Baseball

Spartan shortstop Brandt Gilbertson swallowed up a ground ball and fired to Cameron Bailey at first base, triggering a massive celebration.

The out secured a historic 4-3 win over Archbishop Murphy on April 28, handing Stanwood the league title for the first time since 1998.

“There was a point when we didn’t think we could even be Wesco champs, but once we saw it was a possibility it really focused them,” head coach Matt Brennan said. 

The victory was Stanwood’s sixth in a row and ninth of its last 10.

The Spartans controlled their own destiny after a home 2-1 victory over Archbishop Murphy on April 26.

“It was a tight game. We just had timely hits that did it for us,” the coach said. 

Mason Goodson went 3-for-3 in the game, and Aidan Link and Braedon Requa got the RBIs in the second inning.

The runs proved enough for the win because of stout defense behind stellar pitching from Gilbertson, who only needed 66 pitches — featuring a rare three-pitch inning — to secure the win. Spartan fielders flashed plenty of leather in the game, including right fielder Ryan Cheeseman making a sprinting catch for an out and collecting a one-hopper to fire to first to rob a base hit.

“The goal for the last two weeks was to go 6-0 to give ourselves a chance to get into districts. We knew we had to win. We just ticked it off one game at a time,” Coach Brennan said. “When we beat Murphy at home, we knew we could reach our goal. All we had to do was go and get it.” 

Two days later, the Spartans did just that. 

With the score knotted 3-3 in the top of the sixth, Matthew Brennan slapped a double and Tryston Stephenson took advantage with the go-ahead RBI single. Matthew Brennan pitched three scoreless innings of relief to help Stanwood edge Archbishop Murphy 4-3 to secure the Wesco 3A North title. Requa and Bailey each went 2-for-4 from the plate in the game. 

“The seniors were freshmen when I started as head coach. We got through a lot together, and we felt like we accomplished this together,” Coach Brennan said. “It was a really special feeling. We all toiled and it paid off.” 

Though the Spartans started the first 10 games of the season 4-6 and averaged just 2.7 runs per game, they were never shut out and allowed 3.9 runs, keeping Stanwood competitive in most games. 

During the final 10 games during the Spartans’ 9-1 run, they scored 5.4 runs per game and allowed just 1.9 runs per game. 

“Now, we’re two wins away from state,” the coach said of the Spartans, who open the district tournament at home Saturday. “That game Saturday is what we’re focusing on. One game at a time.”

 

Fastpitch

Bats are heating up and confidence is growing. 

“These ladies are hitting their stride,” head coach Patrick Ryan said. “They’re showing a lot of promise.”

Stanwood

Danske Bank Irish Premiership: Glentoran v Cliftonville (today, The Oval, 3pm)

REGARDLESS of who wins the Irish Premiership title this afternoon, former Cliftonville defender Marc Smyth believes Paddy McLaughlin’s Reds will go down as a “great team” in Solitude’s history.

Against all odds, the north Belfast club have brought this season’s compelling title race to the final day of the season, with defending champions Linfield strong favourites to retain their crown later today.

Leading at the top by a point, Linfield host an out-of-sorts Coleraine while Cliftonville travel to Glentoran.

Oran Kearney’s Bannsiders have endured a wretched run of form since the league split – losing four of their last five games – and have slumped to sixth place, while the wheels came off Glentoran’s challenge as soon as they suffered a shock 4-0 loss to Crusaders earlier this month.

Smyth, however, doesn’t regard the destination of the Gibson Cup a foregone conclusion and believes Linfield will face the best version of Coleraine at Windsor Park this afternoon.

“Coleraine look like they’ve had a real drop in form but this is their last game before the European play-offs,” said Smyth, who is head of Cliftonville’s youth academy and also reserve team manager.

“They maybe have been resting players but it’s so close to the play-offs for them now. Whatever they do in this game is going to be their game-plan for the play-offs.

