Local Sports

Clinton Maroons defeat Meridian Hawks

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons defeated the Meridian Hawks by a score of 28-26 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by the B-Roc Designs Player of the Game Ethan Boyer who was 7 of 16 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown. He was also 6 rushing for 67 yards and a touchdown. Zeke Hickman was 15 rushing for 98 yards and a touchdown. Adam Kroger had 4 receiving for 69 yards and a touchdown.

 

The Hawks were led by Drew Horelbrink who was 10 for 22 passing for 106 yards and 4 touchdowns. Grant Meisenhelter was 10 rushing for 119 yards and had 2 receiving for 29 yards and a touchdown.

 

With the win, the Maroons improve to 1-3 overall. The Hawks fall to 1-3 overall.

 

Tune in Friday, April 16, as the Maroons take on Sullivan. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Clinton Hosts Meridian in High School Football Action

The Clinton Maroons will turn their attention this week to the Meridian Hawks in Central Illinois Conference football action tonight.

 

Through the halfway point of the abbreviated pandemic altered high school football season, the Maroons find themselves winless at 0-3. Coach Chris Ridgeway says while the results on the scoreboard on not what they'd hoped for, he's learning a lot about his team.

 

 

Meridian returns most of the team that beat the Maroons last season and Coach Ridgeway credits the Hawks for their athleticism and a disciplined group upfront. 

 

 

Game time tonight from Clinton High School is 7 pm. Hear the action on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

 

CIC action tonight:

 

Shelbyville vs. Decatur St. Teresa

Sullivan-Okaw Valley vs. Central A & M

Warrensburg-Latham vs. Tuscola

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Monticello Hosts Mattoon

The fourth-ranked Monticello Sages will host non-conference opponent Mattoon this week in non-conference high school football action Saturday afternoon from Monticello High School.

 

The Sages rolled past Rantoul 40-0 last week improving to 3-0 on the season. 

 

The Green Wave are 1-2 on the year following last week's 28-0 loss to Effingham. 

 

Hear Saturday's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Game time is 2 pm.

Illini Prairie Conference football action this week:

 

Illinois Valley Central vs. Prairie Central
Pontiac vs. Bloomington Central Catholic
St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Tolono Unity
Olympia vs. Rantoul

 

8-Man Football 

 

Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland vs. North Fulton
Decatur LSA vs. Edwardsville Metro-East Lutheran
Blue Ridge vs. Champaign St. Thomas More (Sat.)

 

Apollo

 

Charleston vs. Mahomet-Seymour
Taylorville vs. Effingham 
Lincoln vs. Mt. Zion 

 

Central State Eight

 

Decatur Eisenhower vs. Jacksonville 
Decatur MacArthur vs. Chatham-Glenwood
Rochester vs. Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin
Springfield vs. Springfield Southeast
Springfield Lanphier vs. Normal U-High at ISU Hancock Stadium

 

Heart of Illinois

 

El Paso-Gridley at Fieldcrest
Eureka vs. Tri-Valley
Ridgeview vs. Fisher
LeRoy vs. Heyworth 

 

Lincoln Prairie

 

Argenta-Oreana vs. Cerro Gordo-Bement
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond vs. Arcola
Sangamon Valley vs. Villa Grove-Heritage
Oakland Tri-County vs. Toledo-Cumberland

 

Mid-Illini

 

Limestone vs. Canton
Dunlap vs. East Peoria 
Morton vs. Metamora 
Pekin vs. Washington

 

Sangamo

 

Maroa-Forsyth vs. North Mac

 

Non-Conference high school football:

 

Danville Schlarman vs. Peoria Heights

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Central Illinois Outdoors This Weekend Highlights Wild Fishing Stories

Central Illinois Outdoors with Jared White has some wild tales from the water.

 

A massive catch on Clinton Lake and a visit from a Mt. Zion insurance agent that specializes in food plots for hunting. White also talks with the founder of a group that gets veterans into the outdoors.

 

 

Central Illinois Outdoors airs every:

 

Saturday at 10a on 870 WTIM - Taylorville

Sunday at 8a on 1520 WHOW - Clinton

Sunday at 8a on 106.5FM - Bloomington/Normal

Sunday at 8a on 96.5TheWinner-Taylorville

Monday podcast at the CIO website

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Monticello's Ben Cresap Makes Basketball First-Team All Illini Prairie

Monticello junior guard Ben Cresap was named to the Illini Prairie Conference's first-team all-conference team announced Friday morning.

 

Cresap helped the Sages to a 7-3 record and 5-3 mark in the conference averaging 15 points per game, 2.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds. 

 

Bloomington Central Catholic senior guard JT Welch, IVC senior guard Holt Geltmaker and Prairie Central senior guard Trey Bazzell were unanimous all-conference selections. St. Joseph-Ogden sophomore forward Ty Pence and IVC senior guard Mac Parmelee were also first team selections.

 

Monticello junior guard Dylan Ginalick highlighted the second-team along with BCC's Sam Tallen and Jadyn Ellison, IVC senior Kam Wollard, Champaign St. Thomas More junior Patrick Quarnstrom, Tolono Unity junior Blake Kimball, Prairie Central senior Rylie Vaughan and St. Joseph-Ogden junior Evan Ingram.

 

Monticello senior guard Jake Edmondson was joined on the third team all-conference list by Rantoul's Avontay Anderson, Pontiac sophomore Logan Barnett, Olympia senior Hunter Berges, St. Joe-Ogden junior Andrew Beyers, BCCs Drew Hinderer, STMs Averi Hughes and Dawson Magrini and Prairie Central senior Cooper Palmore.

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White Sox Blank Royals

As heard on WHOW, Lance Lynn pitched a five-hitter for the first complete game and shutout in the major leagues this season, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 on a rainy Thursday.

 

Yermin Mercedes kept up his scorching start with a 485-foot homer and Yoan Moncada went deep.

Lynn (1-0) struck out 11 and walked none in his second shutout in 238 career starts, his first since a five-hitter against the New York Yankees on May 27, 2014.

 

Moncada hit a two-run homer in the first, and Mercedes followed with a long shot to left-center against Brad Keller to make it 3-0.

 

The White Sox will try to win their 18th straight game against a left-handed starter and tie a major league record set by Atlanta from 2004-05 when they meet Mike Minor (1-0, 6.00) on Saturday.

 

Chicago's streak dates to a loss to Detroit on Sept. 28, 2019, when lefty Tyler Alexander started for the Tigers but did not figure in the decision. RHP Dylan Cease (0-0, 5.79 ERA) pitches Saturday for Chicago.

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Cubs Double Up Bucs

Craig Kimbrel used every bit of his once elite stuff while finishing off the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates in a 4-2 win on Thursday to become the 12th pitcher in major league history with 350 career saves.

 

Kimbrel struck out Dustin Fowler and pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo with the bases loaded to end the eighth, then retired the Pirates in order for his first five-out save of his 12-year big league career.

 

Kimbrel's 22-pitch performance didn't exactly leave him gassed. The 32-year-old spent nearly an hour going through his usual postgame workout routine.

