkolb won a sprint to finish second, seven seconds behind, followed by Norway’s Alexander Kristoff and Australia’s Mark Renshaw.

Nibali was placed 24th on Friday and was actually more than a minute behind the stage winner, but the crash within the final three kilometers left all the riders in the peloton with the same time as the runner-up group.

“It was important not to take any risk,“ said Nibali about Friday’s strategy. “That was the essential for me. The rain had made the finale difficult.“

The Italian still has an overall lead of 7 minutes and 10 seconds over Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who had initially finished 40 seconds ahead of Nibali. France’s Jean-Christophe Peraud is 7:23 behind and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde is another two seconds off the pace in fourth.

Rain throughout Friday’s race helped cause many flat tires, but there were no crashes early. A group of five leaders never got more than 3 1/2 minutes ahead of the peloton and after Navardauskas moved to the front in the closing moments, his lead was whittled to under 30 seconds with less than five kilometers to the finish.

The sprinters’ group appeared poised to steal the stage win until the crash. Green jersey leader Peter Sagan of Slovakia was among those caught up, while the incident also caused the yellow jersey group to slow down—leading to the time credits.

“I was caught in the crash, I tried to avoid it but I couldn’t,“ said Peraud. “Obviously the rain did not help, especially in a finale with a lot of turns and nervous sprint in the end. We crashed, it’s classic.“

With Nibali in firm command of the yellow jersey, Saturday’s time trial will help determine the remainder of the podium. Just 15 seconds separates Pinot, Peraud and Valverde.

Stage 20 on Saturday is the only time trial in this year’s Tour and runs 54 kilometers from Bergerac to Perigieux.

The Tour concludes on Sunday with the traditional finish along the Champs Elysees in Paris.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  HAWKS SIGN FIRST-ROUND PICK PAYNE:  The Atlanta Hawks signed first-round pick Adreian Payne on Friday.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Payne, the 15th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, finished his career at Michigan State as the school’s all-time leader with 141 blocks. He also became one of nine players in school history with at least 1,200 career points and 700 career rebounds.

As a senior, Payne averaged 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 31 games en route to Second Team All-Big Ten honors, helping the Spartans reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

►  HORNETS RE-SIGN G PARGO:  The Charlotte Hornets re-signed guard Jannero Pargo on Friday.

Terms of the deal were not released.

“We’re pleased that Jannero will be back with us again this season,“ Hornets general manager Rich Cho said. “He is a great veteran presence in our locker room who is always ready when called upon.“

The 34-year-old averaged 4.7 points, 1.8 assists and 0.7 rebounds in 29 games with Charlotte last season.

With nine years under his belt in stints with the Lakers, Raptors, Bulls, Hornets, Hawks, Wizards and Bobcats, Pargo holds career averages of 6.4 points, 2.0 assists and 1.4 rebounds.

►  MAGIC SIGN RIDNOUR:  The Orlando Magic signed guard Luke Ridnour on Friday.

Ridnour played in 61 games with Milwaukee and Charlotte a year ago, averaging 5.0 points, 2.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Luke (Ridnour) and his family to Orlando,“ general manager Rob Hennigan said. “Luke is a proven player in this league who is well-respected as a teammate and competitor. The depth and veteran experience he will provide to our backcourt will help our team continue to grow.“

Over his 11-year career with Seattle, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Charlotte, Ridnour has career averages of 9.6 points, 4.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game.

►  LAKERS RE-SIGN G XAVIER HENRY:  The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed guard Xavier Henry.

Henry, 23, is coming off surgeries in April to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist and a cartilage abnormality in his right knee.

He averaged 10.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists—all career highs—in 43 games for the Lakers this past season after spending the previous three years with Memphis and New Orleans.

Terms of the deal were not released.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  DREAM COACH COOPER HAS SURGERY FOR TONGUE CANCER:  The Atlanta Dream announced that head coach Michael Cooper had surgery for tongue cancer on Thursday.

The team said in a statement Friday that the procedure was successful and Cooper “will be back coaching soon.“

Assistant Karleen Thompson has been filling in for Cooper, who the team announced Monday was diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer.

Cooper, who won five NBA titles as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers and two WNBA titles as a coach with the Los Angeles Sparks, is in his first season with Atlanta. The Dream lead the Eastern Conference with a 15-7 record.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  2014 WEST VIRGINIA OPEN SCORES:  Final round scores Friday at the West Virginia Open on the Glades Springs Resort’s Cobb Course:

1. Christian Brand, Charleston 70-68-66_204

2. David Bradshaw, Harpers Ferry 70-68-69_207

3. Craig Berner, Hurricane 68-69-71_208

4. Will Evans, Charleston 70-66-74_210

T5. Jonathan Bartlett, Charleston 69-74-68_211

T5. Jason Martin, Wheeling 70-71-70_211

T7. Scott Davis, Hurricane 69-76-67_212

T7. Sam O’Dell, Hurricane 77-66-69_212

T7. Kenneth Hess, Parkersburg 68-73-71_212

10. Tad Tomblin, Alum Creek 73-72-68_213

T11. Brian Anania, Hurricane 72-73-69_214

T11. Jason Robinson, Charles Town 71-70-73_214

13. Bob Friend, Pittsburgh 76-68-73_217

T14. Alan Cooke, Vienna 73-74-71_218

T14. Evan Muscari, Pineville 72-73-73_218

T14. Cole Moore, Spencer 72-73-73_218

17. Chris Williams, Scott Depot 74-75-70_219

T18. Trent Roush, Mason 76-75-69_220

T18. Jeremy Rogers, Buckhannon 77-71-72_220

T18. Philip Reale II, South Charleston 76-72-72_220

T18. Jess Ferrell, Fairmont 75-71-74_220

T18. Davey Jude, Kermit 72-74-74_220

T23. Joey Seabright, Wheeling 72-75-74_221

T23. Pat Carter, Huntington 74-72-75_221

T25. Jonathan Clark, Hurricane 70-78-74_222

T25. Josh Holmes, Huntington 76-71-75_222

T25. Nick Dent, White Sulphur Springs 74-72-76_222

T25. Barry Evans, Charleston 71-74-77_222

29. Bryan Myers, Wheeling 75-70-79_224

30. Swanson Smith, Charleston 75-79-71_225

31. Ty Roush, Mason 74-77-75_226

T32. Justin Caroli, Stonewood 76-78-73_227

T32. Will Johnson, Charleston 77-76-74_227

T32. Aaron Gizzi, Morgantown 75-76-76_227

T32. Harold Payne, Hurricane 76-75-76_227

T32. John Ross, Bramwell 76-74-77_227

T32. Nathaniel Begley, Oak Hill 79-71-77_227

T32. Winston Canada, Beckley 76-72-79_227

T39. Michael Stewart, Clarksburg 75-78-75_228

T39. Steve Fox, Huntington 74-77-77_228

T39. Cory Hoshor, Buffalo 76-74-78_228

T42. Brian McPherson, Belpre 76-75-78_229

T42. Brad Westfall, Grafton 70-79-80_229

T42. Brandon Waters, Summersville 75-73-81_229

T45. Chad Baldwin, Green Bank 78-76-76_230

T45. John Kingora, Morgantown 76-78-76_230

T45. Rick Ellison, Huntington 81-72-77_230

T45. Richard Moore, Spencer 75-76-79_230

T49. Carl Roncaglione, Charleston 78-77-76_231

T49. Thomas Frazier, Huntington 80-74-77_231

T49. Michael Foust, Hurricane 77-74-80_231

T52. Mike Keiffer, Scott Depot 80-75-77_232

T52. Stuart Wiley, Lavalette 77-78-77_232

T52. Joshua Arbaugh, Morgantown 75-79-78_232

T52. Mike Marrara, Morgantown 76-74-82_232

T52. Kyle Long, Beaver 72-76-84_232

T57. Christopher McGinnis, Waynesburg 74-81-79_234

T57. Aaron Persily, Charleston 79-76-79_234

T59. Cam Roam, Huntington 79-74-83_236

T59. Burt Baine, White Sulphur Springs 79-74-83_236

T61. Marco Oliverio, Bridgeport 84-71-82_237

T61. Adam Kaminski, Shady Spring 78-77-82_237

T61. Josh Bower, Ravenswood 79-76-82_237

T64. Cole Hand, Wheeling 80-74-85_239

T64. Kris Webster, Charleston 82-71-86_239

►  LANGER WIDENS LEAD AT SENIOR OPEN:  Bernhard Langer expanded his lead to seven shots heading into the weekend at the Senior Open Championship following his second-round, 5-under 66 on Friday.

Langer, who is seeking his four career major championship on the Champions Tour and his second this season, is at 11-under-par 131 through 36 holes and he stands seven shots ahead of Chris Williams and Colin Montgomerie, this year’s Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open Championship winner.

The 7-shot lead by Langer is the largest in this championship’s history, beating Noboru Sugai’s 4-shot lead at Royal County Down in 2002. Langer’s 11- under through 36 holes also ties a record set by Fred Funk at Sunningdale in 2009.

“I can’t remember if I’ve had any similar rounds in the past, but it’s definitely very, very good golf,“ Langer said. “To make two bogeys, but more importantly, 13 birdies along with it is not easily done in these conditions.“

Montgomerie matched Langer’s round with a 5-under 66, while Williams finished day two with a 70. Both Montgomerie and Williams are 4-under 138 at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.

Pedro Linhart sits alone in fourth place at 3-under 139 after his second-round 69. He is followed by eight-time PGA major champion Tom Watson (66) and Bob Tway (73), both of whom are at 2-under 140.

Barry Lane (69) and Rick Gibson (71) are the only other players in the field under par through two rounds. They are tied for seventh at 1-under.

Langer began his day two shots ahead of Tway, and the German started things off on the wrong foot with a bogey at the first. Langer quickly rebounded, however, and he started to widen the gap.

The 56-year-old followed the bogey with back-to-back pars before pouring in three straight birdies from the fourth to put him at minus-2 on the day. Langer rounded out his front nine with three straight pars.

Another par at No. 10 preceded back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 as Langer continued to increase his lead. Langer made five straight pars from 13 before finishing his day with his sixth birdie of the round at the last.

“I played very smart, very aggressive, then very smart and I was fortunate to some extent, but I have played very well the last two days,“ Langer said. “It wasn’t the kind of start I wanted today, but from that point on, I settled down and I played some really good golf.“

Montgomerie, who started the day at 1-over and seven shots off the lead, did not do much to help himself at the beginning of his round. Two straight bogeys at one and two put Montgomerie in a hole, one he quickly dug out of.

The 51-year-old Scotsman made six birdies in a 7-hole span, with the lone par coming at No. 4. All of a sudden Montgomerie was 3-under for the week as he made the turn. He made two more birdies at 13 and 18 to go along with a bogey at 16, putting him in a tie for second.

Williams also started off with a bogey at No. 1, but a birdie at No. 2 got him back to even-par. A bogey at No. 8 dropped him back to 1-over and he made the turn there.

An eagle at 11 and a birdie at 13 had Williams rolling, but a bogey at 17 put him back to 1-under on the day. He ended there with a par at No. 18.

NOTES: Langer is seeking his second win at this championship, having won it back in 2010 ... Watson is a three-time winner of this championship with victories in 2003, 2005 and 2007 ... Miguel Angel Jimenez (69), who is 1-over on the week, began and ended his day with eagles at one and 18 ... With the cut at 7-over 149, 76 players advanced to the weekend ... Among those that missed the cut were Des Smyth, Corey Pavin, Eduardo Romero, Mark James, last year’s winner Mark Wiebe and Craig Stadler.

►  FURYK JOINS PETROVIC IN CANADIAN OPEN LEAD:  Jim Furyk fired a 7-under 63 on Friday and he joined Tim Petrovic atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the Canadian Open.

Petrovic, who shared the first-round lead with Michael Putnam, carded a 4- under 66 in round two. The pair ended 36 holes at 10-under-par 130.

Furyk, the 2006 and 2007 winner, is winless since the 2010 season, while Petrovic’s lone tour win was at the 2005 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Graham DeLaet, who played alongside Furyk, also fired a 63 and that helped the Canadian jump into a share of third place at minus-8. He was joined there by Kyle Stanley, who shot 67 in round two at Royal Montreal Golf Club.

Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (65) stands alongside Justin Hicks (67), Andrew Svoboda (66) and Scott Brown (66) in fifth place at 7-under 133.

Matt Kuchar (65), who played with Furyk and DeLaet, headlines a group of eight players tied at minus-6. He was joined there by Greg Chalmers (68), Putnam (70), Tim Clark (67), Nick Watney (68), Danny Lee (65), Jamie Lovemark (65) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (67).

Furyk started the second round with a par on the 10th, his first. He poured in a 50-foot birdie effort on the par-4 11th and followed with a 10-foot birdie effort on No. 12.

“That was probably my worst iron shot of the day,“ Furyk said of his second to the 11th. “It was an extra bonus to get ‘3’ there.“

The Well Fargo and Players Championship runner-up birdied the 13th as well. Furyk then made a 12-footer for birdie on the 14th to make it four in a row. He parred the final four holes of his first nine, then moved to minus-8 with a 20-foot birdie try on No. 1.

Furyk parred four straight holes, then dropped in a birdie putt on the sixth. He moved to 10-under with an 11-foot birdie putt on the eighth before closing with a par.

“I did miss a couple of putts out there, but you can’t make them all. I made a bunch more putts today, and that was the difference in 67 yesterday and 63 today,“ Furyk said. “I got the putter working early and gave myself a lot of opportunities on the second side.“

Petrovic also played the back nine first in round two. He 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 12th and holed a birdie attempt from off the green at the 15th.

The 47-year-old stumbled to a bogey on the 18th to make the turn at 7-under. He stuffed his approach to four feet at the first and knocked that in for birdie.

Petrovic rolled in an 18-footer for birdie on the third and joined Furyk in the lead when he drained a 13-foot birdie chance at the sixth. Petrovic closed with three pars to share the second-round lead.

“I tried to not to do too much. I just tried to put the ball in play and get the ball on the green. It’s sounds simple, but that was my gameplan. I knew that it was breezy and a little cooler, I knew it was going to be playing a little tougher,“ said Petrovic. “I had a couple good up and downs to keep the momentum going. I made one bogey, but things are going to happen.“

NOTES: Furyk has missed just three greens in regulation through two rounds ... This is the second time this season Furyk has had a piece of the 36-hole lead, while Petrovic has a share of the 36-hole lead for the second time in his career ... Petrovic has scrambled to par 12 of the 13 holes in which he missed the green ... Defending champion Brandt Snedeker shot 69 for the second day in a row and is tied for 37th at minus-2 ... The cut line fell at even-par 140 with 73 players moving on to the weekend ... Among those missing the cut were Chad Campbell, Aaron Baddeley, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Luke Donald.

►  U.S. SWEEPS SPAIN ON SECOND DAY OF INTERNATIONAL CROWN:  After finishing day one as the only team without a single point, the United States rebounded in a big way on Friday by winning both of its matches against No. 5 Spain at the International Crown.

Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson defeated Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari, 3 & 2, while Paula Creamer and world No. 1 Stacy Lewis held on to beat Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz, 2-up, giving the top-seeded Americans their first four points of the week at Caves Valley Golf Club.

“I didn’t feel any additional pressure at all. I think that put more fire into all of us coming into today,“ Thompson said about not having any points entering day two. “We all came out here with a lot of heart and played our own games and tried to make birdies and we did that.“

The United States is now tied for second in Pool A, while Spain is fourth with three points.

No. 4 Thailand picked up four points on the second day with two wins over No. 8 Chinese Taipei. Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn beat Candie Kung and Teresa Lu, 3 & 2, while Pornanong Phatlum and Onnarin Sattayabanphot topped Yani Tseng and Phoebe Yao, 1-up.

Thailand leads the way in Pool A with five points as Chinese Taipei is tied with the U.S. for second with four points.

After two days, No. 3 Japan leads the way with six points in Pool B. Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato won 3 & 2 over Australia’s Minjee Lee and Karrie Webb. Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine stunned Australia, coming back from 6- down with seven holes to play to finish all-square.

Japan is in first place in Pool B, while No. 7 Australia is tied for third with three points.

No. 2 Korea and No. 6 Sweden each had a win against the other on Friday and each picked up two points. Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist finished 1-up against Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu. Na Yeon Choi and I.K. Kim got revenge by beating Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid, 1-up.

Korea is in second in Pool B with four, while Sweden is tied with Australia at three points.

Through 11 holes, it seemed as if Ai Miyazato and Yokomine would be finishing their match early. At 6-down with seven to play, they could not afford to lose another hole and could only halve one hole if they had any chance of coming away with points.

Yokomine’s birdie at No. 12 got things going for the Japanese. At the next hole, Kirk and Wright both made bogey, while Miyazato and Yokomine poured in pars to win their second straight hole and put the deficit at four.

Kirk and Wright tripped up again at No. 14 as both made double-bogey at the par-4, and all of a sudden their lead was just 3-up. The two teams halved No. 15 before Miyazato’s birdie at 16 gave Japan yet another win.

Another birdie from Yokomine at 17 forced an 18th and deciding hole, which both Kirk and Wright bogeyed. Just like that, Japan halved the match to earn a point.

“It was just something clicked, and after 12, we kept the round going,“ Miyazato said. “It’s match play. I thought it’s just something that happens and the momentum is going to go the opposite way sometimes. And I realized that you never know what’s going to happen until the end. And match play is great fun.“

Creamer and Lewis were 3-up heading to the 15th hole, but Ciganda and Munoz earned wins at 15 and 17 to force a final hole. Lewis came through with a big birdie at No. 18, however, and the second United States team held to for the 2-up win.

NOTES: Saturday’s matchups include: United States vs. Thailand, Spain vs. Chinese Taipei, Japan vs. Korea and Sweden vs. Australia ... The top-two teams in each pool advance to Sunday’s singles matches. Any team in third place or tied for third place in its pool will compete in a sudden-death, wild-card playoff to determine the fifth and final team that advances to Sunday.

►  HORSEY REMAINS ON TOP IN MOSCOW:  David Horsey carded a 4-under 68 on Friday to remain on top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the Russian Open.

Horsey, who is seeking his third career win on the European Tour, finished 36 holes at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club at 11-under-par 133.

“I’ve got a while now until the next round, so I’ll be recharging the batteries this afternoon and hopefully I’ll be raring to go tomorrow,“ said Horsey, who played in the fifth group off the 10th tee.

Thomas Pieters also shot 68 to move into second place at 9-under, while Peter Whiteford (71) and Gary Boyd (68) shared third at minus-7.

Scott Jamieson (72), Nacho Elvira (69), Maximilian Kieffer (71) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (71) are tied for fifth at 6-under 138.

Horsey followed a pair of opening pars with back-to-back bogeys at the 12th and 13th, dropping him to 5-under.

He got one of those strokes back with a birdie at the 14th, and later rolled in consecutive gains at the 17th and 18th to make the turn at minus-8.

The Englishman bogeyed the first to fall back to 7-under, but then converted four birdies in a 5-hole stretch from the fourth to jump to 11-under. He parred the last to end there and remain on top of the leaderboard.

“I got off to a slow start but I managed to bounce back well,“ said Horsey. “Dropping a couple of shots early on is always disappointing, but I knew there’d be plenty of chances to come and I just needed to stay patient and keep giving myself putts for birdie.“

Pieters birdied the second and fourth to move to 7-under, and then countered a bogey at the sixth with consecutive birdies at the seventh and eighth to make the turn at minus-8.

He tripped to another bogey at the 12th, but again responded with back-to-back gains at the 13th and 14. A birdie at the 17th pulled him within a shot of Horsey, but he then bogeyed the last to fall back to 9-under and hand Horsey a 2-stroke lead heading into the weekend.

Whiteford recorded a double-bogey, three bogeys and six birdies during his up- and-down round, while Boyd countered three bogeys with seven birdies to earn his share of third place.

NOTES: Horsey’s last win came at the 2011 Trophee Hassan II ... Pieters is seeking his first career win on the European Tour ... Whiteford had missed the cut in his last eight starts entering this week ... The cut line fell at 2- over 146, with 66 players advancing to the weekend.

►  HUGO CLAIMS TITLE IN SOUTH AFRICA:  Jean Hugo carded a 3-under 69 on Friday to claim a 1-stroke victory at the Vodacom Origins of Golf.

Hugo earned his 15th career victory on the Sunshine Tour at 7-under-par 137. It was Hugo’s ninth Vodacom Origins of Golf series title.

The tournament was shortened to just 36 holes after the second round was suspended due to heavy winds and Friday’s action saw rain also suspend play.

Hugo started fast with back-to-back birdies at the first and second, but then gave those shots right back with consecutive bogeys at the fourth and fifth to fall back to minus-4.

A birdie at the eighth moved him to 5-under at the turn and after trading a bogey at the 10th with a birdie at the 11th, Hugo closed his round with birdies at the 13th and 18th to claim the 1-shot win.

First-round leader Rhys West managed just a 1-under 71 during his second round at Arabella Country Club to fall into second place at 6-under 138.

Chris Swanepoel (71), Trevor Fisher, Jr. (72), Ulrich van den Berg (70) and Adilson Da Silva (71) shared third at minus-5.

►  RILEY, ZALATORIS ADVANCE TO U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR FINAL:  Davis Riley outlasted Sam Horsfield in 21 holes, while William Zalatoris defeated Curtis Luck on the final hole to move on to Saturday’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship 36-hole match play final.

Riley, who beat Andy Zhang 2-up in the quarterfinal round earlier on Friday, managed to make par, while Horsfield tripped to a bogey on the third hole on the Nicklaus Course at The Club at Carlton Woods.

After defeating stroke-play co-medalist Sean Crocker 3 & 2 in the quarterfinals, Zalatoris made birdie on the last hole of his semifinal match against Luck to advance to Saturday’s final.

Before capturing the 21st hole of his semifinal match, Riley had led for just one hole against Horsfield, who was ousted in the quarterfinals at this event last year.

Horsfield, the other stroke-play co-medalist, was 2-up entering the 13th hole, but Riley got within 1-down with a birdie at the par-5. Riley, who finished tied for third in stroke play, evened things up at the par-4 16th with a birdie.

The two managed to halve the next four holes before Riley captured the victory on the 21st hole.

Zalatoris never trailed in his match with Luck. Zalatoris won two of the first three holes to take a 2-up lead, but Luck got things back to all-square with wins at four and seven. Zalatoris bounced back quickly with a win at No. 8 and he moved to 3-up with wins at 11 and 12.

Then Luck went to work, capturing three straight holes from No. 14 to square the match once again. It stayed that way for one hole before Zalatoris came through with a clutch birdie at the last to punch his ticket to the final.

Zalatoris is playing in his fifth U.S. Junior Amateur, while Riley is participating in his third. This is the second straight year Riley will be playing in the match play final. He lost to Scottie Scheffler in the 36-hole match play final in 2013.

►  SUPERAL, NAVARRO TO BATTLE FOR GIRLS’ JUNIOR CROWN:  Princess Mary Superal and Marijosse Navarro won two matches on Friday, and they will face off in the final match at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.

Superal needed 19 holes to beat Bethany Wu in the quarterfinals, then won the 18th for a 2-up victory over Cindy Ha in the semis.

Navarro held off Andrea Lee, 1-up in the quarterfinals, before beating Shelly Shin with an eagle on the 21st hole of their match.

Superal jumped out to a quick 2-up lead after two holes on the Meadow Course at Forest Highlands Golf Club. Ha birdied the fourth to get within 1-down, but Superal took the par-5 fifth with a par to again grab a 2-up lead.

After three straight halves, Superal moved 3-up with a par on the ninth. Ha rallied with birdies on 12 and 14 to get within 1-down. They traded wins at 15 and 16 before Superal birdied the 18th for a 2-up win.

Navarro birdied the second to go 1-up, but she bogeyed the fourth to square the match. She came right back with a birdie on No. 5. Shin took the second with a par to even the match once again.

Navarro made par on No. 9, but Shin won the next three holes to grab a 2-up lead. Navarro fought back with a birdie on 14 and another on No. 16 to square the match.

They halved four in a row from the 17th before Navarro made eagle on the par-5 third, the 21st hole of the match, to move on to the final.

►  SUCHER SOARS INTO MIDWEST CLASSIC LEAD:  Zack Sucher fired an 8-under 63 on Friday and soared into the lead after two rounds of the Midwest Classic.

Sucher, who is winless on the Tour, finished 36 holes at 13-under-par 129. He missed the tournament’s 36-hole scoring record by one stroke.

Jason Gore, who leads the Tour with seven career wins, also fired a 63 to jump into second place at minus-11. Aaron Watkins is one stroke further back at 10-under 132 after shooting 65 in round two.

Bill Lunde posted a 6-under 65 on Friday and is alone in fourth place at minus-8. Shane Bertsch (70), Steve Allan (67), Kyle Reifers (67) and Paul Haley II (71) share fifth place at minus-7.

Jarrod Lyle is making his first tour start since a lengthy battle with leukemia. He shot 2-under 69 in round two and headlines a group of 11 players tied for ninth at 6-under 136.

“I’m proud and pleased at the way I’m playing,“ Lyle stated. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. I would have been happy to make the cut on the number, but now I’m in a position where I could make a charge hopefully. Who knows what’s going to happen on the weekend.“

Sucher opened with birdies on the first and third at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate. He traded a bogey for a birdie from the fifth then faltered to another bogey on the par-3 eighth.

The 27-year-old bounced right back with a birdie on the ninth. Sucher moved to 8-under with a birdie on the 11th. He then made eagle on the par-5 13th.

Sucher birdied the par-5 15th to join Gore atop the leaderboard at minus-11. He made it two in a row with a birdie on 16. Sucher closed his round with a birdie on the 18th to grab a 2-shot lead.

“I made a lot of long putts. I wasn’t stuffing it in there close, which is hard to do when it’s windy. I think one of the hardest things about the wind is putting. It’s bothered me in the past, but it didn’t bother me today,“ said Sucher, who had a 2-shot lead after 36 holes last week in Boise.

Gore flew out of the gate with three birdies in the first four holes to jump to 6-under. He parred three in row from the fifth.

The Panama Claro Championship runner-up dropped in a birdie effort on the eighth and made it two in a row at No. 9.

Around the turn, Gore parred four of the first five holes on the back nine to go with a birdie on the 12th. He followed a birdie on 15 with another on the 16th to move to 11-under. Gore ended there as he parred the last two holes.

“I’ve played solid all year, which is something new for me. It’s been a much better year. I’ve had more fun and I’ve been in contention more times this year than probably in my entire career - within the last four or five groups on Sunday,“ said Gore, who is second in greens in regulation through two rounds. “I haven’t capitalized on it, but I’ll keep knocking on the door.“

NOTES: Harold Varner III, who had two eagles in round one, ran off five straight birdies from the 13th ... The cut line fell at 1-under-par 141 with 72 players moving on to the weekend ... Billy Mayfair, Roland Thatcher, Nick O’Hern, Parker McLachlin, Len Mattiace and Lee Janzen are among those that missed the cut.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  FOGNINI, ROBREDO, CILIC REACH SEMIS IN UMAG:  Top-seeded 2013 runner-up Fabio Fognini, reigning champion Tommy Robredo and heavy crowd favorite and former titlist Marin Cilic secured semifinal berths at the Croatia Open tennis event.

The fiery Italian Fognini held off 17-year-old Croatian wild card Borna Coric 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in 2 hours, 42 minutes in Friday’s quarterfinal nightcap.

The promising Coric was last year’s U.S. Open boys’ champion.

Fognini, who lost to Robredo in last year’s Umag finale, will meet Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas in Saturday’s semifinals.

The second-seeded Robredo rolled past fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-4, while the third-seeded Croat Cilic swatted 10 aces in crushing fifth- seeded Czech slugger Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-2 in 62 minutes on the red clay at ITC Stella Maris.

Cilic captured his home event in 2012 and was a runner-up here the year before that.

The former top-10 stars Robredo and Cilic will do battle in Saturday’s other semi.

Another quarterfinal saw the qualifier Cuevas outlast Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. The in-form Cuevas captured his first-ever ATP title two weeks ago in Bastad, Sweden.

The 2014 Croatia Open titlist will collect $105,000.

►  YOUZHNY, GRANOLLERS OUSTED IN GSTAAD QFS:  Top-seeded and defending champion Mikhail Youzhny and second-seeded former titlist Marcel Granollers failed to reach the semifinals at the Swiss Open tennis event.

In a rematch of last year’s final in Gstaad, seventh-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase exacted some revenge by upending the Russian veteran Youzhny 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in just under two hours on the red clay at Roy Emerson Arena.

“Until 5-2 in the third set, I felt good,“ said Haase. “But two net cord winners, one unbelievable backhand smash from him changed things. At 5-4, 40-0, you think it is done. I double faulted and lost my rhythm. I knew I could beat him. Compared to last year’s match, it was very good.“

The 2011 champion Granollers, meanwhile, succumbed to unseeded fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 7-5, 6-3. Andujar’s semifinal opponent on Saturday will be fourth-seeded compatriot Fernando Verdasco, who saw double duty on Day 5.

The 2011 Gstaad runner-up Verdasco opened his day by holding off German Jan- Lennard Struff 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in a rain-suspended second-round affair from Thursday, and capped his Friday with a 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 6-1 quarterfinal victory over Serbian wild card Viktor Troicki, who rejoined the ATP Tour this week after serving a one-year doping ban.

The other semi will pit the 2013 runner-up Haase against Argentine Juan Monaco, who handled two-time Gstaad champion Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 to reach his first semifinal in 12 months.

The 2014 Swiss Open champ will earn $105,000.

►  SVITOLINA, SCHIAVONE REACH BAKU SEMIS:  Reigning champion Elina Svitolina and former French Open titlist Francesca Schiavone were among Friday’s quarterfinal winners at the Baku Cup tennis event.

The second-seeded Ukrainian Svitolina defeated France’s Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4, while the 34-year-old Schiavone outlasted Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 on the hardcourts at Baku Tennis Academy.

Svitolina won her first WTA title at this event last year by beating Israeli Shahar Peer in the final.

The 19-year-old Svitolina and Schiavone will do battle in one of Saturday’s semifinals, while the other will pit fifth-seeded Serb Bojana Jovanovski against Swiss Stefanie Voegele.

The 2012 Baku champion Jovanovski overcame Japanese qualifier Misa Eguchi 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, while Voegele vaulted past Peer 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on Day 5.

The 2014 Baku champ will claim $43,000.

►  ISNER REACHES SEMIS AT ATLANTA OPEN:  Defending champion and No. 1 seed John Isner reached the semifinals of the Atlanta Open with a straight-set win over Marinko Matosevic on Friday.

The 6-foot-10 Isner—who beat 6-foot-8 Kevin Anderson for last year’s title—knocked off the No. 8 seed Matosevic 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 to move a step closer to another final at this U.S. Open Series hardcourt tournament.

Isner, a back-to-back runner-up to Mardy Fish in 2010 and 2011, will face fellow American Jack Sock in the semifinals after Sock ousted Lukas Lacko 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 on Friday.

The other semifinal will pit Germany’s Benjamin Becker against Dudi Sela. Becker was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Thiemo de Bakker and Sela toppled No. 4 seed Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 1-6, 6-2.

This week’s winner will claim $103,000.


The Gilmer Free Press


Major League Baseball - National League
St. Louis at Chicago Cubs, 4:05 PM - FS-Midwest, CSN-Chicago, DSS
Washington at Cincinnati, 4:05 PM - MASN, FS-Ohio, FS1, DSS
Arizona at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - FS-Arizona, NBC 10, DSS
San Diego at Atlanta, 7:10 PM - FS-San Diego, South, DSS
NY Mets at Milwaukee, 7:10 PM - WPIX, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Pittsburgh at Colorado, 8:10 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain, MLBNet, DSS
Los Angeles at San Francisco, 9:05 PM - SportsNet LA, CSN-Bay, MLB Net, DSS

American League
Toronto at NY Yankees, 1:05 PM - SNET, YES, MLB Network, DSS
Baltimore at Seattle, 4:10 PM - MASN2, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:10 PM -  NESN, SunSports, DSS
Chicago WSox at Minnesota, 7:10 PM - WGN (America), FS-North, DSS
Cleveland at Kansas City, 7:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS-Kansas City, FS1, DSS
Oakland at Texas, 8:05 PM - CSN-California, FS-Southwest, DSS
Detroit at LA Angels, 9:05 PM - FS-Detroit, West, DSS

Miami at Houston, 7:10 PM - FS-Florida, CSN-Houston, DSS

Canadian Football League
Ottawa at Hamilton, 7:00 PM - TSN,
Toronto at Saskatchewan, 10:00 PM - ESPN 2, TSN

Arena Football League
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 5:00 PM - TCN-Philadelphia,
Los Angeles at Jacksonville, 7:00 PM -
Arizona at Orlando, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM -
San Antonio at New Orleans, 8:00 PM -
San Jose at Iowa, 8:05 PM -
Spokane at Portland, 10:00 PM -

Los Angeles at Seattle, 4:00 PM - Time Warner, KONG, NBA TV
Indiana at San Antonio, 8:00 PM - No scheduled television
New York at Phoenix, 10:00 PM - No scheduled television

Major League Soccer
Sporting Kansas City at Toronto FC, 7:00 PM - KMCI, TSN2, DSS
Columbus at New England, 7:30 PM - CSN-New England, DSS

International Soccer
EuroAmerican Cup: Estudiantes vs. ACF Fiorentina, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport
Manchester United vs. Roma, 4:00 PM - FOX
New York Red Bulls vs. Arsenal, 5:00 PM - ESPN 2
EuroAmerican Cup: Alianza Lima vs. Valencia CF, 6:25 PM - beIN Sport
Chicago vs. Tottenham, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2

Major League Lacrosse
Denver at Ohio, 4:30 PM - CBSSN
Boston at Florida, 7:00 PM - MSG+, SPortSouth,
Charlotte at Rochester, 7:00 PM - YouTube

EUROPEAN - Russian Open, 6:00 AM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Senior British Open, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
PGA - Canadian Open, 1:00 PM - Golf Channel
PGA - Canadian Open, 3:00 PM - CBS
LPGA - International Crown, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
USGA - Girls’ Junior Championship, 8:00 PM - Golf Channel

Atlanta Open, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2

Tour de France
Stage 20, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Auto Racing
FORMULA ONE - Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying, 8:00 AM - CNBC
SPRINT CUP - Crown Royal 400/Brickyard practice, 9:00 AM - ESPN 2
NATIONWIDE - Lilly Diabetes 250 qualifying, 12:00 PM - FS1
SPRINT CUP - Crown Royal 400/Brickyard qualifying, 2:00 PM -= ESPN
NATIONWIDE - Lilly Diabetes 250, 4:30 PM - ESPN

Sports Brief - 07.25.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press


Two University of Texas wide receivers were arrested Thursday and charged with felony sexual assault.

Texas coach Charlie Strong said in a statement that Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander were suspended indefinitely and would no longer be participating in any team functions.

Sanders and Meander were both charged with second-degree felony sexual assault after they were accused of raping a woman last month inside a university dorm room.

According to an arrest affidavit, the woman, who said she has known both men for over a year, ran into Meander while she was out with friends the night of June 20.

Early the next morning, she accepted a ride back to a dormitory from Meander and went to his room, where she agreed to have consensual sex with him after taking a shower, according to the affidavit.

After several minutes, there was a knock at the door and Meander got up to let Sanders in. After Sanders undressed, he forcibly penetrated her vaginally and anally, according to police.

Meander re-entered the room and joined in the assault after the alleged victim “withdrew her consent to penetration by Meander,“ according to the affidavit.

The woman “asked Meander why he was doing this and he did not reply, he just stared at her,“ the affidavit says.

University of Texas Police Chief David Carter said at a news conference that the incident “is clearly similar to a national problem and concern related to sexual assaults on campus.“

Carter cited surveys saying as many as one woman in five is sexually assaulted during their college years.

“This case follows that pattern,“ Carter said. “It does not involve strangers but rather students who knew each other. ... This case involves the issue of initial consent from one person and not the other, and then the initial consent withdrawn.“

Strong said he’s “been monitoring and addressing the situation” since it was brought to his attention.

“It’s been made clear to everyone on our team that treating women with respect is one of our core values, and I’m extremely disappointed that two young men in our program have been accused of not doing that,“ Strong said. “With the recent charges against them, they have been suspended indefinitely from our football team and will no longer participate in any team functions.“

According to the affidavit, the woman asked to leave and Sanders replied that she “could leave after I’m done.“ The woman “closed her eyes and tried to emotionally remove herself from the situation.“

“At that time she was not able to discern who was doing what to her,“ police said.

The woman told police she saw a flash and suspected one of the men had used a cell phone to take a picture or video of her.

Sanders was charged with improper photography or visual recording, a state jail felony, after detectives found at least one photo of the woman on his phone while he was being questioned.

Police said Sanders and Meander exchanged texts about what each one was saying while they were being interviewed separately at the University of Texas police station.

Bail for both men was set at $75,000 on the sexual assault charge. Bail for Sanders’ other charge was $20,000. Both men were booked and released pending an upcoming court date.

Sanders had 37 catches for 361 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore last season. Meander was a redshirt freshman.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  RAVENS RB RICE SUSPENDED 2 GAMES:  Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been suspended two games without pay by the NFL for his offseason arrest on assault charges.

Though Rice avoided prosecution after he was arrested in February and charged with simple assault-domestic violence following an incident with then-fiancee Janay Palmer at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, the NFL said Thursday he was in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.

Rice was also fined an additional game check. His suspension will begin Aug. 30 and he will be eligible for reinstatement on Monday, Sept. 12, following the Ravens’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is eligible to participate in all aspects of training camp and preseason games.

He can appeal the decision within three days.

Surveillance video posted online by showed Rice lifting a motionless Palmer out of an elevator and onto the floor, though there was no footage of any physical altercation between the two.

In May, Rice was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that allowed him to avert prosecution and avoid serving any time in jail. The charges against him will be expunged from his record upon successful completion of the one-year program.

Rice and Palmer have since been married and Rice issued an apology in May.

The NFL released the following letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell to Rice:

“As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL.

“The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.

“You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting. As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate.

“I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations.“

Rice played in 15 games last season and tallied 660 yards and four touchdowns on 214 carries while adding 321 yards receiving. Over his career, the three- time Pro Bowl selection has rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns and caught 369 passes for 3,034 yards and six scores.

►  FALCONS, WHITE AGREE TO 4-YEAR EXTENSION:  With training camp about to begin, the Atlanta Falcons announced Thursday that they agreed to terms with wide receiver Roddy White on a four-year contract extension.

The deal will keep White tied to the franchise that drafted him through the 2018 season.

White, 32, battled injuries last year and caught 63 passes for 711 yards, his lowest totals since 2006.

Selected with the 27th overall pick in 2005, White owns club records for career receptions (685) and career receiving yards (9,436). The four-time Pro Bowler has 55 touchdown receptions in 141 career games.

The Falcons open training camp on Friday.

►  SUSPENDED BLACKMON ARRESTED FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION:  Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday night in Edmond, Oklahoma, according to a Tulsa television station.

The news outlet reported Edmond police officers stopped Blackmon for a traffic violation and could smell marijuana coming from his vehicle.

Police searched the car, found marijuana and took Blackmon into custody. He has since posted bail and been released.

Blackmon is currently serving an indefinite suspension for repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

The fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon was previously arrested twice for drunk driving.

►  COWBOYS PLACE SPENCER ON PUP LIST:  Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list Thursday.

Spencer continues to recover from microfracture knee surgery. He played in only one game last season.

Spencer has 363 tackles, 32 1/2 sacks and one interception in 91 games for the Cowboys since they drafted him in the first round in 2007.

In other team news, the Cowboys placed defensive tackle Amobi Okoye on the active/non-football illness list. He signed with the club in the offseason after missing all of last year due to personal issues.

Guard Ronald Leary also landed on the PUP list.

►  RAVEN’S ROSS TEARS ACHILLES:  Baltimore Ravens cornerback Aaron Ross tore his Achilles Thursday during conditioning testing.

Ross, a former first-round pick of the Giants and member of New York’s Super Bowl champion teams during the 2007 and 2011 seasons, has started 52 games over a seven-year NFL career.

Ross played in the first four games of the 2013 campaign before the Giants placed him on injured reserve with a back problem.

He was signed by the Ravens in late June.


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►  LEBRON JAMES SENDS 800 CUPCAKE APOLOGIES TO HOMETOWN:    NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy in the small town where he has a home, sent sweet apologies to the community in the form of 800 cupcakes.

The Bath Township police department received five dozen of the desserts, along with a note apologizing for “chaos” in the neighborhood, bearing the names of James, his wife, Savannah, and their two sons.

“We are all on a sugar high here,” Police Chief Michael McNeely said. “There are cupcakes galore and they are the best I’ve ever eaten.”

LaKisha Williams, co-owner of Baker Blvd. Decadent Cupcakes in Akron, said it took her staff most of Tuesday to deliver the cupcakes, a dozen at a time, to 65 homes.

The note accompanying the cupcakes read: “Dear Friend, We know things have been hectic in our neighborhood these past few weeks and we are sorry for the chaos. We are so thankful to live in this wonderful community and we are so blessed to have understanding neighbors like you.“

Police and residents of Bath, a suburb of Akron where James went to high school, had to put up with hordes of fans and media flocking to his home in the days before the July 11 announcement that he was signing a free agent contract with the Cavaliers.

James, a four-time winner of the NBA’s most valuable player award, started his career in Cleveland in 2006 but broke fans’ hearts five seasons later when he signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat. The Heat won two NBA titles in four seasons with James and Cavs fans hope he can bring a championship to Cleveland.

►  MAGIC SIGN MARBLE:  The Orlando Magic signed guard Devyn Marble on Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Magic acquired the draft rights to Marble (56th overall pick), along with guard Evan Fournier, from Denver in exchange for Arron Afflalo on June 26.

Marble played in 136 career games during four years at the University of Iowa, averaging 12.5 points per game.

As a senior, Marble played and started in 33 games, averaging 17.0 points per game and earning First Team All-Big Ten honors.

Marble is the son of Roy Marble, a former NBA player and the all-time leading scorer in Iowa history.

►  CAVS SIGN NO. 1 PICK WIGGINS:  The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins to a rookie contract.

The deal, announced Thursday, starts at $5.5 million according to reports and would prevent the Cavaliers from trading the former Kansas wing for at least 30 days.

Wiggins, 19, was taken first overall by the Cavaliers last month, plucked at the top of a draft class widely seen as one of the most talented of all-time.

