Local Sports

Normal Community Looking for Big Year on Baseball Diamond

It's been an exciting year at Normal Community High School and the boys baseball team is hoping to add to the excitement this spring.


The boys' basketball team punched its ticket to the State Farm Center in Champaign Monday for the State Finals and baseball coach Ryan Short says he's got an exciting baseball squad that made some noise last year with almost each impact player returning this year.



Coach Short says his team's success starts with its starting pitching and they have two high-level top-of-rotation starters they can rely on to give them good outings nearly every time they take the ball.



Normal Community also brings back everybody on the infield and its backstop. Coach Short is very excited about the depth of his offense this year.



Coach Short calls standout Ironmen athlete Dexter Niekamp one of the most decorated athletes to ever play at Normal Community and says Niekamp plays on the basketball team and credits his commitment to each sport he plays and anticipates him jumping right into baseball next week when he comes out to play.



]Coach Short notes, other than Niekamp, they do not have any baseball players that play basketball so they have had everyone at practice the first few days of the practice season. He adds it has been interesting to juggle baseball and basketball the last few weeks but the excitement has made it worth it. 


Normal Community opens the baseball season next Thursday hosting Metamora.

Normal West Looking for Bounce Back Spring in '24

Normal West baseball took its lumps in the spring of 2023 but a motivated group is ready for a rebound this year.


Coach Chris Hawkins explains despite the first losing season of his nearly 20-year tenure at Normal West, it was a very enjoyable season and he has seen a lot of positive things from his team as they prepare for the upcoming baseball season.



According to Coach Hawkins, each returning All-Big 12 Conference senior brings something unique to the table and has liked the leadership they are providing early on this season.



High school baseball often comes down to pitching and having a good stable of quality arms. Coach Hawkins says ten of his 14 varsity players this year can pitch and has a junior class that will see a lot of players getting innings at the JV level - something he is excited about.


Coach Hawkins calls a year like last year, winning or learning. He points out they play a tough schedule each year to get ready for the postseason where each team makes the postseason and anything can happen.


Normal West opens the season next Wednesday at Rochester. The Wildcats will spend its spring break playing at a tournament in Shelby County, Alabama.

Illinois Wins Sunday, Takes Two of Three in South Carolina

Illinois baseball (5-6) secured a winning weekend at the First Pitch Invitational with a 12-6 win over Michigan State (4-7) in a non-conference matchup at Fluor Field today.


Drake Westcott powered the offense today, going 1-for-4 with a run, home run, three RBI and a walk. Asher Bradd, Coltin Quagliano and Brody Harding all had two hits in the ballgame and all nine starters recorded at least one hit.


Cooper Omans earned his second win in as many appearances, working 2.2 innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and striking out three. Jake Swartz took no decision in the start, allowing three runs, two earned, over 4.1 innings, punching out three. The Fighting Illini pitching staff issued just one free pass in the contest and totaled six strikeouts.


Swartz retired the first six batters he faced and retired nine of the first 10 batters overall, yielding just one hit. 


Quagliano finised 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI. He has recorded at least one hit in 10 of 11 games this season and has back-to-back multi-hit games.


Bradd went 2-for-5 with a run scored in his first multi-hit game of the season.


Westcott went 1-for-4 with a run, a home run, three RBI, and a walk.


Hejza scored four runs.


Every Illinois starter reached base safely in the win. 


Illinois fell to Florida State 13-7 and topped Western Michigan 8-6 in extra innings on Saturday.


Illinois baseball heads to Knoxville, Tenn., where they will face the No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers in a three-game set at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. 

Valpo Edges Illinois State

Cooper Schwieger had 28 points in Valparaiso's 75-72 win against Illinois State on Sunday.


Schwieger had five rebounds and his two free throws with 12 seconds left sealed the win for the Beacons (7-24, 3-17 Missouri Valley Conference). Isaiah Stafford scored 20 points and added eight rebounds. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Beacons.


Kendall Lewis finished with 17 points and nine rebounds for the Redbirds (15-16, 9-11). Malachi Poindexter added 17 points, five assists and two steals. In addition, Myles Foster finished with 15 points.


Schwieger put up 13 points in the first half for Valparaiso, who led 44-31 at the break. Schwieger scored 15 points down the stretch in the second half to help lead Valparaiso to a three-point victory.


It's off to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament this weekend. The Redbirds take on Evansville on Thursday at 6 pm. 