“Football is a funny game. Many things can happen. Weirdly, and maybe it’s the ‘Cliftonville’ in me, I just feel Cliftonville deserve it this year…

“What will happen will happen, but Cliftonville will look back on this season and be proud of what they’ve achieved. They are a credit to themselves and everyone involved, and that’s from the chairman [Paul McKeown] to [board member] David Begley to the coaching staff, players, volunteers and supporters.”

Smyth added: “I’m not exactly sure of the budgets in the league but I would say there are a minimum of five or six clubs with bigger budgets than Cliftonville.

“A manager’s job is getting a team to perform and win games on a football pitch. So who is the best manager? Who is the best coach? It’s the ones who create the best teams. The two managers who are the best in the country at the minute are Paddy McLaughlin and David Healy.

“If you’re budget is double or treble of that of a full-time club and you’re part-time, that tells me the coaching, the Cliftonville management team and the players are doing something exceptional. They’re working harder, they’re training better, they’re coached better and are better organised.

“You can dress it up any way you want but the results and performances show that.”

McLaughlin has already delivered the League Cup trophy this season and has earned rave reviews for his player recruitment since assuming the hot-seat just over three years ago.

Naturally, Reds fans will compare Tommy Breslin’s famous back-to-back league winning teams of 2013 and 2014, in which Smyth was

GladAfrica Championship title race remains tense

Luvuyo Phewa of University of Pretoria celebrates goal with teammates during the GladAfrica Championship 2021/22 match between University of Pretoria and JDR Stars at Tuks Stadium, Pretoria on 22 April 2022 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix


Staff Reporter

Friday Apr 29, 2022. 11:31

Just two points separate Richards Bay and University of Pretoria in the race for the GladAfrica Championship title, while TS Sporting could relegate Jomo Cosmos this weekend.

League leaders Richards Bay will target a third win on the spin when they welcome Uthongathi to the King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium on Friday.

The Natal Rich Boyz beat Hungry LIons 2-1 last weekend to go two points clear at the top of the standings, while the ninth-placed Cane Cutters were held to a goalless draw by Cape Town Spurs which extended their winless streak to three outings.

In the other game taking place on Friday, seventh plays eighth as Platinum City Rovers host Free State Stars at Olen Park, with the two teams separated by just one point in the table.

Meanwhile, University of Pretoria will look to get their title challenge back on track when Venda Football Academy visit the Tuks Stadium on Saturday.

AmaTuks (47) relinquished the lead to Richards Bay following back-to-back 1-1 draws against Cape Town All Stars and JDR Stars, while VFA saw a four-match unbeaten run come to an end with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to strugglers TS Sporting.

Abantu Bemthetho will attempt to drive the final nail into Jomo Cosmos’ coffin when they meet in a bottom-of-the-table clash at the Tsakane Stadium.

Ezenkosi are eight points adrift of safety at the foot of the table with just nine points left to play for and anything but victory against Sporting will confirm their relegation. The Mpumalanga outfit have opened up a six-point gap to Cosmos in 15th place following back-to-back wins to close within two points of Pretoria Callies, who take on Polokwane City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Elsewhere, Black Leopards will be eyeing a sixth straight victory when they face Cape Town Spurs at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday.

Lidoda Duvha are the in-form team in the division at the moment after a 1-0 win over Free State Stars stretched their unbeaten streak to seven matches and took them five points clear of the relegation zone in 10th position. The Urban Warriors are just a point behind Leopards in 12th spot after going through the month of April undefeated.

Sunday also sees JDR Stars travel to Hungry Lions as they look to get back to winning ways after four successive draws dented their bid for promotion. The fourth-placed Hammer Boys (42) trail Cape Town All Stars by two points in race for the promotion play-offs, with Igugu Lekapa only in action on Tuesday against TTM.

GladAfrica Championship fixtures:

Friday, April 29

15h00: Platinum City Rovers v Free State Stars

15h00: Richards Bay v Uthongathi

Saturday, April 30

15h00: Jomo Cosmos v TS Sporting

The Orangeburg Prep golf team shared the Class 2A state championship with Spartanburg Day after both teams finished with a final score of 629.

