Local Sports

LeRoy Football Hoping Lessons from 2021 Will Move Program Forward in 2022

The LeRoy Panthers football program doesn't often have a prolonged run without a playoff appearance and longtime coach BJ Zeleznik says he has a young group that could help them get back to the postseason this year.

 

Coach Zeleznik says his team played a lot of close games in 2021 and with a smaller junior and senior class, they have some young players that could step into some more substantial roles this fall.

 

 

The dynamics of his team to the approach of the summer didn't change for Coach Zeleznik. He explains the weight room, like most programs, was a point of emphasis. He notes they needed renewed commitment to the offseason training program.

 

 

According to Coach Zeleznik, while it isn't a big senior group this year, he applauds their commitment to the program and their dedication to being excellent on the field. His team will, once again, rely heavily on the run.

 

 

With high school football heading to a lot of spread-like offenses, Coach Zeleznik admits his holdout on the run-heavy style is the rarity but says it's what they've done, and done well for many years and they will stick to it.

 

The Panthers open the season at Central A&M.

Bloomington Central Catholic Hoping for Big Step Forward in 2022

A key injury for the Bloomington Central Catholic at an inopportune time in 2021 derailed what could have been the Saints first playoff appearance since the fall of 2017.

 

Coach Kevin Braucht (brat) has very high hopes for his alma mater in the fall of 2022 and it starts with the motivation of just missing the postseason after their leading rusher, Jake Slaughter, went out with injury right at the toughest stretch for their schedule.

 

 

Coach Braucht brings back a very strong group of skill positions players that are rather young. It starts with his 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior quarterback Colin Hayes. Coach Braucht says it's about getting him to understand what he's studying to translate onto the field.

 

 

The Saints under Coach Braucht have taken to the spread offense that is become more popular in high school football but unlike a lot of programs, the Saints will go no-huddle and speed the game up a little bit.

 

 

If the Saints are to make the playoffs in 2022, Coach Braucht says his team will be well tested because the Illini Prairie Conference offers a great test week-in-and-week-out.

 

The Saints open the season at Pontiac.

Sox Double Up 'Stros

In a game heard on WHOW, Yoan Moncada lined a tiebreaking two-run single in Chicago's four-run eighth inning, and the White Sox beat the Houston Astros 4-2 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

 

Chicago (60-56) moved four games over .500 for the first time since it was 6-2 on April 16. It also pulled within two games of AL Central-leading Cleveland, which split a doubleheader against Detroit.

 

Chicago's winning rally started after Jose Urquidy retired the first two batters. Urquidy was pulled after AJ Pollock's infield hit, and the White Sox jumped all over Rafael Montero (4-2).

 

Andrew Vaughn doubled before Eloy Jimenez bounced a tying two-run double down the third-base line. Walks to Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal loaded the bases for Moncada, who made it 4-2 with a liner into center.

 

The four-run outburst handed a win to Cueto (5-5), who pitched eight masterful innings. Liam Hendriks finished his 26th save when he retired Mauricio Dubon on a popup to first with two runners on.

 

Houston (75-42) wasted a stellar performance by Urquidy, who permitted six hits - all singles - struck out four and walked none. The AL West leaders had won four in a row.

 

Justin Verlander (15-3, 1.85 ERA) and Dylan Cease (12-5, 1.96 ERA) are two of the front-runners for the AL Cy Young Award. They'll square off tonight in Chicago.

Nationals Edge Cubs

Nelson Cruz hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning to lift the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.

 

Cruz, who hit a two-run double in the fifth, smacked a 1-1 pitch from Brandon Hughes (1-1) to center to snap a 4-all tie with one out in the eighth. It was Cruz's ninth homer of the season and first since June 25.

 

Cruz is 9 for 25 (.360) over his past eight games.

 

Ian Happ hit two solo homers for the Cubs, including a drive into the second deck in right center, giving him three in his past three games.

 

Starter Josiah Gray allowed three runs on five hits for Washington. He walked two and struck out 10.

 

Lane Thomas and Yadiel Hernandez had two hits apiece for the Nationals, who had lost nine of 11.

 

Cubs starter Marcus Stroman allowed four unearned runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

 

Justin Steele (4-7, 3.63 ERA) has recorded 19 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings of his last two starts, both no-decisions.

 

Patrick Corbin (4-16, 7.02 ERA), whose last turn was skipped after he failed to make it through the first inning in two of three starts, is 5-2 with a 3.97 ERA in eight career starts against the Cubs.

Young Clinton High School Golf Teams Looking to Build on Early Success

An incredibly young Clinton Maroons boy's golf team came out in 2021 and won the Central Illinois Conference and now they have their sites set on bigger things in 2022.