But reports have surfaced since then that Wiggins could be part of a potential trade to acquire All-Star big man Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The deal means the earliest Wiggins could be dealt is Aug. 24.

The Cavaliers also signed guard Joe Harris, their second-round pick out of Virginia.

Wiggins was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year after averaging 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his only season for Kansas, helping the Jayhawks win the regular-season conference championship.

He was the fourth No. 1 overall pick by the Cavaliers in the last 12 years, beginning with the selection of LeBron James in 2003.

James, of course, announced this month that he was returning to Cleveland after four seasons with the Miami Heat.

►  MAVERICKS SIGN VETERAN PG JAMEER NELSON:  The Dallas Mavericks have signed veteran point guard Jameer Nelson, who was waived last month by the Orlando Magic.

Terms of the deal, which was announced Thursday, were not disclosed.

Nelson, 32, ended a 10-year run as the Magic’s all-time leader in assists and second in team history in games played.

The Magic saved a reported $6 million by waiving Nelson, who had re-signed with the team on a three-year deal in July 2012 amid swirling speculation about Dwight Howard’s future with the team.

Nelson posted 12.1 points and 7.0 assists in 68 games this past season and has averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 assists in his NBA career. He made it to the NBA Finals with the Magic in 2009, the same year he was an All-Star for the only time.

The former Naismith Award winner was selected by Denver in the first round of the 2004 draft out of Saint Joseph’s but traded to Orlando on draft night for a future first-round pick.

As a senior in 2004, he led Saint Joseph’s to an undefeated regular season, a No. 1 national ranking and into the regional final of the NCAA Tournament, drawing widespread attention for the Philadelphia school and landing him on the cover of Sports Illustrated.


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►  A’S DFA FORMER CLOSER JOHNSON:  The Oakland Athletics designated former closer Jim Johnson for assignment on Thursday.

Johnson has struggled since being acquired in an offseason trade with the Baltimore Orioles. He was removed from the closer’s role earlier this season.

The right-hander was 4-2 with two saves, one blown save, and a 6.92 ERA this season. Opponents were hitting .353 against him in 38 relief appearances and his ERA is the highest among major league relievers.

Johnson allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in 4 1/3 innings over his last five games.

Johnson was replaced on the active roster by right-handed pitcher Evan Scribner, who was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.

Scribner was on the A’s Opening Day roster and tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in two appearances before he was optioned to Sacramento April 07. He returned for a second stint June 17 but did not appear in a game before he was sent back to the River Cats on June 20.

The 29-year-old Scribner is 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA and .243 opponents’ batting average in 31 games with Sacramento and ranks fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 14 saves.

►  WHITE SOX PLACE PUTNAM ON DL:  The Chicago White Sox placed pitcher Zach Putnam on the 15-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Andre Rienzo from Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday.

Putnam has been sidelined due to right shoulder inflammation. The 27-year-old right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.35 earned run average and three saves in 33 appearances this season.

Rienzo started 11 games and took part in 14 from mid-April to the All-Star break, racking up a 4-5 mark and 5.87 ERA. The 26-year-old righty pitched to a 1-2 record and 3.60 ERA in five contests for Charlotte.

►  ORIOLES ACQUIRE PAREDES FROM ROYALS:  The Baltimore Orioles on Thursday acquired switch-hitting utility man Jimmy Paredes from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.

Paredes, 25, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

He batted .200 in 10 at-bats over nine games for the Royals this season after spending the previous three years with Houston. He is a career .233 hitter in 127 major-league games.

The Orioles are in Seattle for a four-game series against the Mariners.

►  MARINERS ACQUIRE MORALES FROM TWINS:  The Seattle Mariners acquired first baseman Kendrys Morales from the Minnesota Twins on Thursday for reliever Stephen Pryor.

In 39 games with the Twins, Morales hit .234 with one homer and 18 runs batted in. He spent last season with the Mariners, hitting .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBI.

Pryor made one appearance for the Mariners this season, allowing one unearned run in 1 2/3 innings. In 28 minor-league games, he went 2-2 with a 5.71 ERA in relief.

Pryor was sent to Triple-A Rochester, while the Twins recalled infielder Jorge Polanco from Rochester.


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The Montreal Canadiens agreed to terms with restricted free-agent forward Lars Eller on a four-year contract Thursday.

No financial terms were disclosed, but multiple reports state the pact is worth $14 million for the duration.

“We are very pleased to have agreed upon a long term agreement with Lars Eller. He is an important part of our group of young veterans. He has a tremendous work ethic and a great attitude,“ said Habs general manager Marc Bergevin.

“He is the type of player you can rely on for his play at both ends of the rink. Lars can play big minutes against the opponents’ top players and still be an offensive threat. We are confident he will reach his full potential and become an impact player who will compete at a high level for many years to come.“

The 25-year-old completed his fourth season with the Canadiens with 12 goals and 14 assists over 77 regular-season appearances. He struck for career bests in goals (five), assists (eight) and points (13) over 17 playoff games as the Habs reached the Eastern Conference finals.

In 286 career NHL games with St. Louis and Montreal, the native of Denmark has collected 45 goals and 58 assists to go along with 231 penalty minutes.

ISLES REACH DEAL WITH G POULIN:  The New York Islanders signed goaltender Kevin Poulin to a one-year, two-way contract on Thursday.

By reaching the deal, the two sides avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Poulin, 24, appeared in a career-high 28 games for the Islanders last season, going 11-16-1 with a 3.29 goals-against average and .891 save%age.

A fifth-round pick of the Islanders in 2008, Poulin has played in 49 career NHL games.


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►  NIBALI EXPANDS TOUR LEAD WITH STAGE 18 WIN:  Italian Vincenzo Nibali captured Stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday and increased his overall lead in cycling’s most prestigious race.

Nibali finished the 145.5-kilometer trek in a time of 4 hours, 4 minutes and 17 seconds for his fourth stage win of this year’s Tour.

The finale in the Pyrenees took the riders from Pau to Hautacam and featured two ascents of the highest category. After climbing the Col du Tourmalet, the stage ended with a push to the top of the Montee du Hautacam.

France’s Thibaut Pinot was 70 seconds behind in second place, while Poland’s Rafal Majka, the Stage 17 winner, was another two seconds back.

Nibali, who won Stage 13 in the Alps, began the day 5 minutes and 26 seconds ahead of Spaniard Alejandro Valverde and now owns an advantage of 7:10 over Pinot.

Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud was fourth in Thursday’s stage and moved into third place in the overall classification, 7:23 behind Nibali. Valverde is another two seconds off the yellow jersey’s pace after a 10th-place finish.

Friday’s Stage 19 is a 208.5-kilometer ride from Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac.


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HORSEY LEADS BY 1 IN MOSCOW:  David Horsey fired a 7-under 65 on Thursday and grabbed a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Russian Open.

Horsey has two European Tour wins with the last coming at the 2011 Trophee Hassan II. He is coming off three straight missed cuts.

Scott Jamieson and Peter Whiteford are tied for second, one stroke off the lead after they opened with 6-under 66s.

Rikard Karlberg posted a 5-under 67 and he was joined in fourth place by Jack Doherty, Maximilian Kieffer, Oliver Bekker, Louis De Jager, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Jack Wilson and Thomas Pieters.

Horsey opened with a birdie on the first at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club, then he ran off six pars in a row from the second. He converted his second birdie try on the par-5 eighth.

Around the turn, the Englishman birdied the 10th and 13th to move to minus-4. Horsey birdied 15th to join the group of leaders at minus-5

Horsey made it two in a row with a birdie on the 16th. He followed with a 6-foot birdie putt on 17 and birdied the last to close out a bogey-free round.

“It was very solid,“ Horsey said. “I birdied the first and then had a few shaky holes where I managed to scramble pars with eight- to 10-footers. After that it was flawless and probably could’ve been a few better. It was a bit breezier this afternoon, but I was just trying to concentrate on giving myself opportunities to make birdie.“

Jamieson started with six pars in the first seven holes to go with a birdie on the third. He jumped to minus-3 with an eagle on the par-5 eighth.

Last year’s Nelson Mandela Championship winner birdied the 10th and followed that with four pars in a row. He climbed into a share of second with birdies on the 16th and 18th.

Whiteford birdied three of his first five holes to get off to a quick start. However, he stumbled to a bogey on the seventh. Whiteford bounced right back with a birdie on No. 8.

The Scotsman faltered to another bogey on the 11th. Whiteford erased that mistake with a birdie on the 12th. He birdied the 14th to move to minus-4. Whiteford birdied 16 and 18 to share second place.

NOTES: Morten Orum Madsen is the highest ranked player in the field this week at world No. 154 ... Madsen opened with a 1-under 71 and is tied for 35th ... Last year’s winner Michael Hoey is not playing this week after hurting his foot at the Open Championship last week.

LANGER TAKES FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT SENIOR OPEN:  In tough, windy conditions, Bernhard Langer carded a first-round, 6-under 65 on Thursday and he holds a 2-shot lead over Bob Tway at the Senior Open Championship.

Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has also won three major titles on the Champions Tour, including this year’s Constellation Senior Players Championship. He also won the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior Open Championship in 2010. Langer went wire-to-wire to win this event in 2010.

“I hope so,“ Langer said about whether he thinks he can go wire-to-wire again. “It’s been done before. I’ve done it before, so hopefully I can do it again.“

The 56-year-old is looking for some redemption at this event after letting a 2-shot lead slip away on the 72nd hole last year. Langer wound up losing to Mark Wiebe in a playoff at Royal Birkdale.

Tway is two shots behind Langer after a 4-under 67. Right behind Tway is England’s Chris Williams, who fired a 3-under 68 at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.

Andrew Oldcorn is four shots off the pace following his 2-under 69. Pedro Linhart and Rick Gibson were the only other players to finish their first round under par. The duo is tied for fifth at 1-under 70.

This year’s Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open Championship winner Colin Montgomerie is tied for 16th at 1-over 72. Defending champion Wiebe finished the day at 5-over 76 and is 11 shots back.

Langer, who was chasing Tway’s 67 all day, started his front nine off strong with two pars at one and two followed by back-to-back birdies at three and four.

Two more birdies at six and eight had Langer at 4-under for the day as he made the turn bogey-free. Langer rattled off three straight pars from No. 10 before making his fifth birdie of the day at the par-5 13th hole.

Langer’s first blemish of the day came at No. 16, but he responded in a big way with back-to-back birdies at 17 and 18 to close out his round.

“Whenever you’re under par on a course like this, it’s a good round, and to be 6-under is very satisfying,“ Langer said. “I played smart. I played pretty good. Not everything was great, but there was a lot of good and some great in it, and I didn’t make too many mistakes and that’s what it comes down to at the end.“

Tway held the early lead after a bogey-free round. Tway made just two birdies on the front nine, but he avoided bogeys as he made the turn at 2-under. It was more of the same on the back nine as he poured in back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13. The other seven holes resulted in pars.

“I just think this golf course is great,“ said Tway. “We don’t get to play this type of golf ever, especially when the ball’s running this fast. So it was a pleasure just to play a nice round of golf on a fantastic course.“

NOTES: Tway has not won on the Champions Tour and his best finish on the year came at the ACE Group Classic, where he ended tied for 11th ... In 13 events this season, Langer has finished outside the top 10 just once, and he has won three events ... Williams’ round included three birdies at two, four and six, with the rest of his round resulting in all pars, 12 straight to end the day.

U.S. BLANKED ON FIRST DAY OF INTERNATIONAL CROWN:  Chinese Taipei’s Yani Tseng drained a birdie putt at the par-4 18th to defeat the United States’ Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson, 1-up, and steal two points.

Earlier on Thursday, Chinese Taipei’s Candie Kung and Teresa Lu beat Americans Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr, 4 & 3. As the No. 1 seed, the United States was the only team to finish the first day of four-ball play at Caves Valley Golf Club without a point.

“Doesn’t matter who we play with on this team. It really doesn’t,“ Creamer said about Thursday’s pairings. “We all mesh well together. We just didn’t get the job done.“

The eighth-seeded Chinese Taipei led the way in Pool A with four points with help from Tseng and her partner Phoebe Yao.

Right behind them was No. 5 Spain, which picked up three points after a win and a draw against No. 4 Thailand. Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz defeated Pornanong Phatlum and Onnarin Sattayabanphot, while Spain’s Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari halved their match with Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn.

No. 3 Japan ended day one in first place in Pool B, also earning three points. Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine won, 2-up, over No. 6 Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid. Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato halved their match with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist.

No. 2 Korea and No. 7 Australia each won one match against each other to earn two points apiece. Korea’s Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu got two points for their country with a 3 & 2 win over Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright. Australia’s Minjee Lee and Karrie Webb won, 2-up, over Na Yeon Choi and I.K. Kim later on.

Lewis and Thompson’s match with Tseng and Yao was the last match on the course and it was the United States’ last chance to at least collect one point heading into the second day.

With things all-square through 12 holes, Tseng and Yao picked up a win at No. 13, which did not look good for the Americans. Lewis, the No. 1 player in the world, came up huge at the par-5 16th as she put her third shot just feet from the pin. She tapped in for birdie to square things up again.

Thompson made a mess of the last hole, so it was up to Lewis to make birdie with Tseng within about 10 feet of the hole. Lewis narrowly missed her long birdie putt and Tseng knocked hers in for the 1-up win.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a Yani of old, but she just made putts,“ Lewis said. “She didn’t hit it perfect, she hit some bad shots, she hit some good shots. But she’s just made putts. And in best ball, that’s what it comes down to.“

NOTES: With Lewis at No. 1 and Thompson at No. 5, that United States pairing contained two of the top-3 players in this week’s event. Korea’s Park is No. 3 in the world ... Friday’s matchups include: United States vs. Spain, Korea vs. Sweden, Thailand vs. Chinese Taipei and Japan vs. Australia.


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CIRSTEA OUSTED; SVITOLINA INTO BAKU QUARTERS:  Top seed Sorana Cirstea was a second-round upset victim, while reigning champion Elina Svitolina moved into the quarterfinals at the Baku Cup tennis event.

Swiss Stefanie Voegele whipped the Romanian Cirstea 6-1, 6-1, while the second-seeded Svitolina of Ukraine subdued Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa 7-5, 6-2 on the hardcourts at Baku Tennis Academy.

Svitolina won her first WTA title at this event last year by beating Israeli Shahar Peer in the final.

In other second-round action on Day 4, France’s Kristina Mladenovic overcame Croat Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 and Italian Francesca Schiavone topped Israeli Julia Glushko 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

Friday’s quarterfinals will pit Svitolina against Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier; fifth-seeded Serb and 2012 Baku champion Bojana Jovanovski versus Japanese qualifier Misa Eguchi; Mladenovic against the former French Open champ Schiavone; and Voegele versus the aforementioned Peer.

The 2014 Baku champ will claim $43,000.

FOGNINI INTO UMAG QUARTERS:  Top seed and 2013 runner-up Fabio Fognini reached the quarterfinals at the Croatia Open tennis event on Thursday.

The fiery Italian got past Spaniard Albert Montanes 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 on the red clay at ITC Stella Maris.

Fognini, who lost to Spain’s Tommy Robredo in last year’s Umag finale, will meet little-known Croatian wild card Borna Coric on Friday.

Day 4 second-round upsets came when Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili overcame fourth-seeded Portuguese Joao Sousa 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Uruguayan qualifier Pablo Cuevas tackled sixth-seeded Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-1.

One other round-of-16 result saw the 17-year-old Coric take out Argentine qualifier Horacio Zeballos 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

The other quarters will pit a second-seeded Robredo against fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, third-seeded Croatian crowd favorite Marin Cilic versus fifth-seeded Czech Lukas Rosol and Gabashvili against Cuevas. Cilic captured his home event in 2012 and was the runner-up here in 2011.

The 2014 Croatia Open titlist will collect $105,000.


Top-seeded and defending champion Mikhail Youzhny was an easy second-round winner Thursday at the Swiss Open tennis event.

The Russian veteran moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 handling of Frenchman Kenny De Schepper on the red clay at Roy Emerson Arena.

Youzhny will meet Dutchman Robin Haase on Friday in a rematch of last year’s final, which was won by the Russian. A seventh-seeded Haase moved on with a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen on Day 4 in Gstaad.

Also on Thursday, Serbian wild card Viktor Troicki vaulted past Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev 6-3, 6-4. Troicki rejoined the tour this week following a one- year doping ban.

Fourth-seeded Spanish left-hander and 2011 runner-up Fernando Verdasco of Spain was tied with German Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 6-3, 1-1 when play was suspended because of rain. The winner will meet Troicki in the quarters.

Some other quarterfinal matchups on Friday will pit second-seeded 2011 champion Marcel Granollers against fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar and Argentine Juan Monaco versus two-time Gstaad titlist Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil.

The 2014 Swiss Open champ will earn $105,000.


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UNTAPABLE VERSUS EIGHT BOYS IN 47TH HASKELL:  Leading three-year-old filly Untapable heads a field of nine for Sunday’s 47th edition of the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Untapable will try to duplicate her trainer’s 2009 accomplishment when he sent out eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra to victory in the 1 1/8-mile race versus male 3-year-olds.

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Untapable has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite versus her eight male rivals and will start from post 7 with Rosie Napravnik back riding the filly.

“I think it’s an excellent draw considering the field,“ Asmussen stated.

Untapable is perfect in four starts this year by a combined 31 lengths. The filly won both the Rachel Alexandra and Mother Goose Stakes by better than nine lengths and also posted decisive victories in the Fair Grounds Oaks and Kentucky Oaks.

“When the year started our goal with her was the Kentucky Oaks,“ Asmussen said concerning the start in the Haskell. “Once, with the performance she did in the Kentucky Oaks and how she has trained since, this was the right time to give this a chance.“

Untapable has earned $1,304,725 in eight lifetime starts with six wins.

Trainer Bob Baffert will send out 5-2 second choice Bayern for an attempt to gain his seventh Haskell victory. Bayern will be ridden by Martin Garcia from post 2.

“He’s a speed horse so no matter where he is he’ll have to go,“ Baffert noted.

The colt’s big win this year came in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens Stakes on Belmont Stakes Day, winning by more than seven lengths. He finished first in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs but was disqualified to second and two weeks earlier was third at Oaklawn Park in the Arkansas Derby. He has won half of his six career starts for $477,680.

Here is the field for the Haskell in post position order: Encryption, Paco Lopez, 20-1; Bayern, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Albano, Kerwin Clark, 6-1; Irish You Well, Jose Lezcano, 12-1; Just Call Kenny, Joe Bravo, 10-1; Social Inclusion, Edgar Prado, 8-1; Untapable, Rosie Napravnik, 2-1; Wildcat Red, Luis Saez, 10-1 and Medal Count, Robby Albarado, 8-1.

The Haskell will be televised live on NBC with an approximate post time of 5:44 PM ET. For the first time it’s part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series, with the victor getting an automatic berth to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 01.

GOLDENCENTS RETURNS IN BING CROSBY STAKES:  Breeders’ Cup champ Goldencents returns to the races Sunday in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. The six- furlong sprint has drawn a field of eight.

Trained by Doug O’Neill, Goldencents will make just his second start of the year and first since finishing second to Palace Malice in the Met Mile at Belmont Park on the Belmont Stakes program.

The 4-year-old colt, owned by W. C. Racing, will break from post 2 in the eight-horse field with Rafael Bejarano, coming back from injury, riding.

Goldencents captured the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last November 2 at Santa Anita. After winning the Sham Stakes to begin 2013, Goldencents was fourth in the San Felipe but won the San Anita Derby.

He finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness Stakes. The colt reeled off consecutive seconds in the Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien and Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Four weeks after winning the Dirt Mile, Goldencents was seventh as the 3-1 favorite in Aqueduct’s Cigar Mile.

Here is the field from the rail out for the Bing Crosby: Indexical, Mario Gutierrez; Goldencents, Rafael Bejarano; Declassify, Mike Smith; Pablo Del Monte, Victor Espinoza; Seeking the Sherif, Edwin Maldonado; Big Macher, Tyler Baze; Kobe’s Back, Joe Talamo and Wine Police, Elvis Trujillo.


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FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014

Major League Baseball - National League
St. Louis at Chicago Cubs, 4:05 PM - FS-Midwest, WGN (America), DSS
Arizona at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - FS-Arizona, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Washington at Cincinnati, 7:10 PM - MASN, FS-Ohio, DSS
San Diego at Atlanta, 7:35 PM - FS-San Diego, South, DSS
NY Mets at Milwaukee, 8:10 PM - SNY, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Pittsburgh at Colorado, 8:40 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain, DSS
Los Angeles at San Francisco, 10:15 PM - SportsNet LA, NBC Bay, DSS

American League
Toronto at NY Yankees, 7:05 PM - SNET, My9, MLB Network, DSS
Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:10 PM -  NESN, SunSports, MLB Network, DSS
Oakland at Texas, 8:05 PM - CSN-California, TXA21, DSS
Cleveland at Kansas City, 8:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS-Kansas City, DSS
Chicago WSox at Minnesota, 8:10 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-North, DSS
Detroit at LA Angels, 10:05 PM - FS-Detroit, West, DSS
Baltimore at Seattle, 10:10 PM - MASN2, ROOT-Northwest, DSS

Miami at Houston, 8:10 PM - FS-Florida, CSN-Houston, DSS

Canadian Football League
Winnipeg at British Columbia, 10:00 PM - TSN

Tulsa at Washington, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, NBA TV
Chicago at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - WCIU
San Antonio at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, North+

EUROPEAN - Russian Open, 8:00 AM - Golf Channel
LPGA - International Crown, 11:30 AM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Senior British Open, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
PGA - Canadian Open, 4:00 PM - Golf Channel

Atlanta Open, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2
Atlanta Open, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2

Tour de France
Stage 19, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Auto Racing
NATIONWIDE - Indiana 250 practice, 10:30 AM - FS1
SPRINT CUP - Crown Royal 400/Brickyard practice, 11:30 AM - FS1

Sports Brief - 07.24.14

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►  FRESHMAN WORKING AS STARTER AT SAFETY; 4 SIGNEES COULD MISS START OF WVU CAMP:   Four-star defensive back Dravon Henry, who arrived on campus only six weeks ago, seems primed to become an instant-impact recruit for West Virginia.

“Right now, he’s running with the ones at free safety,” coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday. “I don’t know if that’s going to remain because we can’t get out there to coach them and really film it and see how they’re doing. But right now he’s in the mix at free safety as a starter.”

A consensus top-200 national recruit according to Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247Sports, Henry was a two-way star at Aliquippa (PA) High School where he rushed for 5,454 career yards. He also could factor in West Virginia’s return game, especially with Wendell Smallwood’s status made murky by a witness tampering charge in Delaware.

Holgorsen said Henry and four-star quarterback William Crest are two standouts who “bring more to the table” than some of the freshmen forced into early action during recent seasons.

With four members of this year’s recruiting class yet to enroll, Holgorsen said it’s possible the missing players won’t arrive in time for the July 31 start of preseason camp.

Cornerback Jaylon Myers and offensive lineman Justin Scott have not completed the requisite junior college courses, Holgorsen said. Two freshmen—receiver Jacob McCrary of Miami and offensive lineman Dontae Angus of Philadelphia—haven’t qualified through the NCAA clearinghouse.

►  HOLGORSEN: ‘PEOPLE FOLLOW HIM’:   Dana Holgorsen, explaining his midsummer appointment of Clint Trickett as West Virginia’s starting quarterback, said he was trying to combat the team’s leadership void.
“The leadership aspect of it is something that we were missing,” Holgorsen said Tuesday at Big 12 media days. “We had a bunch of guys coming back that played a lot of football but there wasn’t any leadership that was present at the quarterback spot, at the skill spot.

“(Trickett) will be able to take that to another level. People follow him. He understands what it takes to be successful.”

A fifth-year senior transfer coming off an underwhelming debut season at WVU, Trickett reportedly has recovered after missing spring practice with shoulder surgery.

“He’s healthy, 100%,” Holgorsen said. “Arm strength is awesome, body weight is good.”

Even before sustaining a labrum injury in the upset win over Oklahoma State, Trickett was hampered last season by communication obstacles with his coach. Holgorsen expects Trickett’s first full offseason with the team to create better on-field chemistry and timing.

“He’s been out there working with our guys all summer,” Holgorsen said. “There’s a rapport that needs to exist with him and the receivers in order to be successful. They need to understand each and every one of their little nuances when it comes to being able to get open and sign language and a nod here and a cut‑off there. And all that’s starting to exist with him right now with him and the rest of the guys.”

►  MOOUNTAINEERS AND NC STATE:   West Virginia and NC State have finalized a home-and-home series that means the Mountaineers will make two trips to North Carolina early in the 2018 season.

The first matchup against the Wolfpack is slated for on September 15 in Raleigh, two weeks after a neutral-site season opener against Tennessee on September 01, 2018, in Charlotte.

The Mountaineers will host a return game in Morgantown in September 14, 2019.

West Virginia has one vacancy left on its 2018 slate—which figures to be filled with a pay-for-play home game—and two openings for 2019.

►  HOLGORSEN: MOUNTAINEERS “VERY MOTIVATED” FOR 2014:   Head coach Dana Holgorsen opened his press conference telling the media how excited he and his team are to enter year No. 3 in the Big 12 as he focused on a few key reasons why he believed this year’s schedule would play out far differently than the one in his rearview.

“A lot has been made of the disappointing seasons that we’ve had the last couple of years,” Holgorsen said. “Each and every game we’ve been in until the end. Our guys have played hard, they’ve fought hard. The one thing that I appreciate about our guys is that they’re very motivated going into this season.”

A theme that both Holgorsen and the rest of his staff have played up throughout the offseason is how much more depth and experience the roster has compared to each of the prior two seasons in the Big 12.

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►  C-USA COMMISH SEES BRIGHT FUTURE IN CHANGING TIMES: The commissioner of Conference USA sees his league at a “pivot point” with a bright future at a time when he says intercollegiate athletics are transitioning from conference realignment to system realignment.

While the five power conferences are seemingly close to getting the autonomy to make their own bylaws, Britton Banowsky says that won’t prevent leagues like 14-member Conference USA from fielding competitive teams, engaging the fan base and having great programs.

Banowsky said Wednesday at C-USA’s football media day that the five higher-resource leagues — the SEC, Big 12, Pac- 12, ACC and Big Ten — have a lot of history with the other five NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision leagues. He believes the two sides will continue to co-exist much like they always have.


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►  A BUNCH OF SAINTS ROLLING INTO GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV:  The New Orleans Saints find themselves more than 900 miles from home ahead of the start of the 2014-2015 football season.

Members of the NFL team were scheduled to arrive at the Greenbrier Valley Airport in Lewisburg on Wednesday afternoon to begin three weeks of training based at The Greenbrier Resort’s new AdvoCare Sports Performance Center.

The Saints are after for a fifth playoff appearance this season under the direction of Head Coach Sean Payton who opted for the road trip to White Sulphur Springs. It marks the first time the Saints have hit the road for camp since 2008.

Payton has said the Greenbrier Valley “offers a tremendous opportunity to our team in a more moderate summer climate.”

The 55,000 square foot training facility, along with three practice fields, did not exist at The Greenbrier Resort just more than 130 days ago when the New Orleans Saints first announced plans to come to West Virginia for training camp.

In all, the cost to build a place for the Saints — on a deadline — is closing in on an estimated $30 million.

All training camp workouts for the Saints are open to the public.

Following a bus tour of Lewisburg and White Sulphur Springs on Wednesday evening and strength and conditioning tests on Thursday, team members were scheduled to begin on-field workouts in a non-padded practice session on Friday from 8:50-11:40 AM with a walk through from 4:30-5:30 PM.

A “Picnic with the Saints” will be held Saturday. Tickets for that event are $10.

In all, there will 20 practices for the Saints, including a scrimmage on August 02, 2014.

The team will be at The Greenbrier through August 14, 2014 before returning to Louisiana to complete pre-season camp.

►  BRONCOS’ BOWLEN STEPS ASIDE DUE TO ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE:  Englewood, CO ( - Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has relinquished day-to-day control of the team due to Alzheimer’s disease.

The team made the announcement Wednesday, saying the 70-year-old Bowlen had been privately battling the disease in recent years.

“The Broncos are very saddened that Mr. Bowlen is no longer able to be part of the team’s daily operations due to his condition,“ the club’s statement read. “We continue to offer our full support, compassion and respect to ‘Mr. B,‘ who has faced Alzheimer’s disease with such dignity and strength.“

Bowlen had already placed his ownership share into a trust that is controlled by non-family members with a long-term goal for one his seven children to eventually run the franchise.

“Plans for this trust were arranged by Mr. Bowlen beginning more than a decade ago as part of his succession plan to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family,“ the statement continued.

Daily operations of the team will be assumed by club president Joe Ellis and John Elway will continue to run the football department. Ellis, who will take on the role of CEO, has spent the past 17 years with the Broncos, while Elway rejoined the club in the front office in January 2011.

Bowlen, who purchased the team in 1984, told the Denver Post in May 2009 that he was suffering from short-term memory loss. The family and team told the paper early Wednesday that his condition had developed into Alzheimer’s disease, a brain condition that progressively worsens and has no cure.

“Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner,“ said Bowlen’s wife, Annabel, in a statement. “My family is deeply saddened that Pat’s health no longer allows him to oversee the Broncos, which has led to this public acknowledgment of such a personal health condition.

“Alzheimer’s has taken so much from Pat, but it will never take away his love for the Denver Broncos and his sincere appreciation for the fans.“

Bowlen was one of the leaders in the NFL, serving on ownership committees that included labor and broadcasting.

►  GRONKOWSKI CLEARED TO PLAY: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been medically cleared to take part in all workouts and practices during training camp after recovering from knee surgery.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick revealed the news during a press conference Wednesday morning.

Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL last December in a Week 14 game against Cleveland and underwent surgery in January. There was speculation that he could begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

The 25-year-old Arizona product played just seven games last year and finished the season with 39 receptions for 592 yards with four touchdowns. He began the 2013 campaign on the PUP list while recovering from offseason procedures for his back and forearm.

Gronkowski, entering his fifth season, hasn’t played a full 16 games since 2011, when he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards with 17 touchdowns. He played just 11 games in 2012 because of a broken arm.

The Broncos have reached the Super Bowl six times during Bowlen’s 30-year tenure, winning back-to-back titles after the 1997 and ‘98 seasons. Denver lost to Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII in February.

►  SEAHAWKS WR RICE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT:   Seattle Seahawks wideout Sidney Rice announced his retirement on Wednesday, after seven injury-plagued NFL seasons.

Rice had been cut by the club back in February as a salary-cap measure, before being re-signed in April.

“After careful consideration and seven wonderful years playing in the National Football League, including the last three for the Seattle Seahawks, I have decided to retire from playing in the National Football League,“ Rice mused in a statement. “I have enjoyed my experiences with all of my coaches, teammates and passionate Seahawks fans. I take great pride in knowing I was one of the players signed to help build the foundation of the team that ultimately won the Super Bowl. I’ll be joining the 12s in support of the Seattle Seahawks as they take on the challenge to repeat.“

The 27-year-old finished the 2013 campaign on season-ending injured reserve thanks to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in an October 28 win over the St. Louis Rams. The seventh-year pro totaled 15 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns in eight games.

Rice also saw the 2011 campaign—his first with Seattle—end with a stint on IR thanks to a concussion.

“The entire organization would like to thank Sidney for his leadership over the past three seasons,“ said club GM John Schneider. “His time as a Seahawks player displayed the core values that Pete and I aimed to bring to the program and Sidney is a true champion. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.“

Rice, taken by the Vikings in the second round of the 2007 draft out of South Carolina, ends his career having compiled 243 catches, 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns over 81 games (57 starts). He accumulated 97 receptions, 1,463 yards and 12 TDs in three seasons with the Seahawks.

With Minnesota in 2009, Rice participated in all 16 games and posted career- highs in receptions (83), yards gained (1,312) and scores (8).

►  CHIEFS, RB CHARLES AGREE TO EXTENSION: The Kansas City Chiefs and star running back Jamaal Charles have agreed to a two-year contract extension, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

The new deal will make Charles one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL after he had been set to earn under $4 million this season based on the contract he signed in 2010, and ESPN both reported.

The sides agreed on the deal ahead of the start of training camp on Thursday.

Charles, who was reportedly ready to hold out for more money, did not report to camp by a Wednesday afternoon deadline. He joked on Twitter that he had “no intention” of holding out.

“I just ran out of gas on the way to camp and my cell phone battery died,“ he wrote. “It was a long walk I tell ya.“

Charles, 27, rushed for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 70 passes for 693 yards and seven scores last season. Only Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy gained more yards from scrimmage.

The seventh-year back has gained 5,823 yards on the ground with 29 touchdowns and caught 222 passes for 1,975 yards and 14 scores in 80 NFL games, all with the Chiefs.

►  JETS ADD JASON BABIN: The New York Jets have agreed to terms with linebacker/defensive end Jason Babin.

The 11-year veteran was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars last month after leading the club with 7 1/2 sacks last season. He had just re-signed with the Jaguars in March after voiding the final two years of his previous deal only three days earlier.

Babin started all 16 games for Jacksonville in 2013 and added 40 tackles to his sack total. He had joined the Jaguars late in the 2012 season and played five games for the club after being released by Philadelphia.

The well-traveled 34-year-old Michigan native has 62 1/2 sacks and 347 tackles in 130 NFL games with Houston, Seattle, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Jacksonville.

To make room on the training camp roster, the Jets released cornerback Lowell Rose.

The Jets also placed guard Willie Colon and linebacker Antwan Barnes on the active physically unable to perform list with knee injuries.

►  EAGLES T JOHNSON SUSPENDED FOR PEDS: Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson has been suspended four games without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances by taking a medication he says he failed to check out properly.

The suspension was reported by media outlets last month and announced by the NFL on Wednesday.

Johnson started all 16 games as a rookie last season after being drafted No. 4 overall by the Eagles out of Oklahoma.

He said in a statement issued by the team that he “mistakenly and foolishly put a prescribed medication in my body to help with a medical issue” while he was training in April.

“I mistakenly failed to clear it with Eagles trainers and check the NFL list of banned substances,“ Johnson said. “I am extremely sorry for this mistake and I will learn from it and be smarter in the future.“

Johnson is eligible to participate offseason and preseason practices and games but will miss the first four regular-season contests against Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Washington and San Francisco.

He can return to the active roster on Monday, September 29.

“We’re very disappointed to learn of his suspension,“ the Eagles said in a statement. “We have spoken to Lane about the details of the suspension. He understood what he did wrong and took full responsibility. The key for him, however, is to learn from that mistake and move forward with his preparation for the 2014 season.“

►  CARDINALS PLACE MATHIEU ON PUP LIST: The Arizona Cardinals placed safety Tyrann Mathieu and tackle Alameda Ta’amu on the physically unable to perform list on Wednesday.

Mathieu is still recovering from tearing the anterior collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during a game last December, which caused him to be placed on season-ending injured reserve on two days later.

Speaking shortly after the injuries occurred, Cards head coach Bruce Arians stated that the former LSU star wouldn’t likely to be medically cleared for the start of next summer’s training camp after undergoing surgery.

He finished his rookie campaign with 68 tackles, two interceptions and one sack over 13 games.

Ta’amu is also coming off an ACL injury suffered late last season.

Arizona also released wide receiver Kelsey Pope.

►  BENGALS PLACE GRESHAM ON PUP LIST:  The Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday placed tight end Jermaine Gresham on the physically unable to perform list.

The fifth-year pro recorded 46 receptions for 458 yards and four touchdowns over 14 contests last season.

An Oklahoma product, Gresham has spent his entire four-year career with the franchise, totaling 218 catches, 2,262 yards and 19 scores.

Defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi was also sent to the PUP list. The 24-year- old native of Angola and Georgia State product participated in seven games last season—two with Cincinnati—and totaled five tackles with one sack.

►  49ERS PLACE BOWMAN ON PUP LIST: The San Francisco 49ers placed linebacker NaVorro Bowman on the physically unable to perform list on Wednesday.

Bowman suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the fourth quarter of San Francisco’s NFL Championship Game loss to Seattle in January. He will continue rehabbing his knee throughout training camp.

The All-Pro started all 16 games last season, totaling 145 tackles, five sacks and two interceptions, including one which was taken back for a touchdown.

Bowman has spent his entire four-year career with San Francisco, compiling 482 tackles, nine sacks, three interceptions and a touchdown in 64 games.


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►  LEWIS NEEDS KNEE SURGERY, CONTRACT WITH MAVS VOID: The Dallas Mavericks have voided the contract of forward Rashard Lewis.

Lewis had agreed to terms on a veteran minimum contract with the Mavs on July 19, but a recent physical revealed a knee injury that will require surgery.

“It came to our attention during Rashard Lewis’ physical that he is in need of a medical procedure on his right knee,“ Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery and continued success in his remarkable career.“

Lewis appeared in 60 games with the Miami Heat last season, averaging 4.5 points in just over 16 minutes of action.

Over his 16-year career, Lewis has averages of 14.9 points and 5.2 rebounds. He is 45.2% career shooter, hitting 38.6% of his 3-pointers.

►  NETS SIGN BROWN, JEFFERSON:  The Brooklyn Nets signed a pair of 2014 draft picks Wednesday, inking guard Markel Brown and forward Cory Jefferson to multi-year contracts.

Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Brown, the 44th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night in exchange for cash considerations.

He completed his senior season at Oklahoma State, averaging 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Jefferson, the 60th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night in exchange for cash considerations.

During his final season at Baylor, he averaged 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds.

►  FELTON SENTENCED TO COMMUNITY SERVICE IN GUN CASE:   Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to a gun charge in a New York court on Wednesday.

Felton will perform 500 hours of community service and was also issued a fine of $5,000 after his guilty plea, which stemmed from a February arrest while he played for the New York Knicks.

The Mavericks acquired Felton in a trade with New York last month. Just two days before the deal, Felton reached a plea agreement with prosecutors to avoid jail time. He will be able to perform his community service outside the state of New York.

Felton, then playing for the Knicks, turned himself in to authorities in February, hours after a game against the Mavericks, and was charged with felony possession of a firearm. New York has strict gun possession laws, which normally carry automatic jail sentences.

Reports in February had indicated that Felton’s estranged wife and her attorney brought the gun to police. The two were in the middle of a divorce.

There was speculation at the time that Felton had threatened the woman with the weapon, but that was never established.

Felton averaged a career-low 9.7 points and 5.6 assists for the Knicks last season.

►  TIMBERWOLVES RE-SIGN F HUMMEL: The Minnesota Timberwolves re-signed forward Robbie Hummel on Wednesday.

Hummel, 25, played in 53 games as a rookie last season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game.

The Purdue product was selected 58th overall by Minnesota in the 2012 NBA Draft and spent the 2012-13 season with Obradoiro CAB in the Spanish League, where he averaged 10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30 games.

►  HORNETS SIGN PG ROBERTS:  The Charlotte Hornets signed point guard Brian Roberts on Wednesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Brian is a quality point guard who we believe will play a key role for us,“ Hornets general manager Rich Cho said. “We look forward to having him as part of our team.“

In 72 games last season, including 42 starts, Roberts averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds. He spent the last two seasons with New Orleans, averaging 8.2 points, 3.0 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 150 games.


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►  HORSFIELD, CROCKER ADVANCE AT U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR: Stroke play co-medalists Sam Horsfield and Sean Crocker both moved on to the second round of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship as they won their opening matches on Wednesday.

Horsfield rolled to a 5 & 4 win over David Laskin. Horsfield won the first two holes on the Nicklaus Course at The Club at Carlton Woods with pars. Laskin birdied the fifth to get within 1-down.

However, Horsfield won three of four holes from the seventh, two with birdies, to push his lead to 4-up. After a pair of pars, Laskin bogeyed the 13th to fall 5-down and when they halved the 14th with pars, Horsfield was the winner.

Crocker rallied from a late 2-down deficit to beat Dylan McCabe, 1-up. The pair split six of the first seven holes with Crocker going 1-up three times, then McCabe answering to square the match.

Crocker took the eighth and ninth to go 2-up, but McCabe won four holes in a row from the 11th to move 2-up. Crocker won the 16th with a bogey, then was conceded the 17th to square things up. A par at the 18th was all Crocker needed to move on.

Both Laskin and McCabe made it through a 9-for-5 playoff to get into the match play portion. Justin Conant, Josh McCarthy and Priyanshu Singh were the other three that moved on in the playoff.

Conant lost 3 & 2 to Will Grimmer, while McCarthy ousted Dominic Foos, 2 & 1, and Singh dropped a 4 & 2 decision to Davis Riley.

Joshua Sedeno and Doc Redman both moved on with 1-up wins in 20-holes. They were the only two that needed more than 18 holes to move on.

William Zalatoris and Braden Thornberry cruised to big 6 & 5 wins, while David Snyder earned an easy 6 & 4 victory.

The match play portion of the championship continues on Thursday and runs through the 36-hole final on Saturday.

►  MEDALIST YIN MOVES ON GIRLS’ JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Stroke-play medalist Angel Yin cruised to a 4 & 2 win on Wednesday and she moved on to the second round of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.

Yin, who had the second-lowest 36-hole score in U.S. Girls’ Junior history, took down Julie Luo in their first-round match. The pair traded wins the first four holes before Luo won the fifth with a par to go 1-up.

Yin poured in four consecutive birdies from the seventh to move 3-up. Luo claimed 12 and 13 to get back within 1-down. Yin answered with three straight wins from the 14th to close out the match on the Meadow Course at Forest Highlands Golf Club.

Princess Mary Superal rolled to a dominating 8 & 7 win over Maria Davis on Wednesday, while Kristen Gillman and Samantha Wagner earned easy 7 & 5 victories. Clare Amelia Legaspi rolled to a 7 & 6 win to advance.

Sofia Chabon took down Hannah O’Sullivan in 21 holes. That was the longest match of the day. Yealimi Noh and Anna Zhou needed 20 holes to advance, while Monica Dibildox, Shannon Brooks, Gigi Stoll and Yuka Saso all picked up 1-up wins in 19 holes.

Andrea Lee beat Chakansim Khamborn, 4 & 3. Along the way, Lee had holed a rare double-eagle on the par-5 fifth en route to her win.

The championship will conclude with a 36-hole final on Saturday.


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►  YANKEES PLACE JOHNSON ON DL:  The New York Yankees placed infielder Kelly Johnson on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained left groin.

Johnson is batting .219 with six homers and 22 RBI this season. He was hurt in Tuesday’s game against Texas.