The Indians entered Tuesday tied with Spartanburg, Orangeburg Prep head coach Al Hay said preparation helped his team rise to the challenge.

“We have guys that are capable of playing well,” Hay said. “We have played some big tournaments this season to help get us ready for playing 18 holes on back-to-back days. Our guys have played well down the stretch, and it continued (at the state tournament).”

Hay said he saw his team begin to struggle on the middle holes Tuesday.

“We talk about every shot counting,” Hay said. “They could have collapsed, but I’m proud of the way they battled. We continued to make good shots.”

Orangeburg Prep’s Harris Holstein was the individual winner of the tournament. Holstein shot a 68 (-4) Monday and followed it with a 75 (+3) Tuesday.

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Orangeburg Prep's Harris Holstein

Orangeburg Prep’s Harris Holstein, left, is presented a trophy from SCISA athletics director Mike Fanning after he finished first overall in the Class 2A SCISA golf championship




“We rode (Harris) Monday,” Hay said. “His score was definitely unexpected, but we needed it. Some of the other guys didn’t play up to their standard, and he kept us in it. Today, the other guys stepped up to help us get the win.”

Freshman Walt Mims shot a 78 (+6) Tuesday while Drew Hunter shot a 79 (+7) to help lead the Indians.

Calhoun Academy finished fifth at the tournament after finishing with a two-day total of 655.


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VARSITY SOFTBALL

Lee Academy 10, Orangeburg Prep 9

Orangeburg Prep dropped a region game to Lee Academy Monday 10-9 in nine innings.

Ryn Grubbs led the Lady Indians with a home run and two RBIs. Katherine Lambrecht had a home run and a single; Lauren Ballew and Payton Schurknight each had a double and a single; Prestan Schurlknight had a double and Erin Holliday and Skylar Stillinger each had singles.

Payton Schurlknight took the loss after giving up 10 hits and three earned runs while striking out seven batters.

Orangeburg Prep drops to 4-8 and 0-3 in region play.

JUNIOR VARSITY SOFTBALL

Lee Academy 10, Orangeburg Prep 7

Layla Garrick pitched four innings, giving up six hits as Orangeburg Prep JV fell to Lee Academy 10-7 Monday.

Riley Roe led the Lady Indians with two doubles and a three RBIs. Emma Grace Burleson, Layla Garrick and Natalie Hall each had singles.

VARSITY BASEBALL

Calhoun Academy 22, Palmetto Academy 1

Landon Barnes and William Felder combined to throw a four-inning no-hitter to help lead Calhoun Academy to a 22-1 win over Palmetto Academy Monday.

Barnes and Felder each threw two innings and combined to strike out five batters.

Mason Polin led the Cavaliers at the plate with three hits and six RBIs

Game Week Preview

San Diego State at New Mexico

April 14-16, 2022

Santa Ana Star Field | Albuquerque, N.M.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Thursday, April 14 | 6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. PT

SDSU: Troy Melton, RHP (1-2, 1.57 ERA, 23.0 IP)

UNM: Riley Egloff, RHP (4-3, 6.59 ERA, 42.1 IP)

Friday, April 15 | 6 p.m. MT/5p.m. PT

SDSU: TJ Fondtain, LHP (1-4, 3.89 ERA, 37.0 IP)

UNM: Brett Russell, RHP (1-4, 5.25 ERA, 36.0 IP)

Saturday, April 16 | 10:30 a.m. MT/9:30 a.m. PT

SDSU: Chris Canada, LHP (1-0, 2.75 ERA, 19.2 IP)

UNM: Matt Haley, LHP (1-1, 6.75 ERA, 30.2 IP)

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR AZTEC BASEBALL

>    San Diego State will make the second road trip of its Mountain West schedule this week when it travels to the Land of Enchantment for a three-game series with New Mexico, April 14-16, at Santa Ana Star Field in Albuquerque, N.M.