 

First-year head coach Chase Reynolds was very pleased with the way his young golfers approached the summer pointing out after a year of great success, several golfers registered for summer tournaments in central Illinois.

 

 

According to Coach Reynolds, with the success of last year's team and the talent level, he is focused on things like teaching the kids to control their misses. 

 

 

Coach Reynolds says it is a fun dynamic with this young group because a couple of the golfers joke with him about coming for his school record. He notes it is their goal to repeat as conference champions, get out of Regionals as a team, and have a couple of golfers make the State Tournament.

Heyworth Football Seeking Revival

Last year's seniors saved the Heyworth football program.

 

It's not a statement second-year coach Nate Albaugh puts out there lightly. He explains getting appointed to the Hornets head football job in the summer and found quickly interest in playing football was low. That's when his senior class went to work recruiting anyone and everyone in the student body.

 

 

For Coach Albaugh, after last year's season, he put football aside and invested in his role as the school's athletic director and focused on being there for the kids. While difficult, he feels it is paying off. 

 

 

As the season gets going, Coach Albaugh has been pleasantly surprised with some of the things his team is doing well. He believes while young, they could be a very good defensive team with good weapons offensively.

 

 

Early on, Coach Albaugh says his team does look good, he looks forward to getting across the line from another group to find out where his team is at. 

 

The Hornets open the 2022 football season at Oakland Tri-County. 

White Sox Sweep Tigers

In a game heard on WHOW, AJ Pollock and Andrew Vaughn homered, Lance Lynn threw six solid innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

 

Pollock, Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu each had two hits for the White Sox, who remained 2 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland.

 

Harold Castro homered and Javier Baez had two hits for the Tigers, who have dropped seven straight and 10 of 11. Detroit struck out 14 times.

 

The White Sox climbed to three games over .500 for the first time since April 17, when they were 6-3. Chicago last swept a team July 1-3 at San Francisco.

 

Kendall Graveman worked around Castro's homer and a single in the ninth for his sixth save.

 

Lynn (3-5) allowed two runs and five hits. He has won just two of his last 10 starts.

 

Vaughn has 27 RBIs in the seventh inning or later, tied for second in the AL with Cleveland's Jose Ramirez and behind New York's Aaron Judge, who has 43.

 

Luis Robert (sprained left wrist) was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game after he exited Chicago's 2-0 victory over Detroit on Friday. He was injured trying to steal second base. Robert is expected to avoid the injured list.

 

Johnny Cueto (4-5, 2.91 ERA) will start Monday in the opener of a four-game series against Houston. Jose Urquidy (11-4, 3.85 ERA) pitches for the visiting Astros.

Reds Get By Cubs

Jose Barrero hit a tiebreaking RBI single in Cincinnati's three-run fifth inning, and the Reds stopped a five-game slide with an 8-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

 

Aristides Aquino hit a three-run drive for Cincinnati, and Austin Romine doubled home two runs. It was Aquino's first homer since he hit two against the Cubs on May 23.

 

Five Reds relievers combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

 

Patrick Wisdom gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with a two-run drive that squeezed just inside the left-field foul pole in the second. Aquino responded with his fourth homer in the bottom half, a deep drive into the lower deck in left.

 

Chicago grabbed a 5-4 lead with three runs in the fourth. Yan Gomes hit a tying a two-run shot that reached the first row of the second deck in left. Christopher Morel then went deep on the next pitch.

 

Marcus Stroman (3-5, 4.20 ERA), Monday's scheduled starter in Washington, allowed five hits and four runs for a no-decision in his last start, also against the Nationals in Chicago.

Cardinals Double Up Struggling Brewers

Albert Pujols homered twice and Miles Mikolas tossed eight effective innings, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Sunday.

 

Dylan Carlson and Tyler O'Neill also connected for St. Louis, which pushed its NL Central lead over second-place Milwaukee to 1 1/2 games.

 

Carlson broke a 2-all tie with his eighth homer of the season, a drive to left against Taylor Rogers (1-6) in the eighth.

 

Mikolas (9-9) permitted two runs and four hits. He struck out six and walked none.

 

O'Neill tied the game with his seventh homer in the sixth.

 

St. Louis took an 8-7 lead in the season series. The teams have four games remaining against each other.

 

Jose Quintana (4-5, 3.37 ERA) will take on Colorado LHP Kyle Freeland (7-8, 4.84 ERA) in the first of a three-game series on Tuesday in St. Louis. Quintana will be making his second start after coming over from Pittsburgh in a trade.