Illinois State Sweeps Arkansas-Pine Bluff Over Weekend

Illinois State baseball posted their first sweep since 2022 as the Redbirds defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 13-3, at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex on Sunday.


Six players had hits for Illinois State (5-5), led by junior Noah Rabin, who smacked a home run for the second straight game, tallying four RBIs, and a run scored. Sophomore Luke Lawrence went 3-for-5 with a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored.


Sophomore Thomas Harper got the Sunday start, going 3.0 innings against the Golden Lions (6-5) with eight strikeouts. Junior Joe Husak impressed out of the Redbird pen once again, firing four scoreless innings as he picked up the win.


Rabin's grand slam to gave ISU a 4-3 lead and Daniel Pacella added an RBI double down the right field line, pushing the margin to 5-3 in the fifth. 


Lawrence made it 13-3 in the 9th with an RBI triple as scoring Luke Stulga and Daniel Contreras.


Illinois State is scheduled to travel to nationally-ranked Vanderbilt from March 8-10 for a three-game series.

Drake Tops Bradley

Tucker DeVries scored 29 points and Drake beat Bradley 74-66 on Sunday night.


DeVries added six rebounds and four steals for the Bulldogs (25-6, 16-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Kevin Overton made two 3-pointers and scored 13. Colby Garland had 10 points.


Malevy Leons led the Braves (21-10, 13-7) with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Duke Deen added 13 points and Darius Hannah scored 10.


The Braves will take on the winner of Thursday's Illinois-Chicago/Southern Illinois first-round Missouri Valley Conference tournament game Friday night at 8:30 pm.

Kyle Larson Wins at Las Vegas

Kyle Larson won for the third time in his career at Las Vegas, where in 2021 he got his first win driving for Rick Hendrick following a nearly yearlong suspension in 2020. Larson also won in the No. 5 Chevy at Las Vegas last October in the playoffs.


Larson held off Tyler Reddick for his 24th career Cup victory. In a Toyota for 23XI Racing, Reddick chased Larson for the final several laps but could never find enough room to make a move for the pass. Larson’s margin of victory was 0.441 seconds over Reddick.


Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season and opened the year with William Byron winning the Daytona 500.


Chevrolet also has wins this year by Byron in the Daytona 500 and Daniel Suarez last week at Atlanta for Trackhouse Racing. Chevrolet has won eight of nine national series races to open the year.


Ford and Toyota are both using new cars this year.


Reigning NASCAR champion Ryan Blaney was third for Team Penske in a Ford, followed by Trackhouse driver Ross Chastain, Ty Gibbs in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and Las Vegas native Noah Gragson was sixth in his best finish since joining Stewart-Haas Racing.


Martin Truex Jr. for JGR was seventh, followed by teammate Denny Hamlin, Penske driver and pole-sitter Joey Logano and Byron. Suarez, last week’s winner, was 11th


Larson swept all three stages and led 181 of the 267 laps. The win made Larson the Cup Series points leader with an eight-point cushion over Blaney.


NASCAR goes next week to Phoenix Raceway, where Byron is the defending race winner. Chastain won in November on the day Blaney won his first Cup title.

Blue Ridge Senior Signs NLI To Water Ski at Florida Southern

A Blue Ridge student is heading to college in Flordia to water ski.


Blue Ridge senior Ty Meeker loves the beach and the water and says Flordia Southern was the perfect fit for the next step for his water skiing career and his professional ambitions.



Meeker explains his dad's love of the sport and growing up around water skiing started his love for the sport 



Since Meeker has taken up water skiing his talents have led him to many distinguished events and accomplishments 



Meeker is a part of the soccer and basketball teams at Blue Ridge. He is also a member of the CEO program and is the student council president. He explains how he can do all that and pursue water skiing.


Meeker indicates nationals this year will be held in Lakeland, Flordia and you can watch through the  YouTube channel,  Water Broadcasting Company. 

HS BBall Postseason Action Today

Class 1A Sectional championship action tonight


At Salt Fork


Heyworth 7:00pm



At Effingham St. Anthony


Arcola 6:00pm

Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran


Class 2A Sectional championship action tonight


At Shelbyville


St. Joseph-Ogden 7:00pm



Class 3A Sectional championship action tonight


At Lincoln


Decatur MacArthur 7:00pm

Mt. Zion


At Pontiac


Metamora 7:00pm

Peoria Richwoods


Class 4A Sectional championship action tonight


At Pekin


Quincy 7:00pm

Normal Community


High school girls Class 3A State semifinal action today


At Normal CEFCU Arena


Chatham-Glenwood 9:30am

Hinsdale South


Lombard-Montini 11:15am


NASCAR Shifts to Las Vegas This Weekend

Daniel Suarez narrowly edged Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch in the closest finish in Atlanta history for his second career victory in the top series.