>    The first two games vs. the Lobos are scheduled to get underway at 6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. MT, while Saturday’s finale is slated for a an early starting time of 10:30 a.m. MT/9:30 a.m. PT

>    In addition to live stats, all three contests will be streamed live via the Mountain West Network, with links to both platforms available on GoAztecs.com.

>    Due to the league’s scheduling format, SDSU will face two MW opponents just once during the regular season, including this weekend’s opponent New Mexico. The Aztecs will also battle Air Force at Tony Gwynn Stadium, May 6-8, without making a return trip to the Academy.

SETTING THE SCENE

>    SDSU will be looking to put the brakes on a four-game losing streak after dropping an 8-3 decision at San Diego on Tuesday night.

>    As a staff, Aztec pitchers lead the Mountain West in several categories this week, including strikeouts (314), opposing team batting average (.239) and fewest hits allowed (259) while ranking second in team ERA (4.57).

>    On the national stage, SDSU is 52nd in the country with a league-leading 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

>    Among the conference leaders, Jonny Guzman (34) and TJ Fondtain (33) rank eighth and ninth in strikeouts, respectively.

>    In addition, Fondtain finds himself among the MW top 10 in opposing batting average (3rd, .223), fewest hits allowed (4th, 31), fewest runs allowed (T-5th, 23), ERA (6th, 3.89) and innings pitched (8th, 37.0). 

>    Aztec right-hander Troy Melton, who has missed the first three weeks of the 2022 campaign is expected to make his sixth consecutive start on Friday against UNM. On April 8, Melton tied his career high with 10 strikeouts vs. San José State. He was named to the preseason all-Mountain West team in February.

>    Offensively, utility player Cole Carrigg leads the team with a .325 batting average and tops the squad with multiple

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Monday, April 18, 2022) – MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s social responsibility platform, announced today the launch of the 5th Annual Greener Goals Week of Service. Returning in-person for the first time since 2019, League-wide efforts will continue through Earth Day weekend, raising awareness about environmental issues in the soccer community.

Committed to taking steps to address its environmental impact and raise awareness of sustainability initiatives within local communities, MLS continues to explore opportunities to reduce non-renewable energy use, as well as measure and help to offset a portion of emissions associated with League and Club travel including airfare, accommodations and ground transportation for the regular MLS season, playoffs, and MLS Cup. MLS is investing in carbon credits that help offset harmful CO2 emissions and aim to create tangible high value conservation benefits in both domestic and international communities.

Since 2018, MLS has helped offset more than 28,000 tons of CO2 – the equivalent of 42,000 flights from San Jose to Montreal or 22,500 road trips from Vancouver to Miami, according to the League’s carbon credit partner South Pole. By partnering with South Pole and Sport and Sustainability International, the League has measured and helped to offset a portion of MLS CO2 emissions by investing high-quality carbon credits. These carbon credits have helped offset more than 1,250,000 tons of CO2 emissions on average each year since 2018. Credits were derived from the distribution of more than 4,400 emissions-reducing cookstoves throughout communities in Kenya and Zambia and the Envira Tropical Forest Conservation project in Brazil’s Amazon basin which protects 39,300 hectares of tropical forests from logging and encroaching cattle ranches. 

MLS has also joined forces with One Tree Planted to support reforestation projects. As part of the partnership, 27,000 trees have been planted throughout North America since 2021. Additionally, through April 24, 2022, One Tree Planted and MLS will team up to plant one tree for each fan tweet that tags @MLSWorks and includes the hashtag #GreenerGoals, up to 1,000 trees per MLS club and up to 28,000 trees total.

Throughout Greener Goals Week of Service, office staff from all 28 MLS clubs and the League will volunteer their time and give back to conduct environmentally friendly projects in partnership with local charitable organizations.