NFLPA President Blasts Conditions At Soldier Field

The president of the NFL Players Association blasted the conditions at Soldier Field on Saturday, and he didn’t exactly get an argument from the Chicago Bears or Kansas City Chiefs after their preseason game.

 

Union president JC Tretter tweeted the field was not up to NFL standards.

 

He wrote - “The NFL said that this field met minimum testing standards. We clearly need to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to compete on. We need new testing metrics looking at the performance and safety of every field. The NFL can and should do better.”

 

The conditions didn’t seem to bother Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. The four-time Pro Bowler threw for 60 yards and a touchdown on the Chiefs’ first possession and then called it a day.

 

The conditions at Soldier Field have long been a source of frustration for players and coaches on the Bears as well as other teams. The lakefront location and harsh weather make maintaining the surface difficult for the Chicago Park District, which owns the stadium.

 

The field was particularly choppy after Elton John performed there last weekend. Major League Soccer recently moved the Chicago Fire’s game against New York City FC scheduled for Aug. 21 to SeatGeek Stadium in suburban Bridgeview, Ill., because of conditions brought on by “a series of planned events at the venue.”

Packers Getting Healthy

The Green Bay Packers received some good news on their collection of players coming back from knee injuries.

 

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Sunday that offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, tight end Robert Tonyan and rookie wide receiver Christian Watson are coming off the physically unable to perform list.

 

Jenkins’ early return would boost an offensive line that is missing left tackle David Bakhtari, who earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2018 and 2020 and was a second-team selection in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Bakhtiari remains on the PUP list and has appeared in only one game since tearing his left ACL on Dec. 31, 2020.

 

Jenkins has started games at every position on the line other than right guard. He was a Pro Bowl selection at left guard in 2020 and filled in for Bakhtiari at left tackle last season before getting hurt in a Nov. 21 loss at Minnesota.

 

Tonyan tore his ACL in an Oct. 28 victory at Arizona. He had 18 catches for 204 yards and two touchdowns in eight games last season after collecting 11 touchdown receptions in 2020.

 

In other injury news, LaFleur said safety Dallin Leavitt will be out for “a while” after leaving the Packers’ 28-21 preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers with a shoulder injury.

 

The Packers also signed kicker Ramiz Ahmed and released kicker Gabe Brkic. LaFleur said Brkic tweaked a hamstring in pregame warmups.

 

Mason Crosby, the Packers’ kicker since 2007, is on the PUP list after undergoing what he described as a “minor scope on the knee” before training camp.

Former Clinton Basketball Coach Hoping to Help Revive Argenta-Oreana Football Program

Argenta-Oreana High School administration last fall made the tough decision to cancel its varsity football season about two-thirds of the way through the season because of a number of factors.

 

Now, a former Clinton High School basketball coach is hoping to help revive the program. Clay Haurberg says the 2021 fall season was tough because numbers were very down in the program and the group they had was very young. To salvage the health of the program going forward and preserve the health of its very young players, administrators made the tough decision to cancel the remainder of the season.

 

 

While the situation was unfortunate, Coach Haurberg says the good that came from last year was the experience the young players in the program got. He is hoping to re-establish the identity of the program. 

 

 

As the first week of fall practices wraps up, Coach Haurberg enjoys the togetherness of this year's team. He is focused on making the kids 'fooball smart'.

 

 

Coach Haurberg stresses the appreciation he has for his staff this year. He points out he has seven volunteer assistants that are giving their time this year to help develop the kids. He says in a small program, that is a really strong number of coaches and allows the team to break into smaller groups for more individual work.

 

Argenta-Oreana opens its season at Warrensburg-Latham.

GCMS Football Looking to Create Positivity

The 12 months have been very difficult for the GCMS community and its football program is hoping to be a source of some positivity this fall.

 

First Coach Chad Augspurger takes over the very successful Mike Allen who stepped aside after last year's season and Coach Augspurger says it's been a difficult last 12 months in Gibson City and his football team is hoping to be a source of some positivity for the community.

 

 

Coach Allen led the GCMS program to a lot of success in his tenure and Coach Augspurger says while some things will change, he is focused on making sure the culture of the program stays the same.

 

 

The 2021 fall season was a frustrating one for the Falcons as they entered the year with high expectations but ultimately injuries derailed a lot of the things they could have accomplished. Coach Augspurger says this year they are going to have to establish themselves up front on the offensive line.

 

 

The Falcons will open the season at Fieldcrest. 

 

You can follow the GCMS football program on Twitter at the handle, @gcmsfalcon.