 

The Cubs broke out of an opening funk by pounding out 11 hits against Tyler Anderson (0-2) and four relievers. Javy Baez hit a go-ahead two-run shot for the Cubs in the sixth. Rizzo and Bryant also homered as Chicago raised its major league-worst team batting average from .143 to .157.

 

Jake Arrieta (2-0) survived a sometimes wobbly six innings to improve to 14-6 against the Pirates. Arrieta allowed two runs, seven hits and three walks and four strikeouts.

 

Zach Davies (1-0, 3.18 ERA) will go for his second victory over the Pirates in a week when the teams meet on Saturday.

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Cardinals Rally Late Past Brewers

Nolan Arenado hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning of his home debut with the Cardinals, lifting St. Louis over the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 Thursday as fans returned to Busch Stadium for the first time since 2019.

 

Arenado, a five-time All-Star acquired from Colorado on Feb. 1 after eight seasons with the Rockies, followed a walk to Austin Dean with the score 1-1. Arenado turned on a first-pitch 96.6 mph offering from Drew Rasmussen (0-1) and sent the ball 373 feet to left for his second homer this season.

 

Adam Wainwright allowed one run and five hits in five innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

 

Giovanny Gallegos (2-0) gave the Cardinals their third straight inning of hitless relief, following Ryan Helsley and Andrew Miller.

 

Alex Reyes finished the six-hitter for his third save, allowing a leadoff single to Omar Narvaez in the ninth and stranding him at third when Daniel Robertson hit a game-ending flyout.

 

Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes gave up one hit in six scoreless innings, struck out nine and walked none.

 

Paul Goldschmidt was held out of Thursday's game due to lower back tightness. The team said it was a precautionary measure.

 

Carlos Martinez (0-1, 7.20) will face RHP Adrian Houser (0-1, 3.60) in the second of the three-game series on Saturday. Martinez, who will be making his 125th career start, is 6-5 with a 2.23 ERA in 15 starts against the Brewers. Houser has allowed 11 runs in 17 1/3 innings against St. Louis.

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Stars Roll Blackhawks

Blake Comeau scored twice, Roope Hintz had a goal and three assists and the Dallas Stars beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on Thursday to end a two-game slide.

 

Jason Robertson and Miro Heiskanen also scored to help Dallas pull closer in the battle for the fourth place and the final playoff spot in the Central Division. The Stars (14-14-10) have 38 points, but have played just 38 games because a COVID-19 outbreak delayed their start this season.

 

Anton Khudobin made 38 saves for the game - and some tough ones in the first period when Chicago came out buzzing and took 16 shots.

 

Dominik Kubalik connected for the Blackhawks (18-18-5), who fell four points behind fourth-place Nashville as the Predators pounded Detroit. Chicago made a trade with Florida earlier Thursday to bolster its roster for a playoff push, but had to settle for a split in a two-game set with Dallas.

 

Kevin Lankinen blocked 29 shots. The Stars power play clicked on two of three chances.

 

The Blackhawks are at Columbus on Saturday for the first of a two-game set

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Bulls Topple Raptors

Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine each scored 22 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 122-113 on Thursday night for their third straight victory.

 

LaVine also had 15 assists, and Lauri Markkanen came off the bench to score 18 points, making eight of 10 shots.

 

Chris Boucher scored a career-high 38 points and had 19 rebounds for the Raptors. They have lost 15 of 18.

 

Pascal Siakam added 27 points and eight rebounds for Toronto.

 

LaVine and Vucevic combined for 15 points on an early 19-3 run that gave the Bulls their first 10-point lead.

 

Raptors forward DeAndre Bembry sat out a one-game suspension for his part in an altercation during the first quarter of Tuesday night's game against the Lakers. Fred VanVleet was also given a one-game suspension that will be served when he is eligible to return from the injured list. 

 

The Bulls are at Atlanta on Friday night.

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Mariners Double Up White Sox

As heard on WHOW, Kyle Seager slapped an opposite-field, bases-clearing double for the big blow in Seattle's seven-run sixth inning, and the Mariners avoided a sweep with an 8-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

 

Seager had three hits, and his two-out liner down the left-field line cleared the bases as the Mariners posted their highest-scoring inning of the young season. But Seager got his chance at hitting in the inning because France refused to relent.

 

France fell behind 0-2, fouled off four two-strike pitches and walked on the 11th pitch of the at-bat from Chicago's Matt Foster to keep the inning alive for Seager.

 

Taylor Trammell, J.P. Crawford and Jose Marmolejos all had RBI singles in the inning, and Mitch Haniger added a sacrifice fly.

 

Almost all of that damage came off Foster who took over after Dallas Keuchel allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach. Foster (0-1) recorded just two outs, and allowed five hits and five earned runs before getting lifted.

 

Keuchel allowed three runs, struck out three and walked three in his second start of the season.

Seattle starter Justin Dunn allowed only one hit, but couldn't finish the fifth inning due to control problems. Dunn walked eight in 4 2/3 innings, including a bases loaded walk to Yasmani Grandal that ended his day. Andrew Vaughn greeted Will Vest (1-0) with a two-run single, and Danny Mendick added an RBI single an inning later.

 

But that was all the White Sox could manage. Chicago failed to score after loading the bases with no outs in the seventh as Luis Robert lined into a double play that ended the threat.

 

Chicago placed SS Tim Anderson on the 10-day injured list but are hopeful he'll be able to return from his hamstring injury early next week. Manager Tony La Russa held out hope Anderson would be available for Thursday's home opener but the team decided to be safe and hold him out longer. Anderson will be eligible to come off the injured list April 15.

 

Lance Lynn (0-0) will make his second start as the White Sox return home to face the Royals. Lynn allowed two unearned runs in 4 2/3 innings in his first start against the Angels. Hear today's action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW at 2:30 pm.

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Brewers Rally Late to Beat Cubs

Lorenzo Cain hit his second homer of the game, a three-run shot in the 10th inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Wednesday.

 

Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff had a no-hit bid going until Ian Happ led off the seventh with a clean single. It was scoreless until then - after that, the ball began to fly.

 

Cain, who had missed three games with an oblique strain, hit a solo homer leading off the eighth. Joc Pederson tied it with his first home run - and first hit - for the Cubs, a drive in the bottom half off reliever Devin Williams.

 

After automatic runner Daniel Robertson moved to third on a single by pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach in the 10th, Cain drove a 1-1 pitch from Brandon Workman (0-1) to the center-field batter's eye on a warm afternoon at Wrigley Field.

 

Cain, a two-time All-Star who turns 35 next week, played five games last season before opting out Aug. 1 because of coronavirus concerns.

 

Jason Heyward singled in automatic runner Kris Bryant in the Cubs 10th off J.P Feyereisen. After two walks loaded the bases, Brad Boxberger came on to retire Happ on a fly to short left for the final out and his first save.

 

Woodruff permitted just one hit, struck out eight and walked none in seven innings.

 

Josh Hader (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

 

Christian Yelich had three hits, including a double, and walked for Milwaukee.