Playing right field for the first time, Johnson made a nice running catch in right-center field and struggled running to first in his next at-bat.

The Yankees, after a 14-inning marathon against the Rangers on Tuesday, added bullpen depth on Wednesday by selecting the contract of pitcher Chris Leroux from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

To put Leroux on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated pitcher Bruce Billings for assignment.

►  PHILLIES ACTIVATE C RUIZ:  The Philadelphia Phillies activated catcher Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list prior to Wednesday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

He will catch and bat fifth.

Ruiz had been out for nearly a month with a concussion after being hit in the head by a pitch in a game against the Miami Marlins. He was placed on the seven-day disabled list on June 27 and moved to 15-day DL on July 11.

The 35-year-old was batting .257 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 66 games for the Phillies this season prior to his DL stint.

Philadelphia also recalled pitcher Phillippe Aumont from Triple-A Lehigh Valley after Tuesday’s 14-inning loss to the Giants. Aumont is 0-1 in two games for the Phils this season. He has allowed two hits—both home runs—and four runs in 1 2/3 innings.

To make room for Ruiz and Aumont on the roster, the Phillies optioned catcher Cameron Rupp to Lehigh Valley and designated pitcher Jeff Manship for assignment.

►  NATS RECALL WALTERS TO FILL ZIMMERMAN’S SPOT:  The Washington Nationals placed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and recalled infielder Zach Walters from Triple-A Syracuse.

Zimmerman, 29, heads to the DL for the second time this season, this time with a right hamstring strain. He was hitting .362 with a .418 on-base%age in the month of July.

Walters hit just .182 with three of his six hits being home runs during a 27- game major-league stint from April 13-May 27. He has collected 15 homers and 48 RBI with a .300 average in 60 games for Syracuse.

►  PIRATES PLACE MARTE ON CONCUSSION DL:  The Pittsburgh Pirates placed outfielder Starling Marte on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Wednesday.

Marte left Friday’s game against the Rockies after taking an Adam Ottavino fastball off his helmet. He played in Monday’s series opener against the Dodgers, but was absent from Pittsburgh’s lineup on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old is hitting .255 with five home runs and 34 RBI over 86 games this season, his third with the Pirates.

Pittsburgh also recalled infielder Brent Morel from Triple-A Indianapolis.

►  INDIANS SEND HOUSE TO COLUMBUS, BRING UP RAMIREZ: The Cleveland Indians have optioned pitcher T.J. House to Triple-A Columbus and recalled infielder Jose Ramirez from the minor league club.

House pitched five innings in Monday’s 4-3 loss to Minnesota and did not factor into the decision after yielding three runs on six hits. The lefty is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 games, all but one as a starter, for the Tribe this season.

Ramirez will join the Indians for the second time this season. He was 2-for-25 with an RBI in 11 games during May. In 60 games for Columbus, the 21-year-old Dominican native was batting .302 with 15 doubles, five homers and 29 runs batted in.

►  CARDS ACTIVATE SIEGRIST FROM DL:  The St. Louis Cardinals have activated pitcher Kevin Siegrist off the 15-day disabled list.

Siegrist had been sidelined since late May because of a left forearm strain. He recently worked 4 2/3 scoreless innings over five appearances during a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield.

The lefty was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 20 innings in 23 games for the Cardinals this season prior to his DL stint.

St. Louis optioned pitcher Nick Greenwood to Triple-A Memphis to open a roster spot for Siegrist. Greenwood was 1-1 with 4.74 ERA in nine games for the Cardinals since his recall last month, including two perfect innings during Tuesday’s loss to Tampa Bay.

►  ANGELS PUT GREEN ON DL:  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have placed infielder Grant Green on the 15-day disabled list because of a lumbar strain.

Green tallied his first career walk-off hit in the ninth inning on Sunday, as his single drove in Josh Hamilton for a 6-5 win over the Seattle Mariners. Green made his first career start at shortstop Sunday.

Green been called up three times by the Angels from the minors this season. In 31 contests, he’s hitting .313 with a homer and nine RBI.

The Angels replaced Green on the roster by recalling first baseman C.J. Cron from Triple-A Salt Lake.

►  PADRES’ MAYBIN SUSPENDED 25 GAMES FOR AMPHETAMINE:   San Diego Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin was suspended 25 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for an amphetamine he says he was taking to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The suspension, announced Wednesday, is effective immediately.

Maybin is eligible to return to the active roster on August 20.

In a statement issued by the Major League Baseball Players Association, the outfielder said he’s been receiving treatment for ADHD for several years and previously had a therapeutic use exemption.

“Unfortunately, in my attempts to switch back to a medicine that had been previously OK’d, I neglected to follow all the rules and as a result I tested positive,“ Maybin said.

“I want to assure everyone that this was a genuine effort to treat my condition and I was not trying in any way to gain an advantage in my baseball career. I understand that I must accept responsibility for this mistake and I will take my punishment and will not challenge my suspension.

“I apologize to my family, friends, fans, teammates, and the entire Padres organization. I look forward to returning to the field and contributing to the success of my club.“

Maybin, 27, is batting .247 with a .286 on-base%age, one home run and nine RBI in 62 games for the Padres this season. The eight-year MLB veteran is a career .248 hitter.

“Cameron has accepted full responsibility for his violation and apologized to his teammates and coaches,“ said Padres manager Bud Black. “We are all looking forward to his return.“

►  ASTROS PLACE OF SPRINGER ON DL:  The Houston Astros placed rookie outfielder George Springer on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quad on Wednesday.

Springer last played on Saturday and has missed the last two games with the quad injury and right knee discomfort.

The 24-year-old, who was selected 11th overall by Houston in the 2011 amateur draft, has hit .231 with 20 home runs and 51 RBI.

Springer ranks second in both home runs and RBI among rookies, trailing White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu in both categories.

Houston recalled infielder Marc Krauss from Triple-A Oklahoma for Wednesday’s game against Oakland.

Krauss has hit .173 with four home runs and 14 RBI in 39 games this season for the Astros.

►  CUBS OPTION OLT, RECALL WADA:  The Chicago Cubs optioned struggling infielder Mike Olt to Triple-A Iowa and recalled left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada from Triple-A on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Olt, who was acquired in the Matt Garza deal from Texas last July, had been on the big league club since Opening Day, but hit just .139 with 12 homers and 30 RBI.

The 33-year-old Wada will start for the Cubs Wednesday night against San Diego.


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►  STARS G HAMMON TO RETIRE:  San Antonio Stars guard Becky Hammon announced she will retire at the conclusion of this season, her 16th in the WNBA.

The 37-year-old Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star, holds career averages of 13.1 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds over 440 games.

This is her eighth season with the Stars. She has averaged 8.1 points and 4.1 assists this season.

“Becky Hammon has made a lasting mark on the San Antonio Stars and the WNBA,“ Stars general manager and coach Dan Hughes said. “She has worked tirelessly to become the best she could be on and off the floor. She has inspired in a wonderful way. The beauty of her game has been an amazing thing to have had a front row seat for.“

Hammon was acquired from the New York Liberty in a draft-night deal in 2007. She has made the playoffs 12 times in her career.

In league history, Hammon ranks seventh in total points (5,756), second in 3- point field goals made (817), fourth in assists (1,663), sixth in games played (440), and first in free-throw%age (89.6, min. 300 attempts).


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►  RANGERS, KREIDER AGREE TO DEAL:  The New York Rangers agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Chris Kreider on Wednesday.

Kreider had 17 goals and 20 assists in 66 games with the Rangers this past season, ranking second among NHL rookies in power-play goals with six and fifth in goals.

During the Rangers’ playoff run, the 23-year-old Massachusetts native recorded five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 15 games.

Kreider has skated in 89 career NHL games, registering 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points. He also has 22 points in 41 Stanley Cup playoff games.


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►  NIBALI INCREASES TOUR LEAD IN STAGE 17:  Vincenzo Nibali of Italy increased his overall lead at the Tour de France on Wednesday with a strong third-place finish in Stage 17.

Poland’s Rafal Majka won the stage, a short and grueling 124.5-kilometer mountain trek through the Pyrenees, finishing atop the Pla d’Adet in a time of 3 hours, 35 minutes and 23 seconds. It was his second stage win of the 2014 Tour, as he captured Stage 14 last week in the Alps.

Italy’s Giovanni Visconti was 29 seconds behind in second place, while Nibali made a move to distance himself from his nearest competitors in the overall classification with an attack near the conclusion on the highest category climb. He finished third for the stage—46 seconds behind the winner.

Nibali started the day 4 minutes and 37 seconds in front of Alejandro Valverde and now owns an advantage of 5:26 over the Spaniard, who was another 49 seconds behind the winner in 10th on Wednesday.

“I’ve got a nice lead, but considering (Thursday’s) stage to Hautacam and the time trial, I preferred to go and gain a few more seconds and be even more serene, just in case something would happen,“ Nibali said about why he decided to attack rather than remain with the other top riders.

Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet occupy the next three places. Pinot, who was 11th on Wednesday, is six minutes behind Nibali, while Peraud finished alongside Nibali on Wednesday and remains another eight seconds behind. Bardet is 7:34 off the pace after placing 12th on Wednesday.

American Tejay Van Garderen is still sixth overall after finishing alongside Pino and Bardet on Wednesday.

A trio of Category 1 climbs preceded the highest category finish on Wednesday, the shortest non-time trial stage of the 2014 Tour.

Heading up the final ascent of the Pla d’Adet were four riders, including Visconti, who left the group with about nine kilometers remaining. Majka, though, caught him with four kilometers left and the two stayed together until the Polish rider took off with about 2 1/2 kilometers to go and was not caught.

“I’m just so happy about this result and the results that we have accomplished in the last couple of days,“ said Majka, who owns the polka dot jersey as the leader in the mountains classification.

Nibali had the yellow jersey group a few minutes behind the lead pack at the start of the final ascent, but Peraud pulled away and only the yellow jersey was able to keep up, leaving Valverde with a struggle to maintain his second overall position.

“I was able to recover my rhythm and to limit the damage with Nibali and Peraud,“ said Valverde. “It’s true that I have close rivals in Pinot and Peraud, but Peraud is the one I fear the most because he’s very good in time trials.“

Stage 18 on Thursday is the last of three days in the Pyrenees and the 145.5 kilometers from Pau to Hautacam features two climbs of the highest category—the first up the Col du Tourmalet before a finish at the top of the Hautacam.


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►  NO REFUNDS FOR DIRTY GIRLS:  If you were planning to participate in this weekend’s Dirty Girl Mud Run not only has it been canceled, you won’t be getting any of your money back from the company. Dirty Girl released the following statement Wednesday morning on its Facebook page:

“Charleston Dirty Girls-

It is with great regret we inform you that the Dirty Girl Mud Run will not be held this weekend in Charleston, WV. While the city of Charleston worked diligently and closely with Dirty Girl Mud Run to take all possible steps to put on the event, it can not be held due to circumstances out of our control. We would like to thank the city of Charleston as well as the city officials for all the assistance they’ve provided. Per our policy, we will not be issuing refunds under any circumstances.”

Registration fees ranged from $65 all the way up to $95, depending on when you signed up for the event.

Charleston pulled the plug on the mud run after Dirty Girl and Human Movement, the company that produces the event, were unable to come to an agreement on who should pay to bus participants to and from the site, port-a-potties and remediation after the event was over.

April Hickman Williams posted on the site, “I will be filing a complaint with the attorney general and better business bureau immediately. I will also be filing a negative review with the bbb. This was not “beyond your control” – you didn’t pay the vendors who were contracted for the event.”

Tracy Seirfert McVeigh commented, “This year will be my third DG race. You already have my money for an upcoming race this year, but if you do not issue refunds to the Charleston girls I will not be returning for a fourth year, nor will my team or anyone I reach via word of mouth. And as your marketing team should know, word of mouth is the most influential form of marketing.”


The Gilmer Free Press

►  JOVANOVSKI REACHES BAKU QFS: Fifth seed and 2012 champion Bojana Jovanovski was an easy second-round winner Wednesday at the Baku Cup tennis event.

The Serb subdued Poland’s Katarzyna Piter 6-3, 6-1 on the hardcourts at Baku Tennis Academy.

Jovanovski’s quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be Japanese qualifier Misa Eguchi.

A mild Day 3 upset came when France’s Pauline Parmentier dismissed eighth- seeded Slovak Jana Cepelova, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4. Parmentier will now appear in her first quarterfinal since 2012.

Some other second-round action saw Israeli veteran and last year’s Baku runner-up Shahar Peer overtake Serbian qualifier Vesna Dolonc 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Eguchi drill Pole Urszula Radwanska 6-2, 6-1. The 183rd-ranked Eguchi is playing in her first-ever main draw on the WTA.

Top seeds Sorana Cirstea, of Romania, and Elina Svitolina, of Ukraine, will see second-round action on Thursday.

Svitolina won her first WTA title at this event last year, beating Peer in the final.

The 2014 Baku champ will claim $43,000.

►  GRANOLLERS INTO QUARTERS; GARCIA-LOPEZ EXITS GSTAAD: Former champion Marcel Granollers cruised into the quarterfinals, while two seeds, including Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, came up second-round losers Wednesday at the Swiss Open tennis event.

The second-seeded Spaniard Granollers grounded Swiss wild card Yann Marti 6-1, 6-4. The 2011 champ will next face fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar on Friday.

Former top-10 Argentine Juan Monaco upended the third-seeded Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 and is now 6-2 lifetime against the Spaniard, while another mild upset came when Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci drove out fellow South American Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-4, 6-4 on the red clay at Roy Emerson Arena. Bellucci was the Gstaad champion in 2009 and 2012 and is now 12-2 at this tournament.

Bellucci and Monaco will square off in the quarters.

Another second-round result saw Andujar level Slovenian Blaz Rola 6-3, 6-3, while one final first-round affair saw Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen get past French qualifier Gianni Mina 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3) in a match that was suspended on Tuesday.

On Thursday, top-seeded Russian veteran and reigning champion Mikhail Youzhny will open his week with a second-round match against Frenchman Kenny De Schepper. Youzhny titled here last year with a victory over Dutchman Robin Haase in the final.

The 2014 Swiss Open champ will earn $105,000.

►  ROBREDO, CILIC ROLL INTO UMAG QUARTERS: Reigning champion Tommy Robredo and Croatian crowd favorite Marin Cilic eased into the quarterfinals at the Croatia Open tennis event on Wednesday.

The second-seeded Robredo handled fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-4, while the third-seeded 2012 Umag champion and 2011 runner-up Cilic humbled Dutchman Igor Sijsling 7-5, 6-3 on the red clay at ITC Stella Maris.

“It is good that I won in two sets, conditions here are tough with humidity and heat,“ Cilic said. “I have adjusted well to the conditions, but winning as fast as possible is always recommended.“

Up next for the former world No. 5 Robredo will be another fellow countryman, Pablo Carreno Busta, while the one-time world No. 9 Cilic will meet Czech slugger Lukas Rosol.

Also in the second round, a fifth-seeded Rosol doused Spaniard Pere Riba 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 and Carreno Busta moved on via walkover when eighth-seeded Argentine Carlos Berlocq pulled out of the draw.

On Thursday, top-seeded Italian star Fabio Fognini will face Spaniard Albert Montanes in the round of 16. Fognini was last year’s runner-up to Robredo.

The 2014 Croatia Open titlist will collect $105,000.


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►  TONALIST HEADLINES JIM DANDY STAKES:  Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist tops a field of seven 3-year-olds for Saturday’s $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The 1 1/8-mile stakes is the final local prep for the $1 million Travers on August 23.

Trained by Christophe Clement for Robert Evans, Tonalist will again be ridden by Joel Rosario and break from post 4.

“We have him in the Jim Dandy, but we also want him to make the Travers afterwards, so we’re just trying to keep a little bit of room to work after the Jim Dandy,“ Clement said during a conference call on Tuesday.

The colt won the Belmont Stakes at odds of 9-1 versus 10 other 3-year-olds, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome. He came away with a head victory in the final jewel of racing’s Triple Crown

“He gives you the feeling he tries very hard to the end,“ Clement added. “Is it because he tries hard or is it because he’s got the will to win. I’m not exactly sure. But, yes, he always seems to be doing his best from the quarter pole to the wire.“

With three wins from five career starts, Tonalist has banked $957,000.

Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, trained by Dallas Stewart, has been entered after originally being slated for Friday’s Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, the colt has drawn post 6 with Shaun Bridgmohan set to ride.

“He really likes this track. I thought he liked it a lot as a 2-year-old,“ Stewart said. “He was training here. He ran here one time, but it was muddy and it just didn’t work out good. But he trains very well on it and he worked good.“

Commanding Curve is coming off a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes and is still seeking his second career win. Earlier this year he was sixth at Fair Grounds in the Risen Star Stakes and third in the Louisiana Derby. He rallied to get second behind California Chrome in the Run for the Roses as a 37-1 longshot.

The colt has earned $542,434 in eight starts.

Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong will start from the outside post for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, with regular jockey Rajiv Maragh in the saddle.

Owned by Centennial Farms, Wicked Strong posted fourth-place results in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes (dead-heating with California Chrome). The colt will be wearing blinkers for the first time Saturday.

“I really feel he didn’t give us his best (fourth in the Belmont),“ said Jerkens. “He’s run very well, but he needs to run a little better. If (the blinkers) make a little bit of a difference, it’s worth a try. I like his reaction to the blinkers. I think they kept him a little straighter, more into the bridle the whole way.“

Wicked Strong has two wins from eight starts for $884,610.

Here is the complete field for the Jim Dandy: Cousin Stephen, John Velazquez; Legend, Luis Saez; Ulanbator, Julien Leparoux; Tonalist, Joel Rosario; Kid Cruz, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Commanding Curve, Shaun Bridgmohan and Wicked Strong, Rajiv Maragh.

►  SAN DIEGO HANDICAP DRAWS FIELD OF 11 THOROUGHBREDS:  Imperative, winner of the Charles Town Classic, headlines a field of 11 evenly matched thoroughbreds for the 73rd running of the $200,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on Saturday.

The 1 1/16-mile stakes is a prep for the $1 million Pacific Classic on August 24.

Trained by George Papaprodromou, Imperative will start from post 2 with Kent Desormeaux again in the saddle. The veteran jockey will be making his fifth consecutive appearance aboard the 4-year-old gelding.

Imperative, owned by KM Racing Enterprise, is coming off a third place finish behind Majestic Harbor in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita four weeks ago. The 4- year-old son of Bernardini defeated Game On Dude by 1 1/2 lengths in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 19.

Earlier this year he was second to Blingo in Santa Anita’s San Antonio Stakes and seventh in the Santa Anita Handicap behind Game On Dude. The gelding has banked $1,194,620 with three wins, four seconds and two thirds from 16 career starts.

Dance With Fate is the only 3-year-old in the field and will break from post 6 with Corey Nakatani on board.

Trained by Peter Eurton, Dance With Fate will be making his first start since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby to California Chrome. He won the Blue Grass Stakes after getting second in Golden Gate Field’s El Camino Real Derby.

As a 2-year-old he posted seconds in the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes, and was eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Dance With Fate has won three of nine lifetime starts for $680,050.

Here is the field for the San Diego from the rail out: Battier, Victor Espinoza; Imperative, Kent Desormeaux; Frac Daddy, Joe Talamo; Soi Phet, Mike Smith; You Know I Know, Edwin Maldonado; Dance With Fate, Corey Nakatani; Honduran, Drayden Van Dyke; Summer Hit, Rafael Bejarano; Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez; Footbridge, Tyler Baze and Fed Biz, Martin Garcia.


The Gilmer Free Press


Major League Baseball - National League
San Francisco at Philadelphia, 1:05 PM - CSN-Bay, Philadelphia, MLB Net, DSS
Miami at Atlanta, 7:10 PM - FS-Florida, SportSouth, MLB Network, DSS
San Diego at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 PM - FS-San Diego, WGN (America), DSS
NY Mets at Milwaukee, 8:10 PM - SNY, FS-Wisconsin, DSS

American League
Boston at Toronto, 12:37 PM - NESN, SNET, DSS
Texas at NY Yankees, 1:05 PM - FS-Southwest, YES, MLB Network, DSS
Houston at Oakland, 3:35 PM - CSN-Houston, DSS
Chicago WSox at Minnesota, 8:10 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-North, DSS
Cleveland at Kansas City, 8:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS-Kansas City, DSS
Detroit at LA Angels, 10:05 PM - FS-Detroit, West, MLB Network, DSS
Baltimore at Seattle, 10:10 PM - MASN, ROOT-Northwest, MLB Network, DSS

Canadian Football League
Calgary at Edmonton, 9:00 PM - TSN, ESPN 2

New York at Seattle, 10:00 PM - LiveWell
Phoenix at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - Time Warner, NBA TV

Major League Soccer
Montreal at Real Salt Lake, 10:00 PM - TVA Sports, CW30, DSS

International Soccer
AC Milan vs. Olympiacos FC, 8:00 PM - FS1

EUROPEAN - Russian Open, 8:00 AM - Golf Channel
LPGA - International Crown, 11:30 AM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Senior British Open, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
PGA - Canadian Open, 4:00 PM - Golf Channel

Tour de France
Stage 18, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Gilmer County Extension Office Will Be Offering the Hands-on ATV RiderCourse

The Gilmer Free Press

The ATV Safety Institute’s Golden Rules:

1. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.

2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law - another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.

3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.

5. Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.

6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.

7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.

8. Take a hands-on ATV RiderCourseSM and the free online E-Course.

The Gilmer County Extension Office will be offering the Hands-on ATV RiderCourse later this Summer and Fall for anyone that is 14 years of age and older.

If you are interested in participating in this course or having your children please contact Lisa Montgomery, Extension Agent at 304.462.7061 or Email: “”

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Sports Brief - 07.23.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  POSITIVE DRUG TEST DELAYS SENTENCING FOR EX-FOOTBALL PLAYER: A former Concord football player’s sentencing hearing has been delayed after he tested positive for marijuana.

Riyahd Richardson had plead guilty to conspiracy in connection with an alleged drug deal last November. His hearing has been rescheduled for August 25, 2014.

Another former Concord player, Marrico Sanders, has been sentenced to three years’ probation in South Carolina for his part in the alleged drug transaction.

He was sentenced with Deferred Adjudication. If he stays out of trouble during his probation, his record will be cleared.

Russell Bailey, a third player also involved in the case, has not been sentenced.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  TENNESSEE-WEST VIRGINIA: Continuing its quest for high-profile neutral-site games, West Virginia has agreed to face Tennessee in 2018 at the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

The matchup, in the works for months, was confirmed Tuesday morning by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, and Belk Bowl officials subsequently slated the game for the opening weekend of September 01, 2018.

The game would mark the Mountaineers’ fifth neutral-site game in seven years—three of those at FedExField in Landover, Md. (vs. James Madison in 2012, BYU in 2016 and Virginia Tech in 2017). The Mountaineers are less than six weeks away from opening the 2014 season against Alabama in Atlanta.

Organizers of neutral-site games typically offer each participating school a chance to earn more revenue than they would from a home date, provided ticket sales meet minimum benchmarks. These games also tend to garner premium television slots.

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, a former West Virginia assistant, is aiming to revive a proud program that suffered late in Phillip Fulmer’s tenure and throughout Derek Dooley’s three-year stint.

Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, which opened in 1996, seats 73,778.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  TEXAS’ STRONG PREFERS NOT TALKING NATIONAL TITLE: Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.

The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

The Longhorns haven’t even won a Big 12 title since the 2009 season, when they made it to the national championship game, which is the primary reason Mack Brown is no longer the Texas coach.

Oklahoma is the preseason favorite to win its league-high ninth Big 12 title.

Texas, which appeared with the Sooners, West Virginia, Kansas State and Iowa State on the second day of media days, is picked fourth.

Strong said his national championship comment on the first stop of the spring tour came as the Longhorns had just finished spring practice.

Oklahoma coach Bo Stoops sounded hopeful about possibly adding two proven offensive players this season, and not having to wait until 2015 for former Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and quarterback Baker Mayfield, a true freshman starter for Texas Tech last season when he threw for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games.

Green-Beckham was dismissed by Missouri in April after several off-field incidents, and this month got to Oklahoma, where Stoops and receivers coach Jay Norvell had personally recruited him out of high school.

The Sooners have filed an appeal seeking for him to be able to play this season, a year after 59 catches and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore at Mizzou.

Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury referred to “just team policy” for a decision blocking Mayfield, who wasn’t on scholarship at Texas Tech, from being able to play immediately at Oklahoma without losing a season of eligibility.

Bill Snyder will turn 75 during the upcoming season, his 23rd as Kansas State’s coach.

Told by one reporter that there have been 48 coaches at other Big 12 schools since he was first hired at Kansas State in 1989, Snyder chuckled.

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads hired former Kansas coach and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mark Mangino. Rhoads said Mangino has a proven record as a play caller and brings a tough mentality.

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said he has never been more excited about going into a season than he is about the Mountaineers’ third in the Big 12.

They were coming off an Orange Bowl victory before getting to the Big 12 and going 6-12 in conference games the last two years.

►  BIG XII COACHES: UNDEFEATED LEAGUE RECORD SHOULD EARN FINAL FOUR BERTH: College football’s version of the NCAA Final Four has officially arrived.

The College Football Playoff is ready to debut in 2014, which is creating quite the buzz at the Big XII Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.

A playoff is something that has been in the works for quite some time, but the road to a playoff berth is a completely different topic up for discussion.

If you ask Big XII Conference coaches, they believe the league winner should earn a trip to the playoff, especially if that winner goes undefeated.

“The way I’ve looked at it is, I mean, you want to get in the Final Four and win the Big XII and go unscathed,” Baylor Head Coach Art Briles said. “You do that, you go 9-0 in the Big XII, you’re going to be in the Final Four because you’re going to beat probably two top 10 teams, probably two others in the top 20, and maybe another top 25, which is what we faced last year.”

“We’re the only conference where everyone plays everyone. I mean, I think that’s an easy one,” Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis said. “I think whoever wins the conference, whether they go undefeated or not, should be in it. When you look at our conference, there are 10 teams in the conference, and you have to play everybody. There’s no ‘well we’re in this division’ and ‘who are our other division opponent games’ – to win this conference, you’re going to play nine games.

One year, you’re going to have four home games and the next year you’re going to have five,” Weis added. “That’s the way it’s going to be. That means you only have three non-conference opponents. If you come out of the Big XII as the winner of the conference, then the odds of you being in that final four are very, very high.”

Oklahoma and Baylor are the two favorites to potentially run the table in 2014, and it just so happens that the two programs were picked number one and two, respectively, when the league’s preseason media poll was recently revealed.

Baylor won the Big XII Conference Championship last year, and looked rather impressive doing it. When it comes to running the table in conference play, Briles did his homework, and understands just how difficult of a task it really is.

“I wasn’t really sure when the last team went undefeated in the Big XII. Well, it’s been since 2005,” he said. “So that shows you how hard it is to do in this league because there’s a lot of good football teams here. We aren’t mixing and dodging, catching some during some years and catching some not – we’re playing them every year. So if you mess around and go undefeated; if you go 9-0 in this conference, then you can put your tag on number one or two going into the final four, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s even a question.”

Although the Big XII coaches overwhelmingly believe that the league winner will earn a spot in the college football playoff, it becomes a bit more complicated once you mix in the champions of the rest of the power conferences.

It seems as though it’s a foregone conclusion that the SEC champion will earn a spot. That leaves three openings which are left for the Big XII, Big Ten, ACC and PAC 12.

That means one conference champion will be left out. Not to mention, if the SEC runner-up finishes with a single loss, then that team will begin to garner praise from the national media as well.

Kliff Kingsbury has played in the Big XII, and is now coaching in the league. The Texas Tech head coach was not too specific, but rather concise about his view of the debate.

“I do,” Kingsbury said, referring to his belief in the Big XII champion earning a spot in the playoff. “I think our schedule and our league is going to be strong as a whole this year. So I think whoever comes out as a Big XII champion is going to have one of those four spots.”

The uncertainty of a Big XII program holding a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff is what fuels the entire debate. There are five power conferences and only four spots. That translates to a league champion standing on the outside looking in.

For TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson, the specifics in his response were not telling. But his tone of voice in his reply painted the entire picture of his stance.

“Yeah,” Patterson said, responding quickly and authoritatively.

How about a one or two loss Big XII team?

“Yup,” Patterson replied. “If you’re the winner of this conference; yes.”

It may be that simple for Patterson, but Briles retracted on his response in terms of a one or two loss Big XII champion, and rightfully so. It’s really not that easy.

“Well, it depends on when that loss is and who it’s to,” Briles said. “If you jump out there and lose one in the non-conference and then you lose one in-conference, then you’re 10-2. I think it just depends on how things play out across the nation. We can sit here and throw out the scenarios, but who knows. To me, it’s all determined by what everybody else does, along with yourself because who’s to say that someone is going to go undefeated in the SEC or the PAC 12.”

The vagueness that comes with attempting to predict how a season will transpire is about as cloudy as a rainy day, but the debate is one that is healthy in regards to college football and its advancement in the inaugural playoff.

The point is, a conference champion will be left out. However, Big XII coaches seem to have a reason to believe that if their team wins the conference, then their name will be called, having a chance to compete for a National Championship.

After all, a chance is all any college football coach asks for.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  7 EX-NFL PLAYERS APPEAL TERMS OF CONCUSSION DEAL: Seven former professional football players are challenging a tentative class action settlement of NFL concussion claims.

Their appeal echoes their previous complaints some players won’t be fairly compensated under the settlement, which would cover nearly 20,000 retired players for 65 years.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody has granted preliminary approval pending a November fairness hearing. Her approval came after the NFL agreed to remove the $765 million cap to ensure the fund doesn’t run out.

The group appealing the judge’s decision includes 2008 Pro Bowl player Sean Morey, now Princeton University’s sprint football coach.

Lawyers who negotiated the deal say Monday’s appeal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court is premature. They say they fear it will delay final approval and leave families in need waiting longer for their awards.

►  DUNGY CLARIFIES COMMENTS ON MICHAEL SAM: Former NFL head coach and current television analyst Tony Dungy tried to clarify comments he made concerning St. Louis Rams draft pick Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the league.

Dungy, in an interview with the Tampa Tribune published earlier this week, said he would not have drafted Sam. Criticism poured in after Dungy was quoted as saying he “wouldn’t want to deal with all of it,“ meaning the potential media frenzy surrounding Sam.

On Tuesday, in a statement released to media outlets that included, Dungy attempted to clear up any misconceptions.

“I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that I would not have drafted him,“ Dungy said in the statement. “I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team. At the time of my interview, the Oprah Winfrey reality show that was going to chronicle Michael’s first season had been announced.

“I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does.

“I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not.

“I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.

“I have been asked all of those questions several times in the last three months and have always answered them the same way—by saying that playing in the NFL is, and should be, about merit.

“The best players make the team, and everyone should get the opportunity to prove whether they’re good enough to play. That’s my opinion as a coach. But those were not the questions I was asked.

“What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.

“I do not believe Michael’s sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization.

“I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction.

“I wish Michael Sam nothing but the best in his quest to become a star in the NFL and I am confident he will get the opportunity to show what he can do on the field.

“My sincere hope is that we will be able to focus on his play and not on his sexual orientation.“

Sam, a defensive end from Missouri, was selected by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.

►  TYREE JOINS GIANTS’ FRONT OFFICE: The New York Giants named David Tyree director of player development on Tuesday.

Tyree, a former wide receiver for the Giants, replaces Charles Way, also a former Giant player who left the position earlier this offseason to head the NFL’s player engagement department.

“We are pleased to have David back in the building as the new leader of our Player Development Department,“ Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. “We interviewed four outstanding candidates to replace Charles, but at the end of the day David was a perfect and natural fit.“

Tyree is best known for making one of the most historic catches in Super Bowl history, pinning a pass from quarterback Eli Manning on his helmet as he fell to the ground in Super Bowl XLII. The fourth-quarter catch went for 32 yards on a 3rd-and-5 and led to the Giants’ eventual game-winning touchdown against the New England Patriots.

The 34-year-old Tyree first joined the Giants as a sixth-round draft choice in 2003. He played in 73 regular-season games and caught 54 passes for 650 yards and four touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2005 for his special team’s efforts.

►  CHARGERS’ WOODHEAD GETS TWO-YEAR EXTENSION: The San Diego Chargers were able to get some business out of the way prior to their upcoming training camp, with the team agreeing to terms with running back Danny Woodhead on a two-year contract extension through the 2016 season.

Woodhead, whose 76 receptions in 2013 were the second-most by a running back in the NFL last season, had one year remaining on the original deal he signed with San Diego in March of 2013.

The versatile five-year pro put together a strong debut with the Chargers, recording a career-high 605 receiving yards and adding 429 yards on the ground on 106 carries. Woodhead also scored a personal-best eight touchdowns (six receiving, two rushing) and added 262 yards on 12 kick returns.

“Danny is an integral part of our offense,“ said Chargers general manager Tom Telesco. “His work ethic and on-field production were key elements last year. We look forward to having him be a part of the Chargers organization into the future.“

Woodhead spent three seasons with New England prior to joining the Chargers and was a member of the Patriots’ 2011 AFC Championship team. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the New York Jets in 2009.

For his career, Woodhead has compiled 1,692 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 371 attempts and caught 176 passes for 1,674 yards with 10 scores.

►  CHARGERS CUT FIRST-ROUND BUST ENGLISH: Larry English’s disappointing five-year tenure with the San Diego Chargers has come to a close, with the team releasing the former first-round pick just prior to the start of training camp.

The Chargers chose English, an outside linebacker out of Northern Illinois, with the 16th overall selection of the 2009 NFL Draft. The 2008 MAC Player of the Year failed to make a significant impact with the team, however, never recording more than three sacks in a season and starting just nine games.

English played in just nine games with five starts last season before landing on injured reserve with a biceps tear. The 28-year-old had 18 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks prior to being sidelined.

The Chargers released English to clear a roster spot for rookie center Khalil Wilkes, signed to a three-year contract on Tuesday.

►  BRONCOS PART WAYS WITH TE DREESSEN: The Denver Broncos released tight end Joel Dreessen on Tuesday after he failed his pre-training camp physical.

Dreessen underwent a third surgery on his troublesome left knee back in February. The Colorado native was entering the final season of a three-year contract he signed with the Broncos in 2012.

The 31-year-old caught a career-high 41 passes totaling 356 yards and scored five touchdowns in his first season in Denver, but had just seven receptions in 13 games last year as Julius Thomas took over as the team’s No. 1 tight end.

Dreessen spent five seasons with the Houston Texans prior to joining the Broncos and has played in 120 career NFL games, recording 158 catches for 1,767 yards and 19 touchdowns.

►  JAGS WR SANDERS FACING SUSPENSION: Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Ace Sanders announced Tuesday he is facing a four-game suspension from the NFL and would likely miss most of training camp.

Speaking to reporters via conference call, Sanders didn’t say why he would be suspended, except to say it was “really personal” and that he would rather not get into the reasons behind it.

The Florida Times-Union reports Sanders is facing his suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse program.

Sanders was second on the team in receptions with 51 to account for 484 yards and one touchdown last season. He was a fourth-round draft pick last year out of South Carolina.

The team placed Sanders on the active/non-football injury/illness list.

►  FALCONS INK LB ANGERER: The Atlanta Falcons signed linebacker Pat Angerer and wide receiver Jeremy Ebert on Tuesday.

Angerer played in 11 games (nine starts) for the Indianapolis Colts last season, recording 63 tackles, 0.5 sacks and an interception.

The 27-year-old Iowa native spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Colts, totaling 327 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, two interceptions and eight passes defensed in 54 games (39 starts).

Ebert played in five games last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, catching three passes for 18 yards.

►  REDSKINS SIGN TE CAUSSIN: The Washington Redskins have signed tight end Mike Caussin.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Caussin appeared in five games for the Buffalo Bills during the 2011 season and has five receptions for 41 yards. He joined the Bills’ organization in December 2010 and remained with the club in various roster roles before being released last week.

The Redskins also waived long snapper Kyle Nelson.

►  BULLS REACH DEAL WITH BROOKS; SIGN MCDERMOTT: The Chicago Bulls have brought in another veteran to their backcourt mix, signing guard Aaron Brooks to an undisclosed contract on Tuesday.

The team also inked forward Doug McDermott, Chicago’s first-round selection in this year’s draft.

The move to get Brooks came one day after the team announced the re-signing of guard Kirk Hinrich to a reported two-year deal.

Brooks has averaged 11.1 points and 3.4 assists over six NBA seasons and split the 2013-14 campaign between Houston and Denver. In 72 overall games last season, the 29-year-old averaged 9.0 points and 3.2 assists while shooting 38.7% from 3-point range.

The speedy 6-footer put up 19.6 points per game during his first tenure with the Rockets in 2009-10, Brooks’ third season in the league.

Brooks will provide insurance to a Chicago backcourt that has had 2010-11 NBA MVP Derrick Rose limited to just 10 games by a pair of knee injuries over the past two seasons.

The Bulls got McDermott, the 11th overall pick, in a draft-night deal with the Denver Nuggets. He had an outstanding college career at Creighton, where he led the nation in scoring at a clip of 26.7 points per game during his senior season.

The 2014 National Player of the Year also averaged 7.5 rebounds and left school as one of only eight players in NCAA history to amass more than 3,000 points (3,150). McDermott is also only one of three players to compile at least 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in an NCAA career.

“We’re very excited about the addition of Doug,“ Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “We love the versatility of his game and his ability to shoot. He’s a fit for our team and organization on many different levels.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  BLAZERS’ ROBINSON HAS THUMB SURGERY: Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson underwent successful surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.

Robinson sustained the injury during a game against Atlanta in the Las Vegas Summer League on July 15. The third-year pro is expected to be able to participate in the Blazers’ September training camp.

The fifth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Robinson averaged 4.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in 70 games with Portland last season. He was acquired by the Trail Blazers in a trade with Houston last July.

►  WARRIORS INK RUSH: The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard/forward Brandon Rush, the team announced Tuesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed per team policy, but the San Jose Mercury News reports that the contract is for two years and $2.5 million and includes a player option for the second year.

Rush, 29, returns to the Warriors after spending last season with the Utah Jazz, where he averaged 2.1 points and 1.2 rebounds off the bench.

The veteran swingman was a part of last summer’s three-team trade that brought Andre Iguodala to the Warriors.

Rush spent two seasons with Golden State and enjoyed his best season in 2011-12, when he finished with averages of 9.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 65 games. He was limited to just two games during 2012-13 after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee.

The Kansas product owns career averages of 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 329 games over six seasons with Indiana, Golden State and Utah.

►  CAVS NAB LUCAS IN FOUR-PLAYER SWAP WITH JAZZ: The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired three players, including guard John Lucas III, from the Utah Jazz in a trade announced between the teams on Tuesday.

In addition to Lucas, Cleveland obtained forwards Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy while sending second-year guard Carrick Felix to the Jazz. Utah also received a 2015 second-round pick as well as $1 million, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

All three players shipped to the Cavaliers are on non-guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season.

Lucas is the most experienced of the group, having appeared in 216 games over six seasons with four different teams (Houston, Chicago, Toronto, Utah). The 31-year-old averaged 3.8 points and 1.0 assists in 42 contests for the Jazz in 2013-14.

Thomas has been with four clubs (San Antonio, Golden State, Chicago, Utah) over the last three seasons but has played in only 23 NBA games, accumulating 31 points and 40 rebounds.

Murphy, a second-round pick of Chicago in last year’s draft, saw action in 24 games with the Bulls before being waived on April 3 and later claimed by Utah.

Felix was taken by the Cavs in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2013 draft, but played in just seven games as a rookie. The Arizona State product averaged 2.7 points and went 2-of-5 on 3-point attempts.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  WVU BASEBALL: FLEMING SIGNS WITH YANKEES: Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.

Last season at WVU, Fleming earned All-Big 12 First Team and ABCA/Rawlings All-East Region First Team honors, ranking No. 2 in the Big 12 with a .351 batting average. The Churchville, PA, native added eight doubles, one triple, two home runs and 30 RBI.

His season was highlighted with a cycle against Kansas on May 11, becoming the second Mountaineer to ever do so.

Fleming most recently has been playing for the Bourne Braves of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, where he was named the West Division’s starting second baseman in the CCBL All-Star Game. Fleming finished his summer with an 18-game on-base streak, batting .357 with seven doubles and 18 RBI. He ranked second in the league in batting average and fourth in RBI.

He completes his WVU career with a .322 batting average, 25 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 75 RBI. Additionally, he committed just 11 errors in the field, registering a .982 fielding percentage.

Fleming becomes the seventh member of the 2014 WVU baseball team to sign professionally, joining Bobby Boyd (Houston Astros), Sean Carley (New York Yankees), Ryan McBroom (Toronto Blue Jays), John Means (Baltimore Orioles),Harrison Musgrave (Colorado Rockies) and Corey Walter (Oakland Athletics).

►  YANKEES PICK UP HEADLEY FROM PADRES: The New York Yankees have acquired third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres in exchange for infielder Yangervis Solarte and pitcher Rafael De Paula.

The Yankees also received cash considerations in the deal.

Headley is batting just .229 with seven homers and 32 runs batted in over 77 games this season. He was considered one of the Padres’ top players just two years ago when he clubbed 31 homers, drove in 115 runs and batted .286.

However, the 30-year-old Colorado native saw his production drop dramatically last year with only 13 homers and 50 RBI while batting .250 in 141 games. He has 87 homers and 401 RBI with a .266 average over eight big league seasons.

Solarte won a job with the Yankees during spring training and had a hot start to the season that made him the everyday third baseman for much of the first two months.

However, he struggled for most of June and was sent to the minors in early July before a quick recall because of injuries. He was batting .299 on June 8, but is currently hitting .254 with six homers and 31 RBI in 75 games. The 27- year-old native of Venezuela had 26 runs batted in through May.

De Paula, a 23-year-old right-hander, is 6-5 with a 4.15 earned run average and 104 strikeouts in 89 innings over 20 games for Single-A Tampa.

It’s the second big trade for the Padres in a week. They dealt closer Huston Street to the Angels last Friday.

The Yankees have also now made a pair of moves this month, previously acquiring pitcher Brandon McCarthy from Arizona to help an injury-plagued rotation.

►  ROCKIES SS TULOWITZKI HEADS TO DL:The Colorado Rockies placed All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.

The move, which is retroactive to July 20, is due to a left hip flexor strain.