The winning margin — 0.003 seconds — is the third-closest since 1993 when electronic scoring was implemented. Now NASCAR moves across the country to Las Vegas Motorspeedway for the third race of the season.


The victory came in career start No. 253 for Suarez, whose other win came in June 2022 at Sonoma. The race featured 10 cautions and an Atlanta-record 48 lead changes. Todd Gilliland led 58 laps; the third-year driver had led a combined 11 laps in his first two seasons. He finished 26th.


Daytona 500 winner William Byron won after starting second at last year's spring race in Vegas. 


Practice and qualifying is at 1 pm Saturday. Race time is 2:30 pm on Sunday.


Austin Hill won his second straight race to open the season, surging to the lead on an overtime restart when teammate Jesse Love ran out of gas at Atlanta.


Hill enters the XFinity Series race at Las Vegas as the defending winner from last spring's race. 


Hill became the first driver since Tony Stewart in 2008 to win the first two Xfinity races of the season. Hill has won three of the last four Xfinity Series races at Atlanta and is halfway to his wins total in 33 races last season. 


Love started on the pole, becoming the first driver to win the pole in his first two career starts, led 157 laps and finished 12th. Georgia native Chandler Smith finished second and New Zealander Shane Van Gisbergen was third.


Practice and qualifying is tonight at 5:30 pm with race time Saturday at 4 pm. 


Kyle Busch moved to the lead when Grant Enfinger had tire problems with six laps to go and won in the Craftsman Truck Series for the seventh time at Atlanta.


The victory was Busch’s 65th in the truck series, extending his own record, and 230th across NASCAR’s three national series. ... Busch drove for Spire Motorsports, who he sold his truck team to late last year, and will race four more times for the team this season. 


Ty Majeski was second, followed by Corey Heim, Taylor Gray, and Nick Sanchez, who won the season-opener at Daytona.


Busch won the pole in Vegas and rode to the win last spring. 


Practice and qualifying is at 3:30 pm this afternoon. Race time is 8 pm tonight. 

Avalanche Blank Blackhawks

Nathan MacKinnon scored with 2:28 left for his 100th point this season, and the Avalanche rolled to a 5-0 victory over the lowly Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.


Zach Parise had two goals and an assist as Colorado earned its second straight win. Ross Colton and Devon Toews also scored, and Justus Annunen made 24 saves in his first career shutout in nine NHL appearances.


MacKinnon scored his 36th goal when he sent a wrist shot between Petr Mrazek’s legs. He also picked up his 64th assist on Colton’s goal in the second period.


The 28-year-old MacKinnon, one of the front-runners for NHL MVP, became the first player in Avalanche history with consecutive seasons with at least 100 points. He had 42 goals and 69 assists in 71 games last year.


Last-place Chicago dropped to 5-20-4 in its last 29 games. Mrazek made 29 saves for the Blackhawks, who were shut out for the eighth time this season.

Avalanch Blank Blackhawks

The Blackhawks host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

HS BBBall Sectional Scores

Class 1A


Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran 49

Tuscola 46


Hardin-Calhoun 59

Springfield Calvary 56


Class 2A


Auburn 40

Williamsville 53


Peoria Manual 40

Macomb 41


Tolono Unity 39

Teutopolis 48


Class 3A


Mt. Zion 58

Rochester 51


Kankakee 66

Peoria Richwoods 70

Illinois Outlasts Minnesota

Terrance Shannon Jr. scored 29 points, Marcus Domask had 22 and Coleman Hawkins added 20 to lead No. 13 Illinois to a 105-97 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night.


Dain Dainja had 11 points and six rebounds for the Illini (21-7, 12-5 Big Ten), who scored more than 85 points for the 10th time in 12 games.


Dawson Garcia scored 29 points and Cam Christie had 23 for Minnesota (17-11, 8-9). Mike Mitchell Jr. added 17 points, Pharrel Payne had 15 and nine rebounds and Elijah Hawkins had 10 points and 12 assists.