 

The Cubs finished with only three hits after getting just one in a 4-0 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday night.

 

Pederson was happy to get one of the them and have it be big. He's now 1 for 17 after signing a one-year deal with Chicago.

 

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks nearly matched Woodruff through six scoreless innings. The Cubs ace allowed four hits, while walking none and fanning six.

 

Hendricks rebounded from a shaky opening-day start when he allowed three runs in three innings.

Willson Contreras got a scheduled maintenance day off and Tony Wolters started behind the plate. Contreras pinch-hit and walked in the 10th. Contreras was hit by a pitch in the helmet on Monday and in the upper body in the ninth inning on Tuesday, but manager David Ross said the plunkings had nothing to do with resting the catcher.

 

Corbin Burnes (0-1, 1.42) takes the mound against St. Louis RHP Adam Wainwright (0-1, 20.25) in the Cardinals' home opener on Thursday afternoon.

 

Jake Arrieta (1-0, 1.50) comes off a strong first start in his return to Chicago to face the Pittsburgh's Tyler Anderson (0-1, 5.40) on Thursday in the Pirates' home opener.

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Cardinals Blank Marlins

Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer and Dylan Carlson added a grand slam, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over Miami 7-0 Wednesday for a three-game sweep that dropped the Marlins to 1-5 for the first time since 2015.

 

Jack Flaherty (1-0) allowed one hit in six innings, a leadoff single by Corey Dickerson, who advanced on a walk before he was caught stealing. After another walk, Flaherty settled down. He allowed only two more runners, both on walks, and struck out six.

 

Genesis Cabrera and Jordan Hicks finished the three-hitter.

 

St. Louis allowed three runs against the Marlins after giving up 27 in the opening series.

 

Pablo Lopez (0-1) allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings.

 

St. Louis had advanced just one runner to scoring position before the seventh.

 

Molina homered for a 2-0 lead in the seventh and drove in the go-ahead run in each game of the series. Matt Carpenter had drawn a out-two walk, ending a string of 10 batters retired by Lopez.

 

Carlson connected against Zach Pop in the ninth, homering for the second consecutive game. He has three hits this season, and all are home runs.

 

Miami went 1-for-22 with runners in scoring position in the series. Cardinals right fielder Justin Williams made the game's final out with a diving catch off Jon Berti's sinking line drive with Jesus Aguilar on second.

 

Paul Goldschmidt also had an RBI single for St. Louis.

 

Nolan Arenado singled in the fourth and has hit safely in his first six games as a Cardinal.

 

Kwang Hyun Kim (back stiffness) is expected to return with the team to St. Louis for the club's first homestand but there is no announced timetable to activate him from the injured list. Kwang pitched against minor leaguers Tuesday at the team's spring training facility in Jupiter, Florida.

 

Adam Wainwright (0-1, 20.25) will start the home opener against Milwaukee on Thursday. Wainwright allowed six runs and seven hits and was pulled after 2 2/3 innings at Cincinnati.

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Pacers Outlast Timberwolves

Aaron Holiday scored 22 points, brother Justin Holiday had 21 and the short-handed Indiana Pacers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 141-137 on Wednesday night.

 

The Pacers were without All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis and three other injured starters, and had lost nine of 10 home games.

 

Karl-Anthony Towns led NBA-worst Minnesota with 32 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Rookie Anthony Edwards had 27 points.

 

Aaron Holiday wrapped it up with two free throws with 8.3 seconds remaining.

 

Justin Holiday hit four 3-pointers in the final quarter, when the Timberwolves rallied to make it a one-possession game. T.J. McConnell made a key 3-pointer for a 138-132 lead with 24.9 seconds remaining. He finished with 19 points.

 

Aaron Holiday scored 14 points in the second quarter, and the Pacers outscored the Timberwolves 42-25 in the period for a 21-point halftime lead. The Pacers had a season-high 77 points at the break.

 

Caris LeVert added 18 points for the Pacers. They shot 59% from the field.

 

The Pacers are at Orlando on Friday night.

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Blues Down Vegas

Jordan Binnington made a season-high 50 saves to help the St. Louis Blues snap a seven-game skid a 3-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night.

 

Vladimir Tarasenko, Sammy Blais, and Jake Walman scored to help St. Louis end an 0-6-1 stretch. It also gave the Blues their first home victory since an overtime win Feb. 18 against San Jose.

 

Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves while losing his third straight start.

 

Tarasenko scored his third goal of the season 48 seconds into the contest to give St. Louis an early lead.

 

Blais scored 7:21 into the first when he roofed a feed from David Perron over Fleury's glove for his fourth goal of the season to make it 2-0. Blais had been a healthy scratch for St. Louis' previous three contests.

 

Walman scored his first NHL goal to add some insurance with 6:27 remaining in regulation to make it 3-0.

 

Nicoals Roy spoiled Binnington's bid for his ninth career shutout when he scored his second goal of the season with 4:16 to go.

 

Kyle Clifford and Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves midway through the first period. It was Clifford's team-leading fourth fight of the season.

 

The Blues host Minnesota on Friday night.

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The Masters Tees Off Today

The first-and second-round tee times are out for the 2021 Masters. As usual, Augusta National spread the wealth around proportionately with these threesomes. There will be intrigue off the first tee on the first of four long, wonderful spring days at the first major championship of 2021.

 

The Masters' return to April has been long-anticipated since the rescheduled event went on without a hitch last November. The 88-man field that will take on the course beginning Thursday is star-studded with nearly all of the best golfers in the world competing. That is obvious when looking at the groups as prepared by Augusta National for Round 1 action.

 

The first big-time group that will get going is Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka and Viktor Hovland. Others that follow include really interesting mixing and matching of past champions, amateurs and current starts. Here are some of the ones that stand out from the pack.

 

Augusta National doesn't really do the mega-groups thing for the first two days, which is nice when you want to spread your attention on the entirety of the tournament. You get a nice amalgamation of so many different types of players at different stages of their careers and a manageable number of golfers (88) instead of trying to squeeze in 156 before the sunsets.

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Tiger Going 80-Pluse MPH When SUV Crashed

Tiger Woods was driving more than 80 mph — nearly twice the posted speed limit — on a downhill stretch of road when he lost control of an SUV and crashed in a wreck that seriously injured the golf superstar, authorities said Wednesday.

 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed the Feb. 23 crash outside Los Angeles solely on excessive speed and Woods’ loss of control behind the wheel. The athlete will not face any citations for his third high-profile collision in 11 years.

 

Woods was driving 84 to 87 mph (135 to 140 kph) in an area with a speed limit of 45 mph (72 kph), Villanueva said. No one else was hurt, and no other vehicles were involved.

 

The stretch of road is known for wrecks and drivers who frequently hit high speeds. Due to the steepness of the terrain, a runaway truck escape lane is available just beyond where Woods crashed.

 

There was no evidence that the golfer tried to brake, and investigators believe Woods may have inadvertently stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal in a panic, said sheriff’s Capt. James Powers, who oversees the sheriff’s station closest to the crash site.