Bloomington High School Football Looking to Added Depth, Athleticism to Propel Them in 2022

Coming off a disappointing 4-5 campaign in 2021, Bloomington High School is hoping its football team's collective athleticism will be the catalyst to success in 2022.

 

Coach Scott Godfrey felt his team had a couple of opportunities slip through the cracks in 2021. He says in the Big Twelve Conference, the margin for error is slim. 

 

 

With a small senior class graduating and program numbers on the rise, Coach Godfrey looked to the summer workout time as an opportunity to find out what he'll be working with this year and get those student-athletes repetitions.

 

 

As the season gets started this week, Coach Godfrey is going to be emphasizing the little things that lead to success. But overall, he has several athletes that are standing out and he's looking forward to seeing the things they will do this year.

 

 

Coach Godfrey says the Big Twelve is going to be very balanced and tough in 2022. 

 

You can follow the Purple Raiders football program on Instagram and Facebook as well as on Twitter at the handle @bhsraidersfb.

 

Bloomington opens the season at Peoria Richwoods.

Mt. Zion Will Be Looking to New Faces to Replace Production from Last Year

The Mt. Zion Braves football team experienced its fair share of injuries in 2021, forcing a lot of young players to step into a larger role. Coach Patrick Etherton is hoping the experience of those players will pay off in 2022.

 

As the season opens this week, Coach Etherton says while the 2021 season was injury-riddled for his team, he indicates the team's first-round exit from the 4A postseason left a bad taste in the mouth of the program.

 

 

For Coach Etherton, he approaches most off-seasons the same. He explains they evaluate everything they have in the program and try to find systems that will best fit what they have. With last year's early exit from the postseason, he credits this group's dedication to getting better.

 

 

While the Braves will have to replace a lot of production that graduated out of the program from last year, Coach Etherton says they have a lot of experience coming back, especially on the offensive line, which has him excited.

 

 

You can follow the Mt. Zion Braves football program on Twitter, at the handle @mtz_football.

 

The Braves open the 2022 football season at Limestone on Friday, Aug. 26. 

Normal U-High Looking to Take Next Step in Central State Eight

The Normal U-High Pioneers are looking to take a step forward in the Central State Eight in 2022 and the goal is to be more competitive.

 

In 2021, second-year Coach Brody Walworth says his team played in games that were either blow wins or blowout losses. He says as he enters year two, he is looking for his team to be more competitive.

 

 

Coach Walworth walked into a program that needed to be refreshed. He explains morale was low, numbers were low and it became his goal to bring a new direction to the program.

 

 

The Pioneers will be a spread offense and balanced between the run and the pass. Coach Walworth is very confident in the quarterback position and feels that will be a strength of their team.

 

 

Coach Walworth explains as practice opens this week, he says they are focusing on setting a standard of competitiveness. He says the first few days of practice have been very positive.

 

The Pioneers open the season against Springfield Lanphier.

White Sox, Royals Split Doubleheader

In games heard on WHOW, minus injured All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson, the Chicago White Sox fell to rookie Nick Pratto and the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.

 

Anderson is expected to miss six weeks with a tear in the middle finger of his left hand. He was put on the 10-day injured list betwen games of the twinbill.

 

Anderson was injured on a check swing during his last at-bat on Saturday night at Texas. He will have surgery on Thursday in Chicago.

 

Pratto homered, doubled and singled. He began the day batting .186 (11 for 59) this season in 19 games. His third homer put the Royals ahead 4-1 in the sixth.

 

Brady Singer (5-4) allowed one run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six without walking anyone.

 

Jose Cuas picked up his first career save.

 

Lynn (2-5) allowed two-run homers by Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino in six innings.

 

Josh Harrison hit a solo homer in the Chicago third. Pasquantino homered in the bottom half.

 

The White Sox threatened in the sixth, getting two-out singles by Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez. But Singer got Jose Abreu to line out to end the threat.

 

Yoan Moncada had a sacrifice fly in the ninth for the White Sox.

 

 

 

Lenyn Sosa hit his first major league home run and Yoan Moncada also connected as the Chicago White Sox, minus injured All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson, beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 Tuesday night to split a doubleheader.

 

Pasquantino homered in both games for Kansas City.

 

Liam Hendriks earned his 23rd save in 26 opportunities.

 

Jonathan Heasley (1-7), who was called up as the 27th man for the Royals, allowed two solo home runs in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.

 

Sosa, who made his big league debut in June, gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the third when he hit a curveball into the water fountains in left center.

 

Pasquantino became the 13th different Royals player to homer in both games of a doubleheader when he connected in the fourth.

 

Moncada homered in the sixth for a 2-1 lead.