Minnesota led 63-62 with 14:15 left, but a jumper by Shannon put Illinois ahead for good.


Illinois shot 61.3% from the field and Minnesota shot 60%, including 14 of 20 on 3-pointers. The teams combined for just nine turnovers, five by the Gophers and four by the Illini.


The win was Illinois’ eighth straight over Minnesota and kept the Illini in second place in the Big Ten, two games behind No. 2 Purdue (14-3) with three conference games remaining for both teams.


Illinois improved to 15-2 at home with one game to go at the State Farm Center.


The Illini went off script and dug deep into their bench Sunday in a 95-85 win over Iowa. Ten players logged 10-plus minutes and all 10 scored at least two points. Ten players saw action against Minnesota, eight scored, and the Illini bench outscored Minnesota’s reserves 18-3.


A mid-range jumper by Shannon with 1:35 left in the first half gave him 1,000 points in his two seasons at Illinois.


Illinois visits Wisconsin on Saturday.

Bradley Rolls Southern Illinois

Darius Hannah scored 22 points as Bradley beat Southern Illinois 86-67 on Wednesday night.


Hannah also contributed seven rebounds for the Braves (21-9, 13-6 Missouri Valley Conference). Connor Hickman added 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. Malevy Leons finished with 16 points.


The Salukis (19-11, 11-8) were led in scoring by AJ Ferguson, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Southern Illinois also got 15 points from Jarrett Hensley. Troy D'Amico also had 10 points.


Hannah scored 13 points to help the Braves build a 37-27 halftime lead. Bradley extended its lead to 76-49, fueled by a 15-0 run.


Bradley visits Drake on Sunday to finish out the regular season.

Illinois State Walks Off Missouri State

Johnny Kinziger scored 20 points and hit a jumper at the buzzer to lift Illinois State over Missouri State 75-74 on Wednesday night.


Following a timeout with 2.7 seconds left, Kinziger took an inbound pass and his jumper hit nothing but net.


Malachi Poindexter also scored 20 points for the Redbirds (15-15, 9-10 Missouri Valley Conference). Myles Foster had 16 points.


The Bears (15-15, 7-12) were led by Donovan Clay, who recorded 21 points and seven rebounds. Missouri State also got 21 points and five assists from Alston Mason. N.J. Benson also recorded 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.


Illinois State wraps up its regular season slate at Valpo on Sunday afternoon.

Bulls Outlast Cavaliers

DeMar DeRozan made the big shots down the stretch and Andre Drummond dominated on the glass. It was just enough to lift the Chicago Bulls past one of the Eastern Conference's best teams.


DeRozan scored 35 points, Drummond had 26 rebounds and Chicago outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-123 in double overtime Wednesday night.


DeRozan scored 16 points in the 10 extra minutes, helping the Bulls bounce back from a loss to lowly Detroit one night earlier.


Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 13 rebounds. Ayo Dosunmu scored 21. Drummond finished with 17 points and helped the Bulls set an NBA high this season with 74 rebounds.


DeRozan missed a turnaround jumper at the end of regulation with the game at 103 after Chicago rallied from 11 down in the fourth. He made three free throws to tie it in the first OT and keyed an 8-0 spurt to start the second OT.


DeRozan drove for a layup and made a 3 to put the Bulls on top 120-115. A tip-in dunk by Drummond and free throw by DeRozan stretched the lead to eight, and the Bulls hung on from there.


The Cavaliers led 114-110 after Mitchell drove for a layup with 26 seconds remaining in the first OT. But the Bulls weren’t finished.


DeRozan drove for a layup. Mitchell made a free throw with 14 seconds remaining to make it a three-point game, only to miss the second attempt.


DeRozan then got fouled attempting a 3 from the wing and made all three free throws to tie it with 12 seconds remaining. Mitchell pulled up for a 20-footer and missed, sending it to a second overtime.


The Cavaliers looked like they were in control, leading 89-78 early in the fourth quarter after Okoro nailed a 3, but the Bulls came roaring back.


Vucevic gave Chicago a 98-97 lead with 3:45 remaining when he connected from beyond the arc. It was 100-all when Mitchell nailed a step-back 3 with about 2:15 remaining.


Drummond then scored on a put-back to make it a one-point game, and a wild finish to regulation sent the game to regulation. Vucevic missed an open 3 in the final minute, got the ball back and made the second free throw to tie it after missing the first with 38 seconds remaining.