 

Woods was wearing a seat belt at the time, and the vehicle’s airbags deployed. He told deputies that he had not taken medication or consumed alcohol before the crash, sheriff’s officials said.

 

Detectives did not seek search warrants for Woods’ blood samples, which could have been screened for drugs or alcohol, or his cellphone. Authorities said there was no evidence of impairment or of distracted driving, so they did not have probable cause to get warrants. Investigators did search the SUV’s data recorder, known as a black box, which revealed the vehicle’s speed.

 

On Twitter, Woods thanked first responders, as well as the people who called 911.

 

Documents show that Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and did not remember driving. At the time of the wreck, Woods was recovering from a fifth back surgery, which took place two months earlier.

 

Woods, who is originally from the Los Angeles area, had been back home to host his PGA tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, when the crash happened.

 

He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the tournament when he struck a raised median in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The SUV crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree, striking it at 75 mph (120 kph).

 

Jonathan Cherney, an accident reconstruction expert and retired Irvine, California, police detective, said the sheriff did not explain a fundamental part of the case: Why was Woods driving so fast?

 

The 45-year-old athlete has never gone an entire year without playing, dating back to his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old in high school. He had hoped to play this year in the Masters tournament, which begins Thursday.

 

In the days after the crash, the sheriff called it “purely an accident” and said there was no evidence of impairment.

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Bulls Topple Pacers

On Tuesday, Nikola Vucevic took advantage of Indiana's missing big men by posting 32 points and 17 rebounds to help the Chicago Bulls overwhelm the short-handed Pacers 113-97.

 

Chicago has won two straight since snapping a six-game losing streak and moved within one game of the Pacers for the No. 9 spot in the Eastern Conference. Vucevic also had five assists while going 14 of 29 from the field. All-Star Zach LaVine added 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

 

The combination was simply too much for Indiana, which started the game without two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis (sprained left ankle) and guard Malcolm Brogdon (sore right hip), before losing Myles Turner in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle.

 

Caris LeVert led the Pacers with 20 points and six rebounds. Edmond Sumner and Jeremy Lamb each scored 15 points as Indiana lost for the ninth time in 10 home games.

 

Chicago took control with a 15-3 run early in the second quarter, taking a 45-33 lead. It was never really close afterward. The Bulls led 62-49 at halftime. When the Pacers cut the deficit to 81-72 in the third quarter, Chicago answered with a 9-0 run, led by Vucevic and Indiana never got close again.

 

Doug McDermott scored 11 points for Indiana.

 

Indiana played just its fifth home game since the All-Star break Tuesday, a span of 32 days in which the Pacers also shared Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the NCAA men's basketball tournament and the four boys basketball state championship games. But given their home woes, they might have appreciated a little time on the road. The Pacers are 8-15 on their home court this season. And with 13 games remaining at Bankers Life, they'll need a strong finish to extend the NBA's longest active streak of consecutive winning seasons at home to 32.

 

The Pacers played most of the second half without four of their projected opening day starters. In addition to Brogdon, Sabonis and Turner, T.J. Warren, last season's top scorer, will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. Lamb played despite having a sprained right toe.

The Bulls visit Toronto in Tampa, Florida, for a makeup game on Thursday while the Pacers host Minnesota on Wednesday.

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Brewers Blank Cardinals

Freddy Peralta pitched five sharp innings, Travis Shaw hit a three-run homer and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 on Tuesday night to stop a three-game slide.

 

Peralta (1-0) struck out eight and walked four. Kris Bryant doubled in the fourth for Chicago's only hit of the game.

 

The 25-year-old Peralta was a spot starter for the Brewers the past two seasons. He has expanded his repertoire, adding a slider that was crisp against Chicago.

 

Shaw connected in the first against Adbert Alzolay (0-1), sending an opposite-field drive deep to left-center. Daniel Vogelbach walked with one out and Christian Yelich singled ahead of Shaw's first homer of the season.

 

Omar Narvaez added a solo drive in the fourth. He also went deep during the Brewers' 5-3 loss to the Cubs on Monday night.

 

Both benches emptied when Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger hit Willson Contreras with a pitch to lead off the Cubs' half of the ninth. Contreras, who was beaned in the helmet on Monday, started yelling and walking toward the mound, but was steered to first base by teammates.

 

The teams milled around briefly on the side of the diamond, but quickly returned to their dugouts.

Boxberger, who was just activated on Tuesday, then got Anthony Rizzo to ground into a double play. Bryant bounced to third to end the game.

 

After Peralta departed, Brent Suter worked three innings of near-perfect relief, allowing only a walk to pinch hitter Matt Duffy in the eighth.

 

Chicago had its best scoring chance in the fourth, when Bryant doubled and advanced to third on Yelich's error. But Peralta struck out Joc Pederson and Javier Baez, ending the inning.

 

Alzolay (0-1) allowed four runs and four hits in five innings. Chicago had won three in a row.

 

Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 6.75 ERA) faces Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 9.00 ERA) on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale. Woodruff and Hendricks are trying to rebound from rough opening-day starts.

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Blackhawks Double Up Stars

Kirby Dach, Dominik Kubilik and Alex DeBrincat scored, Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Tuesday night.

 

The Stars rallied from a three-goal deficit in the third period, but goaltender Kevin Lankinen stopped Dallas' Roope Hintz in the slot with 93 seconds to play after goals by Andrew Cogliano and Radek Faksa closed the gap.

 

The victory stopped Chicago's two-game losing streak and extended Dallas' losing skid to two games, dropping them to sixth place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks remain in fourth place.

 

Chicago's Dach opened the scoring in the first period, about 11 minutes after his pass to set up an apparent goal by Kane was ruled offside. Dach accepted a pass from Kane and flipped a 15-foot wrist shot over goaltender Jake Oettinger's glove side at 12:05.

 

Dallas assistant coach John Stevens was in charge of the bench Tuesday night with head coach Rick Bowness still in Raleigh, North Carolina, awaiting NHL clearance after what the Stars termed a false positive for COVID-19 on Sunday morning.

 

The Stars and Blackhawks meet again Thursday night in Chicago.

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Molina's early double, Cardinals pitching stops Marlins 4-1

Yadier Molina hit a bases-loaded double during a three-run first inning, Daniel Ponce de Leon and the St. Louis bullpen protected the lead, and the Cardinals beat the Miami Marlins 4-1 Monday night.

 

Molina drove in two runs with his 382nd double, moving past Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for eighth place on the career list among catchers.

 

Ponce de Leon (1-0) allowed one run and three hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out three, walked one and hit Starling Marte twice. He relied on fastballs to shut down Marlins hitters as only 10 of his 93 pitches were off-speed.

 

St. Louis got a perfect sixth from Jordan Hicks and two scoreless innings from Giovanni Gallegos. Alex Reyes closed it with a scoreless ninth for his first save.

 

Miami starter Trevor Rogers (0-1) walked four batters in the first, propelling St. Louis to its early advantage. Rogers allowed two hits, struck out six and didn't walk another batter after the first. He went four innings.

 

Tommy Edman led off the St. Louis fifth with a home run against John Curtiss.