Prior to this setback, the 29-year-old infielder was hitting a major-league best .340 while collecting 21 home runs, 18 doubles, 52 RBI and 71 runs scored in 91 games.

To fill the roster spot, the Rockies recalled pitcher Yohan Flande from Triple-A Colorado Springs to start Tuesday’s contest against Washington.

Flande went 0-2 with a 7.36 earned run average in three starts between June 25 and July 06.

►  DODGERS’ BECKETT RETURNS TO START:The Los Angeles Dodgers activated pitcher Josh Beckett from the 15-day disabled list to start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Beckett, who last pitched on July 6 and landed on the DL because of a left hip impingement, will return to counter Pirates right-hander Vance Worley.

The 34-year-old has compiled a 6-5 record with a 2.26 ERA over 17 starts this season, including a no-hitter against Philadelphia on May 25.

The Dodgers optioned pitcher Paco Rodriguez to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Beckett.

Rodriguez made 12 relief appearances for Los Angeles this season.

►  OAKLAND’S REDDICK ACTIVATED:The Oakland Athletics activated outfielder Josh Reddick from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.

Reddick had been sidelined since June 29 with a right knee strain.

He is batting .229 with four home runs and 24 RBI over 54 games this season.

To make room on the roster, the A’s optioned infielder Andy Parrino to Triple- A Sacramento.

►  CUBS ACTIVATE BONIFACIO: The Chicago Cubs activated utilityman Emilio Bonifacio from the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday.

To make room on the roster, the Cubs designated infielder Darwin Barney for assignment and optioned left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup to Triple-A.

Hendricks will be the starting pitcher and Bonifacio will be available for the Cubs’ series opener against the San Diego Padres Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

Bonifacio returns to the Cubs after being on the disabled list with a right oblique strain since June 13. He is batting .261 with 16 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 61 games this season.

Hendricks joins the Cubs for the second time this season after making his big league debut July 10 at Cincinnati, when he recorded a no decision in Chicago’s 6-4 win.

The right-hander allowed four runs on five hits and three walks in six innings, striking out seven.

Barney batted just .230 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 72 games for the Cubs this season, while Rosscup had no record and a 7.50 ERA in seven relief appearances.

►  INDIANS RECALLED SALAZAR FOR TUESDAY START:Prior to Tuesday’s contest, the Cleveland Indians recalled pitcher Danny Salazar from Triple-A Columbus to take the hill against the Minnesota Twins.

Salazar started last October’s American League Wild Card Game as a rookie for the Cleveland Indians, but was demoted in mid-May after struggling on the mound.

Salazar threw 98 pitches in just four innings and allowed a pair of solo homers in a May 15 loss at Toronto, which dropped him to 1-4. The talented right-hander produced a 5.53 earned run average through eight starts, with opponents hitting .301 against him. He failed to last beyond the fifth inning in five of those assignments.

Regarded as one of the Indians’ top pitching prospects entering the 2013 campaign, Salazar earned the starting nod in last year’s Wild Card Game by striking out 65 over 52 innings and posting a 3.12 ERA in 10 starts following a midseason promotion to the majors.

To make room on the roster, the Tribe optioned pitcher C.C. Lee to Columbus. Lee has not registered a decision this season, allowing six earned runs and 15 hits over 12 2/3 innings across 15 appearances for Cleveland.

►  RAYS SHELVE PERALTA DUE TO VIRUS: An illness that Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta sustained during the All-Star break has landed the veteran reliever on the 15-day disabled list.

The Rays believe that Peralta, who did not pitch in the Rays’ three-game series against Minnesota this past weekend while battling a fever and joint pain, acquired the Chikungunya virus from a mosquito bite when he returned to his native Dominican Republic for the All-Star break.

Peralta is expected to be healthy once eligible to return from the DL, with Tampa Bay backdating the stint to July 13.

The durable right-hander owns a 2-3 record with a 4.15 earned run average in 43 appearances this season. Peralta has pitched in at least 71 games in each of the previous three campaigns.

Pitcher Jeff Beliveau was recalled from Triple-A Durham to fill the roster spot. The left-hander had a pair of scoreless one-inning outings with the Rays back in April.

►  REDS PLACE ONDRUSEK ON DL:The Cincinnati Reds placed relief pitcher Logan Ondrusek on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday due to a strained right shoulder.

Ondrusek, a right-hander, has appeared in 29 games this season, posting a 3-2 mark with a 4.31 ERA. He’s struck out 29 in 31 1/3 innings, yielding 36 hits and walking 13.

The Reds recalled pitcher Curtis Partch from Triple-A Louisville to fill the vacated roster spot.

►  BLUE JAYS BRING UP P SANCHEZ:The Toronto Blue Jays selected the contract of pitcher Aaron Sanchez from Triple-A Buffalo amidst a flurry of roster moves on Tuesday.

Sanchez, who is the 18th ranked top prospect by, has gone 0-3 in eight games (six starts) with a 4.19 earned run average this season for the Bisons.

The 22-year-old was selected in the first round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft by the Blue Jays.

Toronto also selected the contract of pitcher Esmil Rogers from Buffalo, recalled shortstop Ryan Goins, optioned outfielder Darin Mastroianni and catcher Erik Kratz and designated pitcher Brad Mills for assignment.

Rogers has appeared in 16 games for the Blue Jays this season, his sixth in the majors, with a 6.97 ERA. Goins has hit for a .150 batting average with one RBI and a home run in 24 games this year.

Mastroianni has homered and driven in two runs across 21 games for the Twins and Blue Jays this season, while Kratz has three home runs, 10 RBI and a .198 batting average in 34 games.

Mills, who was claimed off waivers from Oakland, played just one game for the Blue Jays, where he gave up eight runs in two innings of work on Monday.

►  RANGERS’ SOTO HEADS BACK TO DL:Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto has once again landed on the disabled list.

Soto, who missed the first half of this season recovering from right knee surgery, sustained a right groin strain while running the bases during Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Yankees and was subsequently placed on the 15-day DL.

The Rangers needed to make a roster move anyway with pitcher Nick Martinez, scheduled to start Tuesday’s game with New York, set to come off the DL.

Soto returned to the lineup on July 18 but played in just three games before getting hurt. The veteran backstop went 2-for-3 with an RBI in Monday’s contest and was 4-for-11 in limited action.

Martinez was sent to the DL with discomfort in his left side following a July 1 start at Baltimore, in which the rookie was shelled for eight runs—six earned—and gave up three homers in five innings.

The 23-year-old entered Tuesday’s matchup having dropped five straight decisions since earning his only major league win at Detroit on May 24. In 16 overall appearances (11 starts) for Texas, Martinez has gone 1-6 with a 5.10 ERA.

►  D-BACKS SEND ROSS TO DL:The Arizona Diamondbacks placed outfielder Cody Ross on the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

Ross is dealing with a strained left calf, an injury he initially sustained Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. He did make an appearance in Monday’s series opener with the Tigers, producing a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning before being removed for a runner.

This will be the second DL stint for Ross this season, as he missed Arizona’s first 18 games while recovering from offseason hip surgery.

In 66 overall games in 2014, the 33-year-old is batting .238 with two home runs and 11 RBI.

Outfielder Alfredo Marte was recalled from Triple-A Reno in a corresponding move. The 25-year-old saw action in 11 games with the Diamondbacks back in May, going 5-for-22 with three RBI and 10 strikeouts.

►  PHILLIES PLACE MAYBERRY ON DL, RECALL RUF:The Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday placed outfielder John Mayberry Jr. on the 15-day disabled list with left wrist inflammation and recalled outfielder Darin Ruf from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The 30-year-old Mayberry has hit an anemic .213 with six home runs, seven doubles and 21 RBI in just 63 games for the Phils this season.

Ruf hasn’t made an appearance in the majors since May 31, having collected just one hit in 10 at-bats during a seven-game call-up late in the second month of the campaign.

►  A’S, OAKLAND AGREE TO 10-YEAR LEASE EXTENSION: The Athletics and the Oakland City Council announced a 10-year lease extension agreement that could have the team continue to play its games at Coliseum.

The final hurdle will come from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on July 29, but the deal should receive swift approval.

“We are pleased to hear today that the A’s owners are agreeing to the terms the City Council approved last week for a 10-year lease extension,“ Oakland mayor Jean Quan and City Council president Pat Kernighan said in a joint statement. “We want to thank the team’s ownership, our colleagues at the County of Alameda, our negotiators and everyone at the City of Oakland who has worked tirelessly on our shared priority of keeping the A’s here at home.

“Once the A’s ownership and the County have approved the deal, we look forward to moving on to talking about the bigger goal: building a beautiful new ballpark for the team right here in Oakland.“

A’s co-owner Lew Wolff reportedly accepted many changes in the lease agreement from Oakland city officials. The lease agreement reportedly requires that Wolff have “good faith” discussions about building a new stadium in Oakland.

The Coliseum was built in 1966 and is the only multi-purpose stadium left to serve as a full-time home to both a Major League Baseball team and a National Football League team in the United States. The aging facility has had multiple sewage problems and electricity issues in the past year.

The A’s, who have won four World Series Championships during their time in Oakland and are vying for their third consecutive American League West title this season, will celebrate their 50th anniversary of playing in Oakland in 2018.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  RANGERS REACH DEAL WITH ZUCCARELLO:The New York Rangers and restricted free agent forward Mats Zuccarello agreed to terms Tuesday on an undisclosed contract.

The 26-year-old Norwegian winger set new career highs in goals (19), assists (40) and points (59) in 77 regular-season games for New York last season. Those 59 points represent the most for a Norwegian-born player in NHL history. He then added five goals and eight assists over 25 postseason contests as the Rangers came up short against Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Zuccarello initially signed with New York in 2010 and registered six goals and 17 assists over 42 games as a rookie in 2010-11. In 144 overall games at the NHL level, the left-handed shooter has posted 30 goals, 63 assists and a plus-24 rating.

►  STARS AGREE TO FOUR-YEAR DEAL WITH ROUSSEL:The Dallas Stars and forward Antoine Roussel have agreed to a four-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Roussel set career highs last season with 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points in 81 games. He was third in the NHL with 209 penalty minutes and was the lone player in the league with more than 25 points and 150 penalty minutes.

“Since coming into the NHL, Antoine has been a very effective and hard player for opposing teams to compete against,“ said Stars general manager Jim Nill in a statement Tuesday. “His skill combined with his competitive grit create energy for our club that impacts our whole lineup.“

The 24-year-old Roussel appeared in 39 games during the 2013-14 season for Dallas and has compiled 21 goals with 22 assists for 43 points in 120 games.

►  MAPLE LEAFS SIGN BOOTH: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed forward David Booth to a one-year contract, general manager David Nonis announced on Tuesday.

Booth, who had the remaining one year and $4.75 million on his six-year contract bought out by Vancouver in June, will receive $1.1 million next season, according to The Globe and Mail.

The 29-year-old registered nine goals and 10 assists in 66 games for Vancouver last season.

The Detroit native, who was selected in the second round of 2004 NHL Draft by Florida, has tallied 113 goals and 105 assists in 443 career games with the Canucks and Panthers over eight seasons.

►  DUCKS RE-SIGN VATANEN:The Anaheim Ducks re-signed defenseman Sami Vatanen to a two-year contract on Tuesday.

Vatanen, 23, scored six goals and had 15 assists in 48 games for the Ducks last season. He was tied for fifth in goals and sixth in plus/minus (plus-9) among rookie defensemen.

The native of Finland, who took home the bronze medal during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, has tallied eight goals and 15 assists in 56 career NHL games.

►  FLAMES BRING BACK COLBORNE: The Calgary Flames re-signed forward Joe Colborne to a two-year contract on Tuesday.

Colborne, 24, set career highs in goals (10) and assists (18) in 80 games for the Flames last season.

The Calgary native, who was selected 16th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft by Boston, was acquired in September by Calgary from the Leafs.

Over 96 career games in parts of four seasons with the Flames and Maple Leafs, Colborne has registered 11 goals and 23 assists.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  ROGERS WINS STAGE 16, NIBALI STILL LEADS TOUR: Michael Rogers of Australia won Stage 16 of the Tour de France on Tuesday, while Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali kept his stranglehold on the yellow jersey as the overall leader of cycling’s most prestigious event.
Rogers finished the longest stage of this year’s tour—a 237.5 kilometer mountain trek from Carcassonne—in a time of 6 hours, 7 minutes and 10 seconds, nine seconds in front of Frenchman Thomas Voeckler. It was Rogers’ first stage win in his 10 years of riding in the Tour de France.
“No one was going to beat me today,“ said Rogers, who won a pair of stages during this year’s Giro d’Italia.

The group featuring Nibali was well behind the stage winner on the first of three days in the Pyrenees. However, the overall leaders were bunched together and finished more than 8 1/2 minutes behind Rogers.

Nibali placed 20th, two spots behind his nearest pursuer in the overall classification, Alejandro Valverde of Spain. Valverde remains 4 minutes and 37 seconds behind Nibali with just five stages remaining in this year’s Tour. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot moved up one spot into third place overall and is 5:06 off the lead pace.

“Once we reached the ascent to Port de Bales, I paid attention because Valverde was the most dangerous in my mind,“ said Nibali. “When Pinot attacked, I went to catch him straight away. I didn’t let the gap grow.“

After the second and final rest day in this year’s Tour, the riders faced five climbs on Tuesday and a group of 21 riders broke away early. That group was trimmed to three by the final ascent up the Port de Bales.

It was a downhill finish from the top and Rogers made his move on Cyril Gautier and Voeckler with about 4 1/2 kilometers remaining, cruising to the wire with neither of the Europcar teammates close. Gautier finished fifth with the same time as Voeckler, Vasili Kiryienka and Jose Serpa.
“I knew Voeckler would be hard to beat,“ said Rogers.
Meanwhile, the overall leaders remained bunched, although Frenchman Romain Bardet and American Tejay Van Garderen could not keep up. Bardet was third entering the stage, but finished nearly two minutes behind the yellow jersey on Tuesday and dropped to fifth, while Van Garderen lost an additional two minutes and fell from fifth to sixth overall—9:25 behind Nibali.

“I just didn’t have the legs,“ said Van Garderen. “I’m really hoping I can bounce back and recover the legs I had in the Alps. It’s not finished yet. We have three hard GC days to come, I’m hoping to bounce back.“

Stage 17 on Wednesday is the shortest of the Tour, aside from Saturday’s time trial. It is only 124.5 kilometers from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet and features a trio of Category 1 climbs prior to a finish of the highest category.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  DIRTY GIRL MUD RUN NOT HAPPENING: There will not be a Dirty Girl Mud Run in Charleston Saturday.

The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau announced Tuesday evening previously agreed to contracts could not be fulfilled.

Nearly 2,600 people had signed up to take part in the mud-filled 5k at the Cato Park golf course but the event ran into trouble because of financial disputes between the owners or the event, 100, LLC and the company it pays to conduct the events, Human Movement.

The Charleston CVB said Tuesday that Park Tours, the company that was hired to provide shuttle buses to and from the site, had set a 4:30 PM Tuesday deadline for payment from Human Movement and did not receive it, cancelling the event.

It is anticipated the parent company of Dirty Girl Mud Run will contact participants about refunds.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  ISTOMIN, MATOSEVIC, SOCK ADVANCE IN ATLANTA: Sixth seed Denis Istomin, eighth seed Marinko Matosevic and American Jack Sock were a trio of easy first-round winners Tuesday at the Atlanta Open tennis event.

Uzbekistan’s Istomin eliminated American lucky loser Rajeev Ram 6-1, 6-4, while the Australian Matosevic blew past Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0, 6-2 in a mere 43 minutes and Sock vanquished Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez 6-2, 6-4 on the hardcourts at Atlantic Station. Sock’s second-round opponent will be qualifier Michael Venus of New Zealand.

An all-American affair saw Tim Smyczek drill wild card Ryan Harrison 6-0, 6-2, while another American landed in the win column when wild card Robby Ginepri outlasted Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-0.

Additional wins came for Dutch lucky loser Thiemo de Bakker, German Benjamin Becker, Slovakian Lukas Lacko and Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko.

The top seed in Atlanta is 6-foot-10 American, reigning champion and two- time runner-up John Isner, who beat 6-foot-8 South African Kevin Anderson in last year’s all-tall finale. Isner will open up against his compatriot Ginepri this week.

The 2014 Atlanta champ will claim $103,000.

►  ROSOL, SEPPI, BERLOCQ ADVANCE IN UMAG:  Seeds Lukas Rosol, Andreas Seppi and Carlos Berlocq were a trio of first-round winners Tuesday at the Croatia Open tennis event.

The fifth-seeded Czech Rosol snuck past Argentine Diego Sebastian Schwartzman 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), while the sixth-seeded Italian Seppi held off qualifier compatriot Marco Cecchinato 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1 and the eighth-seeded Argentine Berlocq handled Slovakian qualifier Andrej Martin 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 on the red clay at ITC Stella Maris.

Meanwhile, Spaniard Albert Montanes grounded German Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-4, Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili drubbed Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-3 and Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas continued his recent fine play by tackling Croat Mate Delic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The qualifier Cuevas was a runner-up after reaching his first-ever ATP final last week in Bastad, Sweden.

Additional Day 2 wins came for Spaniards Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pere Riba, Dutchman Igor Sijsling and Argentine qualifier Horacio Zeballos.

Spaniard Tommy Robredo beat Italian Fabio Fognini in last year’s finale in Umag, where Fognini and Robredo, respectively, are this week’s top seeds. Fognini will open his stay against Montanes on Thursday, while Robredo will take on his countryman Ramos-Vinolas in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

The 2014 Croatia Open titlist will collect $105,000.

►  SIMON OUSTED IN GSTAAD: Former top-10 star Gilles Simon came up a first-round loser Tuesday at the Swiss Open tennis event.

Spaniard Pablo Andujar was leading the sixth-seeded one-time world No. 6 Simon 6-2, 3-2 when the Frenchman retired due to an illness on the red clay at Roy Emerson Arena.

Meanwhile, seventh-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase avoided an upset by outlasting Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, on Day 2. Haase was last year’s Gstaad runner-up to this week’s top seed, Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

Also, Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, the 2009 and 2012 Gstaad champion, topped Austrian qualifier Gerald Melzer 6-3, 6-4; German Jan-Lennard Struff bested Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-2, 1-0, retired; France’s Kenny De Schepper erased Italian Filippo Volandri 6-3, 7-6 (7-3); Slovenian Blaz Rola dismissed Brazilian qualifier Fabiano De Paula 6-4, 6-4; and Swiss wild card Yann Marti fought back to beat Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-5). De Schepper will face Youzhny in the round of 16, while Marti will meet second-seeded 2011 Gstaad titlist Marcel Granollers of Spain.

The 2014 Swiss Open champ will earn $105,000.

►  TOP SEEDS CIRSTEA, SVITOLINA WIN BAKU OPENERS: Top seeds Sorana Cirstea of Romania and defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine won first-round matches Tuesday at the Baku Cup.

The top-seeded Cirstea earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over Tunisian wild card Ons Jabeur, while the second-seeded Svitolina cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Uzbekistan qualifier Nigina Abduraimova.

Svitolina won her first WTA title at this event last year, beating Shahar Peer in the final. She is coming off a quarterfinal finish last week in Istanbul.

Other winners Tuesday included former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone of Italy and eighth-seeded Slovakian Jana Cepelova. Schiavone, a first-round loser in 12 of her first 18 events of 2014, eliminated fourth-seeded Kurumi Nara of Japan in a 6-2, 6-2 thumping, while Cepelova dominated Azerbaijan wild card Nazrin Jafarova, 6-1, 6-0.

Two other seeded players, Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia and Britain’s Heather Watson, were shown early exits Tuesday. Japanese qualifier Misa Eguchi knocked out the third-seeded Rybarikova in a 6-4, 7-6 (9-7) triumph, while France’s Kristina Mladenovic went the distance in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 victory over the seventh-seeded Watson.

Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Serbian qualifier Vesna Dolonc, Israel’s Julia Glushko and Croatia’s Donna Vekic also won first-round matches Tuesday.

The 2014 Baku champ will claim $43,000.

The Gilmer Free Press


Major League Baseball - National League
Cincinnati at Milwaukee, 2:10 PM - FS-Ohio, MLB Network, DSS
Washington at Colorado, 3:10 PM - MASN, DSS
San Francisco at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - CSN-Bay, Philadelphia, DSS, ESPN
Los Angeles at Pittsburgh, 7:05 PM - SportsNet LA, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
Miami at Atlanta, 7:10 PM - FS-Florida, SportSouth, DSS
San Diego at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 PM - FS-San Diego, CSN-Chicago, DSS

American League
Cleveland at Minnesota, 1:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, MLB Network, DSS
Kansas City at Chicago WSox, 2:10 PM - WGN (America), DSS
Texas at NY Yankees, 7:05 PM - FS-Southwest, YES, DSS
Boston at Toronto, 7:07 PM - NESN, SNET, DSS
Houston at Oakland, 10:05 PM - CSN-Houston, California, DSS
Baltimore at LA Angels, 10:05 PM - MASN, FS-West, DSS

Detroit at Arizona, 3:40 PM - FS-Detroit, Arizona, DSS
NY Mets at Seattle, 3:40 PM - SNY, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 7:15 PM - SunSports, FS-Midwest, DSS

Connecticut at Washington, 11:30 AM - CSN-DC, NBA TV
New York at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - Time Warner, NBA TV

Major League Soccer
Chicago at San Jose, 11:00 PM - NBCSN

International Soccer
Tottenham vs. Toronto, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Liverpool vs. Roma, 7:00 PM - NBCSN
Manchester City vs. Kansas City, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Manchester Untied vs. Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - FS1

Tour de France
Stage 17, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Auto Racing
CAMPING WORLD - Mudsummer Classic practice, 10:00 AM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Mudsummer Classic practice, 11:30 AM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Mudsummer Classic qualifying, 5:00 PM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Mudsummer Classic qualifying, 7:00 PM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Mudsummer Classic, 9:00 PM - FS1

Sports Brief - 07.22.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  BIG 12 COMMISSIONER DOESN’T LIKE WHERE COLLEGE SPORTS IS HEADING: Composed and yet concerned, Bob Bowlsby opened media days with essentially a mayday message.

His voice—so subdued, so cottony—commissioned calm even as his words whispered “ALARM!”

Bowlsby used the Big 12 podium Monday morning to issue an SOS signal that had nothing to do with strength-of-schedule.

If you like college athletics now, Bowlsby warned, “you’re going to hate it” in the future.

There is game-changing litigation pending on multiple fronts that stretches far beyond players receiving the pocket change of video-game royalties. This is about lifetime scholarships, extended health care and union forces attempting to reclassify student-athletes as employee-athletes.

It will cost college athletic departments big money. And how big, Bowlsby says he can’t truly fathom.

“It’s impossible to quantify,” he said.

He foresees universities cutting non-revenue sports—specifically Olympic sports on the men’s side thanks to the parallel pressures of Title IX—as more money is required to fund athletes.

And while the sports consumer mass may not give two foot faults about tennis programs declining, Bowlsby cautions that changes could eventually sour fans on the sports they do care about.

His most dire forecast, one of his so-called “Armageddon scenarios,” involves sports agents roaming campuses to negotiate playing time.

“Change is coming,” he said. “If you like what you see in intercollegiate athletics right now, you’re going to be disappointed when the change comes.”

While admitting the college model needed tweaking—he says he first advocated a stipend in the late 1980s—Bowlsby is firmly entrenched with the institutional types who want to preserve amateurism even as schools seek to wring every free-market dollar that’s printed.

It’s a thorny, difficult-to-conceptualize stance, one that’s hard to digest even from a respected and astute leader like Bowlsby. Yet never forget, he answers to the athletic departments of 10 schools and, by job description, has their interests at the forefront.

More perspectives from breakfast with Bowlsby:

On the growing trend of transfers: “This is not free agency. This is about going to college.”

Bowlsby rightfully mentioned schools making huge investments in recruiting and developing players, because there’s a mutual agreement there on some level. Yet, in a curious example, he cited the concern over mid-major stars leaping to power programs. This was strange because it’s the Big 12 and the other high-visibility conferences that are nurturing the desire to leap by potentially offering alluring perks of all-you-can-eat meals and stipends the less-visible schools can’t offer.

On the new four-team playoff: “Anybody who thought this was going to resolve the controversies at the end of the year was probably barking up the wrong tree.”

Thank goodness we’ll still have something to rant about during the holidays.

How will schools handle the allowance of 24/7 dining for athletes? “We probably have 10 different models.”

Do any of those models extend 24/7 dining to sportswriters?

Lawless land? “The infractions committee hasn’t had a hearing in almost a year, and Ithink it’s not an understatement to say that cheating pays presently. … Right now, if you want to cheat, you can do it and you can get away with it. And there are benefits for doing that. … It’s easy to move money around. There are lots of people outside of universities that are handling things and they can’t be compelled to testify even if they get caught. They’ve gotten very sophisticated.”

Hey, doesn’t every five-star recruit have bitcoins?

College sports revenue isn’t endless: “The NCAA is currently headed down a path of significant financial difficulty. The lines of trend between the expenses and the finance and the revenue are going to cross in a negative way in the not too distant future. The revenues from NCAA television packages mostly is going up about 2.5% a year and expenses are going up about 4.5% a year.”

The Gilmer Free Press

►  GIANTS’ SNEE RETIRES: Long-time New York Giants offensive lineman Chris Snee announced his retirement on Monday.

Snee played 10 seasons in the NFL, all with the Giants, appearing in 141 games and winning two Super Bowl titles. He was selected in the second round of the 2004 draft out of Boston College.

“I think Chris was everything you could ever hope for in a player: toughness, integrity, and a lot of pride,“ Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara said. “Winning mattered to him. I think he set a great example for all of the other players. He’s somebody we’re going to miss very much. He was one of the greatest offensive linemen in Giants history, and he’ll be on that Ring of Honor someday.“

After missing the final 13 games of the 2013 season due to a torn labrum in his right hip, the 32-year-old had offseason elbow surgery.

“Chris is a pro’s pro,“ Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. “He played the game right. He was as tough and prideful as they come. We will miss him.“

Snee, who is Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s son-in-law, is a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

“To me, he was the best guard in all of football,“ Coughlin said. “No doubt. No matter who you put him against, all of the great defensive tackles in the game, the 350 (pound) guys, the 340 guys, he blocked them. When he first came here, he was so, so committed and so driven to excel at the professional level as he had excelled at the collegiate level (at Boston College).“

Snee’s retirement leaves just Eli Manning, Zak DeOssie and Mathias Kiwanuka as the only three Giants with rings from each of their last two Super Bowls. Manning is now the longest-tenured Giant, entering his 11th season.

►  GIANTS’ WILSON CLEARED FOR RETURN: New York Giants running back David Wilson announced Monday that he is cleared to return to football activities.

Wilson posted on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, “Just got cleared ..... #cleared for everything now the story continues #pocketrocket.“

In January, Wilson underwent neck surgery, putting his career in doubt. The procedure was a fusion of the vertebrae to repair a herniated disc.

The first-round draft pick in 2012 out of Virginia Tech suffered the injury last season during a Week 5 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. After being inactive for three weeks, Wilson was placed on injured reserve November 07.

He finished the campaign with 44 rushing attempts for 146 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for eight yards. In two seasons with the club, Wilson has 504 yards and six touchdowns rushing. He also has a receiving TD.

The Giants begin training camp on Tuesday.

►  BILLS SIGN WR ROOSEVELT, DT COHEN: The Buffalo Bills signed wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt and defensive tackle Landon Cohen on Monday.

Roosevelt spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Bills, recording 25 catches for 396 yards and one touchdown. He has bounced around the league since, most recently being released by the Detroit Lions last Saturday.

He is a University of Buffalo product and is one of four players on the roster who is a native of Buffalo.

Cohen joins his sixth club in six seasons. He played for current Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Detroit during his first two seasons. He also has spent time with New England, Chicago, Dallas and Jacksonville.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  A TRIO OF NBA TEAMS MADE MOVES: The Chicago Bulls re-signed guard Kirk Hinrich, who averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 assists in 73 games last season.

Indiana made a move to fill the vacancy created by Lance Stephenson’s departure to Charlotte, as the Pacers officially signed guard Rodney Stuckey, who averaged 13.4 points over seven seasons in Detroit.

Also, the Dallas Mavericks inked forward Richard Jefferson, who previously played for the Nets, Bucks, Spurs and Jazz in a 13-year career, and last season averaged 10.1 points and 2.7 rebounds in 82 games for Utah.

►  BULLS RE-SIGN HINRICH: The Chicago Bulls re-signed guard Kirk Hinrich on Monday to an undisclosed contract.

Hinrich averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 assists in 73 games with the Bulls last season.

“Kirk has always been a big part of creating the professional culture we want day in, day out surrounding our club,“ said Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman. “He helps our team in so many ways and Kirk had other opportunities elsewhere, but we are very happy he chose to remain in a Bulls uniform.“

An 11-year veteran of the NBA, the 33-year-old Hinrich has played in 767 regular-season games and averaged 11.8 points and 5.2 assists per contest.

The Bulls also signed second-round draft pick Cameron Bairstow. The forward was selected 49th overall after averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 134 games at the University of New Mexico.

►  STUCKEY INKS DEAL WITH PACERS: The Indiana Pacers made it official on Monday, signing guard Rodney Stuckey to an undisclosed contract.

According to a report in the Indianapolis Star last week, the deal is for one year.

“Rodney is a very talented player who can create and score in a variety of ways,“ said Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird. “We’re very happy to get a player with his experience and who has made it very clear of his desire to win.“

The 28-year-old Stuckey averaged 13.9 points per game last season with the Pistons. He holds career averages of 13.4 points and 3.9 assists over seven seasons—all with Detroit.

Stuckey will try to make up for the loss of Lance Stephenson, who left Indiana to join the Charlotte Hornets.

►  JEFFERSON SIGNS WITH MAVS: The Dallas Mavericks signed forward Richard Jefferson on Monday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jefferson played in all 82 games last season for the Utah Jazz, starting 78, and averaged 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

A 13-year veteran, Jefferson has career averages of 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists with New Jersey, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Golden State and Utah. He helped the Nets to a pair of NBA Finals appearances.

►  BONNER RE-SIGNS WITH SPURS: Matt Bonner re-signed with the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

The deal is reportedly for one season at the 10-year veteran minimum of $1.448 million.

Bonner, 34, averaged 3.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 61 games last season, his eighth with the Spurs.

The 6-foot-10 forward has averaged 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 690 career games for Toronto and San Antonio.

►  LAKERS RE-SIGN NICK YOUNG: The Los Angeles Lakers re-signed guard Nick Young to a multi-year contract on Monday.

The Los Angeles native averaged a career-high 17.9 points last season, his first with the Lakers.

“When Nick became a free agent in June, I expressed hope that we would be able to bring him back on a contract that was in the best interest of both the Lakers and himself, and I am proud to say we were able to do so,“ Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “Nick was a bright spot for us last season, and we are happy to retain such a skilled player who is committed to being a part of what we are building as a franchise.“

Young, 29, has averaged 12.2 points in 480 career games with the Wizards, Clippers, Sixers and Lakers.

The Lakers also announced Monday that the team has re-signed forward Ryan Kelly, who started 25 games for the club as a rookie last season.

Kelly played in 59 games overall with Los Angeles in 2013-14, with the Duke product averaging 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

“Ryan did everything we asked of him as a rookie and showed great promise and potential,“ said Kupchak. “After rehabbing an injury last summer, he will have the benefit of a full offseason regimen and training camp for the first time in his NBA career, and we anticipate further development as a result.“

►  SUNS ADD TOLLIVER: The Phoenix Suns signed forward Anthony Tolliver on Monday.

Terms of the multi-year contract were not disclosed.

Tolliver averaged 6.1 points with 2.6 rebounds and shot 41.3% from 3- point range in 64 games last season with Charlotte.

“Anthony is a great fit for our style of play,“ said Suns general manager Ryan McDonough in a statement Monday. “His shooting, professionalism and leadership will help us as we try to continue to build a strong foundation going forward.“

The 6-foot-8 Creighton product has bounced around in a six-year NBA career, averaging 6.1 points with 3.7 rebounds in 307 games for San Antonio, Portland, Golden State, Minnesota, Atlanta and Charlotte.

►  HORNETS ANNOUNCE MARVIN WILLIAMS SIGNING: The Charlotte Hornets officially signed free-agent forward Marvin Williams on Monday.

Financial terms were not disclosed by the Hornets, but Yahoo! Sports had reported Williams agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal.

“We’re excited to add a player of Marvin’s caliber to our team,“ Hornets general manager Rich Cho said. “He will be a key piece of our frontcourt rotation with his versatility and ability to play both forward positions.“

Williams, 28, averaged 8.1 points and 4.3 rebounds the past two seasons with Utah.

The North Carolina product was selected second overall by Atlanta in 2005 and spent his first seven seasons with the Hawks, averaging 11.5 points and 5.3 rebounds.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MOORE, CATCHINGS NAMED WNBA PLAYERS OF WEEK: Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore has earned her second straight WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week award, the league announced Monday.

Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings received the honor for the Eastern Conference for the period from July 14-18, extending her league record to 21 such awards over the course of her career.

Moore, the WNBA’s scoring leader this season at 24.1 points per game, racked up 32 points and nine rebounds to lead the Lynx to a 93-82 win over Tulsa on July 16.

She followed up with a 24-point performance in the West’s 125-124 overtime loss to the East in Sunday’s All-Star Game.

Catchings scored the deciding layup for the East in Sunday’s victory and came into the All-Star Game off back-to-back 25-point efforts.

The 2011 WNBA MVP also averaged 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in the Fever’s two games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  BLUES’ SOBOTKA TO PLAY IN KHL AFTER ARBITRATION AWARD: St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka was awarded a one-year contract through arbitration on Monday, but the team announced that he will play the 2014-15 season in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Financial terms of the arbitration award were not disclosed by the Blues, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported it to be worth $2.725 million. The deal will be enforced upon his return to the NHL.
“We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL,“ said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong in a statement Monday. “We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.“

Sobotka notched nine goals and 24 assists for a career-high 33 points in 61 games for the Blues last season. He also led the NHL with a 61.9% winning%age on faceoffs.

The 27-year-old Czech native spent the past four seasons in St. Louis after playing his first three years with Boston. He has 36 goals and 88 assists for 123 points in 381 NHL games.

Sobotka will play in Russia for Avangard Omsk in the KHL.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Sobotka asked to be traded and also refused a two-year, $6 million offer from the Blues.

►  FRANSON, LEAFS STRIKE DEAL: The Toronto Maple Leafs have avoided arbitration with Cody Franson, signing the defenseman to a one-year contract on Monday.

The deal is reportedly worth $3.3 million.

Franson, who turns 27 next month, ranked second in the league last season with 282 hits and amassed a personal-best 33 points in 79 games.

The 6-foot-5 blueliner has posted 28 goals and 105 assists in 322 career games with Nashville and Toronto.

PHILLIES ACTIVATE LEE: The Philadelphia Phillies have activated pitcher Cliff Lee from the 60-day disabled list to start Monday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

Lee’s last start came on May 18 against the Cincinnati Reds. He pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing only two runs in the Phillies’ 8-3 victory. He landed on the disabled list in late May with a left elbow strain.

The left-hander is set to make his 11th start of the season and has a record of 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA.

The Phillies made a host of other moves prior to the game as infielder Reid Brignac and catcher Wil Nieves were activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. was designated for assignment, infielder Cesar Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and catcher Koyie Hill was outrighted.

►  RANGERS ACTIVATE OF ADDUCI: The Texas Rangers reinstated outfielder Jim Adduci from the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday’s game against the New York Yankees.

Adduci had been sidelined three months with a fractured left finger he initially sustained while sliding into a base against the Chicago White Sox on April 17. He later aggravated the injury while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on June 7.

The 29-year-old Canadian had gone 6-of-13 with three RBI in nine games before landing on the DL.

Reliever Matt West was optioned to Round Rock to make room for Adduci on the active roster.

►  BRAVES ACTIVATE GATTIS: The Atlanta Braves activated catcher Evan Gattis off the 15-day disabled list Monday and sent catcher Christian Bethancourt to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Gattis has been on the DL since July 1 with a bulging thoracic disk.

Gattis, who was out of baseball before signing with Atlanta and appearing in 105 games as a rookie last season, is having a breakout year in 2014. He’s hitting .290 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI.

►  BLUE JAYS DFA RELIEVER SANTOS: The Toronto Blue Jays have designated struggling pitcher Sergio Santos for assignment, the team announced Monday.

Santos was rocked for 18 runs (17 earned) and 24 hits in 19 2/3 innings over 24 relief appearances for Toronto this season. The right-hander also was plagued by control problems, issuing 17 walks in those 24 games.

The Blue Jays acquired Santos from the White Sox in December of 2011, shortly after he put together a 30-save campaign as Chicago’s closer. He pitched in only six games the following season, however, before undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

Pitcher Rob Rasmussen was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo in a corresponding move and will be active for Monday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Rasmussen has gone 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA and one save in 25 games for Buffalo. The left-hander was obtained by Toronto in a trade with Philadelphia back in December.

►  KIPNIS EARNS AL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was named American League Player of the Week for the third time in his career on Monday.

Kipnis batted .333 (5-for-15) with two homers, four walks and six RBI as the Indians opened their post-All-Star schedule by taking three of four from the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.

He also won the award twice last season.

►  RIZZO EARNS NL PLAYER OF WEEK HONORS: Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been chosen as the National League’s Player of the Week for his performance in the club’s first series following the All-Star break.

Rizzo belted three home runs in the Cubs’ three-game set at Arizona this past weekend, while amassing 14 total bases and five runs scored and going 5-for-11 at the plate. The first-time All-Star also knocked in four runs over those three games.

The three homers give Rizzo 23 for the season, matching Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton for tops in the NL.

Rizzo is the first Cubs player to win the NL weekly award since shortstop and fellow All-Star Starlin Castro did so for the period ending Aug. 7, 2011.

Others considered for the award were Stanton, Philadelphia’s Grady Sizemore, Neil Walker and Mark Melancon of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona’s Addison Reed.

►  ROCKIES’ MORNEAU PLACED ON DL: A neck strain that kept Justin Morneau out of the Colorado Rockies’ most recent series has landed the veteran first baseman on the 15-day disabled list.

The Rockies announced the move, which is retroactive to July 14, prior to Monday’s game against the Washington Nationals. First baseman Ben Paulsen had his contract selected from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take Morneau’s place.

Morneau, whose 60 RBI are tied for fifth in the National League this season, sat out the entire three games of Colorado’s series at Pittsburgh this past weekend with the issue. It is unclear as to whether he sustained the injury while participating in last week’s Home Run Derby.

The 33-year-old underwent surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his neck while with Minnesota in 2011, missing more than six weeks following the procedure.

Morneau is putting together a strong first season in Colorado, having hit .312 with 13 home runs over 89 games in addition to his team-leading RBI total.

Paulsen, a third-round pick of the Rockies in the 2009 draft, was hitting .291 with 15 homers and 57 RBI in 95 games with Colorado Springs.

Pitcher Jair Jurrjens was designated for assignment to make room for Paulsen on the 40-man roster. The former Atlanta Braves All-Star made two starts for the Rockies earlier this month but was shelled for 11 runs and 20 hits over 9 1/3 innings.

►  YANKS’ TEIXEIRA DAY-TO-DAY WITH LAT STRAIN: New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is expected to miss the team’s entire three-game series against the Texas Rangers due to a mildly strained lat muscle.

Teixeira, who went 0-for-12 in New York’s first three games following the All- Star break, told reporters Monday that he hopes to be back in the lineup in 3- to-4 days.

The veteran slugger leads the Yankees in both home runs (17) and RBI (48) this season and owns a .231 average in 76 games.

Kelly Johnson will start at first base for Monday’s matchup with the Rangers.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  REST DAY: Monday was a rest day at the Tour de France with three days of mountain racing in the Pyrenees to follow. Just six more stages remain in the 2014 edition and Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali is comfortably in front with the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

He owns an advantage of 4 minutes and 37 seconds over Spain’s Alejandro Valverde.

Tuesday’s Stage 16 is a 237.5-kilometer trek from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon, which features five climbs—the last being of the highest category.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  CHARLESTON DIRTY GIRL RUN IN DISPUTE: An event set to bring more than 2,000 people into Charleston this coming weekend is in dispute.

The Dirty Girl Mud Run was set for Cato Park on Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Jama Jarrett with the Charleston-Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau said they got word the event had been canceled Sunday, less than a week before the run was to take place.

A team from Fayette County participates in the 2013 Dirty Girl Run held at Coonskin Park.

According to Parks and Rec Director John Charnock, the Dirty Girl Run will not be held at Cato Park. DepUty Mayor Rod Blackstone also confirmed the Dirty Girl Run was off.

However, according to the Dirty Girl Run Facebook page, the event is still on. “Charleston Dirty Girls, please note the event owners of Dirty Girl Mud Run have NOT canceled the event in Charleston, WV, as reported by the CVB and local media. Unfortunately, due to miscommunication, there are inaccurate reports the event has been canceled. Know that you will hear directly from Dirty Girl Mud Run should we have changes to announce!”

The popular 5k run features mud obstacles and donates part of the proceeds to breast and ovarian cancer research.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  DREAM COACH COOPER HAS TONGUE CANCER: Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper has taken a temporary leave of absence from the team after being diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer.

Cooper will have surgery this week at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta. It typically requires two weeks to recover from the procedure, and the team said Monday a full recovery is expected.

Assistant Karleen Thompson will fill in for Cooper.

“The doctors and staff at Emory have been tremendous, and I know I’m in good hands,“ Cooper said in a statement. “I’m fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection. I know the team will be in good hands with Coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon.“

Cooper, who won five NBA titles as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers and two WNBA titles as a coach with the Los Angeles Sparks, is in his first season with Atlanta. The Dream lead the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  JOVANOVSKI ADVANCES IN AZERBAIJAN: Fifth seed and 2012 champion Bojana Jovanovski was a come-from-behind opening-round winner Monday at the Baku Cup tennis event.

The Serb overcame Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, on the hardcourts at Baku Tennis Academy.

A Day 1 upset came when Israeli veteran Shahar Peer took out sixth-seeded Austrian Yvonne Meusburger, 6-2, 6-4. Peer was last year’s Baku runner-up to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who is this week’s second seed.

Poland’s Urszula Radwanska was leading Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1 when the Belgian retired.

Additional wins came for Poland’s Katarzyna Piter, Swiss Stefanie Voegele and France’s Pauline Parmentier.