League-driven Greener Goals initiatives include:

  • Fans can also support the League’s reforestation efforts. For every fan tweet that tags @MLSWORKS and #GreenerGoals, MLS and One Tree Planted will plant a tree in national forests across the United States and Canada, planting up to 28,000 trees total and 1,000 trees for each MLS community where our matches are played. This will mark the reforestation of up to 69 acres of land, which can provide benefits such as cleaner air, water, stabilized soils, and improved biodiversity.
  • MLS will also invest carbon credits in partnership with South Pole to support the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority in northeast Tennessee. Doe Mountain is one of the largest remaining areas of privately-owned forest in the Southern Blue Ridge region, at

WAUKESHA, Wis. — The lab sits off Les Paul Parkway in suburban Milwaukee, tucked away behind an expanse of oak and Norway maple trees and attached to the eight amateur baseball fields that were constructed just a decade ago.

The façade is tan and the roof, red. There are just 10 windows on this 50,000-square-foot structure, giving it the look of an amped-up trailer home. But its functionality is far grander than that.

The interior houses an 80-yard turf football field where, on this afternoon, three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt is training. To his right is the full-fledged weight room way larger than the one at T-Mobile Park, where local high schoolers are using the 16 power-lifting stations. In the back, there’s an NBA-sized basketball court that sits empty, waiting for its next practice.

Upstairs, there are seven batting cages where a handful of teens are practicing for an upcoming summer league game. Next to them is a golf tunnel tailor-made for simulations among area college athletes impacted by winter weather extending into spring.

One would be hard-pressed to find a locale with a cast of athletes this eclectic. NX Level Sports is a full-fledged facility, welcome to all. It smells like a high-school locker room and looks like the Olympic Training Center. It’s an athlete’s lab, the one where Jarred Kelenic — a baseball cyborg in so many ways — was built. When he’s here, the Mariners’ 22-year-old outfielder is home.

***

sea-kelenic-jj-watt

On this mid-week afternoon in the NFL offseason, J.J. Watt, one of football’s all-time greats, trains at NX’s vast facility. Watt also hails from Wisconsin and has worked out with Kelenic when their offseasons overlap. | Art or Photo Credit: Daniel Kramer, MLB.com

In a one-on-one interview late last season, Kelenic halts briefly for some self-deprecation. He’s outlining his offseason plans then laughs at himself when sharing that he stills lives with his parents when he’s not with the Mariners.

“It’ll probably be the last time,” he says through a sheepish grin.

Sure, a big lure back is NX Level right up the road and the comfort of training in an environment he’s always known. But Kelenic at his essence is a homebody who puts family above all. He spent the entire quarantine period during the early days of the pandemic here with his sister, Taylor, and brother, JT, along with his mother, Lisa, and father, Tom. The world was unraveling outside, but at least they had each other — just like old times.

Old times also meant fierce and unapologetic competition. Fans see that side of Kelenic every time they watch the Mariners — a hustle double, a diving catch, even the jubilation of drawing a critical walk, an act that can seem mundane. All of that was birthed here at Casa de Kelenic, dating back to his borderline diaper days. Basketball in the driveway, soccer in the backyard, and heck, even games that he’d literally make up on the fly; they’re

Seven rising young hockey stars from the New Trier area can call themselves champions after helping Chicago Mission boys hockey teams — four with 14U and three with 16U — to titles in the USA Hockey Tier 1 National Championships. 

The Chicago Mission is a AAA youth hockey organization.

The 14U championship on April 5 in Fifth Third Ice Arena in Chicago featured a comeback victory for the Mission, which rosters students from New Trier High School and Loyola Academy.

After falling behind 2-0, the Mission raced back, scoring the last three goals for the victory against Shattuck-St. Mary’s from Minnesota. 

Ethan Baker (Wilmette) and Jake Hutchen (Winnetka) attend New Trier, while Asher Barnett (Wilmette) and Cole McKinney (Lake Forest) go to Loyola. All four play significant time for the travel team that played approximately 80 games this season and won near a handful of championship honors. 