 

The Marlins scored on Marte's sacrifice fly in the fifth.

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Contreras, Báez, Bote HRs lift Cubs over Brewers 5-3

Willson Contreras, Javier Baez and David Bote homered during a four-run fourth inning to lift the Chicago Cubs over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 on Monday night.

 

Trevor Williams pitched perfectly until Omar Narvaez's leadoff single in the sixth. Narvaez added a three-run homer in the seventh.

 

Williams (1-0) was making his Cubs debut after five seasons with Pittsburgh. He pitched into the seventh, allowing two runs, two hits and two walks while striking out six.

 

Alec Mills, who no-hit Milwaukee as a starter last September, pitched the ninth for his first save.

 

Brett Anderson (0-1) allowed all of Chicago's homers, giving up four runs and four hits over five innings while striking out four.

 

Neither team had a baserunner until the bottom of the fourth, when Ian Happ drew a leadoff walk from Anderson. Contreras came up next and knocked him home with a drive that just cleared the center field fence. Baez later homered to right-center, and Bote followed with a blast to deep center.

 

The Brewers have 39 strikeouts, 10 hits and five runs in their last 27 innings.

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Mercedes gets 3 more hits, White Sox blank Mariners 6-0

Yermin Mercedes extended his early tear with three more hits, Carlos Rodon struck out nine and the Chicago White Sox held the Seattle Mariners to three hits in a 6-0 victory Monday night.

 

Yasmani Grandal hit his 150th homer, driving in three runs and scoring twice to help Chicago snap a two-game skid.

 

Rodon (1-0) allowed two hits over five innings in his first appearance of the season. Michael Kopech followed with five strikeouts over two innings, allowing a walk and a hit, and Jose Ruiz closed it out with two perfect innings.

 

Rodon wasn't totally sharp. He allowed a runner to reach third with an errant pickoff attempt, walked three consecutive batters in the fourth inning for Seattle's most significant scoring threat and hit two batters with pitches. But the outing showed promise.

 

Left-hander Justus Sheffield (0-1) allowed six runs - four earned - and eight hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out five. He was stung by third baseman Kyle Seager's fourth-inning bobble of a potential double-play ball on a grounder by Grandal.

 

The White Sox scored three runs in the inning with RBIs from Andrew Vaughn and Billy Hamilton. They added two more in the fifth on Grandal's two-run single.

 

Remember WHOW is your home for White Sox Radio. Our next broadcast is tonight at 8:30 pm CT versus the Seattle Mariners.

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Martinez, Carrier lift Golden Knights to 6-1 win over Blues

Alec Martinez scored two goals and William Carrier added a goal and an assist, sparking the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-1 victory over the struggling St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

 

Tomas Nosek, Jonathan Marchessault and Nicolas Hague also scored for Vegas.

 

Tyler Bozak scored for St. Louis.

 

Robin Lehner was in goal for the Golden Knights and made 31 saves.

 

The Golden Knights' scored the first two goals before St. Louis got one in the first period.

 

Nosek got Vegas going at 6:25 on a tip-in. Standing in front of the net, he redirected a shot from the point by Nick Holden for his first goal this season. Vegas made it 2-0 at 12:45, when Martinez snapped a wrist shot from inside the blue line.

 

St. Louis cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Bozak at 17:01. Zach Sanford skated behind the net and passed to Bozak in the slot and his wrist shot beat Lehner.

 

Vegas blew the game open with four goals in the second period.

 

The Golden Knights scored two goals 32 seconds apart and added another for three goals in 1:59 and a 5-1 advantage in the second period. Martinez scored on a one-timer at 7:08, followed by Carrier, who tipped in a shot at 7:40. Marchessault scored on a wrist shot at 9:07.

 

That goal chased rookie goalie Villie Husso, who faced 19 shots. Jordan Binnington came in for Husso, who started successive games for the first time with the Blues.

 

Binnington was touched for Vegas' final second-period goal at 13:00 when Hague scored on a wrist shot.

 

The game began a stretch in which the Blues will play eight of their next 10 games at home. St. Louis fell to 4-9-4 at home.

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Redbirds Take Four-Game Series at Southern Illinois; Win 14-11 in Series Finale

The Illinois State baseball team won three-of-four games to open Missouri Valley Conference play at Southern Illinois after winning the series finale, 14-11, on Sunday at Itchy Jones Stadium.

 

  ISU, which led by nine runs on two occasions, held off SIU as the Salukis scored four runs in the bottom of the 9th. 

 

Fourth-year senior Jack Butler was 3-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored to lead Illinois State (11-15 overall, 3-1 MVC). Fourth-year junior Tyson Hays was 3-for-5 with two RBI, a run scored, and two stolen bases. 

 

JT Weber had two home runs and eight RBIs (the most by an opposing player since 2008) for Southern Illinois (20-6 overall, 4-4 MVC). 

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Illinois Drops Rubber Game Against Nebraska

The Illinois baseball team built a 5-0 lead, but Nebraska scored seven times in the sixth inning to pull ahead and eventually win, 12-7. Nebraska took the three-game series, 2-1.

 

Branden Comia had two hits, including a first-inning homer, and three RBIs and Jackson Raper added two hits and two RBIs, including a solo homer. Taylor Jackson also had two hits and scored three times out of the leadoff spot.

 

Nebraska (12-5) sent 11 batters to the plate in the seven-run sixth to turn a four-run deficit into a three-run lead. Spencer Schwellenbach and Joe Acker homered as part of seven hits in the frame.

 

Illinois (8-10) got the game to 9-7 with a Comia RBI single in the seventh, before Nebraska scored three more times in the eighth. Schwellenbach shut down the last two innings on the mound after going 2-for-5 with three RBIs at the plate.

 

Koty Frank (1-0) picked up his first win of the year by allowing two runs in 3 2/3 innings of relief.

 

Illinois travels to Indiana next weekend for a three-game series against the Hoosiers.

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Castellanos strikes back with his bat, leads Reds over Cards

Nick Castellanos came out swinging with his bat a day after being ejected for inciting a bench-clearing melee, hitting a three-run homer and triple to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 12-1 rout over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

 

Tyler Naquin also a three-run shot for the Reds, who won two in a row to take the opening series in matchup of NL Central teams that earned wild-card spots last season.

 

The fiery Castellanos flexed and jawed at St. Louis reliever Jake Woodford after scoring on a wild pitch on Saturday night. Catcher Yadier Molina took exception, grabbed Castellanos and a series of scuffles ensued that spilled into the outfield. Castellanos was the only player tossed.

 

There was no spillover from the trouble in the wrap-up game.

 

Castellanos kept up his big series with a triple in the fourth inning, scoring on a single by Votto. Then with two on and two outs in the fifth, he hit a 91 mph fastball from Carlos Martinez (0-1) into the Reds bullpen in left-center field for a 4-1 lead.

 

Castellanos went 6 for 11 in the series, scoring six runs and driving in five. He homered twice, tripled and doubled.

 

Naquin, who started in left field for the ailing Jesse Winker, homered into the right-field seats during a six-run sixth inning.