The top-four seeds will all take to the courts on Tuesday, including top seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

The 2014 Baku champ will claim $43,000.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  BETTER LUCKY IS JUST THAT IN WINNING SHINE AGAIN STAKES: Better Lucky proved to be the luckiest of four Monday at Saratoga with a come from behind victory over a small but elite field in the $100,000 Shine Again Stakes.

Four older females, including Eclipse Award winner My Miss Aurelia, left the gate in the seven-furlong stakes. Former Delaware Oaks winner Grace Hall was the 6-5 favorite with My Miss Aurelia at 3-2, Bridgehampton 7-2 and Better Lucky the 5-1 longshot leaving from the outside post.

My Miss Aurelia, the 2011 champion 2-year-old filly, was making her first start in 16 months.

Ridden by Javier Castellano, Better Lucky trailed the field through the early going. Bridgehampton set the pace followed closely by Grace Hall and My Miss Aurelia.

At the top of stretch the first three runners were across the track with Better Lucky beginning her rally. Approaching the furlong pole Grace Hall was between Bridgehampton and My Miss Aurelia, and was jostled by those two and forced to move to the middle of the track.

Better Lucky, trained by Tom Albertrani for Godolphin Racing, came charging down the stretch to catch the top three yards before the finish. She was able to put her head on the wire first just in front of Grace Hall with My Miss Aurelia third and Bridgehampton last.

The time for the seven-furlong Shine Again was 1:22.56 on a fast track.

Scratched from the race were Toasting and Angel’s Glory.

Better Lucky, making just her third start of the year, garnered $60,000 for the win.

The daughter of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, has six wins, three seconds and five thirds from 17 career starts for $993,950, most coming in turf events.

Rarely going beyond a mile, Better Lucky was second in the seven-furlong Madison Stakes April 12 on Keeneland’s synthetic track and eighth in the one- mile Just a Game, a race she finished second last year, on Belmont Park’s turf course on Belmont Stakes Day.

Better Lucky returned $12.20 and $3.90, and Grace Hall paid $2.40 for place. There was no show wagering.

The Gilmer Free Press

TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2014

Major League Baseball - National League
San Francisco at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - CSN-Bay, Philadelphia, MLB Net, DSS
Los Angeles at Pittsburgh, 7:05 PM - SportsNet LA, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
Miami at Atlanta, 7:10 PM - FS-Florida, SportSouth, MLB Network, DSS
San Diego at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 PM - FS-San Diego, CSN-Chicago+, DSS
Cincinnati at Milwaukee, 8:10 PM - FS-Ohio, Wisconsin, DSS
Washington at Colorado, 8:40 PM -  MASN, ROOT-Rocky Mountain, DSS

American League
Texas at NY Yankees, 7:05 PM - FS-Southwest, My9, DSS
Boston at Toronto, 7:07 PM - NESN, SNET, DSS
Cleveland at Minnesota, 8:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS-North, DSS
Kansas City at Chicago WSox, 8:10 PM - FS-Kansas City, CSN-Chicago, DSS
Baltimore at LA Angels, 10:05 PM - MASN2, FS-West, DSS
Houston at Oakland, 10:05 PM - CSN-Houston, California, DSS

Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 8:15 PM - SunSports, FS-Midwest, DSS
Detroit at Arizona, 9:40 PM - FS-Detroit, Arizona, DSS
NY Mets at Seattle, 10:10 PM - SNY, ROOT-Northwest, DSS

Tulsa at San Antonio, 8:00 PM - No scheduled television
Atlanta at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - SportsSouth, FS-North+, NBA TV
Indiana at Chicago, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
Phoenix at Seattle, 10:00 PM - ESPN 2

Tour de France
Stage 16, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Sports Brief - 07.19.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Charlotte Hornets officially signed free agent guard Lance Stephenson on Friday.

Stephenson tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward “to the next phase of my career and the wonderful opportunity to continue to grow as a player and as a person in Charlotte!“

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Hornets on Friday, but reports earlier this week indicated that the 23- year-old Stephenson has signed a three-year, $27 million contract that includes a team option for the final season.

He reportedly turned down a five- year, $44 million offer from the Pacers after helping Indiana to the Eastern Conference finals the last two seasons.

►  Pau Gasol officially became a member of the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Gasol had announced that he had chosen the Bulls on his Twitter account last Saturday.

The 34-year-old spent the past six-plus seasons with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, winning two NBA titles.

He will join another former MVP in Chicago, point guard Derrick Rose.

With Bryant out most of the season, Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 60 games in 2013-14, missing time because of a groin strain and a bout with vertigo.

Prior to his run with the Lakers, the Spanish big man was a member of the Memphis Grizzlies for more than six seasons (2001-08).

►  Count Udonis Haslem among the players who will be returning to the Miami Heat next season.

Haslem, Miami’s all-time leader in rebounds, will be back for a 12th season with the Heat after the team announced it has re-signed the veteran forward on Friday.

Haslem, along with Miami’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, opted out of his previous contract following the Heat’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals.

James was the only member of the four not to re-sign with the team, with the four-time league MVP instead bolting for a second tour with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 34-year-old Haslem has spent his entire NBA career with the Heat, originally joining the franchise as an undrafted free agent in 2003.

►  The Chicago Bulls signed forward Nikola Mirotic on Friday.

Multiple reports earlier this week said the deal is worth $17 million over three years.

The European star averaged 13.1 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 40.2% from beyond the arc over five seasons with Real Madrid CF of the Liga ACB.

He was the Spanish League MVP in 2013.

“We feel Nikola will be a great addition to our frontcourt where he he’ll be able to space the floor with his outstanding shooting ability,“ said Bulls general manager Gar Forman in a statement. “We’ve known Nikola for several years and we are confident he will be a great fit for our team both on and off the court. He’s a player with great potential.“

The 6-foot-10 Mirotic was acquired by Chicago in 2011 as part of a draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In that deal, Chicago acquired the draft rights to Mirotic (No. 23 pick) in exchange for the draft rights to Norris Cole (No. 28) and Malcolm Lee (No. 43), as well as cash considerations.

►  Count Udonis Haslem among the players who will be returning to the Miami Heat next season.

Haslem, Miami’s all-time leader in rebounds, will be back for a 12th season with the Heat after the team announced it has re-signed the veteran forward on Friday.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, though the South Florida Sun- Sentinel reported the deal to be for $5.6 million over two years.

Haslem, along with Miami’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, opted out of his previous contract following the Heat’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals.

James was the only member of the four not to re-sign with the team, with the four-time league MVP instead bolting for a second tour with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 34-year-old Haslem has spent his entire NBA career with the Heat, originally joining the franchise as an undrafted free agent in 2003.

The Miami native has been a part of all three of the Heat’s NBA champion teams and ranks second only to Wade in club history in games played (715).

Haslem played in just 46 regular-season games in 2013-14, averaging 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds, but started six of Miami’s 16 postseason contests—all of which the Heat won.

“He’s a team player, an encompassing all-purpose player, that would play just about any position or role in order to win,“ Heat president Pat Riley said of Haslem. “It’s been such a privilege and honor to have him with the organization and I’m so happy that he decided to come back.“

A team captain in each of the past seven seasons, Haslem has averaged 8.6 points and 7.5 rebounds over 715 career regular-season games.

►  The Washington Wizards re-signed forward Drew Gooden on Friday.

Gooden appeared in 22 games for Washington last season, averaging 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds.

He signed a 10-day contract with the Wizards on February 26, inked a second 10-day pact on March 08 and then signed for the remainder of the season on March 18.

“The addition of Drew was a big part of our success late last season and we are excited to have him back with us,“ said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld in a statement. “His skills will help to solidify our frontcourt rotation and his experience will help us continue to grow as a team.“

In 12 seasons with Memphis, Orlando, Cleveland, Chicago, Sacramento, San Antonio, Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee and Washington, Gooden has averaged 11.7 points and 7.5 rebounds over 709 career games.

In 54 career postseason games, he has averaged 9.2 points and 7.5 rebounds.

►  The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Kendall Marshall, the team announced Friday.

A first-round pick of the Phoenix Suns in 2012, Marshall started 45 games in Los Angeles’ injury-depleted backcourt last season and averaged 8.0 points and a team-best 8.8 assists over 54 contests overall.

The former North Carolina standout, whose contract was not guaranteed, became expendable when the Lakers acquired point guard Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets earlier this week.

Marshall played in 48 games with the Suns as a rookie before being traded to Washington as part of a four-player deal this past October.

He was promptly waived by the Wizards and signed with the Delaware 87ers in the NBA Developmental League prior to joining the Lakers on December 20.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Dan Uggla’s mostly disappointing tenure with the Atlanta Braves came to a close on Friday, with the team giving the former All-Star second baseman his unconditional release.

The move comes less than a week after the Braves suspended the struggling veteran for their final game prior to the All-Star break last Sunday against the Chicago Cubs.

According to the Atlanta Journal- Consitution, Uggla was disciplined for arriving to Wrigley Field only about an hour before first pitch.

Atlanta will still have to pay around $19 million to Uggla, who is hitting an anemic .162 with just two home runs this season and lost his starting job to rookie Tommy La Stella in May, over the remainder of this season and 2015.

►  The Los Angeles Angels acquired All-Star closer Huston Street on Friday night in a six-player trade with the San Diego Padres.

The Angels dealt infielders Taylor Lindsey and Jose Rondon and right-handed pitchers R.J. Alvarez and Elliot Morris to San Diego in exchange for Street and fellow righty Trevor Gott.

Street, who had 24 saves and a 1.09 ERA in 33 appearances for the Padres this season, was seen pounding fists and shaking hands with fellow relievers in the bullpen during San Diego’s game against the New York Mets on Friday night, an indication he had been dealt.

The 30-year-old and his $7 million salary were seen as hot commodities on the trade market.

“He’s been a very, very good closer,“ Padres manager Bud Black said. “I knew prior to the game that this could happen.“

Street has 258 career saves and a 2.87 ERA in 548 games with Oakland, Colorado and San Diego.

He has been particularly effective for the Padres over the past three seasons, posting a 2.03 ERA and 80 saves with 127 strikeouts in 128 2/3 innings.

“I think that Huston is going to be a great addition and fit into the back end of our pen,“ Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re excited to have him.“

None of the other players involved in the trade have major-league experience but Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch said the team was excited about the prospects it received.

The Padres have been without a general manager since firing Josh Byrnes last month.

“We feel like we hit the mark on these four guys,“ Hinch said.

The 22-year-old Lindsey was rated as the Angels’ top prospect by Baseball America. He has hit .247 with eight home runs and 30 RBI in 75 games for Triple-A Salt Lake this season.

Alvarez has posted a 0.33 ERA pitching 21 times in relief for Double-A Arkansas this season.

►  The Houston Astros were unable to reach an agreement with pitcher Brady Aiken, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, by Friday’s signing deadline, has reported.

Aiken, a 17-year-old left-hander out of San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High School, becomes only the third top overall choice in the draft’s history not to sign, joining Danny Goodwin in 1971 and Tim Belcher in 1983.

The Astros will now receive the No. 2 pick in next year’s draft for their failure to come to terms.

Aiken, who has committed to UCLA, will either pitch for the Bruins next spring or has the option to attend junior college in hopes of remaining eligible for the 2015 draft.

Friday’s news is the culmination of a stunning turn of events between the Astros and Aiken over the last month.

The talented hurler had initially agreed to a deal that contained a $6.5 million bonus just days after the draft, but Houston later reduced its offer to $3.1 million due to concerns over the structure of Aiken’s elbow after he took a physical.

If Aiken, the first prep lefty to be taken first overall since the Yankees chose Brien Taylor in 1991, does decide to attend UCLA, he will not be able to re-enter the draft until 2017.

Aiken emerged as a top prospect following a brilliant career at Cathedral Catholic, where he went 18-4 with a 1.09 ERA over three seasons and struck out 111 batters in just 59 2/3 innings as a senior.

►  The New York Yankees will have veteran slugger Carlos Beltran back in the lineup when they begin their post-All Star break schedule Friday against the Cincinnati Reds.

Beltran, who broke his nose in two places while taking batting practice prior to a July 09 game at Cleveland, will bat sixth as the designated hitter in Friday’s matchup after being reinstated from the 7-day concussion disabled list.

The 37-year-old did not play in any of New York’s final seven games before the break, missing the first two tests of the Cleveland series with inflammation in his right knee.

Beltran sustained the nasal fracture when he was struck by a batted ball that caromed off the screen in front of the pitcher’s mound during a hitting drill.

Beltran has battled injuries throughout his first season with the Yankees, resulting in a career-low .216 average.

The eight-time All-Star has produced nine home runs and 28 RBI in 61 games thus far in 2014.

►  The Miami Marlins reinstated pitcher A.J. Ramos from the 15-day disabled list Friday, while placing fellow reliever Kevin Gregg on the DL with right elbow inflammation.

Ramos had been sidelined since June 26 with a sore shoulder. The right-hander had posted a 4-0 record with a 2.17 earned run average and 12 holds prior to being shelved.

The 36-year-old Gregg has been hit hard in 12 games since having his contract selected from Triple-A New Orleans in mid-June.

Over nine innings of work, the veteran righty has allowed 10 runs on 11 hits and issued five walks.

Gregg, who saved 33 games for the Chicago Cubs a year ago, signed a minor league contract with the Marlins on June 03.

►  The Minnesota Twins reinstated infielder Danny Santana from the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Santana, sidelined since June 25 by a bone bruise in his left knee, just completed a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers in which he went 0-for-11 at the plate in three games.

The rookie hit well with the Twins following his callup in early May, however, amassing a .328 average with two home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases over 37 games while logging starts at both shortstop and center field.

Outfielder Chris Herrmann was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room on the active roster.

►  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim agreed to terms with their 2014 first-round pick, pitcher Sean Newcomb, on Friday.

Newcomb, 21, was the 15th overall pick of the draft out of the University of Hartford.

He posted an 8-2 mark with a 1.25 earned run average and 106 strikeouts this past season with Hartford, nabbing America East Conference Pitcher of the Year honors.

The Angels agreed to terms with 35 of their 40 draft picks, including all of their top-10 selections, at the close of Friday’s signing deadline.

►  The Cleveland Indians recalled pitcher C.C. Lee from Triple-A Columbus on Friday.

Lee joins the Indians for a third time this season, as he is 0-0 with a 4.76 earned run average over 13 games this season.

In 20 games at Columbus this season, he is 0-1 with one save and a 4.13 ERA.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Boston Bruins on Friday officially announced the signing of six players, chief among them winger Jordan Caron.

Caron, who totaled one goal and three points in 35 games for the Bruins a season ago, returns on a one-year deal worth $600,000.

A veteran of 123 NHL games, all with Boston since 2010, the 23-year-old Quebec native has tallied 12 goals and 16 assists.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli also announced that forwards Craig Cunningham, Tyler Randell, defensemen Tommy Cross and Zach Trotman were signed, and the club agreed to terms with forward Justin Florek.

Cunningham, Randell, Florek and Cross were retained on one-year, two-way deals.

Trotman was rewarded with a two-year contract, which is two-way in the first year and one-way in the second.

►  The Arizona Coyotes signed first-round draft pick Brendan Perlini to a three-year, entry-level contract on Friday.

Perlini had 34 goals and 37 assists in 58 games with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League in 2013-14. He led the IceDogs in goals and finished second on the team in scoring.

“We are very pleased to sign Brendan to an entry-level contract,“ said Coyotes general manager Don Maloney in a statement. “Brendan is a strong skater with great size and skill. He had an impressive prospect development camp and we look forward to watching his development.“

The 18-year-old recorded three goals and one assist in seven games for Team Canada at the 2014 U-18 World Championship.

He was 12th overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Vincenzo Nibali of Italy won Stage 13 of the Tour de France on Friday and increased his overall lead in cycling’s most prestigious race.

Nibali finished the 197.5-kilometer trek in the first of two days in the Alps in a time of 5 hours, 12 minutes and 29 seconds for his third stage win of this year’s Tour.

Poland’s Rafal Majka was 10 seconds behind in second place and finished just one second ahead of Leopold Konig of the Czech Republic.

The final ascent on Friday was one of the highest category and Nibali had no serious challengers in the final two kilometers, especially from Richie Porte and Alejandro Valverde—his nearest competitors for the coveted leader’s yellow jersey.

“It’s a special day today,“ said Nibali, who has been in yellow every day except for one since winning Stage 2. “I’m very happy. I just wanted to gain as much time as I could. I knew Valverde was close to me. Porte was close to me as well. Porte had a problem and he was dropped, and in the end it was only Valverde and me.“

Valverde finished fourth on Friday, 50 seconds behind the winner.

The Spaniard is now second overall, but trails Nibali by 3 minutes and 37 seconds. Porte was unable to stay with the leaders on the final climb and wound up 27th on Friday, 8:48 behind Nibali in the stage.

The Australian began the day in second overall just 2:23 behind Nibali, but is now 11:11 back in 16th place.

“Ye-ouch!! Rough day for me at TdF,“ Porte tweeted after the race. “Big thanks to @TeamSky boys for staying with me. See what the rest of the race brings.“

Romain Bardet is 4:24 off the pace in third after a seventh-place finish Friday, with fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot another 16 seconds behind in fourth overall.

American Tejay Van Garderen is 5:19 behind Nibali in fifth after finishing Friday’s grueling stage in sixth place.

Three climbs highlighted Friday’s run from Saint-Etienne to the Chamrousse ski station outside of Grenoble, but the final ascent of 18 kilometers had an average gradient of 7.3% and it clearly hurt a few riders.

With Majka and Konig in front, Valverde tried to attack first and couldn’t pull away from a small group that included Nibali.

When Nibali made a move toward the front a short time later, Valverde was unable to keep up as the Italian reeled in the two leaders and easily surpassed them.

“I’m the one who attacked first,“ noted Valverde. “I rode full gas to do the best I could, but when Nibali attacked I couldn’t follow him. Tomorrow will again be difficult. I will need to recover some strength.“

Saturday’s Stage 14, also in the Alps, is 177 kilometers from Grenoble to Risoul. It features three climbs, a highest category ascent up the Col d’Izoard in between a pair of Category 1 ventures—the last at the very finish.

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►  Rory McIlroy opened the second round Friday with a bogey, but that was his last mistake of the day.

McIlroy ran off seven birdies the rest of his round and grabbed a 4-stroke lead after 36 holes at the Open Championship.

McIlroy, who had struggled recently in second rounds, carded his second straight 6- under 66 to post 12-under-par 132.

That matches the start Tiger Woods had at Royal Liverpool en route to victory in 2006.

As good as McIlroy’s round was, it wasn’t the best of the day.

Dustin Johnson, in the group behind the leader, fired a 7-under 65 to soar into second place at minus-8.

Johnson shared second at the Open in 2011 and tied for ninth 2012.

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel carded a 5-under 67 to climb into a share of third place at 6- under-par 138.

He was joined there by Sergio Garcia (70), Ryan Moore (68), Francesco Molinari (70), Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Rickie Fowler (69).

Jim Furyk (71) and George Coetzee (69) are tied for ninth at 5-under 139.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson carded a 2-under 70 and finished two rounds at even-par 144.

Woods, a three-time Open champion, needed a birdie on 18 to make the cut on the number.

He struggled to a 5-over 77 to end 36 holes at 2- over-par 146.

►  Laura Diaz carded a 2-under 69 on Friday to remain on top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the Marathon Classic.

Diaz finished 36 holes at Highland Meadows Golf Club at 11-under-par 131. She is seeking her third career win on the LPGA Tour, but first since 2002.

Lydia Ko shot her second straight 4-under 67 to move into a share of second place with Lee-Anne Pace (68) at minus-8.

Rebecca Lee-Bentham (67) and 2012 winner So Yeon Ryu (67) are tied for fourth at 7-under, while Brittany Lang (66) and Kayla Mortellaro (67) shared sixth at 6-under.

Defending champion Beatriz Recari (68) is among a group of seven players tied for 14th place at 4-under 138.

Diaz opened her round with five straight pars before tripping to a bogey at the first. That dropped her to 8-under for the tournament and into a tie for the lead with Ko and Pace, who both played in the morning.

Diaz parred her next six holes to remain there before pouring in birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th around a bogey at the 14th to reclaim the outright lead at 10-under.

She would then close her round with another gain at the 18th to claim a 3- stroke lead heading into the weekend.

“For me, it was just a challenge because I haven’t been in this position in a very long time. For sure I haven’t had cameras on me in a long time,“ Diaz said. “So I was anxious for them to go away I think in a funny kind of way.“

Ko started her round on the back nine and parred her first two holes before converting three birdies in a 4-hole stretch from the 12th to jump to 7-under.

She later rolled in another birdie at the second to reach minus-8. Ko would trade a bogey at the fourth with a birdie at the fifth to remain there before closing her round with four straight pars.

“I had two solid rounds. I thought I played pretty solid today and yesterday,“ Ko said. “Hopefully I can continue that through the weekend.“

Pace birdied the first, but gave that shot right back with a bogey at the second. After parring her next three holes, she rolled in birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth to make the turn at 8-under.

Bogeys at the 11th and 15th dropped her back to minus-6, but she bounced back with consecutive birdies at the 17th and 18th to finish at minus-8.

Lee-Bentham was the only player in the morning to reach Diaz’s overnight lead as she recorded six birdies over her first 11 holes to reach 9-under, but she closed her round with bogeys at the third and seventh to fall behind.

NOTES: Diaz collected both of her wins in 2002 at the Welch’s/Circle K Championship and LPGA Corning Classic ... Diaz has also held the 36-hole lead at this event in 2002, 2003 and 2009. Her best finish in those years was a tie for third in 2002 ... Diaz’s last top-10 finish came at the 2010 LPGA Tour Championship ... The cut line fell at 1-over 143, with 77 players advancing to the weekend. Among those to miss the cut were Michelle Wie, Angela Stanford, Gerina Piller and Azahara Munoz.

►  Bill Lunde fired a 10-under 61 on Friday to vault into a share of the lead of the Albertsons Boise Open.

Lunde was joined at 15-under-par 127 by Zack Sucher, who carded a 4-under 67 during his second round at Hillcrest Country Club.

Lunde has one career win on the Tour, while Sucher is seeking his first win on tour.

Steven Alker (66) is alone in third place at 14-under. Steve Wheatcroft (66) and Chase Wright (66) are tied for fourth at 12-under 130, a shot ahead of Ryan Blaum (65) and Nick Taylor (68).

Lunde opened his round with a bogey at the first, but bounced back in impressive fashion with five straight birdies from the second to race to 9- under.

He then followed a par at the seventh with another gain at the eighth to make the turn at minus-10. After he picked up another shot at the 11th, Lunde jumped to 13-under with a hole-in-one at the 13th.

“Credit goes to my caddie,“ Lunde said about his ace. “I didn’t think it was a full 5-iron but I also didn’t think a 6 would get there. He was right. It landed about six-to-eight feet from the hole and just went in.“

A bogey at the 14th briefly halted his momentum, but he again responded in style with three straight birdies to reach 15-under. He parred the last to claim the clubhouse lead.

Sucher parred the first before rolling in consecutive birdies at the second and third. He later birdied the seventh to make the turn at 14-under.

Bogeys at the 10th and 13th around a birdie at the 11th dropped him back to minus-13, but he poured in back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th to claim a share of the lead.

Sucher had a chance to claim the outright lead with a 7-foot birdie putt at the last, but could not convert to remain tied heading into the weekend.

“I had one on the line I wanted to play,“ Sucher said about the last putt. “I thought we could go inside of it, but I wasn’t comfortable with the line. If I hit it harder I would have made it.“

Alker posted five birdies during his bogey-free round to finish a shot off the pace.

NOTES: Lunde’s 61 was his lowest round on the Tour. His previous low of 62 came in the second round of the 2008 Chattanooga Classic ... Lunde won the 2008 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational on the Tour to go along with a victory at the PGA Tour’s 2010 Turning Stone Resort Championship ... Lunde’s ace was the 27th in tournament history, which is more than any other event on the Tour schedule ... Sucher’s career-best finish on tour is a tie for second at the 2013 South Georgia Classic ... The cut line fell at 6-under 136, with 68 players advancing to the weekend.

►  Wes Homan and Greg Eason fired matching 7-under 65s on Friday and they share the lead after two rounds of the Staal Foundation Open.

Homan and Eason finished 36 holes at Whitewater Golf Club at 12-under-par 132. They are both seeking their first career win on the PGA Tour Canada.

Joshua Stone (70) is alone in third place at 9-under, while The Players Cup champion Timothy Madigan (71) and Blake Snyder (65) are tied for fourth at minus-8.

Two-time winner this season Joel Dahmen (69), Ryan Brehm (69) and Ted Brown (67) occupied sixth at 7-under 137.

First-round leader Brandon Harkins carded an 8-over 80 during his second round and missed the cut by a stroke at even-par 144.

Homan opened his round on fire with four straight birdies to race to 9-under. He added another gain at the seventh to make the turn at minus-10.

He then followed an eagle at the 12th with a birdie at the 13th to reach 13- under, but bogeyed the 15th to fall back to 12-under and parred his final three holes to end there.

Eason opened his bogey-free round with a par at the first before rolling in a birdie at the second. After parring the next three holes, he converted three birdies in a 4-hole stretch from the sixth to reach 9-under.

He then recorded birdies at the 10th, 14th and 18th during an inward 33 to earn his share of the lead.

NOTES: Devin Carrey recorded a hole-in-one at the 15th ... Eason’s best finish during his rookie season was a tie for fifth at the Syncrude Boreal Open ... Homan has missed the cut in three of his six starts this season ... The cut line fell at 1-under 143, with 62 players advancing to the weekend.

►  Doug Ghim and Byron Meth each won a pair of matches on Friday and will now face off in the final of the U.S. Amateur Public Links.

Ghim and Meth, who were two of the four stroke-play medalists, will start their 36-hole final match at 8:00 AM ET.

Ghim earned his first victory of the day with a 3 & 2 decision over John Oda in which he never trailed.

After the duo traded birdies at the first, Ghim grabbed the lead with a par at the second and moved 2-up with a birdie at the third.

Oda got back within one with a birdie at the fourth, and they traded birdies at the seventh and eighth to leave Ghim 1-up at the turn. The Illinois native later sealed the win with a birdie at the 15th and a par at the 16th.

It was the opposite for Ghim in his semifinal match against Michael Gellerman, as he did not hold the lead until the final hole.

Gellerman quickly took a 2-up advantage of that match with a birdie at the first and a par at the second. Ghim birdied the par-3 third to get back to 1- down and they would later trade wins at the seventh and eighth to remain there at the turn.

Gellerman moved 3-up with pars at the 10th and 12th, but Ghim fought back with pars at the 13th and 16th around an eagle at the 14th to square the match with two holes to play.

After both players parred the 17th, Ghim converted his birdie effort at the 18th to claim the 1-up victory.

Meth faced Bryson Dechambeau in the quarterfinals and recorded birdies at the second, fourth, fifth and eighth to claim a 4-up lead.

Dechambeau would get back within 1-down after a birdie at the 14th, but he could not even the match and Meth hung on to advance with the 1-up decision.

Meth would then dominate Jess Bonneau by a 6 & 5 margin in the semifinals to claim his spot in the final.

Meth quickly gained a 2-up advantage with consecutive birdies at the first and second before Bonneau moved back within one with a birdie at the fourth.

Meth took complete control from there, however, as he raced to a 4-up lead with three straight pars from the sixth. Bonneau won his final hole of the match with a birdie at the ninth before Meth won the 10th, 11th and 13th holes to close out the win.

►  Stroke-play medalist Eun Jeong Seong and Fumie Jo each won a pair of matches on Friday to advance to the final of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.

Seong, who is just 14 years old and set a stroke-play record earlier in the week, defeated Doris Chen, 1-up, in the quarterfinals before downing Alana Uriell by the same margin in the semifinals.

Jo, meanwhile, earned a 3 & 2 decision over Dominique Galloway in the quarterfinals and topped Cindy Ha with a 1-up win in the semifinals.

The 36-hole final will start at 11:00 AM ET Saturday.

Seong never trailed against Chen, opening the match with a birdie at the first to claim a 1-up advantage.

A par at the sixth increased Seong’s lead to 2-up, and she was able to counter wins by Chen at the ninth and 12th with a birdie at the 10th and a par at the 13th to maintain that advantage with five holes to play.

Chen again cut her deficit to 1-down with a birdie at the 15th, but she could not even the match and the duo traded pars over the final three holes to hand Seong the victory.

Seong birdied the first against Uriell to quickly go 1-up, but Uriell answered with a birdie at the third to square the match. The duo again traded wins at the fourth and seventh to keep the match even at the turn.

Seong then birdied the 11th to go ahead for good and maintained that 1-up lead through the final seven holes to claim the win.

Jo opened her match against Galloway with a birdie at the first to claim a 1- up lead, but Galloway answered with a birdie at the third to square the match.

The rest of the match belonged to Jo, however, as she took the fourth, seventh, 12th and 14th holes to gain a 4-up advantage.

Galloway gained some life with a par at the 15th, but they both parred the 16th to hand Jo the 3 & 2 decision.

Jo parred the first against Ha to claim a 1-up lead, but Ha responded with back-to-back birdies at the second and third to hand Jo her first deficit of the day.

Jo battled back with pars at the sixth and seventh to take a 1-up lead, and after Ha evened the match with a birdie at the 10th, Jo ran off three straight wins from the 11th to claim a 3-up lead.

Ha would battle back to even the match heading into the 18th hole, where Jo rolled in her birdie effort to claim her spot in the final.

►  Annika Sorenstam stole the show from some of sports and entertainment?s biggest names Friday on the beach of south Lake Tahoe.

In her first competitive action since her retirement at the end of 2008, Sorenstam shot a 1-under 71 for a modified Stableford score of 21 Friday in the first round of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Heading into the second round, she’s tied for fourth place with Stephen Curry and Joe Sakic.

Chad Pfeifer, an Iraq War veteran with a prosthetic right leg, made a strong rookie debut, taking the lead after the first round with a score of 24. Former NHL forward Jeremy Roenick and former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien are in second and third place, respectively, with Stableford scores of 23 and 22.

The tournament uses a modified Stableford format that awards 10 points for a double eagle, eight for a hole-in-one, six for an eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-2 for double-bogey or worse.

“I just didn’t really want it to end, because I was getting a little looser,“ said Sorenstam. “I was tight early on. I mean, I felt it, I don’t know, I was holding back for really no reason. Maybe because I don’t play and I’m rusty. But I had a lot of fun. Especially coming into 17, I’ve never played that type of environment, normally it’s quiet.“

Pfeifer as well enjoyed the party crowd on hole 17, feeding off the atypical golf gallery and birdieing the hole.

“A lot of them were just thanking me. So it was a lot of cheering, a lot of hearing my name out there, which is awkward, I guess. I’m not used to that,“ Pfeifer said. “But it was a lot of fun.“

However, it was Sorenstam that had the biggest group following her from hole- to-hole. Her playing partners, John Elway and John Smoltz, got quite a bit of attention, but there were significantly more women in the crowd when the greatest woman to ever play the sport was swinging.

“It’s very nice to get the support, I felt the support from the beginning when they asked me if I wanted to play,“ she said. “And I feel it from the guys, too. They welcome you here. And Charles Barkley has been tremendous. He said ten times, ‘I’m glad you’re here.‘“

The Stableford format rewards aggressive play and low numbers from hole-to- hole. It took Sorenstam some time before she finally carded a birdie. She finished 1-over on the front nine and finally found her groove on the back, birdieing 15 and 18. She played from the same tees as the men and was undaunted as Elway and Smoltz bombed long drives right past her ball.

“For me, I know I can play this course,“ Sorenstam said. “I just got to play a little bit more relaxed tomorrow and find a feel around the greens. It’s hard to feel when you’re really tight. So maybe one round will loosen me up, get me more comfortable.“

Pfeifer made plenty of birdies. A newcomer in the event, but an instant fan favorite, he holds the lead going into the second round.

“There was a lot of nerves, that’s for sure,“ he said. “Just tried to play my own game and just tried to play steady golf. I know doubles are no good, obviously, but as long as I could eliminate a lot of bogeys and just, if I can play par golf, I’ll make some birdies and hopefully don’t give any back with doubles.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Jacksonville Jaguars made it official on Friday and signed wide receiver Marqise Lee.

Terms of the deal for the second-round pick were undisclosed.

Lee, who was selected 39th overall, was a starter in all three of his seasons at Southern California, catching 248 passes for 3,655 yards and 29 touchdowns.

►  Former NFL players Christian Ballard and Gregory Westbrooks are suing the players union over head injuries.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Former union presidents Trace Armstrong, Troy Vincent and Kevin Mawae were named in the suit.

The NFLPA responded with the following statement Friday:

“It erroneously alleges that the NFLPA knowingly and fraudulently concealed from players the risks of head injuries players faced by playing in NFL games and practices over the last several decades. This lawsuit has no merit and we will defend our union and our past Presidents.

“The NFLPA has made the health and safety of its members a priority and the advancements in professional football on concussion education, prevention and treatment are a result of our efforts.“

Ballard was a defensive end for the Vikings in 2011 and 2012

The 61-year-old Westbrooks played from 1975-81 as a linebacker and special teamer with the Saints, Raiders, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.

Earlier this month, a federal judge granted preliminary approval of a revised settlement agreement between the NFL and former players who sued the league over concussions.

►  Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Bills general manager Doug Whaley confirmed the procedure on Friday, adding that Alonso will return to Buffalo after training camp to begin rehabilitation.

Alonso suffered the injury while working out in Oregon, the club revealed earlier this month.

The 23-year-old former Oregon Duck led the team in tackles last season as a rookie.

He started all 16 games after being drafted in the second round out of Oregon and finished with 159 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions.

►  San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was sentenced to 11 days in jail and three years’ probation on weapons and DUI charges but can serve his jail term on a work crew.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Daniel Nishigaya also ordered Smith to pay $2,000 in fines, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Nishigaya on Friday reduced three felony counts of possessing illegal assault rifles against Smith to misdemeanors.

Under the terms of his probation, Smith, 24, is barred from drinking alcohol or possessing guns or ammunition for three years.

Violating the terms would result in an 11-day jail sentence.

Smith can complete his 11-day stint on a work crew on consecutive Mondays starting July 28, according to the Mercury News.

The talented but troubled linebacker, who has had numerous run-ins with the law, pleaded no contest in May to the weapons and DUI charges.

He was facing up to four years and four months in prison.

Smith took a leave of absence from the 49ers last year to seek help for a substance abuse problem.

He has been one of the NFL’s elite pass rushers since being drafted No. 7 overall by the 49ers in 2011.

In May, the 49ers exercised the fifth-year option on Smith’s contract.

►  The Jacksonville Jaguars made it official on Friday and signed wide receiver Marqise Lee.

Terms of the deal for the second-round pick were undisclosed.

Lee, who was selected 39th overall, was a starter in all three of his seasons at Southern California, catching 248 passes for 3,655 yards and 29 touchdowns.

►  The Minnesota Vikings have suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer three regular season games without pay for making a homophobic comment to former punter Chris Kluwe.

The results of a nearly six-month independent investigation started by the team over claims Kluwe made in an online article were released by the Vikings on Friday.

According to a 29-page memo, the investigation turned up evidence Priefer made a homophobic statement to Kluwe, but not the many the former punter alleged in his first-person account earlier this year.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  David Ferrer of Spain was among the quarterfinal winners Friday at the Bet-at-Home Open.

The top-seeded Ferrer needed just 66 minutes in a 6-0, 6-2 rout of countrymate Pablo Andujar.

It was a much easier day for Ferrer, who had to play three sets to win each of his first two matches this week.

“It’s never easy but for sure it was my best match this week,“ said Ferrer. “I think the first and second round I didn’t play my good tennis, I just played good in some moments.“

Ferrer will likely have the crowd against him on Saturday in the semifinals against German wild card Alexander Zverev.

The 17-year-old won a battle of Hamburg natives on Friday, rallying for a 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Tobias Kamke.

Zverev won just six points in the first set before storming back to become the first 17-year-old to reach the semifinals of an ATP event since Marin Cilic fell to Feliciano Lopez in the 2006 Gstaad tournament.

Another German, seventh-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber, claimed a 6-4, 6-4 win over Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.

Kohlschreiber is trying for his second win on native soil this year, having won in Dusseldorf back in May.

Four of his five titles have come in Germany.

Next up for Kohlschreiber will be Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer, a 6-1, 7-5 winner over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

►  Mona Barthel, Chanelle Scheepers, Jana Cepelova and Silvia Soler-Espinosa were quarterfinal winners Friday at the Swedish Open.

The unheralded foursome has combined for three WTA titles—two for Barthel and one for Scheepers. Cepelova and Soler-Espinosa have each previously played in one title match.

It’s been an upset-filled tournament, as each of the eight quarterfinalists were unseeded players.

Barthel topped the most-decorated of the eight, four-time WTA Tour winner Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) triumph.

The 24-year-old German is trying to win a tournament for the third straight year, her last title coming at the Paris Indoors in February 2013.

Next up for Barthel will be Soler-Espinosa, who advanced Friday with a 6-3, 6-2 rout of Russia’s Alexandra Panova.

The 26-year-old Spaniard reached the Strasbourg final earlier this year, losing to Monica Puig.

Scheepers needed three sets to dispose of Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena, claiming a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory to earn her second semifinal appearance of 2014. She lost to Jelena Jankovic in Bogota back in April.

The 30-year-old veteran from South Africa won her lone WTA Tour title back in 2011 at Guangzhou.

She will face Cepelova in the semis after the 21-year-old from Slovakia dumped Kazakhstan qualifier Yulia Putintseva with a 6-4, 7-5 triumph in the final quarterfinal on Friday.

Cepelova’s best previous finish came in April with a loss to Andrea Petkovic in the final at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston.

She stunned Serena Williams in the second round of that tournament en route to the title match.

The loss to Petkovic in the Charleston final started a downward spiral for Cepelova, who then fell in the first round in each of her next five events.

She stopped that slide with this week’s run.

Sunday’s champion will earn a first prize of $43,000.

►  Top seed Caroline Wozniacki was among the quarterfinal winners Friday at the Istanbul Cup.

Wozniacki outlasted eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic by a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 margin.

Next up for Wozniacki is Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, who beat Francesca Schiavone of Italy by a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 score.

Roberta Vinci, the No. 2 seed, moved on with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Kurumi Nara of Japan.

Vinci lost to Simona Halep last week in the final at the Bucharest Open.

Vinci will next play 16-year-old Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh, who upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

The Gilmer Free Press


Major League Baseball - National League
Los Angeles at St. Louis, 4:05 PM - SportsNet LA, FS-Midwest, FS1, DSS
Milwaukee at Washington, 7:05 PM - FS-Wisconsin, WUSA, MASN, DSS
Colorado at Pittsburgh, 7:05 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, Pittsburgh, DSS
Philadelphia at Atlanta, 7:10 PM - NBC 10, FS-South, DSS
San Francisco at Miami, 7:10 PM - CSN-Bay, FS-Florida, DSS
Chicago Cubs at Arizona, 8:10 PM - WGN (America), FS-Arizona, DSS
NY Mets at San Diego, 8:40 PM - WPIX, FS-San Diego, DSS

American League
Texas at Toronto, 1:07 PM - FS-Southwest, SNET-1, MLB Network, DSS
Cleveland at Detroit, 1:08 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS1
Kansas City at Boston, 7:10 PM - FS-Kansas City, NESN, DSS
Houston at Chicago WSox, 7:10 PM - CSN-Houston, Chicago, DSS
Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 7:10 PM - SunSports, FS-North, DSS
Baltimore at Oakland, 9:05 PM - MASN2, CSN-California, MLB Network, DSS
Seattle at LA Angels, 9:05 PM - ROOT-Northwest, FS-West, MLB Network, DSS

Cincinnati at NY Yankees, 1:05 PM - FS-Ohio, YES, MLB Network, DSS

All-Star Game, 3:30 PM - ESPN

Arena Football League
Jacksonville at Cleveland, 7:00 PM -
Orlando at New Orleans, 8:00 PM -
Pittsburgh at Iowa, 8:05 PM -
San Antonio at Los Angeles, 10:00 PM - CBSSN

Canadian Football League
Montreal at British Columbia, 7:00 PM - TSN, RDS,

International Soccer
Seattle vs. Tottenham, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2

Major League Soccer
Los Angeles at Sporting Kansas City, 6:00 PM - ESPN 2
San Jose at Red Bull New York, 7:00 PM - CSN-Northwest+, MSG, DSS
Montreal at Columbus, 7:30 PM - TVA Sports, DSS
Philadelphia at Chicago, 8:30 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, My50, Time Warner, DSS
New England at FC Dallas, 9:00 PM - CSN-New England, TXA21, DSS
Toronto FC at Houston, 9:00 PM - SportsNet 360, CSN-Houston+, DSS
Vancouver FC at Real Salt Lake, 10:00 PM - TSN, CW30, DSS

Major League Lacrosse
New York at Boston, 6:00 PM -, MSG+, Altitude
Charlotte at Ohio, 7:00 PM - CBSSN

EUROPEAN, PGA - British Open, 7:00 AM - ESPN
EUROPEAN, PGA - British Open, 9:00 AM - ESPN
LPGA - Marathon Classic, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
CELEBRITY - American Century Championship, 3:00 PM - NBC
WEB.COM - Boise Open, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel

Tour de France
Stage 14, 7:00 AM - NBCSN

Auto Racing
INDYCAR - Honda Indy Toronto Race 1, 3:00 PM - NBCSN

Horse Racing
Diana Stakes, 5:00 PM - TVG

Sports Brief - 07.18.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Oklahoma was picked to win its ninth Conference championship in the 2014 Big 12 Football Preseason Poll, voted on by media representatives who cover the league.

The Sooners garnered 47-of-56 first-place votes and 548 total points to top the preseason rankings. OU returns 20 starters from last year’s 11-2 Sugar Bowl champion squad, including both specialists.

The program’s eight Big 12 titles are a league record.

Defending Big 12 champion Baylor received the other nine first-place nods and accumulated 508 points to place second.

Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State rounded out the top five followed by Texas Tech, TCU, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas.

Head coaches and selected student-athletes will converge in Dallas from July 21-22 for the annual Big 12 Football Media Days.

Live video coverage, including press conferences and one-on-one interviews with a variety of guests, will be featured both days on the Big 12 Digital Network, including

The Big 12’s social media sites will also offer a unique perspective from Big 12 Football Media Days.