Coby White then picked off a bad pass by Mitchell, giving the Bulls a chance to win the game. But DeRozan missed a 21-foot turnaround jumper in the closing seconds.


The Bulls were missing a key player with guard Alex Caruso sidelined because of a strained right hamstring. 


The Bulls host Milwaukee on Friday night. 

Oilers Take Down Blues in Overtime

Connor McDavid scored 4:34 into overtime and also had two assists to rally the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.


Zach Hyman scored twice to give him 40 for the season as Edmonton won its second straight. Stuart Skinner finished with 30 saves.


Late in the extra period, McDavid danced past a couple of defenders before chipping a shot past Binnington for his 22nd of the season to snap a 10-game goal-scoring drought. He had 25 between goals.


Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich scored for the Blues, who have lost three straight and five of six. Jordan Binnington had 31 saves.


Blues defenseman Justin Faulk played his second game in two nights after missing the previous 12 games because of a lower-body injury.


Ther Blues return home to host Minnesota on Saturday.

High School Boy's Basketball Sectionals

Class 1A Sectional semifinal scores from Tuesday


At Salt Fork


Heyworth 49

Decatur St. Teresa 43


Champaign St. Thomas More 38

Lexington 52


At Effingham St. Anthony


Arcola 56

Bluford-Webber 44


Class 2A Sectional semifinal scores from Tuesday


At Beardstown


Pleasant Plains 45

Alton Marquette 56


At Canton


Taylor Ridge-Rockridge 31

Peoria Notre Dame 28


At Clifton Central


Fieldcrest 53

Manteno 37


At Shelbyville


Flora 40

St. Joseph-Ogden 50


Class 3A Sectional semifinal scores from Tuesday


At Lincoln


Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 36

Decatur MacArthur 63


At Pontiac


Metamora 69

LaSalle-Peru 37


Class 3A Sectional semifinal scores from Tuesday


At Pekin


Normal Community 61

Moline 44


Class 1A Sectional semifinal matchups tonight


At Effingham St. Anthony


Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran 6:00pm



Class 2A Sectional semifinal matchups tonight


At Beardstown


Auburn 7:00pm



At Canton


Peoria Manual 6:00pm



At Clifton Central


Beecher 7:00pm



At Shelbyville


Tolono Unity 7:00pm



Class 3A Sectional semifinal matchups tonight


At Lincoln


Mt. Zion 7:00pm



At Pontiac


Kankakee 7:00pm

Peoria Richwoods

Pistons Beat Bulls

Cade Cunningham scored 26 points and the Pistons stopped a six-game losing streak with a 105-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.


The Pistons (9-49) bounced back from a loss at New York the previous night and tied Washington for the NBA's worst record despite solid performances by Chicago's Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond. They put this one away with time to spare after a costly no-call helped send them to a two-point loss against the Knicks.


Detroit went on a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter to stretch a one-point lead into a 101-90 advantage.


Simone Fontecchio scored 17 and matched a career-high with five 3-pointers. Jaden Ivey finished with 15 points, helping the Pistons beat the Bulls for just the second time in 18 games.


Jalen Duren added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Ausar Thompson scored 13. Isaiah Stewart finished with 11 points and nine rebounds after missing 11 games - the previous three due to a league suspension for punching Suns center Drew Eubanks at the arena hours before a game at Phoenix.


Vucevic had 25 points and 10 rebounds. DeRozan also had 25 points.


Drummond added 20 points and 11 rebounds against his former team, but the cold-shooting Bulls lost for the third time in four games. Chicago made just 2 of 29 3-pointers, with Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White each missing all five attempts.


With an 89-88 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Fontecchio nailed a 3 and Cunningham made three free throws to spark the decisive run.


The Pistons continued to add to their lead after White made two free throws for Chicago.


Cunningham nailed a 3 and made a foul shot. Duren hit two free throws to make it 101-90 with 3:32 remaining, helping Detroit come out on top.


The Bulls host Cleveland on Wednesday.

Jets Double Up Blues

Sean Monahan scored a goal and added an assist after missing a game because of an illness to help the Winnipeg Jets beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Tuesday night and extend their win streak to four games.


Brenden Dillon, Kyle Connor and Alex Iafallo also scored for Winnipeg, which has won seven of its last eight games. Josh Morrissey and Nikolaj Ehlers each contributed two assists and Laurent Brossoit made 36 saves.


Iafallo ended a 20-game goal-scoring drought.


Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad scored for the Blues, who are 2-4-0 in their past six games. St. Louis goalie Joel Hofer made his first start in his hometown and stopped 28 shots.


Monahan got the Jets on the board at 8:53. He has six goals in his past five games after registering no points in his first four games after being traded to Winnipeg from Montreal.


Dillon scored his career-high seventh goal of the season less than two minutes later through traffic.


Buchnevich cut into the lead 30 seconds later off a rebound for his 23rd, but Connor replied with his 24th at 15:33 to regain the two-goal advantage. Connor has scored in four straight games and extended his point streak to six games with five goals and six assists.


Saad used a bouncing puck to make the score 3-2 nine minutes into the second period, extending his point streak to four games.


Iafallo scored at 10:13 of the third when he used a puck that bounced off the end boards and put it by Hofer.


Winnipeg has won all three games against the Blues this season.


The Blues wrap up a three-game road trip at Edmonton on Wednesday.

HS Basketball Postseason Matchups

Class 1A Boy's Basketball Sectional Semifinal Action today


At Salt Fork


Heyworth 6:00pm

Decatur St. Teresa


Champaign St. Thomas More 7:30pm



At Effingham St. Anthony


Arcola 6:00pm



Class 2A Boy's Basketball Sectional Semifinal Action Today


At Beardstown


Pleasant Plains 7:00pm

Alton Marquette


At Canton


Taylor Ridge-Rockridge 6:00pm

Peoria Notre Dame


At Clifton Central


Fieldcrest 7:00pm



At Shelbyville


Flora 7:00pm

St. Joseph-Ogden


Class 3A Boy's Basketball Sectional Semifinal Action Today


At Lincoln


Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 7:00pm

Decatur MacArthur


At Pontiac


Metamora 7:00pm



Class 4A Boy's Basketball Sectional Semifinal Action Today


At Pekin


Normal Community 7:00pm



Class 3A Girls Basketball Supersectional action from Monday


At Highland


Chatham-Glenwood 45

Highland 38


At LaSalle-Peru


Lincoln 46

Dixon 24

Illinois State Drops Weekend Finale to Arkansas-Little Rock

The Illinois State baseball team scored in the 1st inning on Sunday but dropped the series finale, 10-5, to Little Rock at Gary Hogan Field.


An RBI triple in the first inning from redshirt junior Judah Morris opened the game's scoring. Little Rock answered with three runs in the 2nd inning to go up 3-1 lead.


 Daniel Pacella tied the game at 3-3 in the third with a solo home run and a wild pitch which scored Morris with the bases loaded. Arkansas-Little Rock outscored ISU 7-2 the rest of the way for the win. 


Illinois State drops to 2-4 in 2024 while Little Rock improves to 4-3.


Sophomore Thomas Harper tied a career-high with 7 strikeouts over 5.0 innings of work.


Illinois State is scheduled to play Tuesday in Evanston against Northwestern, with first pitch at 2:30 p.m.

Red Wings Outlasts Blackhawks

Former Blackhawks Patrick Kane scored on a breakaway 1:43 into overtime in his return to Chicago, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday night.


The 35-year-old Kane was all alone when Alex DeBrincat hit him in stride near center ice. The dynamic winger then skated in and beat Petr Mrazek on the goaltender's glove side for his 12th goal of the season.


Kane starred for the Blackhawks for 16 seasons before he was traded to the New York Rangers a year ago. He signed with Detroit as a free agent and was repeatedly saluted with raucous cheers from a season-high crowd of 21,141 in his first game against his first NHL team.


He has five goals and seven assists during an eight-game point streak, and the Red Wings have won five straight games.


Kane’s Chicago homecoming coincided with the Blackhawks retiring Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios’ No. 7 jersey in a pregame ceremony. Chelios also spent time with the Red Wings during his playing career.


Nick Foligno and MacKenzie Entwistle scored for last-place Chicago, which has dropped four in a row. Mrazek made 28 saves.


Detroit tied it at 2 when DeBrincat scored on a bad-angle shot that just trickled past Mrazek with 4:16 to play. Kane picked up an assist on DeBrincat's 22nd goal.


DeBrincat also played with Kane with the Blackhawks, scoring 160 goals in five seasons before he was traded to Ottawa in July 2022.


Chicago wasted two prime chances to open a 3-1 lead before DeBrincat delivered. Joey Anderson came up empty on a rebound attempt 8:25 into the third, and Connor Bedard was denied by James Reimer on a breakaway midway through the period.