 

Reds starter Jeff Hoffman (1-0), acquired from the Colorado Rockies in an off-season trade, gave up a just run on three hits through five innings and struck out six.

 

St. Louis scored its lone run in the fifth when Tyler O'Neill doubled and Molina singled, the only time Reds pitching allowed the Cardinals back-to-back hits.

 

Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, getting his first start, had three hits and scored three times. Alex Blandino drove in two runs.

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Zach Davies wins Chicago debut as Cubs beat Pirates 4-3

Zach Davies pitched into the sixth inning in his Cubs debut, leading his new team to a 4-3 victory over the short-handed Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

 

Ian Happ homered and Kris Bryant reached three times as Chicago earned its second straight win after losing on opening day. Joc Pederson also drove in a run with a groundout.

 

Davies, acquired in the December trade that sent Yu Darvish to San Diego, permitted two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked three.

 

Pittsburgh played without third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left wrist. Hayes, one of the preseason favorites for NL Rookie of the Year, got hurt on a swing during Saturday's 5-1 loss.

 

nd his absence was particularly noticeable when Phillip Evans, Hayes' replacement at third, was unable to stop Javier Baez's hard-hit grounder in the sixth, allowing Bryant to score and handing the Cubs a 4-2 lead with the error.

 

The Pirates pulled within one again on Evans' RBI single in the eighth, but Rex Brothers got Gregory Polanco to bounce into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners. Craig Kimbrel then worked a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.

 

Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller (0-1) lasted just three innings on his 25th birthday. He walked four and was charged with three runs and two hits.

 

While Keller struggled, Davies (1-0) cruised into the sixth before running into trouble with two out.

 

After Colin Moran connected for a two-run homer, Evans singled and Polanco walked. Dan Winkler then came in and Michael Perez flied out to the warning track in center, ending the inning

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Ohtani's 2-way play, Walsh's HRs lead Angels past ChiSox 7-4

Shoei Ohtani both smashed a 451-foot homer and pitched two-hit ball into the fifth inning, and Walsh hit a walkoff homer to end the Angels' 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night.

 

Although he lost a three-run lead and narrowly avoided injury in a home plate collision during the fifth inning, Ohtani left both teams amazed by his abilities.

 

Ohtani didn't allow a run through the first four innings, but his control problems abetted Chicago's three-run rally in the fifth. Ohtani left after a passed ball and a throwing error by catcher Max Stassi led to a collision between Ohtani and AL MVP Jose Abreu.

 

Ohtani finished with seven strikeouts and five walks, showcasing his typical duo of otherworldly speed and shaky control.

 

David Fletcher and Justin Upton drove in early runs for the Angels. After Chicago tied it in the fifth by scoring three runs without an RBI, Walsh reclaimed the lead for Los Angeles in the fifth - but new Angels closer Raisel Iglesias (1-0) couldn't quite come up with a five-out save.

 

Chicago tied it again in the ninth when Nick Madrigal scored from second on a throwing error by Iglesias, who tried to get him at third after fielding Adam Eaton's one-out grounder.

 

The White Sox scored four runs despite going 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

 

Jose Ruiz (0-1) gave up a leadoff single in the ninth to Dexter Fowler, who entered the game via a rare AL double switch.

 

Remember WHOW is your home for Chicago White Sox basesball. Our next broadcast is tonight at 8:30 pm CT versus Seattle.

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Sprinkle carries Monticello Past Rantoul

Joey Sprinkle threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers, all in the first half, as Monticello scored 27 pionts in the second quarter and shut out Rantoul 40-0 in Illini Prairie Conference football action Friday night at Monticello High School.

 

As heard on WEZC, Sprinkle connected on a short touchdown throw to Hunter Williams to stake the Sages to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, then connected for 22-yards to Chris Brown, 41 yards to Colton Knuffman (cuh-nuff-man), 39 yards to Tristan Foran, and finally 30 yards to Peyton Scott.

 

The Sages led 33-0 at the intermission and Sprinkle’s night under center was done. 

 

Jason Brown played a trio of series’ and executed a perfect quarterback option pitch to Chris Brown for another 25 yards putting the Sages up 40-0 and set up a running clock the rest of the way.

 

Tristan Stone had five carries for 48 yards to lead the Eagles.

 

The Eagles in their first game fall to 0-1.

 

Monticello improves to 3-0 and will host Mattoon next Saturday. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Clinton Maroons fall to Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Warrensburg-Lathem Cardinals by a score of 33-17 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by the B-Roc Designs player of the game Chance Baldwin with 2 sacks. Zeke Hickman was 3 of 8 passing for 12 yards and was 16 rushing for 114 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Pagel had 7 rushing for 25 yards.

 

The Cardinals were led by Branden Mathews who was 7 for 25 passing for 84 yards and a touchdown and had 9 rushing for 49 yards anda touchdown. Luke Hall had 9 rushing for 56 yards.

 

With the loss, the Maroons fall to 0-3 overall. The Cardinals improve to 2-1 overall.

 

Tune in Friday April 9th, as the Maroons take on Meridian. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Clinton Travels to Warrensburg-Latham for Week 3 Football Action

The Clinton Maroons will travel to Warrensburg-Latham for Friday night week 3 high school spring football action.

 

The Maroons are coming off a 50-27 loss at Tuscola last week and Maroons head coach Chris Ridgeway did not feel the final score was indicative of how his team played.

 

 

The Cardinals fell to Central A&M last week 19-7. They enter play 1-1 overall.

 

Hear tonight's action at 7 pm on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

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Monticello Hosts Rantoul Tonight

A thrilling 19-15 win last Friday night for No. 6 Monticello over No. 5 Prairie Centeral sent shockwaves through the Illini Prairie Conference as the Hawks were viewed as the prohibitive favorite to win the league and touchdown with only four seconds left allowed Monticello to come away with the win.

 

In the postgame, Monticello Coach Cully Welter said he was proud of the effort by his team, especially given the amount of injuries they battled coming into the week and then throughout the game.

 

 

Tonight, the Sages turn their attention to Rantoul who visits Monticello High School. Game time is 7 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Central Illinois Outdoors Preview

Central Illinois Outdoors drops episode 12 this week and features a slew of central Illinois outdoorsman. Host Jared White previews Sunday's episode that can be picked up in podcast form on Monday morning.

 

 

Central Illinois Outdoors airs every:

 

Saturday at 10a on 870 WTIM - Taylorville
Sunday at 8a on 1520 WHOW - Clinton
Sunday at 8a on 106.5FM - Bloomington/Normal
Sunday at 8a on 96.5TheWinner-Taylorville

 

And again, Monday catch the podcast at centralillinoisoutdoors.com. 

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Hayes homers, Pirates 2-hit Cubs 5-3 on chilly opening day

Ke'Bryan Hayes hit a two-run homer and Pittsburgh's relievers dominated in a two-hitter, helping the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 Thursday on opening day.

 

Pittsburgh went 3 for 20 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners on base. But it handled the cool conditions just a little bit better than Chicago, led by its largely anonymous bullpen.