2014 Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll
1. Oklahoma (47) 548
2. Baylor (9) 508
3. K-State 377
4. Texas 376
5. Oklahoma State 312
6. Texas Tech 308
7. TCU 297
8. West Virginia 170
9. Iowa State 121
10. Kansas 63

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Washington Wizards announced the signing of forward Paul Pierce on Thursday.

Due to team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

According to previous reports, however, Pierce will join the Wizards on a two-year contract worth $11 million.

He is eligible to opt out after the first year.

A 16-year veteran, Pierce spent the first 15 years of his career with the Boston Celtics before spending 2013-14 with the Nets.

He was traded to Brooklyn last summer and averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in his lone season in black and white.

While with Boston, Pierce led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA title en route to Finals MVP honors.

He averaged 19.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists during the playoff run that gave the Celtics their first championship since 1986.

►  The Toronto Raptors finalized a new contract with guard Greivis Vasquez on Thursday, while also officially signing free agent forward James Johnson.

Vasquez, a restricted free agent and a key contributor to Toronto’s run to the 2013-14 Atlantic Division title, agreed to a reported two-year deal worth $13 million.

Acquired as part of last December’s trade with Sacramento that sent high-scoring forward Rudy Gay to the Kings, Vasquez averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists as one of the Raptors’ primary options off the bench.

Johnson, who spent parts of two seasons with the Raptors from 2011-12, played with Memphis in 2013-14 and averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 52 games.

►  Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell was hospitalized Thursday after collapsing during a corporate speaking event near Lake Tahoe.

The Boston Celtics released a statement saying that the 80-year-old Russell is conscious and recovering in a local hospital, and is hopeful that he will be able to fly back to his Seattle-area home Thursday night.

According to witness accounts, Russell began to feel faint while making his speech and fell to the floor before being carried out of the Hyatt Regency hotel on a stretcher.

Russell won 11 NBA titles during a 13-year career with the Celtics from 1956-69, serving the final three seasons as a player-coach. The revered former center was selected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996.

►  The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Carlos Boozer on amnesty waivers, according to multiple reports.

Boozer was available for silent bidding from any team with salary cap space after being waived using the amnesty clause by the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

The amount of the Lakers’ bid was not yet known, but it will help offset the $16.8 million the Bulls owed him.

Boozer, 32, played the past four seasons with the Bulls, averaging 15.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in 280 games.

The 12-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 16.6 points and 9.8 boards over 790 games with the Cavaliers, Jazz and Bulls.

►  The Dallas Mavericks re-signed guard Devin Harris on Thursday.

Harris averaged 7.9 points and 4.5 assists in 40 games with the Mavericks last season.

He missed the first 41 games while recovering from left foot surgery.

The 31-year-old averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 assists in the team’s seven-game, first-round playoff series loss to the eventual World Champion San Antonio Spurs.

Harris holds career averages of 12.5 points, 4.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 641 games (442 starts) with the Nets, Jazz, Hawks and Mavericks.

Dallas originally acquired Harris from Washington, along with Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner, in a draft day trade for Antawn Jamison on June 24, 2004.

He played for the Mavericks from 2004-08 and was traded to the Nets on February 19, 2008 in a deal that brought Jason Kidd to the Mavericks.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Milwaukee Brewers starting shortstop Jean Segura will be back with the team when it returns from the All-Star break, manager Ron Roenicke announced on Thursday.

Segura, who is expected to play in Washington on Friday, returned home to the Dominican Republic and missed the club’s final two games before the All-Star break after learning about his nine-month-old son’s tragic death last Friday.

Milwaukee placed its starting shortstop on the bereavement list on Saturday.

The 24-year-old earned a spot on the 2013 National League All-Star team last season and finished the year with 12 home runs, 49 RBI, 44 stolen bases and a .294 batting average. Segura was hitting just .232 in 2014, though his 15 steals ranked second on the team.

Also, the Brewers claimed infielder Irving Falu off waivers from San Diego and designated pitcher Kevin Shackelford for assignment on Thursday.

Falu, who started the season with Milwaukee, has gone 3-for-30 (.100) with an RBI this season.

►  The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Tyler Ennis to a multi-year contract.

Terms for the restricted free agent were not disclosed, but the Buffalo News and NHL Network have reported the deal to be worth $23 million over five years.

Ennis led the Sabres last season with a career-high 21 goals and was the second-leading scorer with 43 points in 80 games. He has ranked among the team’s top five in scoring each of the past four seasons.

The Edmonton native, who will turn 25 when the season starts in October, has 69 goals and 97 assists for 166 points in 267 NHL games.

He was chosen by Buffalo with the 26th overall pick of the 2008 NHL Draft and made his Sabres debut during the 2009-10.

►  Texas Rangers will have catcher Geovany Soto on the active roster for the first time this season when the team returns from the All-Star break Friday in Toronto.

Soto, sidelined since spring training due to a torn meniscus in his right knee, was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Thursday, with the Rangers also designating first baseman Carlos Pena for assignment.

The Rangers re-signed Soto in November to serve as the club’s primary catcher, but were forced to deviate from that plan after he underwent a pair of surgeries in the spring.

In addition to having his knee repaired in March, the 31-year-old had a procedure to remove a bone from his left ankle one month earlier.

Soto hit .245 with nine home runs and 22 RBI in just 163 at-bats for Texas a year ago.

Pena, a former All-Star and Silver Slugger recipient with the Tampa Bay Rays, batted just .136 with one homer and two RBI in 18 games after signing with Texas in mid-June.

In a related move, the Rangers selected the contract from J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A Round Rock and are expected to give the converted catcher a chance to fill the team’s hole at first base.

Arencibia was sent to the minors in May after going 8-for-60 (.133) at the plate, but belted 14 homers in 48 games at Round Rock while hitting .279 with 41 RBI.

The Rangers have been wrecked by injuries at the first base position, with slugger Prince Fielder having undergone season-ending neck surgery and replacement Mitch Moreland also done for the year due to an ankle reconstruction.

►  Milwaukee Brewers starting shortstop Jean Segura will be back with the team when it returns from the All-Star break, manager Ron Roenicke announced on Thursday.

Segura, who is expected to play in Washington on Friday, returned home to the Dominican Republic and missed the club’s final two games before the All-Star break after learning about his nine-month-old son’s tragic death last Friday.

Milwaukee placed its starting shortstop on the bereavement list on Saturday.

The 24-year-old earned a spot on the 2013 National League All-Star team last season and finished the year with 12 home runs, 49 RBI, 44 stolen bases and a .294 batting average. Segura was hitting just .232 in 2014, though his 15 steals ranked second on the team.

Also, the Brewers claimed infielder Irving Falu off waivers from San Diego and designated pitcher Kevin Shackelford for assignment on Thursday.

Falu, who started the season with Milwaukee, has gone 3-for-30 (.100) with an RBI this season.

Infielder Jeff Bianchi will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain. He is hitting .171 with six RBI in 29 games this season.

Bucs’ Marte reinstated from bereavement list.

►  The Pittsburgh Pirates reinstated outfielder Starling Marte from the bereavement list on Thursday.

Marte missed Pittsburgh’s final five games prior to the All-Star break.

The 25-year-old has hit for a .256 average with five home runs, 16 doubles and 32 RBI in 83 games this season, his third with the Pirates.

Pittsburgh also optioned outfielder Jaff Decker to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Rays’ Hanigan lands on DL.

►  The Tampa Bay Rays placed starting catcher Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day disabled list Thursday due to a strained left oblique.

The move is retroactive to July 9. Hanigan had missed the Rays’ final four games prior to the All-Star break with the injury.

Acquired in an offseason trade with Cincinnati, Hanigan has hit .212 with four home runs and 27 RBI in 61 games for Tampa Bay this season.

Curt Casali had his contract selected from Triple-A Durham to serve as the Rays’ second catcher while Hanigan is sidelined, with 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers transferred to the 60-day DL to open up a spot on the 40-man roster.

Myers is expected to be out until August with a stress fracture in his right wrist that the outfielder suffered in early June.

Casali has hit .261 with four homers and 28 RBI between Durham and Double-A Montgomery this season.

Blue Jays claim Mills off waivers.

►  Pitcher Brad Mills has been claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Oakland Athletics, the A’s announced Thursday.

Mills, who was designated for assignment by Oakland on July 07 following the acquisitions of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs, went 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts for the A’s.

The 29-year-old will return to the Toronto organization, where he spent his first three seasons in the big leagues.

Mills has gone 4-4 with a 6.98 ERA in 18 career games over five seasons with the A’s, Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels.

Rockies’ Chatwood to undergo Tommy John surgery.

►  Colorado Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.

Chatwood last played on April 29 before landing on the disabled list with a strained right elbow.

He was making some progress during rehab, but had difficulty throwing breaking balls.

The 24-year-old right-hander has gone 1-0 with a 4.50 earned run average in just four starts this season.

Chatwood has compiled a career record of 20-22 with a 4.34 ERA in 70 games—61 starts—over four seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado.

►  The Seattle Mariners recalled outfielder Stefen Romero from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday.

Romero batted .196 with three homers and 11 RBI through 51 games for Seattle this season, his first in the big leagues, before getting sent down.

To make room for Romero on the active roster, the M’s optioned left-handed pitcher Lucas Luetge to Tacoma.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Tyler Ennis to a multi-year contract.

Terms for the restricted free agent were not disclosed, but multiple media outlets have reported the deal to be worth $23 million over five years.

Ennis led the Sabres last season with a career-high 21 goals and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 43 points in 80 games.

The Edmonton native, who will turn 25 when the season starts in October, has 69 goals and 97 assists for 166 points in 267 NHL games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Alexander Kristoff of Norway won Stage 12 of the Tour de France on Thursday and Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali remains the overall leader of cycling’s most prestigious event with two days in the Alps on the immediate horizon.

Kristoff completed the 185.5 kilometers from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne in a time of 4 hours, 32 minutes and 11 seconds, beating Slovakia’s Peter Sagan in a sprint to the finish line for his first Tour de France stage victory.

Nibali was given the same time as the stage winner and was placed 24th on Thursday. He still owns the coveted yellow jersey as the overall leader with an advantage of 2 minutes and 23 seconds over Australia’s Richie Porte, who was 20th on Thursday.

A total of 60 riders were awarded the same time as Kristoff, including Spain’s Alejandro Valverde.

He was placed 33rd on Thursday and still sits third overall, 2:47 behind Nibali.

“It was the typical flat French stage, very difficult with a lot of curves and downhills, and a bunch sprint at the end. Tomorrow, it’ll be another story,“ said Nibali with a nod toward the Alps. “I’m sure our rivals will try to attack, but on the other hand, if I can gain some seconds, I’ll go for it.“

The peloton was never too far behind a few breakout riders on Thursday and the leaders were caught entering the final kilometers, leading to a group finish.

Andre Greipel of Germany, the Stage 6 winner, crashed with Sylvain Chavanel of France with just over three kilometers remaining.

Kristoff soon after took off with Sagan close behind, but the Slovakian was unable to catch the Norwegian and finished as the runner-up for the fourth time without a stage win in this year’s Tour.

In addition to Thursday, Sagan also finished second in the opener as well as Stage 3 and Stage 7.

He still owns the green jersey as the sprinter points leader.

Stage 11 winner Tony Gallopin of France fell behind the peloton in the last 10 kilometers and finished nearly six minutes behind for the day.

He also dropped from fifth overall to 20th, 8:57 behind Nibali.

American Andrew Talansky called it quits before the start of Stage 12, as injuries from a pair of crashes last week finally took their toll.

He nearly abandoned the race on Wednesday, but managed to keep going before finishing last for the stage.

Friday’s first day in the Alps for Stage 13 will feature a 197.5-kilometer ride from Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse.

It includes a trio of climbs, including a Category 1 ascent and a finish at the highest category.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The San Francisco 49ers have signed Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley to a two-year contract extension through the 2019 season.

Staley has been a key part of San Francisco’s offensive line since the team drafted him in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

The Central Michigan product has started all 98 regular season games in which he has played, as well as eight postseason contests.

“In today’s NFL, it is rare for a player to play his entire career with one team,“ said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. “With this extension, Joe will likely be a 49er for life. He is a three-time All-Pro and core member of our football team. His commitment and professionalism have been great assets to our team and our community. This extension reflects our philosophy of investing in our core players.“

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Staley made the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons and earned All-Pro honors.

The 49ers also placed wide receiver Bruce Ellington, running back Marcus Lattimore, center Marcus Martin, fullback Trey Millard, cornerback Keith Reaser and offensive guard Brandon Thomas on the active/non-football injury list.

Linebacker Aaron Lynch and defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey landed on the active/physically unable to perform list.

Lattimore missed the 2013 season after devastating knee injuries in 2011 and 2012 at South Carolina.

►  The Detroit Lions signed veteran guard Garrett Reynolds on Thursday.

Reynolds started 10 games for the Atlanta Falcons last season.

The North Carolina product was originally selected by the Falcons in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

He has played in 42 career games with 23 starts.

The Lions also released guard D.J. Morrell and offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rory McIlroy is 6-under par and has a one-shot lead late in the first round of the British Open from Royal Liverpool in England.

McIlroy posted a bogey-free round of 66 in the early wave on Thursday, while Matteo Manassero managed seven birdies and two bogeys in a round of 67 for sole possession of second place.

Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk are among six players knotted at 4-under, a group that also includes Adam Scott, who is still on the course.

Tiger Woods, the winner the last time the British Open was played at Royal Liverpool in 2006, rebounded from a bogey-bogey start to finish at minus-3, while defending champion Phil Mickelson has struggled during the afternoon and is 1-over late in his round.

►  Brandon Harkins shot a first- round 8-under 64 on Thursday and that was good enough to give him a 1-shot lead at the Staal Foundation Open.

Harkins, who has missed the cut twice in five events this year, is looking for his first career victory on the PGA Tour Canada. In the other three events this season, Harkins has yet to break into the top 10 with his best finish coming at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open, where he finished tied for 13th.

Right on Harkins’ heels are last week’s The Players Cup champion Timothy Madigan and Joshua Stone, both of whom fired a first-round 7-under 65 at Whitewater Golf Club.

Sean Shahi and Jeffrey Corr are tied for fourth at 6-under 66, while Jeff Dennis, Adam Long, Ryan Terdik, Wes Homan, Tommy Cocha and Greg Eason are all tied for sixth at 5-under 67. They are three shots back.

Harkins had a solid bogey-free day to go along with eight birdies. He started off very strong as he teed off on No. 10 to begin his day.

After two pars to start the round, Harkins poured in his first birdie at No. 12.

Following a par at No. 13, Harkins made three straight birdies from No. 14 and that quickly had him at 4-under. He rounded out his first nine with a par at 17 and a birdie at 18.

Harkins, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Sunday, did not stop there. He followed up two straight pars from No. 1 with another birdie at the third.

Two more pars preceded back-to-back birdies at six and seven, which had Harkins at 8-under for the day.

He rounded out his blemish-free round with two more pars and ended there.

Madigan continued to play good golf after winning last week. The front nine was very back-and-forth for Madigan, who had three birdies at two, four and eight.

He also made bogeys at five and nine, putting Madigan at 1-under as he made the turn.

Then the birdies started to fall, and fall fast. Madigan made gains on all but three of the final nine holes, with only 11, 14 and 16 yielding pars.

The surge vaulted Madigan into a tie for second.

Stone made five birdies of his own on the back nine, which was his front nine.

Birdies at 10 and 14 had Stone off and running before he drained three straight birdies from 16.

One bogey at No. 1 was Stone’s only dropped shot as he made birdies at two, five and six before rounding out his day with three straight pars.

NOTES: Madigan is looking to become the second two-time winner on tour this season. Joel Dahmen captured two of the first three tournaments this year. Dahmen is tied for 12th at 4-under ... Stone has made the cut just twice in five events this year and his best finish came at the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open, where he ended tied for 45th.

►  Doug Ghim, Rico Hoey and Byron Meth, three of the four stroke-play medalists, advanced to the match-play quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links after winning their second and third-round matches on Thursday.

After defeating Brandon Kida 5 & 4 in the second round earlier on Thursday at Sand Creek Station Golf Course, Ghim had his work cut out for him in the third round, going up against defending champion Jordan Niebrugge.

While Ghim never gave up the lead, Niebrugge battled back after being 4-down through seven holes.

Niebrugge won four of the next five holes and the two were all-square. Ghim won the 14th hole with a birdie, but Niebrugge came right back with a birdie of his own to square things up again at No. 15.

It took more than 18 holes to determine a winner as both players halved seven straight holes until No. 5. Niebrugge tripped up and bogeyed the par-4 fifth hole, while Ghim made par to seal the win, securing his spot in the quarterfinals.

Hoey was all-square with Matt Record at No. 11, but Hoey won three of the next four holes at 12, 14 and 15 to put him 3-up.

The two halved No. 16 and Hoey walked away victorious with a 3 & 2 win.

Meth also grabbed the lead over Garrett Rank at No. 3 and never let go. Meth made four birdies on the day and won three of his last five holes.

It all ended at 16 when Rank made bogey, while Meth parred to win 3 & 2.

Niebrugge had a scare in the second round when he trailed 15-year-old Easton Paxton by one after nine holes.

The defending champ rallied, however, and won No. 12 before winning three straight from 14 to seal a 4 & 2 victory.

Other players who advanced to the quarterfinals on Friday were Robert Geibel, Michael Gellerman, John Oda, Jess Bonneau and Bryson Dechambeau.

It also took Geibel more than 18 holes to defeat Cody McManus in the third round. Geibel made par on the first extra hole, while McManus made bogey.

The quarterfinal matches will begin on Friday morning.

►  Rory McIlory took advantage of relatively benign conditions on Thursday as he fired a 6-under at the Open Championship and took a 1-stroke lead after the opening round.

McIlroy, who missed the cut last year, shared third at the Open in 2010.

His next best finish is a tie for 25th in 2011.

Matteo Manassero, the 2013 BMW PGA Championship winner, is alone in second place at minus-5. Manassero has missed the cut in two of the last three Opens, and didn’t play in 2013.

World No. 1 Adam Scott and Shane Lowry posted the best score of the later tee times.

They carded 4-under 68s as the breeze freshened.

They were joined in third place by the Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco, along with Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka.

Garcia played in the final group in the final round with Tiger Woods in 2006 at Royal Liverpool.

Woods, who is playing his first major of the year, is one stroke further back at minus-3 and headlines a group of 10 players tied for 10th.

The three-time champion was joined at 3-under by Marc Leishman, Robert Karlsson, Rickie Fowler, Koumei Oda, Hideki Matsuyama, Jimmy Walker, Boo Weekley and Yoshinobu Tsukada.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson struggled to a 2-over 74.

McIlroy, who teed off two groups after Woods, stuffed his approach at the second within a foot and kicked that in for an early birdie.

He converted back-to-back birdies at five and six to move to minus-3.

The two-time major champion got up and down for a birdie on the par-5 10th, then rolled in a 12-footer for birdie on the 12th to gain the lead at minus-5.

McIlroy, who missed the cut last year at Muirfield, found sand with his second on the par-5 16th, but he again got up and down for birdie to become the first to reach 6-under.

He parred the final two holes to close out a bogey-free round.

“Anytime you shoot 66 at the Open Championship, you’re going to be pleased,“ said McIlroy. “We had perfect scoring conditions out there this morning. plenty of opportunities to make birdies.“

McIlroy’s problem this year has been second rounds.

He has been over par in five of his last seven second rounds.

“I don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m putting a little too much pressure on myself. I just told myself this week to take it one shot at a time,“ McIlroy stated. “I’m at 6-under right now for the tournament and hopefully tomorrow I can get to 7-(under) and then get to 8-under, and keep trying to improve.“

Manassero got off to a quick start with birdies on one and three.

After five pars in a row, he tripped to a bogey on the ninth.

Around the turn, Manassero birdied the 10th and 11th, but dropped another shot at No. 12.

The Italian flew into second place with a strong finish. Manassero birdied three of the last four holes to jump to minus-5.

“Very, very pleased actually. It’s just a perfect start.

It was calm and just a really nice day,“ said Manassero. “Birdies were out there, but this golf course is not easy. You have to play really solid. You have to play smart, a few times just take your par and go.

To make seven birdies, you have to have some long putts drop.“

Woods found sand with his second to the first and blasted over the green from a bad lie. He got up and down for bogey, then also missed a short par putt on the second to drop to plus-2.

The 2006 winner at Hoylake started to fight back with a birdie on the par-5 fifth.

After five pars in a row, he rolled in a birdie effort from off the green at 11. Woods hit 6-iron to the next two greens.

On the 12th, he left himself six feet and at the 13th, he was about eight feet out.

Woods converted both birdie efforts.

However, his run of three straight birdies ended at the 14th, where he stumbled to a bogey.

Woods came right back with a 10-foot birdie effort on the 15th.

He made it two in a row as he got up and down for birdie from a bunker on No. 16, and parred the final two to end there.

“Not exactly the greatest of starts, but I turned it around and grinded my way around,“ Woods stated. “Felt that even though I was 2-over through two, I still had four par-5s to go and I still had a couple other short holes that if I could just play those holes well, and play the tougher holes even par, I’d be somewhere under par.“

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 champion, Bill Haas and PGA Champion Jason Dufner headline those at 2-under 70.

Dustin Johnson, 2009 winner Stewart Cink, Hunter Mahan, Lee Westwood and former Masters champions Charl Schwartzel and Zach Johnson are in a large group at minus-1.

Henrik Stenson, 2013 U.S. Open winner Justin Rose and 2011 champ Darren Clarke are at even-par, while Matt Kuchar, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer and five-time winner Tom Watson posted 1-over 73s.

Former major champions Justin Leonard, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Ben Curtis are at plus-2, while Angel Cabrera, Bubba Watson and Nick Faldo managed 4-over 76s.

NOTES: McIlroy leads the PGA Tour in first-round scoring average (68.00), but is just 181st in second round scoring average (72.89) ... Since 1975, just five first-round leaders have won this championship ... When Woods won at Hoylake in 2006, he opened with a 67 and was one off the lead.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  A field of six 3-year-old fillies has been entered for Sunday’s $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, with five American Oaks wins including last year with Princess of Sylmar, will saddle Black-Eyed Susan winner Stopchargingmaria.

The filly will be making her first start since claiming the Pimlico stakes on May 16 and again will have Javier Castellano riding from the inside post.

Stopchargingmaria gave Castellano his first Black-Eyed Susan win and fourth for Pletcher.

She’s banked $874,000 with four wins from eight career starts.

Owned by Michael Repole, the filly was coming off a fourth-place finish on April 05 in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. She began 2014 with a fifth in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park.

As a 2-year-old, the filly won the Tempted and Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct.

She was third in the Frizette at Belmont Park on October 05 after finishing second in Saratoga’s Spinaway on Septembe 01 and winning her debut race at Saratoga on July 19.

Here is the field for the Coaching Club American Oaks in post-position order: Stopchargingmaria, Javier Castellano; Unbridled Forever, Joel Rosario; Miss Besilu, Jose Lezcano; Courageous Julie, Luis Saez; America, John Velazquez and Taketheodds, Brian Hernandez Jr.

►  Former champion filly My Miss Aurelia will make her 2014 racing debut Monday at historic Saratoga Race Course versus five highly qualified females in the $100,000 Shine Again Stakes over seven furlongs.

My Miss Aurelia, the 2011 champion 2-year-old filly, has been away from the races since finishing third to Tiz Miz Sue in the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park March 16 of last year.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old mare has drawn post 4 and will have Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the saddle.

Owned by Stonestreet Stables, My Miss Aurelia had just the one start in 2013 after winning the 2012 Cotillion at Parx Racing and getting second to Royal Delta in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Undefeated as a 2-year-old, she won the Adirondack, Frizette and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to secure the Eclipse Award.

My Miss Aurelia has banked more than $2.4 million with six wins in nine starts.

Joining My Miss Aurelia in the field will be 2012 Delaware Oaks winner Grace Hall.

The 5-year-old mare will leave from post 2 with regular rider Joel Rosario.

Trained by Bill Mott for Alpha Delta Stables, Grace Hall was second in her two starts this year.

She dropped a three-quarter length decision in the Ruffian at Belmont Park on May 11 and finished 10 lengths behind Iotapa in the Vanity on June 14 at Santa Anita.

“She was right up there with the pace but she got tired at the end,“ assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset noted after the Vanity. “We were expecting some tough competition out here but we wanted to stay away from the big guns in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont (June 7). The Vanity, out here a week later, was perfect timing for her and us.“

In her only two starts as a 4-year-old, Grace Hall was third behind Royal Delta in Gulfstream’s Sabin and seventh to On Fire Baby in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn.

The mare has won six of 15 starts for better than $1.5 million.

Here is the field for the Shine Again from the rail out: Toasting, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Grace Hall, Joel Rosario; Bridgehampton, Jose Ortiz; My Miss Aurelia, John Velazquez; Angel’s Glory, Manuel Franco and Better Lucky, Javier Castellano.

►  Well traveled turf runner Summer Front will make his Del Mar Racetrack debut Sunday in the $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante turf course.

Trained by Christophe Clement for Waterford Stable, Summer Front will start from post 2 in the six-horse field with Joe Bravo again riding. Bravo, Monmouth Park’s leading rider, will be coming from Woodbine in Canada where he will ride Saturday for Clement.

Summer Front is coming off consecutive second-place finishes in the Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park on May 03 and five weeks ago in Santa Anita’s Shoemaker Mile.

He began the year by winning Gulfstream Park’s Fort Lauderdale Stakes on January 11 but was a disappointing seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on February 09.

The 5-year-old has earned $814,140 in 19 career starts with eight wins, four seconds and three thirds.

Here is the field for the Eddie Read: Spring Up, Corey Nakatani; Summer Front, Joe Bravo; Cogito, Mario Gutierrez; Horizontalyspeakin, Joe Talamo; Unbridled Command, Elvis Trujillo and Tom’s Tribute, Mike Smith.

The Gilmer Free Press

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

Major League Baseball - National League
Milwaukee at Washington, 7:05 PM - FS-Wisconsin, MASN, DSS
Colorado at Pittsburgh, 7:05 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, Pittsburgh, DSS
San Francisco at Miami, 7:10 PM - CSN-Bay, FS-Florida, DSS
Philadelphia at Atlanta, 7:35 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, FS-South, DSS
Los Angeles at St. Louis, 8:15 PM - SportsNet LA, FS-Midwest, MLB Net, DSS
Chicago Cubs at Arizona, 9:40 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-Arizona, DSS
NY Mets at San Diego, 10:10 PM - SNY, FS-San Diego, DSS

American League
Texas at Toronto, 7:07 PM - TXA21, SNET, DSS
Cleveland at Detroit, 7:08 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS-Detroit, DSS
Kansas City at Boston, 7:10 PM - FS-Kansas City, NESN, DSS
Houston at Chicago WSox, 8:10 PM - CSN-Houston, WCIU, DSS
Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 8:10 PM - SunSports, FS-North, MLB Network, DSS
Baltimore at Oakland, 10:05 PM - MASN2, CSN-California, DSS
Seattle at LA Angels, 10:05 PM - ROOT-Northwest, FS-West, DSS

Cincinnati at NY Yankees, 7:05 PM - FS-Ohio, YES, DSS

Major League Soccer
Colorado at Portland, 11:00 PM - NBCSN

International Soccer
RB Leipzig vs. Parist Saint-Germain, 1:00 PM - beIN Sport

Canadian Football League
Toronto at Ottawa, 7:00 PM - TSN,
Hamilton at Calgary, 10:00 PM - TSN, ESPN 2

EUROPEAN, PGA - British Open, 4:00 AM - ESPN
EUROPEAN, PGA - British Open, 7:00 AM - ESPN
LPGA - Marathon Classic, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
CELEBRITY - American Century Championship, 4:00 PM - NBCSN
WEB.COM - Boise Open, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel

Tour de France
Stage 13, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Auto Racing
NATIONWIDE - practice, 3:30 PM - FS1
NATIONWIDE - practice, 6:30 PM - FS1

Sports Brief - 07.17.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Lance Stephenson says he will play for the Charlotte Hornets.

The free-agent guard tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward “to the next phase of my career and the wonderful opportunity to continue to grow as a player and as a person in Charlotte!“

Stephenson has signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Hornets that includes a team option for the final season, according to

He turned down a five-year, $44 million offer from the Indiana Pacers after helping them reach the Eastern Conference finals in back-to-back seasons, according to the report.

Stephenson, 23, averaged career highs in points (13.8), rebounds (7.2), assists (4.6) and minutes (35.3) in 78 games this past season but questions about his behavior were raised during the Eastern Conference finals after he blew into the ear of LeBron James during Game 5 and got into a tussle with teammate Evan Turner in practice.

He was fined twice for flopping in the series and was whistled for 14 technical fouls during the regular season, fourth-most in the league.

►  The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed free-agent guard Anthony Morrow.

Terms of the deal announced Wednesday were not disclosed but it was previously widely reported to be for three years and $10 million.

Morrow, 28, averaged 8.4 points in a career-high 76 games last season for New Orleans.

He has averaged 10.4 points in 373 games over six NBA seasons with Golden State, New Jersey, Atlanta, Dallas and New Orleans.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Derek Jeter has been the face of Major League Baseball for two decades, while the torchbearer for the unofficial title as the game’s best player has fluctuated between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

Those storylines proved no different, as the future Hall-of-Fame shortstop and peerless sluggers combined forces in the 85th Midsummer Classic to power the American League to a 5-3 victory over the National League in front of a capacity crowd at Target Field.

Cabrera belted a two-run homer in the first inning, while Trout doubled, tripled, drove in two runs and scored another to help give the Junior Circuit home field advantage for this year’s World Series.

Trout took home the MVP award, but all eyes were nevertheless focused on Jeter, who delivered two hits and scored a run out of the AL’s leadoff spot in what will be his 14th and final All-Star Game with retirement looming at the end of the season.

Jonathan Lucroy hit a pair of RBI doubles to pace the NL, which went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and has dropped back-to-back All-Star Games on the heels of a three-game winning streak.

►  The Kansas City Royals acquired Jason Frasor from the Texas Rangers on Wednesday in exchange for fellow right-handed reliever Spencer Patton.

Frasor, 36, has a 3.34 ERA in 38 games this season with 30 strikeouts and 14 walks in 29 2/3 innings.

He has a career 3.65 ERA over 624 games with the Blue Jays, White Sox and Rangers, all out of the bullpen.

Patton, 26, had a 4.08 ERA in 34 games with Triple-A Omaha this season with 60 strikeouts and 22 walks in 46 1/3 innings. He’s never appeared in an MLB game.

The Royals said Frasor would be active for Friday’s series opener in Boston.

They designated infielder Jimmy Paredes for assignment and optioned righty Louis Coleman to Omaha.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The New York Rangers agreed to terms with free-agent forward Matthew Lombardi on Wednesday.

Lombardi, 32, returns to the NHL after playing in 46 games for Geneve-Servette of National League A in Switzerland last season.

He led the league in assists (30) and points (50).

The Quebec native has 101 goals and 161 assists in 536 career NHL games with Calgary, Phoenix, Nashville, Toronto and Anaheim.

►  The San Jose Sharks re-signed restricted free-agent defenseman Jason Demers to a two-year contract on Wednesday.

“Jason has been a solid, offensive defenseman and is coming off a good season,“ said Sharks general manager Doug Wilson. “His skill set and his age mesh well within our overall group and we’re happy to have him signed for two more years.“

Demers, 26, finished second among San Jose blueliners with 34 points and accumulated a plus-14 rating in 75 games. Demers set career highs in goals (five), assists (29) and points.

Over 280 games in parts of five NHL seasons, the native of suburban Montreal has compiled 16 goals and 79 assists.

►  The Florida Panthers on Wednesday announced they agreed to terms on a two-year contract with forward Brandon Pirri.

Pirri participated in a combined 49 games with the Blackhawks and Panthers this past season, totaling 13 goals and 12 assists.

He was acquired from Chicago on March 02 in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2014 and a fifth-round choice in 2016.

“Brandon is a young and talented player who we are extremely pleased to have acquired,“ said Florida general manager Dale Tallon. “He has experienced tremendous success on the American Hockey League level, being named MVP of the All-Star game and winning the league?s scoring title.

“Pirri further adds to our depth at center along with Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad and Drew Shore. We look forward to his contributions to our team.“

The 23-year-old pivot and Ontario native has recorded 13 goals and 14 assists in 56 appearances over parts of four seasons for Chicago and Florida.

►  The Vancouver Canucks signed forward Linden Vey to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

Vey, 22, tallied five assists in 18 games for Los Angeles last season, his first in the NHL.

The Saskatchewan native spent the majority of the season with Manchester of the American Hockey League, where he recorded 14 goals and 34 assists across 43 games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Frenchman Tony Gallopin shook off losing the coveted yellow jersey by winning Stage 11 of the Tour de France on Wednesday.

Gallopin was the overall leader of cycling’s most prestigious event after Stage 9, but Italian Vincenzo Nibali won Stage 10 to reclaim the yellow jersey in advance of the race’s first rest day.

Wednesday’s stage was a 187.5-kilometer trek from Besancon to Oyonnax that featured four climbs near the end. Gallopin pulled away in the final kilometers and charged to the finish line, completing the course in a time of 4 hours, 25 minutes and 45 seconds.

“I’ve experienced mixed feelings in a couple of days,“ Gallopin said. “I was over the moon when I took the yellow jersey, the next day was a nightmare on the bike and now I’m a Tour de France stage winner. It’s incredible.“

There was no change among the overall classification as the top riders were credited with the same time as Gallopin.

Nibali finished 20th and maintained a lead of 2:23 over Australia’s Richie Porte. Spain’s Alejandro Valverde remains another 24 seconds behind in third place, while France’s Romain Bardet is 3:01 behind in fourth. Gallopin continues to occupy fifth place, 3:12 off the pace.

“My team worked very well today again,“ Nibali said. “Many of my teammates were involved in that work. We have to be careful every day.“

Thursday’s Stage 12 is a 185.5-kilometer ride from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint Etienne.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mercedes confirmed on Wednesday that driver Nico Rosberg has signed a multi-year contract extension with the team in Formula One.

Rosberg, a 29-year-old German, has been with Mercedes since the start of the 2010 season.

All six of his grand prix wins and eight pole positions in F1 have come with the team.

Rosberg is the current leader in the world championship point standings.

He has scored three victories and four poles this season.

“As a German, the heritage of Mercedes-Benz is very special for me, and I am proud to be able to represent the best car brand around the world,“ Rosberg said in a team statement. “It has been a difficult road to get to where we are now, but everybody kept believing. And thanks to the fantastic support from Mercedes-Benz, we are now leading the way in F1.

“There has been big progress during the past year, building up our structure, management and capability for the future. We have an awesome team, and I am confident that we have the right people in place at every level. I’m looking forward to the next years together, when we will keep pushing to win even more races and hopefully championships.“

Rosberg’s contract extension comes before his home grand prix in Germany this weekend.

Sunday’s 67-lap German Grand Prix is being held in Hockenheim.

Rosberg enters this race with just a four-point advantage over second-place and teammate Lewis Hamilton, who won the British Grand Prix last week.

“With his performances in 2014, Nico has demonstrated to the outside world what we knew already in the team - that he is one of the very top drivers in Formula One,“ Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, said. “This new contract brings us important stability and continuity for the future and I am delighted to be able to make the announcement in time for the home race of Mercedes-Benz and Nico in Hockenheim.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Conference USA unveiled its preseason all-conference teams and preseason poll Wednesday morning. The Thundering Herd has the C-USA preseason Offensive Player of the Year (Rakeem Cato) and the league’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year (James Rouse), and placed a league-high seven players on the preseason all-conference team.

Marshall was also picked to run away with the East Division championship.

The Herd received 91 points while second-place Middle Tennessee picked up 73 points.

Cato, a 6-foot, 188-pound senior, was the C-USA Most Valuable Player in 2012 and the league’s Offensive Player of the Year last season.

He enters his final season of eligibility with 10,176 career passing yards and 91 career touchdowns against 31 interceptions.

Cato was a second-team pick after the 2013 season behind East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden. ECU is no longer in the league.

Rouse, a 6-5, 268-pound senior, earned the top defensive preseason honor based off a 2013 season that saw him lead the Herd in tackles for loss (14) and sacks (six).

He was a first-team all-conference pick after last season.

In addition to Cato and Rouse, Marshall placed five other players on the C-USA preseason team.

Chris Jasperse, a 6-4, 289-pound center, and Beckley native Clint Van Horn occupy two of the five offensive line spots on the preseason team. Jasperse, a senior, enters his final season with more career snaps (3,032) than any other Football Bowl Subdivision lineman.

He was a first-team all-conference pick in 2013 and an honorable mention selection as a sophomore.

Van Horn (6-4, 294) is the only junior among the five linemen.

He was a second-team pick in 2013.

Tommy Shuler, a 5-7, 190-pound receiver, rounds out Marshall’s offensive selections.

He has been a first-team all-conference pick each of the last two years after posting back-to-back 100-catch seasons.

He enters his senior year with 230 career receptions, which is fourth in program history.

He also has 2,425 career receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches.

He has posted consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Defensive lineman Ra’Shawde Myers and linebacker Evan McKelvey join Rouse on the preseason all-defensive team.

Myers trailed only Rouse in sacks last season (4.5), and McKelvey was the team leader in tackles with 97.

The league’s 13 coaches voted Marshall atop the C-USA East Division, ahead of Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, league newcomer Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, UAB and Florida International.

North Texas is predicted to win the six-team West Division ahead of Rice, UTSA, Louisiana Tech, Southern Mississippi and UTEP.

North Texas had 66 total points, 25 fewer than Marshall.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Dallas Cowboys released quarterback Kyle Orton on Wednesday.

Last month, Orton was a no-show at Cowboys minicamp and was facing a fine of around $70,000 amid speculation that he might want a pay raise due to Tony Romo’s injury-prone history or might even retire.

He was owed $3.25 million for the 2014 season, the final year of his contract.

Orton, 31, started in place of Romo in the Cowboys’ winner-take-all NFC East loss to Philadelphia in Week 17 last season after Romo had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back.

In 75 regular-season games with Chicago, Denver, Kansas City and Dallas, Orton has compiled a record of 35-35 with 83 touchdown passes and 59 interceptions.

►  The Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to terms with their 2014 second-round draft pick, wide receiver Marqise Lee, on Wednesday.

Lee, who was selected 39th overall, is expected to sign his four-year, rookie contract on Friday.

The 22-year-old was a starter in all three of his seasons at Southern California, catching 248 passes for 3,655 yards and 29 touchdowns.

During his sophomore season, Lee won the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver and the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year after catching 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Lee is the ninth and final player from the Jaguars’ 2014 draft class to agree on a contract.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Iowa Derby winner Jessica’s Star tops a field of 12 3-year-olds for Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Ohio Derby at ThistleDown Racino.

Trained by Michael Stidham, Jessica’s Star will start from post 9 with David Mello again riding.

Jessica’s Star, owned by Mark Breen, won the Iowa Derby to run his winning streak to three.

The gelding began his career in February with a second-place finish at Fair Grounds and came back on March 06 to break his maiden.

Sent to Keeneland, Jessica’s Star was second on the turf before winning at Churchill Downs the day of the Kentucky Derby.

He won the Prairie Mile Stakes at Prairie Meadows on May 31 before claiming the Iowa Derby four weeks later.

Jessica’s Star has earned $275,600 in six starts.

Here is the full field for the Ohio Derby: Larcenyinmyheart, Scott Spieth; Brothersofthetime, Jose Garcia; Bump Start, Deshawn Parker; Almost Famous, Calvin Borel; Harry’s Holiday, Ron Allen, Jr.; Russellin, Ken Tohill; Cleburne, Luis Gonzalez; Avgolemono, Joe Musarro; Jessica’s Star, David Mello; Mushu, Jareth Loveberry; Saa Mi, Jeremy Rose and East Hall, Juan Leyva.

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►  WVU Junior Safety Karl Joseph Named to 2014 Big XII Football Preseason All-Conference Team.

The Big 12 Conference has named West Virginia University junior safety Karl Joseph to its 2014 Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team, chosen by media representatives who cover the league.

►  West Virginia University senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari was named to the 2014 AFCA Good Works Team Award Watch List This week.

The award is annually given to the nation’s most charitable player in terms of dedicating their time to community service contributions, standing out among the rest of the student-athletes participating in college football.

Molinari is a Parkersburg, West Virginia native and has spent time on the punting and kicking unit for the Mountaineers.

The senior was named as one of the team’s captains during spring camp as well.

The yearly award is made possible courtesy to the contributions between Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

A record-breaking 182 nominees were announced this week, representing college footballs finest in the areas of volunteerism and leadership among their peers.