“Those are four of our biggest players in the playoffs,” Mission U14 coach Christian Humra said of the North Shore contingent. “It was really awesome to see.”

A message that Humra preached all season resonated with his team in the championship final.

“Our coach, he always tells us all season, ‘stay consistent, keep consistent and keep on working,’” Hutchen said. “We know that when we’re playing good we are the best team in the country and we took over the second and third period and absolutely dominated them.”

Hutchen said it was McKinney’s goal that helped Mission bring home the title.

The 14U Chicago players Mission celebrate after the final buzzer of the title game. | Photo by Ben Hutchen

“When Cole scored that goal to make it 3-2, we rode that momentum the last 7 minutes,” he said. 

Humra has coached Hutchen for over a handful of years and also coached his brothers. He’s also coached Barnett for a good deal of time as well. He lauds McKinney (forward) and Hutchen (forward) as among the best players in North America at their respective positions. 

He noted that his first year coaching Baker yielded surprising results, as he stepped up a level in terms of the level he played on. 

“He was honestly probably the biggest surprise out of all of them,” Humra said. “He scored a lot of goals late in the season. At nationals he probably scored at least half of the games. He was a big key for us.”

It wasn’t always an easy road for the Mission. After a scorching hot string of months to start the season, injuries piled up. Hutchens sustained an MCL sprain that kept him out of late-season games. Only with physical therapy was he ale to return to the ice for the final six games in the national championship tournament. 

“I think we were 68-2 and then we went to (about) 70-10,” Hutchen said. “We lost a bunch of games in a very short amount of time. … Everyone was down on themselves. We lost regionals. We won state, lost regionals and got a

By:


Sunday, April 17, 2022 | 8:32 PM


Morgan Black was the leading scorer on a national championship hockey team this winter, but she has never worn her high school’s logo on any jersey. That’s because for a girl to play high school hockey in Western Pennsylvania, she always had to play against the boys.

That changes this spring.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, which oversees the sport in this region, is organizing a girls division for the first time. The history-making season was supposed to launch in 2020, but those plans were scuttled in the early days of the pandemic.

Now two years later, the puck drops for the first PIHL girls division game Monday night.

“I’m just really excited I get the opportunity, and all girls across Pittsburgh get to play in an all-girls league,” said Morgan, a North Allegheny senior.

As a boys league, the PIHL got its current name in 1999 and has roots that stretch back to the 1970s. More than 100 players have signed up to play the inaugural girls season.

“This is an opportunity to continue to grow hockey, to make it more available for anyone and everyone who wanted to play,” PIHL commissioner John Mucha said. “USA Hockey has been trying to grow the girls side. It just fits naturally with what we want to do.”

The interest from players has exceeded expectations. The PIHL had about 80 girls sign up two years ago for the season that never

Coleman Stanley came within an out of a complete game and Grayson Ashe drove in four runs as Trinity clinched the 3A Area 6 championship with a 14-2 win over Prattville Christian Academy on Thursday at Whittle-Armstrong Field.

The Wildcats (22-3) improved to 5-0 in area play, while Prattville Christian fell to 3-2. The two teams will resume the series with a doubleheader at PCA on Friday at 4 p.m., but only the first game counts in the area standings. Because PCA won the tiebreaker game with Catholic a week ago, the Panthers will finish as the area runner-up regardless of the outcome of Friday’s game.

As a result, Trinity will play host to Providence Christian in the first round of the 3A state playoffs next weekend, while Prattville Christian will travel to Dothan to play Houston Academy.

Stanley allowed just three hits and two runs in 4.2 innings while walking one and striking out three. Walker McClinton secured the game’s final out.

Ashe went 2 for 3 and drove in four runs, while David Michael Lieux went 3 for 4 with a double, scoring a run and driving in two more. Ben Easterling went 1 for 3, scored a run and drove in two more, Wesley Stallings went 1 for 1 and drove in a pair of runs and Simmons Byrd had a pair of RBIs.

Taylor Lowe had two of PCA’s three hits and drove in both runs.