 

Six relievers combined for six innings of one-run ball - Duane Underwood Jr., Clay Holmes, Sam Howard (1-0), David Bednar and Chris Stratton each worked an inning before Richard Rodriguez finished for the save.

 

Anthony Rizzo, Joc Pederson and Willson Contreras each hit a sacrifice fly for Chicago, but that was it for the reigning NL Central champions. Rizzo doubled in the first against Chad Kuhl and Eric Sogard added another double in the eighth for the team's only hits.

 

Pederson walked with one out in the ninth and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Rodriguez struck out Javier Baez and Jason Heyward to end the game.

 

Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks lasted just three innings in his second straight opening-day start.

 

He issued three walks while allowing three runs and four hits after he walked eight in 81 1/3 innings last season. The Cubs finished with 11 walks and hit a batter during the 4-hour game.

 

Adam Frazier walked and scored on Hayes' sixth career homer. Frazier added an RBI single in the second and a run-scoring double in the seventh, giving Pittsburgh a 5-2 lead.

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Goldschmidt, Arenado deliver, Cards open fast, top Reds 11-6

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado combined for six hits and the Cardinals roughed up Luis Castillo for six runs in the first inning to beat the Cincinnati Reds 11-6 Thursday.

 

 Dylan Carlson hit a three-run homer and Tyler O'Neill connected for a two-run shot.

 

St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty couldn't take advantage of the big lead, giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings. Giovanny Gallegos (1-0), the fourth of five Cardinals relievers, got the win.

 

Castillo (0-1) had a bad day almost from the start. He surrendered 10 runs, eight of them earned, on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings.

 

Goldschmidt, who had four hits and scored three times, doubled with one out in the first and Arenado, the star third baseman acquired in an offseason trade from Colorado, followed with a single.

 

An error by shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who was moved over from third base in spring training, let two runs score and Carlson homered to cap the burst.

 

Singles by Goldschmidt and Arenado and another error by Suarez led to another run in the second.

 

The Cardinals added four more in the fourth on an RBI single by Goldschmidt, a wild pitch and O'Neill's drive.

 

Suarez homered in the bottom of the fourth. Nick Castellanos homered, doubled and singled for the Reds, who chipped away but couldn't score runs in bunches.

 

Down 11-6 in the sixth, they loaded the bases with one out. But Castellanos' liner to center fielder was snagged by Carlson, who doubled off Tyler Stephenson at second base.

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Trout, Pujols lead Angels' late rally past White Sox, 4-3

Mike Trout delivered the tying single and Shohei Ohtani scored the go-ahead run on Albert Pujols' groundout in the eighth inning, leading Los Angeles' rally to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.

 

Max Stassi homered and Justin Upton had an RBI single in the Angels' first opening day at home since 2016.

 

Fletcher opened the eighth by beating out an infield single off Bummer's glove. Second baseman Nick Madrigal then made a throwing error on a hard-hit grounder from Ohtani, and Fletcher took third on a passed ball before Trout smacked a single to left.

 

Upton drew an 11-pitch walk to load the bases for Pujols, whose high-bouncing groundout easily scored Ohtani. Pujols' RBI was the 16th of his career on opening day, the most among active players.

 

Mike Mayers (1-0) pitched the eighth, and Raisel Iglesias needed just eight pitches in the ninth to earn the save in his Angels debut.

 

Adam Eaton hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in his first game back with the White Sox.

 

Lucas Giolito retired the Angels' first 11 batters and pitched two-hit ball into the sixth inning for Chicago. The Southern California native baffled the Angels' lineup his first time through, striking out six of nine largely with his changeup.

 

Giolito left with a 3-2 lead, but the Angels jumped on Bummer and kept new closer Liam Hendriks out of the game.

 

Dylan Bundy yielded six hits and three runs with six strikeouts over six innings in his first opening day start for the Angels.

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Baseball Opening Day: Cardinals Hope Big Offseason Splash Pays Off; Cubs Look to Compete While Rebuilding; Expectations Remain High For Sox Despite Loss of Jiminez

One of the most exciting days of the year fro sports fans is upon us as Major League Baseball returns to a regular 162-game schedule this year after a 60-game pandemic altered season in 2020.

 

Several key mainstays of the Chicago Cubs could be making their final Opening Day appearance for the team in Thursday's matchup with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are each beginning their free-agent walk years and would like nothing more than to revisit the joy of five years ago, when the trio helped the franchise claim its first World Series title since 1908.

 

While Chicago is expected to battle Milwaukee and St. Louis for the top spot in the National League Central.

 

Kyle Hendricks is making his second consecutive Opening Day start for the Cubs after posting a 2.88 ERA with 64 strikeouts and eight walks in 81 1/3 innings over 12 starts last season. The 31-year-old is hoping to duplicate his success from last season's opener, when he recorded a three-hit shutout against Milwaukee on July 24.

 

After playing in front of cardboard cutouts last season, both teams are eager to welcome fans back on Opening Day. Wrigley Field will a limited-capacity crowd, which Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced last week would be expanded from 20 to 25 percent, which would mean about 10,000 fans in the park ... plus, of course, fans on the rooftops.

 

Chicago had a relatively quiet spring training but made news last week when manager David Ross named David Bote as the team's starting second baseman ahead of Nico Hoerner, who was optioned to Triple-A.

 

Hoerner remains a prominent part of the Cubs' plans, but Ross says he is excited to see what the Bote can do as an everyday starter. Bote, who turns 28 next week, earned the job after hitting .311 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 19 spring-training games.

 

First pitch today from Wrigley is 1:20 central time.

 

 

 

The St. Louis Cardinals hope adding one of baseball's best offensive performers will send them to the top of the NL Central.

 

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds still aim for a second straight postseason berth despite losing the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner.

The quest for these division foes begins Thursday with a matchup in Cincinnati.

 

Despite an early August COVID-19-related disruption and ranking last in the majors in homers (51) and 26th in OPS (.694), the Cardinals were two games over .500 and made the playoffs for a second consecutive year. 

 

Looking to boost some of those offensive numbers, the Cardinals acquired five-time All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado from Colorado. Though Arenado endured a subpar 2020 with eight homers and a .253 average in 48 games, he's clubbed 235 career home runs and makes St. Louis the apparent favorite in the Central.

 

Arenado, a lifetime .318 hitter with 12 homers in 43 games versus Cincinnati, should benefit from playing alongside fellow star Paul Goldschmidt. The veteran first baseman hit .304 last season, and prior to 2020, hit at least 33 homers in three straight seasons.

 

Opening day starter and Redbirds ace Jack Flaherty went 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA over nine starts during a disjointed 2020 campaign. He's 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in seven career starts against the Reds but didn't face them last year.

 

 

 

The Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels will open the 2021 season Thursday in Anaheim, Calif., both taking with them a sense of optimism and both boasting MVP candidates.

However, for either team to make a playoff run, it needs production from more than the most prominent players. Chicago's Jose Abreu, who won the American League MVP last season, and Trout, a three-time AL MVP, can't do it alone.