Below is the full list of Division-I College Football student-athletes to be named to the watch list:

2014 AFCA Good Works Team Award Watch List

Arizona State University – Taylor Kelly

Auburn University – Sammie Coates

Ball State University – Jacob Richard

Baylor University – Bryce Petty

Boise State University – Corey Bell

Brigham Young University – Taysom Hill

California State University, Fresno –Karl Mickelsen

Central Michigan University – Deon Butler

Clemson University – Adam Humphries

Colorado State University – Bernard Blake

Duke University – Laken Tomlinson

Georgia Institute of Technology – Isaiah Johnson

Georgia Southern University – Edwin Jackson

Georgia State University – Sean Jeppesen

Indiana University – Mark Murphy

Iowa State University – Cory Morrissey

Kansas State University – Ryan Mueller

Kent State University – Nate Vance

Louisiana State University – Jamie Keehn

Marshall University – Chris Jasperse

Michigan State University – Keith Mumphery

Middle Tennessee State University – Reggie Whatley

Mississippi State University – Dak Prescott

North Carolina State University – Wil Baumann

Northwestern University – Max Chapman

Ohio State University – Michael Bennett

Ohio University – Josh Kristoff

Oklahoma State University – J.W. Walsh

Old Dominion University – Josh Mann

Oregon State University – Obum Gwacham

Purdue University – Robert Kugler

Rice University – Malcolm Hill

Rutgers University – David Milewski

San Jose State University – Jabari Carr

Syracuse University – Sam Rodgers

Temple University – Kenneth Harper

Texas A&M University – Josh Lambo

Texas Christian University – Sam Carter

Texas Tech University – Bradley Marquez

Tulane University – Matt Marfisi

U.S. Air Force Academy – Broam Hart

University at Buffalo – Joe Licata

University of California Los Angeles – Brett Hundley

University of Akron – Kyle Pohl

University of Alabama – Landon Collins

University of Arizona – Jared Tevis

University of California – Jeffrey Coprich

University of Central Florida – Joey Grant

University of Cincinnati – Brandon Mitchell

University of Colorado – Juda Parker

University of Connecticut – Casey Cochran

University of Florida – Mark Herndon

University of Georgia – Chris Conley

University of Houston – Trevon Stewart

University of Illinois – Mason Monheim

University of Iowa – Mark Weisman

University of Kansas – JaCorey Shepherd

University of Kentucky – Max Godby

University of Louisville – Jermaine Reve

University of Maryland – Sal Conaboy

University of Memphis – Martin Ifedi

University of Miami – Dallas Crawford

University of Michigan – Brennen Beyer

University of Minnesota – Peter Mortell

University of Mississippi – Deterrian Shackelford

University of Nebraska – Ameer Abdullah

University of North Carolina – Landon Turner

University of Notre Dame – Joe Schmidt

University of Oregon – Marcus Mariota

University of Pittsburgh – David Durham

University of South Carolina – Dylan Thompson

University of South Florida – Thor Jozwiak

University of Southern California – Hayes Pullard

University of Southern Mississippi – Corey Acosta

University of Tennessee – Curt Maggitt

University of Texas – Nate Boyer

University of Texas at El Paso – Nathan Jeffery

University of Toledo – Greg Mancz

University of Tulsa – Michael Mudoh

University of Virginia –Henry Coley

University of Washington – Hau’oli Kikaha

University of Wisconsin – Derek Watt

University of Wyoming – Dominic Rufran

Utah State University – Chuckie Keeton

Vanderbilt University – Andrew East

Virginia Tech – Kyshoen Jarrett

Wake Forest University – Jordan Garside

Washington State University – Jeremiah Allison

West Virginia University – Michael Molinari

Western Michigan University – Zach Terrell

►  West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood is scheduled for extradition to Delaware on Thursday where he faces charges of witness intimidation involving a 2012 homicide.

The 20-year-old sophomore has been jailed since Monday when members of the Delaware attorney general’s office and Wilmington police interviewed Smallwood in Morgantown and arrested him as a fugitive from justice.

He faces a felony charge of witness tampering after allegedly calling a murder witness during March and May of 2013 and asking the witness to make false statements to Wilmington police regarding the shooting death of Wilmington resident Manuel Oliveras, 51, in April 2012.

Smallwood had enrolled at West Virginia in January 2013, the same month police say his hometown friend Zakee Lloyd was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Oliveras.

The Monongalia County prosecutor’s office told MetroNews that Delaware law enforcement officials intend to collect Smallwood on Thursday.

Smallwood’s season, and indeed his career at WVU, are in peril. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder was viewed as the Mountaineers’ most versatile running back with a skills set comparable to NFL third-round pick Charles Sims.

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, who heads to Dallas for Big 12 media days next Tuesday, hasn’t announced any disciplinary action regarding Smallwood. Holgorsen’s only response in the three days since the arrest was to say he is monitoring Smallwood’s situation and will act at the appropriate time.

►  Quarterback David Sills, who famously committed to USC coach Lane Kiffin as a 13-year-old seventh-grader in 2010, pledged to West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon, according to Rivals.

The Class of 2015 four-star recruit decommitted from USC last month, a move long predicted after Kiffin was fired last season and the Trojans began courting other quarterbacks.

A longtime pupil of quarterbacks guru Steve Clarkson, Sills has played a number of high-profile high school games—the kind of training that could make him a contender for West Virginia’s starting job as a true freshman. By that point, Crest would be a sophomore or a redshirt freshman and junior-college transfer Skyler Howard would be a redshirt sophomore.

West Virginia now has 14 commitments for next February’s class, which Rivals ranks No. 24 in the nation after landing Sills.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird and Washington Mystics guard Ivory Latta were named replacements for the 2014 Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game.

Bird will join the Western Conference roster and replace Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus, who has missed the last seven games due to left knee bursitis.

The 33-year-old Bird, who will make her eighth All-Star appearance, is averaging 10.6 points and 4.3 assists in 24 games this season.

Latta will represent the Eastern Conference, replacing Chicago’s Elena Delle Donne, who has missed 12 of the last 13 games due to effects from Lyme disease.

Latta is an All-Star for the second time in her career after participating in last year’s event as a reserve.

The North Carolina product leads the Mystics with 11.0 points per game this season.

The Gilmer Free Press


San Antonio at Tulsa, 12:30 PM - No scheduled television
Chicago at Indiana, 7:00 PM - WCIU, FS-Indiana
Connecticut at Phoenix, 10:00 PM - FS-Arizona
Washington at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - Time Warner

Canadian Football League
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 8:30 PM - TSN, ESPN 2

Minor League Baseball
New Orleans at Omaha, 9:00 PM - CBSSN

Major League Lacrosse
Rochester at Chesapeake, 7:00 PM -, YouTube

EUROPEAN, PGA - British Open, 4:00 AM - ESPN
EUROPEAN, PGA - British Open, 7:00 AM - ESPN
LPGA - Marathon Classic, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
WEB.COM - Boise Open, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel

Tour de France
Stage 12, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Sports Brief - 07.16.14

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►  A former high school football stand-out was found dead inside an apartment in Point Pleasant, West Virginia on July 14, 2014.

Allan O. Wasonga, age 21, dead after being called to the apartment.

Wasonga’s body was sent to the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Derek Jeter has been the face of Major League Baseball for two decades, while the torchbearer for the unofficial title as the game’s best player has fluctuated between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

Those storylines proved no different Tuesday, as the future Hall-of-Fame shortstop and peerless sluggers combined forces in the 85th Midsummer Classic to power the American League to a 5-3 victory over the National League in front of a capacity crowd at Target Field.

Cabrera belted a two-run homer in the first inning, while Trout doubled, tripled, drove in two runs and scored another to help give the Junior Circuit home field advantage for this year’s World Series.

Trout took home the MVP award, but all eyes were nevertheless focused on Jeter, who delivered two hits and scored a run out of the AL’s leadoff spot in what will be his 14th and final All-Star Game with retirement looming at the end of the season.

Jonathan Lucroy hit a pair of RBI doubles to pace the NL, which went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and has dropped back-to-back All-Star Games on the heels of a three-game winning streak.

►  With hitting down, should MLB lower the mound?

Baseball has a problem: Clayton Kershaw, Aroldis Chapman, Felix Hernandez and all the other kings of the hill are just too good.

Ruling with an assortment of big-bending curveballs, sharp sliders and 100 mph heat, a new generation of pitchers has thrown major league hitters into a huge slump.

The spike in strikeouts, the dip in home runs and worries that the game is becoming boring for fans reminds some people of 1968, when Bob Gibson, Denny McLain and their fellow aces dominated.

Back then, the sport came up with a radical solution: The pitcher’s mound was lowered from 15 inches to 10 and the strike zone was reduced.

Combined with the addition of four expansion teams, the result was an 11-point increase in the big league batting average in 1969 and a 19% rise in runs.

Should baseball drop the mound again?

“I don’t know, man, maybe if they keep going like this,“ Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton said Monday at the All-Star festivities.

“Move the mound back 5 feet,“ he added with a chuckle.

There’s some thought that reducing the mound would combat the outbreak of blown-out elbows, which has seen stars such as Stephen Strasburg, Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez needing reconstructive surgery, and could also claim Masahiro Tanaka.

With low-run games again in vogue and defensive shifts taking away hits, there’s been more emphasis on small ball. That’s prompted questions about whether this is a cyclical change, or if this style is here to stay.

From his vantage point in the New York Mets’ broadcast booth, former NL MVP Keith Hernandez has an unusual analysis and an equally drastic solution.

“They should get rid of four teams,“ he said. “Too many players. There’s too much dilution of talent. The pitching’s not better. It’s the same.“

“I think that the residuals of steroids and aluminum bats has affected how they taught kids how to hit, and now we’re seeing normal bodies and balls that used to get out of the ballpark are caught now,“ he said.

It wasn’t too long ago that batters had the edge. The boom years peaked in 2000 with an average of 1.17 home runs per team per game. The runs average of 5.14 was MLB’s highest since 1936.

But offense has steadily shrunk — as have the players — as baseball implemented testing for performance-enhancing drugs and then repeatedly strengthened those rules.

And with complete games virtually a relic, hard-throwing relievers dominate the late innings. Radar guns routinely register mph readings around triple digits.

“Everybody’s throwing 109, so you don’t get to see the starters for your fourth turn,“ said Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, exaggerating only slightly. “There’s a lot of guys in the bullpen that are special guys.“

All that gas has contributed to more than two dozen pitchers needing Tommy John surgery this year.

Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ top physician, said a lower mound “should decrease the force as the body gets less far ahead of the arm.“

“As the body falls down the mound, the arm momentarily lags and forces at the elbow cumulate,“ he said.

But Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute counters that recent studies disagree whether lowering or eliminating the mound would slightly cut or slightly increase the stress on an adolescent pitcher’s arm.

“Reducing the amount of competitive pitching is the most strongly proven action for reducing the risk of pitching injuries,“ he said.

This much is certain: The major league batting average is down to .252 this year, according to STATS. It hasn’t been that low since 1972, the year before the American League adopted the designated hitter.

Teams are averaging a full one run less per game, with the 4.14 scoring average MLB’s lowest since 1992, just before the spread of better hitting through chemistry.

There’s a lot less contact, too: Teams average 7.70 strikeouts per game, on track to set a record for the eighth straight season and up more than 60% from 1981’s 4.75.

From the seventh inning on, baseball resembles the 1960s, the greatest era for pitchers since the lively ball days began in 1920. The .241 batting average in the late innings is the lowest since STATS’s records began in 1974, and teams are averaging just 1.30 runs — not much incentive to keep fans in stadiums or watching their televisions.

“Obviously the real ‘solution’ here is to ban setup men and closers,“ ESPN’s Keith Olbermann said.

“I’m not sure lowering the mound would have much impact. Does a lower mound transform strikeouts into homers? Viscerally this doesn’t even feel like the results of cleaning out PEDs, because batters continue to hit the ball harder and farther — and less. Ultimately this seems like just more in the decades-long transformation of batting into mere swinging,“ he said.

Baseball remains the most traditional of American sports. Change comes slowly — widespread instant replay for umpires only began this year.

“I would be reluctant to lower the mound further,“ said John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, “as this might be using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.“

Ever cautious, the players’ association says the time to consider such a step is “too far off right now,“ according to new union head Tony Clark.

“It’s a game of adjustments,“ the former All-Star first baseman said, “and we’ll see as the pitching has adjusted how the offense adjusts and how long it takes to adjust or if it can adjust based on the current circumstances.“

San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum, who last month threw his second career no-hitter, put it simply: “It’s been one of those things it’s a staple in the game. The bases are going to be 90 feet. The distance to the plate’s going to be 60 feet, 6 inches. The mound’s going to be yay high. It’d be weird to think of it any differently.“

►  Max Scherzer has said time and time again that he won’t negotiate a contract extension with the Detroit Tigers during the regular season.

So far, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has stuck to his word.

Super agent Scott Boras, who represents Scherzer, said Monday that there have been no contract talks between Scherzer and the Tigers since start of the season.

Boras also reiterated there would be no discussions before the end of the season.

“We don’t do the in-season stuff,“ Boras said.

Boras met with a small group of reporters at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis and discussed a variety of subjects. But the primary topic of conversation revolved around Scherzer, who is destined to hit the free-agent market this winter.

“You don’t ever know what the market will be until the season ends,“ Boras said. “But, currently, the way it’s going, Max has positioned himself to be prominent.“

The Tigers attempted to sign Scherzer to a lucrative contract this past spring, but the two-time All-Star rejected the club’s six-year, $144 million offer in March, which drew heavy criticism from Tigers fans. Boras addressed the public scrutiny Monday.

“Look, when you do these things, with the type of money involved, you’re always the village idiot until the player is outside the village,“ Boras said. “Believe me, I have 15 ways to explain it.

“I don’t expect the fans to do anything but come out and watch him pitch and support him, and understand what he means to the franchise. And I think with each day Max pitches, and each year he performs there, the perception of Max Scherzer as a valued member of the Detroit Tigers is certainly increasing.“

Despite Scherzer’s decision to reject Detroit’s offer, Boras reiterated Monday that the Tigers remain a potential destination for Scherzer in the future.

“None of that has changed as far as us listening to anything Detroit may have to say when the season ends,“ Boras said.

The Tigers set a March 20 deadline for Scherzer and Boras to reach an extension this past spring, but the deadline expired and, as a result, talks stalled.

Scherzer revealed in March that he took out an insurance policy that covers lost potential earnings if he is injured prior to hitting the free-agent market this winter.

The magnitude of Scherzer’s policy remains unclear, though Boras said it certainly contributed to the decision to reject Detroit’s offer.

“That’s why we went out and got insurance,“ he said. “We went out and did a lot of things that were very practical.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will not need surgery on his injured wrist and will instead continue treatment to heal the problem.

The exact nature of the injury was not disclosed by the Penguins, who said last week that Crosby was dealing with a wrist issue and added that further evaluations would be made before determining if surgery was necessary.

A Pittsburgh newspaper cited a source last week as saying the wrist injury hindered Crosby’s play during the playoffs, during which he had just one goal and eight assists, and that a minor arthroscopic procedure was likely.

Crosby led the NHL in scoring with 104 points in 80 games last season and was named the Hart Trophy winner as league MVP for the second time.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Tuesday marked the first rest day in the Tour de France with Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali the owner of the coveted yellow jersey as the overall leader in cycling’s most prestigious event.

Nibali reclaimed the lead on Monday with a win in Stage 10, a day after falling behind Tony Gallopin, and owns an advantage of 2 minutes and 23 seconds over Australia’s Richie Porte with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde another 24 seconds behind in third.

The first 10 days of racing saw the withdrawal of two former champions, as defender Chris Froome called it quits in Stage 5 and two-time winner Alberto Contador abandoned the race after a Monday crash that left him with a fractured right tibia.

Stage 11 on Wednesday features 187.5 kilometers from Besancon to Oyonnax.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Herd, Hokies and Mountaineers on Lombardi Watch List

Several area college football players made the Lombardi Award Watch List.

The award is given out to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker.

This list includes: LB-Jermaine Holmes-Marshall, C-Chris Jasperse-Marshall, T-Clint Van Horn-Marshall, DL-Luther Maddy-Virginia Tech, G-Quinton Spain-West Virginia

The Gilmer Free Press

►  72-year-old driver causes crash, raises questions

It’s been almost two decades since Morgan Shepherd last ran a full Sprint Cup season, and his last national series victory was in 1993.
He can still probably wheel a race car better than you and most of your friends. That doesn’t mean the 72-year-old should be racing against the very best drivers in NASCAR.

Shepherd drew scrutiny Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when he caused Joey Logano to crash.

Shepherd was 40th, 16 laps off the pace, when second-place Logano tried to pass the slower car. Replays show little, just that Logano ended up with a wrecked car. He then publicly questioned if there should be driving tests for some competitors.

NASCAR dismissed Logano’s notion, pointing out Shepherd has been approved to drive since 1970.

Shepherd has 925 starts in NASCAR’s top three levels. He’s got four career Sprint Cup victories, won 15 Nationwide races and even ran a full Nationwide schedule four years ago at age 69.

“He’s been approved for decades,” NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said. “You take a physical at the beginning of the year. You pass your physical. You pass inspections with your car, you qualify for the race and you run the event. He met everything he needed to meet.”

That’s the problem. There is no rule in place — except for drivers under 18 years old — stopping someone from competing in a national level NASCAR race.

Mark Martin, his back aching and his eyesight no longer what it once was, called it quits last year at 54. If he wanted to race next week at Indianapolis, nobody would stop him if he showed up in a car that made the field.

Michael Waltrip, at 51, still runs four races a year. His Hall of Fame brother, Darrell, was 53 when he got out of the car following eight winless seasons.

Point is, rarely does a driver recognize when to call it a career. The love of racing, the addiction to speed, the thrill of competition, can all cloud a driver’s judgment and make it impossible to see they aren’t what they once were.

That’s the case with Shepherd, who seems to have embarked on a journey to become the oldest at everything. He’s the second-oldest race winner (he was 51 in 1993). He became the oldest driver to lead laps in a Nationwide race at 70, and last year he became the oldest driver to start a Cup race at 72.

That’s all allowed in a sport that often fails to set standards to ensure only the best compete at the top level. In racing, those who find the dollars needed to race get the seats — often at the expense of the most talented.

So Shepherd got the funding — probably about $75,000 — to run for Circle Sport Racing at New Hampshire. For the second time this season, he was in the field with the big boys.

But the big boys passed him again and again as Shepherd struggled with handling and perhaps meeting the minimum speed of 115 mph. NASCAR said Shepherd was not warned about failing to keep pace during the race.

Shepherd did try to stay out of the way. But spotters alleged Shepherd couldn’t hold his line at the bottom of the track and hit the corners at such a poor angle, his car would push into the center of the track. Logano spotter Tab Boyd tweeted he was “riding around like a rolling road block.”

Shepherd, though, put the blame on Logano and said his age was not a factor.

“When he laid close to me, it caused me to slip into him,” Shepherd said. “It’s got nothing to do with my age or anything else. I’ve always said if I go out and I start hitting the wall and stuff, making mistakes, I’ll get out of the car.”

Fans seemed to flock to Shepherd’s defense, calling the No. 33 Chevrolet subpar equipment. Well, that’s on Shepherd, who could have taken his cash to any team in an attempt to get a better ride.

The ride isn’t great, but Bobby Labonte drove the same car to a 24th-place finish at Daytona. Three other drivers have driven the car this year without crashing the leaders.

Had Shepherd had an uneventful run at the back of the field all day, nobody would have said a word about his presence in the race. Nobody would have noticed him. But he was involved in one glaring incident that NASCAR must consider going forward.

Sure, blame the car. But there’s a reason Shepherd doesn’t get to drive Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon’s car — because he’s 72.

NASCAR must take a longer look at this because what Shepherd did 30 years ago or three years ago no longer applies. Father Time eventually catches up with everyone, and your eyes aren’t what they used to be, and your reflexes aren’t so catlike and your hand-eye coordination isn’t as sharp as you remember.

Maybe there’s no way for NASCAR to monitor those crucial elements of driving. But NASCAR can monitor minimum speed and the ability to hold a proper racing line.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  U.S. chooses 19 players for men’s basketball roster

Coach Mike Krzyzewski hopes Derrick Rose’s NBA comeback begins in a USA uniform.

Even if Rose isn’t ready, the Americans have plenty of talent for another run at a world championship.

Rose and four returnees from the 2012 Olympic men’s basketball champions were among the 19 players selected Monday for this summer’s U.S. national team roster.

Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, James Harden and Anthony Davis were the four holdovers from London, and there were new additions of Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons, who is leaving Houston for Dallas.

Players will report to training camp this month in Las Vegas, where Rose will try to show he’s recovered from his latest knee surgery.

“We’d like to see him play like the Derrick of old, because he’s one of the best players in the world, an MVP in the NBA,” Krzyzewski said during a conference call. “What we’ve heard is that he’s in great shape.”

The rest of the roster: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Golden State), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Blake Griffin (Clippers), Paul George (Indiana), Damian Lillard (Portland), Gordon Hayward (Utah), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Bradley Beal (Washington), Andre Drummond (Detroit), Kenneth Faried (Denver) and Kyle Korver (Atlanta).

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said the roster could be trimmed to 15 after the camp in Las Vegas that begins July 28, with the final 12 selected before the Americans depart for the World Cup of Basketball in Spain in late August.

The Americans previously announced a 28-player pool in January, though it was planned that players such as two-time Olympic champions LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul would sit out this summer and perhaps come back at the 2016 Summer Games.

“To maintain the continuity, we need turnover in every competition so that players who aspire to represent the USA on the national team level have a real opportunity,” Colangelo said.

Also missing from the original pool is NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio and Portland All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who was expected to play this summer. Colangelo said Leonard wanted additional rest after the Spurs’ lengthy season. He did not give a reason for the absence of Aldridge, who has pulled out in the past.

“We could only offer an opportunity and then they can either accept or not,” Colangelo said. “In Aldridge’s case, this has happened a couple of times previously, but the bottom line is he advised us he’s not available.”

The U.S. will be led by Durant, the NBA scoring champion from the Oklahoma City Thunder who was the MVP of the 2010 World Championship, which has since been renamed. Curry, Love and Rose also played on that team, the first from the U.S. to win the tournament since 1994.

But Rose has had a tough time remaining healthy since, tearing a knee ligament in the 2012 playoffs, missing the entire next season and then getting knocked out by surgery shortly after returning last season.

His chances of making the team were strengthened last week when Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook withdrew from consideration to rest because of knee injuries.

“Hopefully this would be a launching pad for him for a great NBA season this upcoming year,” Krzyzewski said of Rose.

Following the Las Vegas camp, the Americans will also train and play exhibition games in Chicago and New York before leaving for Spain.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The New Orleans Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham have agreed to terms on a new contract.

The Pro Bowl star announced the news on his Twitter account Tuesday morning, although he did not disclose any terms, and the Saints also did not release contract details in a brief statement on their website.

After a dispute over a franchise tag that left Graham designated as a tight end instead of his wish to be considered a wide receiver because of where he mostly lines up in the offense, the two sides faced a deadline of Tuesday to work out a long-term deal.

Reports on Monday had indicated that the sides were working toward a deal that would make Graham the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, and a national media outlet on Tuesday said the pact would pay the four- year veteran $40 million over four years with $21 million guaranteed.

►  A Massachusetts judge rejected a bid by lawyers for former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez to suppress evidence from a cellphone and video surveillance footage taken from his home during an investigation into the killing of a friend.

The former Patriots tight end has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.

Lloyd’s body was found in June 2013 in an industrial park about a half-mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough.

In denying the request, Judge E. Susan Garsh said in a written ruling that police had a reasonable basis to infer that Hernandez’s home surveillance system “likely captured the images of whoever entered, left and returned to Hernandez’s house in the hours immediately before and after the shooting” of Lloyd.

“Thus, the (search warrant) affidavit created probably cause for the magistrate to believe that a search of Hernandez’s residence for the home surveillance video would produce evidence that would aid in the apprehension or conviction of Lloyd’s killer,“ the judge wrote.

Hernandez’s lawyers argued that the search warrant was overly broad because it allowed police to seize video footage of the inside of Hernandez’s home.

But the judge found there had been “no showing that the scope of the warrant was impermissibly broadened.“

Garsh has not yet ruled on a request to suppress evidence from other cellphones and three iPads seized from the house.

Two associates of Hernandez are also charged in Lloyd’s death.

Hernandez has also pleaded not guilty in the 2012 killings of two Boston men.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Gatlin extends unbeaten streak in 100 meters

Justin Gatlin stretched his season’s unbeaten streak in the 100 meters to 10 races by trashing the 20-year-old best mark of the Gugl Games on Monday.

Gatlin finished in 9.82 seconds, scraping 0.12 off the meeting record set by Davidson Ezinwa of Nigeria in 1994.

Gatlin’s run was the fastest ever in Austria though he came 0.02 short of his own best mark for the season after clocking 9.80 at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne.

Second-placed Mike Rodgers timed 9.92 while Ryan Bailey took third in 10.12 for an American sweep of the podium.

In the women’s 100, Carina Horn of South Africa and Carrie Russel of Germany shared victory in 11.21.

Shalonda Solomon of United States trailed by 0.04 in third.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood was arrested by the University Police Department Monday as a fugitive from justice, apparently in connection with an undisclosed incident in Delaware.

Smallwood, a sophomore who blossomed late last season as he was made to model himself after all-Big 12 Charles Sims, is from Wilmington, Delaware.

Coach Dana Holgorsen said the Mountaineers were aware of the arrest.

“We are looking into the matter and will take action at the appropriate time,” he said.

The 5-foot-11 Smallwood was being held at the North Central Regional Jail and bail had not been set.

►  West Virginia will renew its highly charged rivalry against Virginia Tech with a neutral-site season opener at FedExField in 2017.

The announcement came Tuesday from the Washington Redskins and will mark WVU’s third game at the NFL stadium in a six-year span.

The Mountaineers defeated James Madison 42-12 at FedEx in 2012 and will meet BYU there in 2016.

Former Big East counterparts, West Virginia and Virginia Tech remain slated to play a home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022, but this fast-forwards the rejuvenation of a series that had fans on both sides joining.

►  West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference.

The Tennessee game will be played on the 2018 schedule in Charlotte, NC.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  LeBron James’ hometown is planning a big party for his homecoming.

Akron city spokeswoman Stephanie York says details of the event are still in the works — but it will be big.

York says it will be “a city-wide community event where everyone can welcome him home.“

The city is working with the LeBron James Family Foundation to coordinate the homecoming event.

York says the date will be determined by the NBA star’s schedule.

James announced Friday he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after leaving the team four years ago to play for the Miami Heat.

►  The San Antonio Spurs made it official Tuesday and re-signed forward Boris Diaw to an undisclosed contract.

Diaw had revealed on Twitter last week that he was set to stay with the NBA champions “for a few more years,“ and reports had indicated the contract to be worth $22.5 million over three years.

Diaw averaged 9.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 79 games with the Spurs during the regular season, and then contributed 9.2 points with 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 23 playoff games to help San Antonio to its fifth NBA title.

The 32-year- old French native first joined the Spurs in March 2012 after also playing for Atlanta, Phoenix and Charlotte.

►  The Miami Heat re-signed Dwyane Wade on Tuesday, calling the veteran guard the “franchise cornerstone.“

Terms of the deal were not released, but multiple reports indicate Wade signed a two-year contract worth less than the two-year, $42 million he had remaining on the deal he opted out of last month, giving Miami room to sign other free agents, including Heat teammate Chris Bosh.

Wade has spent his entire 11-year career with the Heat, helping them win the first three NBA titles in franchise history, including two in the last four years alongside Bosh and LeBron James.

Wade, 32, opted out of his contract last month, as did James and Bosh.

And after James announced last week that he was leaving to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers again, Bosh re-signed with the Heat on a reported five-year, $118 million deal.

So two of the Heat’s Big Three will be back after four straight trips to the NBA Finals, including back-to-back championships in 2012-13.

Also on Tuesday, the Heat signed forward Luol Deng to a reported two-year, $20 million deal.

►  Also Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks announced they re-signed franchise great Dirk Nowitzki.

The Mavericks didn’t announce terms of the deal, which was reported two weeks ago, but said Nowitzki signed for three years and $25 million, rebuffing offers from other teams and taking a paycut to help Dallas sign Chandler Parsons.

Nowitzki, 36, has been an All-Star 12 times in 16 seasons with the Mavericks and led them to an NBA title in 2011.

He averaged 21.7 points in 80 games this past season—a spike of more than four points per game over 2012-13.

►  The Chicago Bulls cut forward Carlos Boozer on Tuesday, using the amnesty clause on the veteran forward to clear salary cap space.

The move takes Boozer’s reported $16.8 million salary off Chicago’s books, giving the Bulls room to sign free agents and freeing other teams to bid on his services.

Free-agent big man Pau Gasol announced over the weekend he was signing with the Bulls, and the team has reportedly reached agreements with guard Kirk Hinrich and former first-round draft pick Nikola Mirotic, who has been playing in Spain.

Boozer, 32, played the past four seasons with the Bulls, averaging 15.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in 280 games.

The 12-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 16.6 points and 9.8 boards over 790 games.

►  The New Orleans Pelicans have acquired 7-foot center Omer Asik and forward Omri Casspi from the Houston Rockets in a three-team trade, the team announced Tuesday.

The Pelicans traded guards Alonzo Gee and Scotty Hopson and a protected first-round 2015 draft pick to the Rockets and big man Melvin Ely to the Washington Wizards.

The Rockets also acquired forward Trevor Ariza from the Wizards as part of the deal.

Over the weekend it was reported that Ariza was signing a four-year, $32 million deal with Houston.

The Gilmer Free Press


Atlanta at New York, 11:00 AM - MSG
Tulsa at Minnesota, 1:00 PM - No scheduled television

Major League Soccer
Philadelphia at New York, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Sporting Kansas City at Columbus, 7:30 PM - KMCI, DSS
Vancouver at Toronto, 8:00 PM - TSN, DSS
New England at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - CSN-New England, DSS

Tour de France
Stage 11, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Sports Brief - 07.14.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mario Gotze scored in the second period of extra time on Sunday to lift Germany to its fourth World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over Argentina at the Maracana.

It was a titanic clash between two football giants for 90 regulation minutes as the sides traded quality scoring opportunities in the third-ever meeting between the nations at the World Cup final.

The tension in the stadium was palpable as the match went to extra time, and it was Gotze, the Bayern Munch man, who came on a substitute for Miroslav Klose and fired home the winning tally in the 113th minute, making Germany the first European nation to ever win the World Cup in South America.

The victory is Germany’s first major international trophy since winning the 1996 European Championship, and first World Cup title since 1990 when it defeated Argentina at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

►  The Oakland Athletics reinstated pitcher Drew Pomeranz and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday.

Pomeranz was placed on the disabled list June 17 with a fractured right hand.

The 25-year-old is 5-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 17 games (eight starts) with the A’s this season.

►  Cincinnati Reds hurler Alfredo Simon and Washington Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard were named to the National League All-Star team on Sunday.

Simon was tabbed by Cards skipper and Senior Circuit manager Mike Matheny to replace his Cincinnati teammate, starter Johnny Cueto—who started Sunday’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The imposing, 6-foot-6 presence on the mound has gone 12-3 with a 2.70 earned run average in 116 2/3 innings over 18 starts this season.

Clippard, who previously represented the Nats in 2011, was named a sub for Julio Teheran of the Atlanta Braves—also a Sunday starter. The 29-year-old Clippard has gone 6-2 with a 2.03 ERA in 43 appearances this year.

►  San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Hudson and San Diego Padres closer Huston Street were each named to the All-Star team as the National League continued to revamp its staff for Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.

Hudson will take the place of teammate Madison Bumgarner on the NL squad, while Street was substituted for fellow Padre Tyson Ross. Bumgarner and Ross pitched on Sunday, rendering both players ineligible to participate in Tuesday’s game in Minneapolis.

The NL also tabbed Cincinnati’s Alfredo Simon and Washington reliever Tyler Clippard to the team earlier Sunday as fill-ins for the Reds’ Johnny Cueto and Atlanta’s Julio Teheran, both of whom also started games Sunday.

Hudson earned the fourth All-Star nod of his 16-year career. The veteran right-hander owns a 7-6 record with a 2.87 ERA over 18 starts this season.

Street, also an NL All-Star in 2012, has converted 24-of-25 save chances in 2014 and allowed just four runs over 33 innings pitched.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Buffalo Sabres signed forward Zac Dalpe to a one-year contract on Sunday.

The 24-year-old right-handed shooter played in a career-high 55 games for the Vancouver Canucks last season, totaling four goals and seven points.

In 96 NHL games over parts of four seasons with Carolina and Vancouver, Dalpe has recorded nine goals and 17 points.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Two-time champion Alberto Contador withdrew from the Tour de France after a crash during Stage 10 on Monday.

Contador took a fall on a mountain descent in wet conditions and was treated by doctors before attempting to ride again.

He was four minutes behind the peloton when he re-started, then soon after called for the team car and decided against continuing.

The Spaniard won the 2007 and 2009 titles, then had his 2010 championship stripped for doping.

He finished fourth last year.

Contador is the second former winner to withdraw this year, following defending champion Chris Froome’s departure in Stage 5.

►  A Frenchman will don the coveted yellow jersey on Bastille Day.

Tony Gallopin is the new overall leader of the Tour de France after Sunday’s Stage 9, a 170- kilometer trek from Gerardmer to Mulhouse.

German Tony Martin won the stage with a dominating performance.

He broke ahead early and cruised comfortably to the finish line, crossing in a time of 4 hours, 9 minutes and 34 seconds.

Gallopin was in a group of 18 riders who finished 2:45 behind Martin.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali had worn yellow since winning Stage 2.

He was 7:46 off Martin’s pace and is now second overall, 1:34 behind Gallopin.

Two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador is 4:08 behind Gallopin in ninth place after being credited with the same time as Nibali on Sunday.

The stage featured six climbs, including a Category 1 ascent up Le Markstein near the end, and concluded with a downhill finish.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Brad Keselowski became the first driver to score a weekend-sweep at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after putting on a dominating performance in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301.

Keselowski won Saturday’s 200-lap Nationwide Series race at this 1.058-mile track and then on the following day led 138 of 305 laps en route to victory in the Sprint Cup Series event here.

The driver of the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske earned his third victory of the season, which put him in a tie with Jimmie Johnson for most Sprint Cup wins in 2014. In March, Keselowski won the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at Las Vegas for his first-ever weekend-sweep in NASCAR national touring series competition.

Keselowski also dominated in the 400-mile Sprint Cup race at Kentucky two weeks ago. He started on the pole and led 199 of 267 laps for the victory there.

Ford has now won four consecutive races, which is the longest streak for the manufacturer in the series since 2001.

“This Ford Fusion was hauling today, and it’s a privilege to have a car like this and a team that is just clicking,“ Keselowski said after winning for the 13th time in his Sprint Cup career. “I guess you could say that we’re red hot.“

Keselowski’s team made a four-tire change during most of his pit stops, while the other frontrunners pitted for two tires, dropping Keselowski back in the field for restarts, as low as 10th at one time. But he charged his way through the field and was soon back in the lead.

During his final pit stop, Keselowski had a two-tire change and came out of the pits third.

This scheduled 301-lap race was extended by four laps after rookie Justin Allgaier spun around and crashed into the wall in the closing laps. Keselowski held off Kyle Busch during the green-white-checkered finish, beating him to the line by 0.75 seconds.

During the last caution, Denny Hamlin was low on fuel and had to pit from second. Jeff Gordon then lost the second-position when he ran out of gas and coasted back to the pits. That allowed Busch to move up to the runner-up position before the final restart.

“I think Kyle had four [tires] there at the end, and he was going to give me all that I had,“ Keselowski said. “Thankfully, we only had two laps to hold him off. Just a great race and hard fought. Kyle made me earn it there at the end.“

This was the third straight time that Busch has finished second in a Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire.

“We should have been anywhere from fourth to sixth [in the finishing order], but we made a gutsy call there at the end to stay out and see if we could make it on fuel,“ Busch said. “We just barely made it. I ran out right at the finish.“

Keselowski became the 13th different winner in the last 13 Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire, which ties a record for the longest streak of different winners at a racetrack (Texas). Keselowski won a Cup event here for the first time in 10 starts.

“I thought we would do pretty good here at Loudon [New Hampshire],“ he said. “We’ve been really good here the last few years but just haven’t been able to close out. But today we were able to do that.“

Rookie Kyle Larson finished third, followed by Matt Kenseth, who won at New Hampshire last September, and Ryan Newman.

Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top-10. Gordon, the current points leader, ended up finishing as the last car on the lead lap in 26th.

Keselowski’s teammate, Joey Logano, placed 40th after he was involved in an accident with 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd, the driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet for Circle Sport Racing. Shepherd extended his record as the oldest competitor in NASCAR’s top series.

Shepherd, who was several laps behind, spun around and collected Logano, putting both drivers into the wall. Logano had been running among the top-10 for most of the race.

“Slowest car on the racetrack took us out, go figure,“ Logano said. “Felt like we could have a Penske 1-2 again, and then we get taken out by the slowest car. I feel like there should be a good driver’s test before you get out in the Cup car and make sure you know how to drive before you drive one. I don’t know. I guess there isn’t.“

Shepherd spent a short time in the garage for repairs and then returned. He finished 27 laps behind in 39th.

Six-time and defending series champion Jimmie Johnson had his race end very early when he suffered a blown tire and crashed into the wall.

Johnson, who started second, experienced a flat left-rear tire on lap 7, forcing him to pit and dropping him one lap behind in 42nd.

Then on lap 14, Johnson’s left-rear tire blew, sending him hard into the wall along the backstretch. He was not injured during the incident.

Shortly after Johnson’s accident, Goodyear official Greg Stucker said, “The tires failed in a manner consistent with low inflation pressure.“

But Johnson did not agree with Goodyear’s assessment.

“I can promise you one thing, it wasn’t low tire pressure,“ Johnson said. “I’ve been out here running around for two days and haven’t had a flat.“

Other drivers had experienced tires problems throughout the weekend at New Hampshire. Logano had failure with his left-rear tire and crashed into the wall during Friday’s practice, forcing him to a backup car. Aric Almirola, who won his first career Sprint Cup race last week at Daytona, also had to switch to a backup car for this event when he wrecked due to a tire issue in Saturday’s practice.

►  Six-time and defending Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson had his race end early at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday when he suffered a blown tire and then crashed into the wall.

Johnson, who started this 301-lap race in second, experienced a flat left-rear tire on lap 7, forcing him to pit and dropping him one lap behind in 42nd.

Then on lap 14, Johnson’s left-rear tire blew, sending him hard into the wall along the backstretch. He was not injured during the incident.

“The first [flat tire] I was able to drive the car all the way through turns 1 and 2 and knew I had a flat and then came in,“ Johnson said. “The other one just blew on the straight as soon as I hit the brakes. I’m not sure what caused it. I’m sure there will be a lot of speculation, and I’m sure finger pointing back to our team.

“But we’ve seen some issues here, especially with that particular tire the last couple of days. We’ll try to learn more about it.“

Other drivers have experienced tires problems throughout the weekend at this flat 1.058-mile track. Joey Logano had failure with his left-rear tire and crashed into the wall during Friday’s practice, forcing him to a backup car. Aric Almirola, who won his first career Sprint Cup race last week at Daytona, also had to switch to a backup car for this event when he wrecked due to a tire issue in Saturday’s practice.

“It’s just a bummer,“ Johnson added. “I’m expecting people to quickly point back at the team and say it’s our fault. I guess if it is, then we’ll accept it. But the car was fast, and we had a great day in qualifying [on Friday]. It’s just unfortunate that we’re out early.“

Johnson also had his race at Daytona come to an end early when he was involved in a 16-car crash. He finished 42nd there. With a series-leading three wins this season, Johnson is assured of making this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He came to New Hampshire third in the point standings.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct Saturday night stemming from an incident at a Towson restaurant.

Smith was cited for failure to obey a lawful order of a police officer.

He became the fifth Ravens player to be arrested this offseason, following Ray Rice, Jah Reid, Deonte Thompson and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro.

The Baltimore Sun reports that officers were called to The Greene Turtle Sports Bar after the general manager reported that there was an unconscious woman in a bathroom.

Police arrived and found Smith helping the intoxicated woman in the bathroom.

After medics arrived, officers repeatedly asked Smith to step aside and he refused to comply and said several times that he was helping the woman.

Smith became argumentative when they asked him to step into the hallway.

He was eventually placed in handcuffs.

Police said Smith was cooperative with officers after being arrested.

A first-round pick by the Ravens in 2011, Smith was released from custody at about 11:15 PM (ET).

A court date is pending. The woman was transported to a local hospital.

Smith hadn’t previously been in trouble with the law since joining the Ravens.

The Ravens exercised a fifth-year option for 2015 for Smith this offseason.

He started all 16 games for the Ravens last season, recording 58 tackles and two interceptions.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Tiger Woods has an early start Thursday at the 2014 British Open, while Phil Mickelson will begin defense of his title in the afternoon with Ernie Els and Bubba Watson alongside at Royal Liverpool.

Woods will make his second start since returning from a three-month absence because of back surgery. He missed the cut a few weeks back at the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour.

The 14-time major champion claimed the Claret Jug the last time the Open was played at Royal Liverpool in 2006.

His start for a fourth Open championship will begin Thursday at 9:04 AM local time (4:04 AM ET) with former Masters and U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera and 2013 British Open runner-up Henrik Stenson in his group. Stenson, the current world No. 2, finished three shots behind Mickelson last year at Muirfield.

Mickelson’s quest for a second straight British Open crown will start at 2:05 PM local time (9:05 AM ET), alongside a stellar group that features Els, the 2002 and 2012 Open champ, and reigning Masters winner Watson.

That trio will start two groups after reigning U.S. Open champ Martin Kaymer, Jason Day and Zach Johnson at 1:38 PM (8:38 AM ET).

World No. 1 Adam Scott, 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and 2013 U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, who just captured the Scottish Open this past weekend, will start two groups after Mickelson at 2:27 PM (9:27 AM ET).

Other featured groups include Rory McIlroy with Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama, starting at 9:26 AM (4:26 AM ET), while a trio of veterans has five-time Open champ Tom Watson with 2011 winner Darren Clarke and Jim Furyk at 8:26 AM (3:26 AM ET).

The opening tee shot will be hit by England’s David Howell at 6:25 AM local time (1:25 AM ET).

He’ll play with 2001 British Open champ David Duval and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  After days of intense speculation concerning his future, Carmelo Anthony broke his silence on Sunday, announcing that he will indeed re-sign with the New York Knicks.

Anthony declared his return in a letter posted to the 2012-13 NBA scoring champion’s official website.

The Knicks then confirmed his decision by issuing a press release shortly after the statement came out.

A New York newspaper, citing a close friend of Anthony with knowledge of his plans, reported Wednesday that the seven-time All-Star had agreed to re-up with the Knicks for a full maximum contract that will pay him $129 million over five years.

Sources also told the paper that Anthony turned down a four-year max offer from the Los Angeles Lakers, with the Chicago Bulls also known to have been pursuit of the coveted free agent.

Anthony averaged 27.4 points, a career-best 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 77 games last season.

►  Days after losing LeBron James to free agency, the Miami Heat have apparently began trying to replace him by signing Luol Deng.

Deng, a two-time All-Star, reportedly signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Heat, according to the Miami Herald.

Deng also has the right to opt out of the contract after next season, per several media outlets.

Deng has proven to be a stat-filler during his 10-year career, but will turn 30 next year and was not as productive after being traded from Chicago to Cleveland last season.

►  The Los Angeles Lakers acquired point guard Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Also heading to L.A. are a future first-round draft pick as well as a second-round choice in 2015, while the rights to forward/center Sergei Lishchuk were sent to Houston.

“This trade allows us to acquire a solid player who will make us a better team,  as well as draft picks to improve our team in the future, while at the same time allowing us to maintain financial flexibility,“ said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.

“In addition to what he’ll bring us on the court, we think Jeremy will be warmly embraced by our fans and our community.“

Lin, 25, averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds per contest over 71 games for the Rockets in 2013-14.