Reimer finished with 33 stops for Detroit, which was coming off a 6-1 victory over St. Louis on Saturday.


Chicago responded with two in the second. After whiffing on a check attempt on Sprong on Detroit's goal, Entwistle tied it at 1 when he converted a nice setup by Reese Johnson at 3:29. Foligno then made it 2-1 when he got a piece of Bedard's power-play shot with 2:08 left in the period.


The Blackhawks host Colorado on Thursday night.

Bulls Drop Pelicans

Nicola Vucevic had 22 points and 13 rebounds for his 31st double-double this season - not to mention the 500th of his career - and Chicago defeated New Orleans 114-106 on Sunday night to sweep the season series.


DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, including a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to give the Bulls a 111-106 lead. To him, the game exemplified the Bulls' determination not to quit on a season marred by major injuries.


High-scoring guard Zach LaVine had season-ending foot surgery in early February, and Sunday's game was the first since Chicago learned that regular reserve forward Patrick Williams also would miss the rest of the season with his foot injury.


Ayo Desunmu added 21 points for Chicago, which also finished with a significant edge at the foul line, hitting 19 of 21 free throws while New Orleans made 10 of 14.


Zion Williamson scored 19 points, tied a career-high with 11 assists and grabbed nine rebounds for the Pelicans, who dropped their second straight game after winning eight of nine. Brandon Ingram, back from a two-game absence caused by a non-COVID illness, scored 22 points but committed nine turnovers. Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 17 rebounds for New Orleans.


The Pelicans took their largest lead at 12 points when rookie Jordan Hawkins hit a driving floater to make it 82-70 late in the third quarter. But Chicago responded by scoring the last 11 points in the period, starting with Vucevic's 3 and ending with Jevon Carter's rainbow pull-up near the baseline to make it 82-81.


The Pelicans committed 19 turnovers in all - seven in the first quarter, which the Bulls closed on an 18-3 run. Dosunmu hit twice from deep during the spurt. DeRozan made a 3 and converted a three-point play on a pull-up jumper.


The Bulls host Detroit on Tuesday night.

Daniel Suarez Wins Photo Finish at Atlanta

Daniel Suarez edged Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch in a three-wide blur at the line to win a crashed-filled NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday.


The second career win in 253 Cup races for Suarez set off a celebration that included a long series of congratulations from other drivers for the popular native of Monterrey, Mexico.


The review confirmed the first win for Suarez since June 2022 at Sonoma. It was his first victory on a speedway, but he said he’s not satisfied after locking up a spot in the playoffs in only the second race of the year.


Busch, who won Saturday’s Trucks race, moved to the middle between Blaney, the 2023 Cup champion, and Suarez to set up the dramatic finish. Blaney was second, only 0.003 seconds behind, and Busch was third.


A massive pileup of at least 16 cars on the second lap was the biggest in the history of Atlanta Motor Speedway and set the pace for a procession of wrecks. The crash left many cars heavily taped for the remainder of the afternoon.


The intensity picked up when Austin Cindric went to the bottom of the track in his Team Penske Ford for a four-wide pass to take the lead with 50 laps remaining.


Michael McDowell, who on Saturday won his first pole in his 467th start, won the first stage but collided with Daytona 500 champion William Byron while trying to slow down to enter pit row in the second stage. McDowell suffered right front damage and each car fell one lap behind before McDowell made his way back to the lead midway through the final stage. He finished eighth.


In addition to Atlanta’s closest finish, it was the closest finish at any 1.5-mile track and the third-closest Cup finish since electronic scoring was established in 1993.

There were 10 cautions and an Atlanta-record 48 lead changes.


After qualifying second on Saturday, Joey Logano had to start at the back of the field and serve a pass-through penalty for a safety violation with his gloves. Chase Elliott, who qualified 28th, also was pushed to the back row, one spot ahead of Logano, following unapproved adjustments to the engine sensor on his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.


Two Ford drivers for Stewart-Haas Racing, Noah Gragson and Ryan Preece, had items from their cars confiscated for inspection on Friday. Rulings from NASCAR could come next week.


Elliott, who earned his first win at his Atlanta home track in 2022, started stage 3 in fourth place. Elliott was eighth when he was tapped from behind by Ross Chastain’s Chevrolet and sent into a spin that ended his hopes of winning.


The Cup Series moves to Las Vegas next weekend.


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