 

There is no better example of that than the Angels and Trout, who is widely considered the best player in the majors but hasn't been on a playoff team since 2014.

 

Dylan Bundy will start on the mound for the Angels, coming off a good season -- his first with the Angels -- in which he went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts.

 

Bundy is matched up against White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, who is making his second Opening Day start and had an impressive spring. Giolito had a 1.17 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 23 innings this spring, but he says it's not so much the numbers that made it successful.

 

Last week, projected starting LF Eloy Jimenez went down with a torn pectoral muscle trying to make a play in the outfield in a late-spring training game. Jimenez, who has been outspoken about his desire to play in the field and not DH exclusively, drew ire from fans after the injury. The Sox announced earlier this week they will be purchasing the contract of 2019 first-round pick Andrew Vaughn and will be on the opening day roster.

 

The White Sox hope the off-season addition of Lance Lynn helps solidy its rotation and are anticipating a bounce back season from once top-prospect Yoan Moncada. 

 

Giolito, Flaherty and Braves opening day ace Max Fried were teammates nine years ago at Harvard-Westlake, a prestigious prep school in Los Angeles.

 

On Thursday, all three will be opening-day starting pitchers in the major leagues.

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Suns Topple Bulls

Devin Booker scored a season-high 45 points, Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists, and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 121-116 on Wednesday night.

 

The Suns built a 16-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Bulls cut that advantage to 94-86 by the start of the fourth. Chicago hung close throughout the final minutes, pulling within three points multiple times. Thaddeus Young's bucket in the paint brought the Bulls within 115-112 with less than a minute left.

 

Booker responded with his final basket - blowing past Nikola Vujecic for a layup - and the Suns won their fourth straight. Chicago's losing streak is now at five games.

 

Booker had another All-Star performance in a season full of them, making 17 of 24 shots from the field and 9 of 10 free throws. He was especially effective on mid-range jumpers, finishing time and again over Chicago's defense.

 

Phoenix's Dario Saric had 16 points off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 5 on 3-pointers.

Chicago was led by Vujecic's 24 points and 10 rebounds. Young added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Denzel Valentine also scored 19 points.

 

Booker scored 22 points before the break on 10-of-14 shooting to help the Suns lead 67-58 at halftime. Phoenix made 10 of 18 (55.6%) shots from 3-point range. 

 

Chicago was without G Zach LaVine (right ankle sprain) and G Coby White (left cervical pain). LaVine is averaging 27.5 points per game while White averages 15. White missed his second straight game.

 

The Bulls travel to face the Jazz on Friday night.

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Heat Rally Past Pacers

Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler combined for the first six points in a decisive fourth quarter run and then helped Miami hold Indiana to five points over the final seven minutes for a 92-87 victory.

 

Robinson finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists, making six 3-pointers. Butler had 18 points as Miami won its second straight and avoided a three-game sweep in the season series with the Pacers.

 

Indiana was led by Myles Turner with 15 points and Caris LeVert and Doug McDermott, who each had 14. The Pacers have lost two straight overall and seven of their last eight at home. This one came like so many others recently - a bad fourth quarter.

 

Miami spent most of the night playing catch-up and finally overtook Indiana when Robinson made his fifth and sixth 3-pointers for a 79-78 lead with 7:44 to go. After trading baskets and the lead for several possessions, Butler and Robinson swung the game with three straight buckets, and Bam Adebayo's 7-footer with 1:06 left made it 89-82.

 

The Heat defense took care of the rest.

 

Indiana led 45-32 in the second quarter but Miami scored the final 11 points of the half to get within 45-43. The Pacers answered by scoring the first 13 points of the second half then gave up 11 straight as the Heat pulled within 58-54 midway through the third and got as close as 67-65 after three.

 

Adebayo finished with 16 points, extending his career-long streak of consecutive double-figure games to 34. He also had eight rebounds and seven assists. Robinson also had eight rebounds. 

Tyler Herro had 17 points.

 

Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis came up just short of his customary double-double with 14 rebounds and nine points. 

 

The Pacers host Charlotte on Friday.

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Blackhawks' Bowman Named GM of 2022 US Olympic Men's Team

With an opportunity to draw from what he considers the deepest pool of American-born talent ever assembled, Stan Bowman welcomes expectations that come with being the general manager of USA Hockey’s 2022 Olympic men’s national team.

 

The NHL still needs to resolve several issues with the International Olympic Committee before giving the OK to have its players compete at the 2022 Beijing Games, and after backing out of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Formal talks aren’t expected to resume until after the Tokyo Games are completed this summer.

 

In anticipation of a resolution, USA Hockey went ahead and began assembling its management team.

 

Along with Bowman, Minnesota Wild GM and three-time U.S. Olympian Bill Guerin will be the team’s assistant general manager. Together they will identify a coach and begin targeting players to invite to an orientation camp tentatively scheduled for this summer.

 

That pool of talent has grown dramatically since the U.S. finished fourth at the Sochi Games in 2014, the last time the Olympics featured NHLers.

 

The list of potential first-time American Olympians include Toronto’s Austin Matthews, Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, New Jersey’s Jack Hughes, Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox and Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes, Jack’s brother. The U.S. talent pool of goalies is headed by Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko.

 

They have the potential of joining an Olympic-experienced core of Patrick Kane, John Carlson and Blake Wheeler.

 

Bowman said it’s premature to determine what identity the team will adopt, but stressed it will be built with an eye on playing various styles.

 

Bowman has been a member of USA Hockey’s advisory group since 2012, and also served as co-GM of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey’s Team North America, which was made up of NHL players 25 and younger.

 

The U.S. has a spotty Olympic past, having won silver medals just twice — in 2002 and 2010 — in the five times it featured NHL talent. And the Americans count only two gold medals, the last won by the acclaimed “Miracle On Ice” squad at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.

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Mets Prized Offseason Addition Agrees to Extension

Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets have agreed to a $341 million, 10-year deal, keeping the All-Star shortstop in Queens for the long haul after acquiring him from Cleveland in the offseason.

 

Lindor was eligible for free agency after this season and said this spring he wouldn’t negotiate with the Mets on a long-term contract after opening day. Less than 24 hours before New York starts its season Thursday night in Washington, an agreement was reached.

 

The 27-year-old Lindor has two Gold Gloves and made four All-Star teams in six seasons with the Indians, hitting .285 with an average of 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 stolen bases per 162 games.

 

He was the prized pickup in new owner Steve Cohen’s first offseason, acquired from Cleveland along with right-hander Carlos Carrasco for infielders Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez and two minor leaguers. New York added Lindor knowing he could walk after the 2021 season, but the team said it would try to negotiate a long-term pact.

 

The deal will be the largest ever for a shortstop, passing Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s $340 million, 14-year contract with San Diego signed in February. Only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million, 12-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million, 12-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers are worth more. Betts’ deal includes $115 million in deferred payments through 2044.

 

Lindor’s deal is also by far the largest payout ever from the Mets, surpassing contracts for third baseman David Wright ($138 million), pitchers Jacob deGrom ($137.5 million) and Johan Santana ($137.5 million).

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