They signed him in 2012 on the heels of the “Linsanity”  phenomenon in New York,  when Lin became a brief and surprising star for the Knicks before suffering a meniscus tear in his knee.

Over his four-year career, the Harvard product has averaged 11.9 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 boards per game over 217 appearances with Golden State, the Knicks and Houston.

Lishchuk was selected by Memphis in the 2004 draft and was traded to the Rockets in February of 2008 before landing with the Lakers as part of a three-way trade with the Nets in December 2010.

He played for Valencia of the Spanish ACB League last season.

The Rockets made the deal to clear salary-cap space so they could sign free-agent big man Chris Bosh, according to Yahoo Sports earlier in the weekend.

But Bosh ended up re-signing with the Miami Heat on a maximum deal, according to multiple reports that surfaced just hours after LeBron James announced he was leaving Miami to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers again.

►  Phoenix Suns center Alex Len will miss the remainder of summer league with a right hand fifth finger fracture, the team announced Sunday.

Len will be evaluated in Phoenix.

Len, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2013 draft, averaged 2.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 42 games last season.

►  The Chicago Bulls have been plenty busy this offseason, and on Sunday they reportedly made two additions to their ever- evolving roster.

Days after Pau Gasol said he would join the Bulls next season, the team, per the Chicago Tribune, has reached agreements with both guard Kirk Hinrich and Nikola Mirotic, the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 draft who has played in Real Madrid the past three seasons.

Hinrich will reportedly sign for just above the veteran minimum with the Bulls, with whom he’s spent nine of his 11 seasons. The 33-year-old owns career averages of 11.8 points and 5.2 assists per game.

Mirotic, the Spanish League MVP in 2013, averaged 24.0 points and connected on 46 percent of his 3-point attempts last season for Real Madrid. According to the paper, the 6-foot-10 forward will ink a three-year, $17 million deal.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Displaced Atlanta Braves starting second baseman Dan Uggla has been suspended by the team for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the club has announced.

The Braves have not publicly disclosed the reason for the move, though the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Uggla was believed to have shown up late to the ballpark at some point this weekend.

Uggla, a three-time All-Star who hit over 30 home runs in five straight seasons from 2007-11, has endured his share of struggles at the plate over the last two years. The 34-year-old was not placed on the Braves’ roster for the 2013 National League Division Series after hitting .179 for the season, and owns an anemic .162 average with just two homers in 48 games in 2014.

The struggling veteran lost his starting job to rookie Tommy La Stella in May and is still owed around $19 million on a five-year extension he signed with Atlanta prior to the 2011 campaign.

Atlanta selected the contract of infielder Phil Gosselin from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move. The 25-year-old ranks third in the International League with a .345 average and has produced five home runs and 30 RBI in 88 Triple-A games this season.

►  The Tampa Bay Rays reinstated reliever Jake McGee from the paternity list prior to Sunday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

McGee, who had been serving as Tampa Bay’s primary closer since the struggling Grant Balfour was removed from the role last month, had missed the first two games of the Toronto series to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s first child.

The hard-throwing lefty has converted 6-of-7 save opportunities since June 15 and owns a 1.56 earned run average in 44 appearances this season.

Tampa Bay optioned Jeremy Hellickson to Double-A Montgomery to make room for McGee on the roster, with the move allowing the former AL Rookie of the Year to make a start in the minors during the All-Star break.

Hellickson returned from elbow surgery to make his season debut Tuesday against Kansas City, allowing one run over 4 1/3 innings.

►  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim placed outfielder Collin Cowgill on the 15-day disabled list with a broken nose and fractured right thumb.

Cowgill suffered both injuries in the eighth inning of Saturday night’s game against Texas. He was hit in the nose by a pitch from Rangers reliever Matt West. The ball deflected off his thumb into his face, causing severe bleeding from the nose that required immediate stitching.

In 69 games this season, Cowgill is hitting .277 with five homers and 16 RBI.

To take Cowgill’s spot on the roster, the Angels recalled infielder Grant Green from Triple-A Salt Lake prior to Sunday’s game. Green has hit .324 with one homer and eight RBI in 29 games with the Angels this season.


The Gilmer Free Press

MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014

Major League Baseball - Interleague
Home Run Derby, 8:00 PM - ESPN

Arena Football League
Iowa at Orlando, 8:00 PM -
New Orleans at Jacksonville, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2,

Tour de France
Stage 10, 7:00 AM - NBCSN

Sports Brief - 07.13.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Gilmer County High School Varsity Football Team is looking for a new head coach for the Titans to replace Coach Jason Cunningham.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kyle Busch will start on the pole for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 after setting a new track record and beating Jimmie Johnson in Friday’s qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Gordon Heyward will be staying with the Utah Jazz after the team decided to match the offer sheet the restricted free agent swingman received from the Charlotte Hornets.

Though terms of the contract were not disclosed by the Jazz, reports earlier in the week stated that Heyward signed a four-year, $63 million pact with the Hornets.

The move enabled the Jazz to retain their leading scorer from last season, who established career-best averages of 16.2 points, 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game.

The 6-foot-8 wing averaged 14.1 points in a sixth-man role in 2012-13, then started all 77 games he appeared in last season.

Hayward did shoot a career- low 30.4% from 3-point range this past year, but owns a 36.5 lifetime success rate from beyond the arc.

►  The San Antonio Spurs will have Patty Mills back in the fold when the reigning NBA champions attempt to defend their title in the upcoming season, with the team announcing Saturday that it has re-signed the valued reserve guard.

The Spurs did not release terms of the agreement, though previous reports indicated it was a three-year deal worth approximately $12 million.

Mills played a key role on a San Antonio bench corps that averaged an NBA-best 45.1 points per game in 2013-14, producing 10.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 81 contests during the regular season.

The native Australian is expected to be sidelined for the start of the 2014-15 campaign after recently undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

►  Free-agent swingman Vince Carter signed a multi-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but reports on Friday indicated it to be a three-year deal worth $12 million.

Carter averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 81 games off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2013-14 season, his 16th in the NBA.

It was his third season with Dallas following stops with Toronto, New Jersey, Orlando and Phoenix. Carter has averaged 20.2 points in 1,148 NBA games.

►  Veteran small forward Paul Pierce will sign a two-year contract with the Washington Wizards, according to ESPN.

Pierce will reportedly join Washington on a full mid-level exception worth $11 million over two years.

He can opt out after the first year.

A 16-year veteran out of the University of Kansas, Pierce spent the first 15 years of his career with the Boston Celtics before spending 2013-14 with the Nets.

He was traded to Brooklyn last summer and averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in his lone season in black and white.

Pierce, a 10-time NBA All-Star who earned Finals MVP honors in leading Boston to a title in 2008, agrees to sign just hours after last season’s starting small forward Trevor Ariza agreed to a deal with the Houston Rockets.

►  Pau Gasol says he will play for the Chicago Bulls.

The free-agent big man made the announcement on Twitter, saying his decision “hasn’t been easy.“

“After meditating it a lot I’ve chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls,“ Gasol wrote. “Looking forward to this new chapter of my career.“

Gasol, 34, spent the past six-plus seasons with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, winning two NBA titles.

He will join another former MVP in Chicago, point guard Derrick Rose.

With Bryant out most of the season, Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 60 games in 2013-14, missing time because of a groin strain and vertigo.

He has averaged 18.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 13 NBA seasons with Memphis and LA.

►  The Cleveland Cavaliers announced Saturday evening what everyone already knew.

They have signed LeBron James.

What the Cavaliers’ 800-word news release didn’t say is what was reported by multiple media outlets earlier in the day—that James finalized a two-year, $42.1 million deal.

The contract, according to the reports, is built around James being able to re- sign with the Cavaliers a couple of years down the road when the value of the league’s maximum contract is expected to jump.

James announced in a first-person essay on Friday that he was returning to the Cavaliers after four seasons with the Miami Heat, telling Sports Illustrated he was “coming home.“

His decision ended heated speculation about where the four- time MVP would sign after he opted out of his contract with the Heat last month.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Milwaukee Brewers will be without Jean Segura for their final two games before the All-Star break, as the shortstop has left the team to travel to his native Dominican Republic following the death of his nine-month-old son.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke delivered the tragic news to reporters shortly following the team’s 7-6 loss to St. Louis on Friday without naming the player, after which the team closed the clubhouse to the media.

Milwaukee then placed Segura on the bereavement list on Saturday and recalled utilityman Elian Herrera to take his place on the active roster.

It’s unclear when Segura, a 2013 NL All-Star who is struggling with just a .232 average this year, will return to the club.

►  Miami Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez will replace the injured Jordan Zimmermann of the Washington Nationals on the National League All-Star roster.

Zimmermann, chosen for his second Mid-Summer Classic, suffered a biceps injury during his start Friday at Philadelphia, exiting after just 3 1/3 innings.

Alvarez will be a first-time All-Star.

The 24-year-old right-hander has a record of 6-4 with a 2.63 ERA and three shutouts in 19 starts for the Marlins this season.

►  American League saves leader Fernando Rodney of the Seattle Mariners has been named to the AL All-Star team.

AL manager John Farrell announced Saturday that Rodney would take the place of Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price on the active roster for Tuesday’s game.

Price is schedule to start Sunday against Toronto.

He was bumped from his regular spot in the rotation Saturday because of an illness, the Rays said. Rodney had an AL-best 27 saves entering play Saturday.

He and Price were teammates on the Rays from 2012-13. They were both All-Stars in 2012.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Netherlands wrapped up its 2014 World Cup with a 3-0 win over Brazil in the third-place game on Saturday.

Robin van Persie scored on a penalty kick in the opening minutes and the Dutch never looked back.

It was a disappointing end for host Brazil, which dropped the final two games of the tournament, including an embarrassing 7-1 setback to Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday.

►  Germany and Argentina will renew their World Cup rivalry on Sunday when they meet in the final at the Maracana.

The two fabled nations have a history of squaring off in World Cup finals as they met one another in the 1986 finale and again in 1990.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Blel Kadri became the first Frenchman to win a stage in the 2014 edition of the Tour de France, capturing Stage 8 on a Saturday that saw former champion Alberto Contador’s attempt to make a move on overall leader Vincenzo Nibali in the mountains.

Kadri finished the 161 kilometers from Tomblaine to Gerardmer La Mauselaine in a time of 3 hours, 49 minutes and 28 seconds for his first career Tour de France stage win.

Nibali kept pace with Contador, the two-time Tour winner known for his strong climbing, on the last ascent to retain the overall lead in cycling’s most prestigious event.

Contador actually finished second on Saturday, 2:17 behind the stage winner, but the Italian champion crossed just three seconds later.

Nibali has worn the coveted leader’s yellow jersey since Stage 2 and increased his overall lead over teammate Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark from two seconds to 1:44.

Contador moved up to sixth overall and is 2:34 behind Nibali.

The Gilmer Free Press

SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014

Major League Baseball - National League
Miami at NY Mets, 1:10 PM - FS-Florida, SNY, DSS
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1:10 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-Ohio, DSS
Washington at Philadelphia, 1:35 PM - MASN, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
St. Louis at Milwaukee, 2:10 PM - FS-Midwest, Wisconsin, TBS, DSS
Atlanta at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 PM - FS-South, CSN-Chicago, DSS
Arizona at San Francisco, 4:05 PM - FS-Arizona, CSN-Bay, DSS
San Diego at Los Angeles, 4:10 PM - FS-San Diego, SportsNet LA, DSS

American League
Chicago WSox at Cleveland, 1:05 PM - WGN (America), SportsTime Ohio, DSS
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 1:40 PM - SNET, SunSports, DSS
Detroit at Kansas City, 2:10 PM - FS-Detroit, Kansas City, DSS
Boston at Houston, 2:10 PM - NESN, CSN-Houston, DSS
LA Angels at Texas, 3:05 PM - FS-West, Southwest, DSS
Oakland at Seattle, 4:10 PM - CSN-California, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
NY Yankees at Baltimore, 8:05 PM - ESPN

Minnesota at Colorado, 4:10 PM - FS-North, ROOT-Rocky Mountain, DSS

Los Angeles at Connecticut, 1:00 PM - Time Warner, NBA TV
Seattle at Minnesota, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2
San Antonio at Phoenix, 6:00 PM - No scheduled television
Chicago at Atlanta, 6:00 PM - WCIU

International Soccer - World Cup
Germany vs. Argentina - Championship Match, 3:00 PM - ABC, Univision

Major League Soccer
Portland at Seattle, 10:00 PM - ESPN 2

LPGA - Women’s British Open, 8:00 AM - ESPN 2
EUROPEAN - Scottish Open, 9:30 AM - Golf Channel
EUROPEAN - Scottish Open, 12:00 PM - NBC
PGA - John Deere Classic, 1:00 PM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - U.S. Senior Open, 2:30 PM - NBC
PGA - John Deere Classic, 3:00 PM - CBS
WEB.COM - Utah Championship, 7:00 PM - Golf Channel

Tour de France
Stage Nine, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Auto Racing
SPRINT CUP - Camping World RV Sales 301, 1:00 PM - TNT

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Readers' Recent Comments

After the ipads were purchased what measurable benefits resulted from having them at the GCHS to improve student learning? Does anyone know?

Was a formal plan followed to maximize benefits from the equipment to include provisions for measuring before-and-after results to evaluate if the equipment did any good?

Another case of throwing money at a problem and after spending it taxpayers have no idea if there were any meaningful benefits for students?

More than likely competitive bidding was not used to purchase the ipads to add another wrinkle.

By Did The ipads Improve Learning Results? on 03.13.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Where oh where did the 200 Gilmer County I-pads go?
Were they bought with federal money?
Attorney General Morrisey are you looking into this?
Someone should get the ball rolling?

By where oh where? on 03.12.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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They is not no flood plane there the water dont get up there i know i catch musk rats in the river

By THE TRUTH WATCHER on 03.08.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Gilmer County’s school board has full authority to demand a comprehensive accounting for every dime spent on everything leading up to site selection and construction of the LCES and the GCES.

Where did the money go and who got it to include naming names and companies on the receiving end?

Stop hiding behind the excuse that the State “did it to us” and assemble the true facts for taxpayers!

What is the defensible rational for failure of the school board to follow up on this?

By Disclose Financial Facts on 03.07.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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What was in the school board’s 451 resolution? As important as education is more effort should be taken to flesh out what actually happens at school board meeting. Bare minimum information and lack of transparency skirt accountability. Who is responsible for writing up the minutes?

By Transparency and Accountability Needed on 03.07.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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The new Gilmer County Elementary school was built
in a flood plane.  Education fail.

By YOU FORGET on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Roads are a mess.
Population continues the 50+ year decrease.

But for deep gas, no new employment.

Education system total failure.
Legislature impotent.

Grand finale in Charleston.
We have a brawl in the Capitol Building.

That out-of-control delegate needs to resign!

By WV continues the slow death on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

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Broadband coming?  Think we heard this before?
How many times?  I’ve lost count.  You remember?

This will be like JimmyBoys “roads to prosperity” program?
Take the citizens money?  Give ‘em nothing.

Republicans. Democrats. All the same political bs from both.
Voters believe them.  Keep bringing back the old mules so they can give us a repeat performance.

By Just More Dog n Pony Show 4 U on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

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Jimmy D, Gilmer County needs a full accounting for every dime spent on school site planning and studies, site preparation, all school construction work, and purchases while the State had us intervened.

For one example of many we do not have an itemized accounting for how our funds were spent on the botched LCES project.

How much more was wasted on the auction barn site, the dropped Cedar Creek site, and the GCES in comparison to what could have been done with our money with full transparency, competent planning, competitive bidding, and proper project oversight?

The fact that the GCES was built too small and the LCES was built too large is one facet of the waste and mismanagement that occurred.

Do not expect valid investigations because WV’s standard approach is cover up when the State is involved.

By Jimmy D--Don't Expect Sunshine on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Saw the GFP video (citizens refer to it as the ambush video) at the school board meeting at which the pitch was made for the new computers.

The GCHS principal and staff talked about wonders to expect if the 200 computers would be purchased.

Promises were made that if the kids got them they would learn to do advanced math and to make other marvelous learning advances. Any evidence of the promises being kept?

Were the computers purchased through competitive biding? Wanna bet that they were not?

Is this another example of throwing money at technology with no meaningful plan for how to use the equipment to maximize learning benefits without evidence of any before-and-after testing to accurately determine if they did any good?

Could the 200 computers be located and what condition are they in if they could be found?

The new school board is encouraged to check on the issues and to report on the findings.

By Accountability For New GCHS Computers on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Since the local prosecutor is good for nothing, why doesn’t the federal prosecutors look into all the theft by Gabe DeVano and his buddies during the time Gilmer county was under state control? They stole money, equipment from schools which closed, as well as technology equipment. for example where did the 200 iPads go which gilmer county paid for?

By Jimmy D on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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A major cause of WV’s dismal record with K-12 education is the lack of choice regarding a parent’s right to decide on the school for a child to attend.

The elite get around that by using private schools for their kids.

Under existing conditions what chance do the rest of us have? The answer is none!

Our kids are victimized because competition and accountability do not exist and that is exactly what WV’s entrenched education establishment and the unions want.

By Save WV's School Children on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Pennybaker is correct.
WV educators keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Whats the definition of insanity?

By Gilmer on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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An off grid system works great if you want to live like a hippie. One can cover their entire roof and it will barely power your lighting and a few electronics, let alone our transportation and industrial needs. The humaniacs now complain that the giant windmill blades kill the little birdies, and they have never solved the overpass problem in putting windmills on out autos.

By Vern Windsong on 03.01.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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It amazes me that the so-called “experts” think more and more centralization will improve anything.  Public school education is in terrible condition and doing more consolidation will only make it worse and more expensive.  With all the technology today, there is NO reason for busing children for miles and miles, spending more and more hours under the control of public schools.  The idea that parents are not capable of deciding how to educate their children is insulting.  There was never any good reason for governments to get involved in education.

By Karen Pennebaker on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Pat, your information is outdated. Solar and wind are increasingly outcompeting fossil fuels, despite the heavy subsidies fossil fuels (and nuclear power) get. They also are getting steadily cheaper, while fossil fuels can be expected to rise as supply diminishes—the pipelines are going in so fast because of the NEED of the gas companies to get their product out to where they HOPE to find better prices—the drillers have been steadily losing money for the whole decade of the fracking “miracle.“ Wall Street is becoming skeptical. The thing about solar and wind is that once they’re built, the fuel keeps arriving, free. Of course, there isn’t much of a wind resource in our area. But there is in the mountain heights, and off the Virginia coast. And solar works fine here—I’ve had an off-grid system for ten years, works great.

By Mary Wildfire on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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Yes, West Virginia spends a LOT of money on education.
But where does it go?  Is it wasted?  Down the drain hole of bureaucracy?

We spend 7th highest per student and what to show for it?
Being 49th or 50th in ratings?

By where does the money go? on 02.27.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Seeing the president of the WV AFT shaking his raised clinched fist in disrespect for the WV legislature tells it all.

WV’s teacher unions are allowed to function as separate branches of government with veto power over WV’s elected officials and their only role is to get more benefits for their members.

Where is the evidence that unions have done anything recently in any WV school system to help create an educational show piece? Can anyone cite an example?

Furthermore what have unions done to develop innovative plans for moving the State’s k-12 education system forward to pry us off our bottom rung rankings? The answer is—nothing exists. 

Conditions will not change for the better until the day our legislators quit pandering to unions to end k-12 decision-making driven by mob rule and raw emotions.

By Unions Failed WV's Children on 02.26.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

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The principal reason for opposition to 451 is fear by union chiefs that public charter schools could outshine performances of non-participating schools to embarrass WV’s entrenched K-12 education establishment.

To attempt to scare the public, there were claims that the underlying motive for opposition to charter schools is the sinister plan to privatize them to permit the rich and powerful to make money off education at the expense of WV’s children.

It is alarming that unions failed to propose comprehensive plans, inclusive of meaningful accountability mechanisms, designed to improve WV’s schools.

Their objective seems to be to protect the status quo instead of being effective partners in improving education for the State’s children.

There are examples in the USA where charter schools resulted in significant K-12 education improvements. Of course some failed.

Why is it irrational to establish a limited few charter schools in WV as demonstration projects to incorporate approaches applied in highly successful charter schools while avoiding mistakes of the schools that failed?

Nothing else has worked in getting WV out of being near the bottom with K-12 education quality—-so why continue with business as usual while expecting better outcomes?

By Unions Failed WV Education on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

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If passed when will this take effect? I’m a single mother who has a drug felony from another state. I can’t get food stamps to help me because I a drug felon. I work so my income is to much for one person. I have a son whom him and I barley survive. Cause of my record. I’ve held the job I am at now for 5 years. But since they can’t use me. They use my income. But not me and doing it that way I make to much money.

By Kayla on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'Bill to Let Drug Felons Get Food Stamps Passes WV Senate'.

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John & Family,  Sorry to hear of Nyla’s passing!  GOD will take care of you!!  GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU IN THIS SAD TIME !!!  RIP Nyla !

By Anita L. Adams - New Concord, Ohio on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Nyla Leah Frymier Poole'.

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“But Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said utility filings in those states now show the outlook has changed dramatically - in part because of competition from cheap, renewable energy.“

That is utter rubbish.  There is no “cheap, renewable energy.“  Solar and wind are more expensive, even taking subsidies into consideration.  Hydro is more expensive, nuclear is more expensive.

Claiming otherwise is at best fake news, and at worst deliberate misdirection and lying.  Merely claiming renewable energy is less expensive doesn’t make it so.


Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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It was brought to my attention there was an article published in the Gilmer Free Press under Reader’s Comments dated 2-11-19.
This was written by Tammy White which many think it was me (Tammy Foster).  Twenty years (or more) “White” was my last name.
My son does take daily medication at the high school (which somehow this is quite a coincidence).  I want to clarify that I DID NOT write that article!
Now that I have straighten this out….. please read what I have say about this situation at Gilmer County High School:
The secretary or secretaries that were mentioned have never been rude to me or my son in person or by phone.  It is actually the opposite!  They are kind, caring, professional and thorough with distributing my son’s meds.
Not only do they make sure he gets the correct dosage daily but they keep a close inventory on the meds and call me when I need to restock them.
It broke my heart to read the negative article written last week and I was appalled my (old) name was on it.
My son and I trust and depend on these wonderful ladies.  We would like to take this opportunity to THANK them for taking excellent responsibility and care of our child and other students.

By Tammy Foster (not White) on 02.13.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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I’m sorry for your loss.

By Danny Nicholson on 02.12.2019

From the entry: 'Vera Marlene Lyons'.

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There is some issues going on at GCHS. I’m starting here in Hope’s that it will be addressed and corrected.  The secretary was rude when I turned in medicine for my son to be taken on a daily basis. Nor is it her business why he takes it, or how often. Anyway, is she certified in giving meds out.  I thought that the school employed a nurse. Maybe she should answer the phone or should I say message on her cell. She had no idea how many I handed in she didnt count them. Talks about her co workers. Then she gets upset nobody talks to her. She is 2 face. Talking about them is very unprofessional.
I hope this is taken care of or my next step is to the state department. Your choice

By Tammy white on 02.11.2019

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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It is welcomed news as reported in the Democrat that Gilmer’s GCES students are making progress in learning math and English Learning Arts.

The principal, teachers, and all staff deserve high praise for the progress. Let’s not forget efforts of students too plus their parents who encourage them at home.

In addition to rates of increase for learning progress it would be helpful to be informed of percentages of students in the different grades who are at grade level for math and ELA.

Nothing was reported about learning progress at the GCHS and the LCES bi-county school. When are reports for those schools going to be given?

By Positive School News on 02.08.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The lights are up at the Linn school.
Often flashing nights and weekends when NO ONE is on school property.

And you expect lights to work….???
when the WVDE, the WVBE built the school with FIVE TOO MANY CLASSROOMS !!??

*** The WVBE is incapable of meaningful education.
Why do you think the WV Legislature created the current ‘education overhaul’ bill without consulting the WV State Board of Ed? ***

By you are joking I guess? on 02.07.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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“The Environmental Protection Agency issued regular updates for about 100 water pollutants almost four years ago ... “

That would have been the Obama EPA, and the intention wasn’t to provide better water, it was an attempt to control business activity through the use of regulation.

In other words, a power-grab by a politician obsessed with it.


Pat McGroyne

By Pay McGroyne on 02.06.2019

From the entry: 'One Charleston Manufacturer Pressing for Delay of Water Rules'.

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Would the County’s school board take action to help improve safety conditions at the LCES?

The way it is now it can be uncertain if children are present at the school to require a reduction of speed to 15 mph while on Rt. 33.

It would eliminate uncertainty if a flashing lights system were to be installed so the lights could be turned on when children are present.

By LCES Safety Concern on 01.31.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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Why is it that on Gilmer County’s school system web site biographical information including education backgrounds for all school board members and their pictures are not posted?

Other counties have the information. Why not us?

By School Board Member Backgrounds? on 01.23.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The only reason for our not using a version of the goal-driven Kentucky method would be a veto by controlling elitists opposed to establishing meaningful accountability for Gilmer County’s school system.

Without using the method it would be easier to continue to pawn off information that cannot be used to accurately document progress with student proficiencies for reading, math, science, and college and career readiness.

By School System Accountability Needed on 01.20.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The KY approach would be valuable to Gilmer County for use in disclosing progress of our two schools in contributing to better lives for our children.

For goals for which progress would be off schedule, the tracking approach would be an objective basis for making mid-course adjustments in our school system to get better results.

By using the approach school board members could be more effective with goal-driven governing, and getting results would be the responsibility of the County’s Superintendent of Schools and school principals.

Overall,the approach would establish meaningful accountability which is sorely lacking in WV’s school systems.

By Establish School System Accountability on 01.18.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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Accomplished communicators have a knack for reducing complex information to its simplest form for effectiveness in getting messages across.

WV’s convoluted strategic plans for schools must follow the State’s rigid guidelines. The plans are confusing and inadequately designed for establishing accountability for getting results.

Kentucky is making progress with improving K-12 education outcomes and one reason is the clarity of specific goals for its schools and the job being done with tracking results.

Google—-2018 Prichard Committee Update to glean what is being done in Kentucky. The approach could be used for Gilmer’s two schools with a single sheet of paper for each school.

The beauty of the Prichard approach is that instead of relying on confusing and lengthy written out material with undefined abbreviations, technical jargon, and head scratching generalities, specific goals and annual results in achieving them are presented graphically.

Perfect real world example of a picture being worth a thousand words.

Board of Education members why couldn’t the Prichard approach be used for Gilmer County? It would be inexpensive, it could be updated easily on an annual basis, and everyone in the County would know how the school system is being administered to achieve measurable results.

Perhaps Mr. David Ramezan could post Prichard material on the GFP to show its simplicity.

By Advocate For Clarity on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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The scandal of the too small school?
Don’t forget…
The scandal of the too big school is half of the whole state intervention mess.  FIVE rooms more than needed at the Linn, Lewis County school.

Results are from nepotism, cronyism, and educational stupidity….as well as scoffing at those who attempted to sound the alarm.

Bloated egos was the frosting on the Litter Box Cake Mix.

By School Truth is in the Litter Box on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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During intervention the State had dictatorial control of our school system to include all decisions related to the GCES.

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

An investigation is needed to determine who was responsible for the bad decision, and what role the no-bid architectural firm had in designing and constructing the school.

Something major happened to cause the GCES to be built too small. Was something dropped at the expense of adequate class room space as a result of having to spend extra money because a poor site was selected?

Minimally, gross incompetency on the State’s part is the explanation for the disaster foisted onto the County.

A question pertains to the new gym. Lots of effort was taken by the State to try to convince the public that a competition gym instead of a regular gym was needed.

Did the competition gym cost extra money at the expense of needed classroom space? If the answer is affirmative who was responsible for deciding on the more expensive gym?

What about the enormous pit at the GCES? Was money spent on it at the expense of classrooms because something was wrong with the school’s site that was selected by the State?

Nothing similar to the pit has been seen at other sites where new WV schools were built.

Why has there been a failure for a thorough investigation to have occurred to expose the facts?

The obvious explanation is that powerful elitists in control do not want tracks leading to them, and they have veto power over a meaningful investigation including one done by a leading newspaper.

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Pat McGroyne is spot on.
High speed internet is simply another failure of WV state government.

If the elected in our state, were doing the job expected by voters….we should have very few problems or issues?

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Muddling has another distinct symptom. It is the tendency for administrators in control to emphasize processes and procedures while avoiding disclosure of progress, or the lack thereof, in achieving learning results.

The purpose is another way to avoid personal accountability for school system failures.

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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West Virginia is number one!
Our politicians are the best that can be had.
They are also the lobbyers dream come true.
No one—-can out-muddle our elected reps !

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Suggestion after reading strategic plans for the GCHS and the GCES.

How about the school board requiring that for each school an informative executive summary be written to include——where each school stands on reading, math, and science proficiency, what the term proficiency means to eliminate the confusion, student proficiency goals for the two school, target time to expect goals to be achieved, and a statement to commit to keeping the public informed of progress in achieving the goals at designated intervals (e.g. quarterly) during a school year.

Omit confusing abbreviations and technical terms understood only by a select few in the education field, and written for comprehension by reasonable persons.

Leave it up to the County’s professional educators to determine how to get the job done with continual laser-like focus on getting results.

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Muddling infects federal, state, and local government entities where personal accountability for top officials to get measurable results rarely exists.

Muddling practitioners are famous for passing off information unrelated to measurable proof that effective problem-solving has occurred. A common example is emphasizing how much public money is being spent to attempt to convince tax payers that magnitudes of expenditures are always directly correlated to levels of problem-solving successes.

Muddling by an organization is characterized by the existence of thick planning documents replete with vagueness and lack of clarity, undefined technical terms, and mysterious acronyms.

Muddling thrives on intentional ambiguity and confusion designed to protect muddlers and their organizations.

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Gilmer County is not the only place in the USA that has been faced with its students failing to meet proficiency standards for science, reading, and math.

The difference here is that evidence is lacking to conclusively demonstrate that Gilmer County’s officials in control have exerted proper efforts to profit form powerful lessons learned elsewhere to use that knowledge to help solve learning deficiencies in our schools.

In fact, a convincing argument could be made that the approach in the County has been the one professional planners designate as muddling through.

Classic symptoms of muddling through include failure to thoroughly analyze categories of causes contributing to problems followed up by using the information to develop a comprehensive plan to do the most good in getting better results by treating key causes instead of symptoms.

Muddling typically involves officials assigning blame for lack of progress to outside forces e.g., the “culture”, the State did it to us, and poverty. Haven’t we heard plenty of that?

Muddling must be eliminated if we want progress in solving non-performance problems within the County’s school system. Does anyone disagree?

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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It is unclear after reading school board meeting minutes what progress if any is being made by GCHS and GCES principals in improving student proficiency in reading, math and science.

Why not allocate a few sentences in the minutes to summarize what the two principals reported to the school board?

All it would take to get the critical information out to citizens would be for the new school board to act on this.

Does anyone have a problem with the suggested change to keep Gilmer’s bill paying public informed?

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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“High speed broadband – a necessity for today’s homes, businesses and other institutions – remains a huge unmet need for rural residents, despite promises by a succession of Governors from both parties (a contributing factor in why we’re losing population at a rate higher than any other state).“

I disagree with much of what Mr.Boggs believes.  That said, high-speed broadband is the single most important step the State of WV could take to improve the business climate and provide more opportunities for its citizens.


Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Conversation at local eatery.
Shortly after election.
Individuals were educators.

‘You think we have school problems now, wait until these new folks take the steering wheel’.

‘Students, parents, staff are all going to be in the soup’.

Sounds as if Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving vacation-deer season times have all taken a big hit.  If that is true, the union teachers need to come together, stand their ground, along with parents, and hold this new board accountable.

Have a local strike if need be.
Request resignations.
Vote of no confidence.

Schools employees can win.
You have done it before.
Just stick together.

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Scholarship must be the most important focus in Gilmer County’s schools.

Brought up the ZOOMWV Data Dashboard site to review the most recent State achievement test results for GCHS’s 11th grade.

Folks, Gilmer is in serious trouble. Proficiency for math=24%, reading=41%, and science=24%.

On an A through F grading scales the GCHS gets an F for all three subject areas.

What does the new school board have to show for inroads it has made since last July to make critically needed proficiency improvements at the HS? Citizens deserve answers to the question.

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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A thorough accounting for where all the public money went could be easily achieved by a competent accountant.

Isn’t there a special account at the County’s school board office for expenditures related to all bills paid and who got the money?

Following the money trail always gets results along with verification of means, motives, and access.

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If central office financial records for all public money paid out for everything from site planning, site studies and development, and everything else to get to completion of the GCES and the LES—- what is the reason?

It is known that money was spent on the Arbuckle site and Cedar Creek, and public money was paid out for the LES too.

Were County records for the spending purged and if that happened who ordered the action? The records are either in the County’s central office or they aren’t.

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Hasn’t the time come to finally start naming names and making people accountable?

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

For 3 or 4 months now we keep hearing about the millions of dollars of tax revenue collected.

Millions and millions above ‘estimates’.  Were those ‘estimates’ honest, or fudged to begin with, so as to request higher tax rates?

Well, Justice and the Legislature now have our dollars, what will become of this windfall? Will we see tax rates lowered?  Doubt full, but we should.

Likely this windfall, created by “over-taxation”, will simply create a “party atmosphere” of legislative spending. Watch the Charleston ‘gangsters’ get their wish lists ready this coming session.

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Yes.  The blame Does seem to fall to ‘local’ people. In small places like Gilmer County, it’s just a poker game, boys, and the deep pockets win.  Money speaks volumes where ‘officials’ stay silent.  Go ask for the records, see what they’ve got.

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Teachers and staff knew from the beginning that the GCES was going to be too small. They were ordered by the State to keep quiet about the shortfall and other serious concerns too.

A sixth grader could understood how many rooms were needed by dividing total student numbers to attend the school by how many students should be in a classroom.

Under sizing was the State’s fault and it cannot be rationalized any other way including to assign the blame to local people. Same applies to the over sized LCES.

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There will never be a full, public accounting of the gross mishandling of tax dollars during WVDOE intervention.
Too many local jobs and too many embarrassments of both elected and appointed bureaucrats.
These types cover dirt for each other.

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

One school built short 4 classrooms and another built with 5 too many.  Can it get more stupid than that?
Mr. Degree and Ms. Common Sense seldom travel together.

By Full accounting will never be revealed. Never. on 11.18.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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GCBOE when the two principals give reports at board meeting could the gist of what they said be summarized in minutes to keep the County informed?

It was a welcomed development by the Board to require principals to give reports particularly if there are required updates on progress designed to improve student learning for reading, math, and other subjects.

We still have not been informed about the status of science proficiency at the GCHS based on the latest testing. Why has the State failed to release the data? Were results too dismal?

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If it is going to cost extra money to eliminate over crowding at the GCES the financial information referenced by Do It Ourselves should be presented to Charleston and the press too.

That would help frame a solid case that crowding problems were not caused by Gilmer County because all decisions related to facilities were dictated by officials over whom the County had no oversight authority during the State’s intervention.

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is assumed that all records for spending to include money paid out for the LCES, dropped Arbuckle site, dropped Cedar Creek site, and all bills for the GCES are in the Gilmer Schools central office.

The new GCBOE has authority to get to the truth by demanding a thorough accounting for all the spending.

Afterwards the financial officer in the central office could easily access existing computerized records and to use the information for a report to the GCBOE and the public.

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Notice that most of the ‘officials’ in Gilmer County also hold regular day jobs - sometimes working on more than one paying ‘job’ at a time in the same office space. This common practice is concerning for many reasons, and it needs to be talked about when so many go without.

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There are two views in the County related to the under built GCES. Although the State built the school with inadequate classrooms one group believes that we should move on to let go of the past.

Isn’t this a form of advocacy for a coverup to prevent accountability for the State’s incompetence and mismanagement?

The other group believes that there should be a full accounting for all public money spent up to the time the GCES was completed to include disclosure of recipients of the public money. 

The accounting should be done for all public money spent at the LCES, the Arbuckle site, Cedar Creek, and finally the GCES.

Reasons for the under built GCES should be fully disclosed too. When the State was in control this information was kept secret from the public with loud claims that there was adequate space at the GCES.

Now it is known that there is inadequate space at the GCES and the problem is left to Gilmer County to fix. Only in WV!

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Unprofessional issues,rude commentsand rolling eyes at the high school has become an issue. Being on cell phone talking to boyfriends,when parents etc.going into the office. Since the teachers were ask not to be on them while students in the classroom. The one in the office should not be allowed to talk personal to her boyfriend, or whoever. Also, I hope this is corrected, the personal days, etc that the board provides to staff shouldn’t be allowed to use to work or operate a second job. Let’s get the priorities straight.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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GULMER COUNTY BOE. It is time for me to let you know some issues that is going on at the High school.  I’m hoping this will be addressed at the next board meeting. 1. It should not matter if an employee has a second job or run a business. The priority job is for the board. One should not be allowed to use any time from the board to run your business. There is going on
If they want to run your business than go but not on the boards time. I would like for all employees be treated the equal. They should not be allowed to use the time the board gives them for other jobs.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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While at it there should be an investigation of why the LES was build with too many classrooms and the GCES was built with too few. At the very least what happened is a WV horror story example of the State’s waste and mismanagement.

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is obvious that the GCES has a major space problem.

What options for dealing with the State’s mismanagement to cause the serious blunder are being considered by the Board of Education?

Could the original architectural design for the dropped Cedar Creek site be compared to what resulted at the GCES to accurately determine the extent of classroom space alterations?

If the architectural design at the GCES is different than the original plan for Cedar Creek the next step should be to determine reasons for the changes and where the money originally planned for needed classrooms went.

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It’s long been known that Justice doesn’t happen in Gilmer County “because it all comes down to money”. And for those in charge of handling it and making decisions, it comes down to being competent to do the job,  keep accurate books and accounts and I’m sorry to say, that is seriously lacking in Gilmer County.

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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What is GSC’s BOG’s plan for getting money for the next payment on the $38,000,000 bond loan the Gilmer County Commission approved?

Will the State pay or will the money come from private donations?

Money will have to come from somewhere to avoid a default.

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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So sorry to hear of Kendall’s passing. I have fond memories of him at Uncle Paul’s store and the family reunions. I’m sure he will be missed greatly by those closest to him.
Please accept condolences from me and my family.

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

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GSC’s present plight is no secret and its future existence is in question.

Instead of expressing attitudes that GSC is being picked on could the Blue Ribbon Commission reveal why the College “tested out” as it did to fail to get more State money?

Was the “grading system” based on student enrollment trends, retention, time taken to get a degree, academic reputation, inept governance and administration, and other factors to block more funding? Informative specifics were not disclosed.

Teachers know that concerned students who want to do better always seek advice on what needs to be done to get better grades.

Similar to concerned students GSC’s supporters should be informed of what needs to be done to position the College for improved chances for survival to include eligibility for more State funding.

Saying that GSC is being picked on does nothing to help solve its nagging problems.

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Well thank you, Details Please,  for asking!  So many problems in Gilmer and education is just one.  Look at the town, take a good look around.  Remember who runs unopposed at election time.  Vote.  Make a difference.  Hold authority figures responsible.  Allow videos, minutes and more to be shared on GFP again, for transparency.  Know your neighbors, help a friend.  Be good to each other. Amen.

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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I will truly miss my Uncle Stephen.  Telling me so much information about from gardening to canning. Just to listening to him talk with such passion for everything that he does… he had a sense of humor that always warms my heart.. listening to him play the banjo sometimes even when he didn’t feel good. he is always willing to share his recipes and his ways of doing things… his solar information he was always studying something ... I’m remember one time we asked him where he got his blackberries when it wasn’t Blackberry season and he go there’s a store down the road it’s called Walmart they have everything… He was so funny.  I love you.. xoxo.

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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Sorry for your loss. He sure did look like his father.

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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Reader 7, please give details for your suggested solutions to the County’s concerns you addressed.

The information would be helpful for consideration by school system administrators and the general public.

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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There is speculation that the plan is for GSC to convert to an education center for low risk federal inmates. Is this something the County and central WV needs?

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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Dr. Pellett’s commentary in the 10/26/2018 issue of the Gazette includes a statement that GSC is responsible for injecting $28,000,000 into the local economy.

If GSC were to close loss of the money would cause the County to have more severe poverty than it has now.

The pressing challenge is for GSC’s administrators including its Board of Governors to exercise effective leadership to prevent closure.

Why can’t GSC take action on the long standing suggestion for it to be an innovator by establishing a five year teacher education program to enable students to earn a masters degree by graduation time?

Something must be done in WV to deal with the 700 positions for which certified teachers including those for math, science and special education are not in the classrooms.

Dr. Pellett and GSC’s Board of Governors why is a new teacher education program at the College not a viable option? Nothing else seems to be working.

The need exists, a similar program of excellence does not exist anywhere in the State, and GSC’s status would be elevated by having a masters degree program.

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Paine: Plan to improve math scores to focus on algebra where a third of teachers aren’t certified'.

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GSC could make a valuable contribution to WV by doing a study to report on how grade and elementary schools with excellent results in math and reading did it.

Then, other schools could use the information as guidance instead of going it alone to reinvent the wheel.

With the Ed.D. expertise at GSC it would be a natural to take on the assignment. Dr. Pellett, would you back the initiative?

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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There is reference to signing an agreement with the State for math4life for all WV school districts. What has Gilmer County agreed to do to fix our problems?

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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This important news has potential for making significant progress in improving math and reading outcomes in WV.

It hinges on how quickly advantage can be taken from lessons learned in schools that excelled.

The WVBE could do an analysis of reasons for excelling and to quickly provide guidance information to other schools.

That is the way the private sector approaches problem-solving because chronic failures have consequences and the unfit are weeded out.

Dr. O’Cull could help if the WVBE is not responsive. There could be panels of individuals from excelling schools to make presentations at WV School Board Association meetings to explain what their schools did to make the achievements.

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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A characteristic of a good strategic plan is to simplify language to enable a clear understanding of all its details.

Regarding the comment about abbreviations, a simple fix for them and terms (e.g. lexile) would be to insert an asterisk or a footnote symbol the first time one of them is used to refer readers to a section at the end of the documents where the entries are defined.

This comment is not intended to be a criticism. All specialty fields have a language of their own including the teaching profession.

Suggested clarity improvements in the plans would not be time consuming for principals at the County’s two schools.

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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