 

Gavin Sheets had an RBI double in the Chicago eighth. The Royals got within a run on Nick Pratto's sacrifice fly in the ninth.

 

Eloy Jimenez had three hits and a walk for the White Sox.

 

The White Sox and Royals will continue their four-game series Wednesday night. RHP Johnny Cueto (4-5, 2.91 ERA) will start for Chicago. LHP Kris Bubic (2-6, 5.27 ERA) will get the start for the Royals.

Rockies Crush Cardinals

Ryan McMahon hit a 495-foot homer for the longest drive by a Colorado player at Coors Field, Randal Grichuk went 5 for 5 and the Rockies routed St. Louis 16-5 Tuesday night, ending the Cardinals' seven-game winning streak. 

 

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas, an All-Star this season, was tagged for 10 runs and 14 hits in just 2 2/3 innings.

 

C.J. Cron homered and doubled to drive in five runs and Grichuk also connected as Colorado piled up 22 hits. 

 

Grichuk set a career high for hits and also drove in three runs and scored three. Brendan Rodgers matched a career high with four hits, Jose Iglesias added an RBI single among his three hits and Elias Diaz doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs.

 

The Rockies staked Ryan Feltner (2-3) to a 12-0 lead before St. Louis got on the board with a two-run homer by Paul DeJong in the fifth.

 

Nolan Arenado, who spent his first eight seasons in Colorado before being traded to St. Louis ahead of the 2021 season, had an RBI double in a three-run sixth. Andrew Knizner delivered a two-run single.

 

Most of the offensive damage by the Rockies came at the expense of Mikolas, who struggled to find a rhythm in hitter-friendly Coors Field.

 

Mikolas (8-9) gave up Cron's three-run drive in the first, his 23rd homer of the season. Mikolas was relieved by Packy Naughton after giving up a two-out, two-run double to Cron in the third. Naughton walked McMahon before Grichuk connected for his 12th homer of the season. 

 

Jose Quintana (3-5, 2.39 ERA) is set to make his second start Wednesday night for St. Louis since his Aug. 1 acquisition from Pittsburgh. He'll be opposed by Colorado's LHP Kyle Freeland (7-7, 4.56 ERA).

Nationals Down Cubs

Joey Meneses hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, Keibert Ruiz went deep twice and the Washington Nationals regrouped after blowing a three-run lead, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-5 Tuesday night to snap a six-game losing streak.

 

The Nationals were rolling along with a 4-1 lead, thanks to Ruiz's solo drive in the second and three-run shot in the fourth against Marcus Stroman. It was the first career multi-homer game for the 24-year-old Venezuelan.

 

Chicago got four RBI singles in a four-run seventh, with newcomer Franmil Reyes tying it and newcomer Nico Hoerner the go-ahead hit against Kyle Finnegan. But the Nationals regrouped.

 

Meneses came through against Mark Leiter Jr. (2-5) in the eighth, after Maikel Franco singled with one out and Yadiel Hernandez struck out. The 30-year-old rookie launched a drive to the left-field basket for his third homer in six major league games and second in as many nights, putting Washington back on top, 6-5.

 

The Cubs had a runner on second with two out in the bottom half when Carl Edwards Jr. came into the game and struck out Willson Contreras. He then worked the ninth for his first save this season and fourth since he debuted for Chicago in 2015.

 

Edwards, a member of the Cubs' 2016 World Series championship team, gave up a one-out single to Seiya Suzuki, who was was caught stealing. Nelson Velazquez then walked before Nico Hoerner struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch.

 

Paolo Espino went five innings for Washington, allowing one run and six hits. Finnegan (3-2) got the win.'

 

Suzuki homered leading off the second against Espino. He had three hits and scored two runs.

 

Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras had RBI singles in the seventh. Ortega was also thrown out in the inning trying to score on Ian Happ's line drive by center fielder Lane Thomas, who fired a one-hop strike to the plate.

 

Stroman labored through five innings, allowing four runs and five hits. The right-hander threw 90 pitches, struck out six and walked two following a string of strong starts. Stroman posted a 1.67 ERA in his previous five outings after missing a month because of inflammation in his right shoulder.

 

Reyes went 1 for 4 in his Chicago debut, a day after he was claimed off waivers from Cleveland.

 

The three-game series wraps up with Cubs LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.67 ERA) opposing Nationals RHP Josiah Gray (7-8, 4.92). Steele matched a career high with 10 strikeouts in just 4 2/3 innings in Chicago's 2-1 win over Miami last week. Gray is 0-3 with an 8.53 in his past four starts.

Mahomet-Seymour Football Embracing High Expectations

The Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs football team flew under the radar for most of the 2021 fall football season, advancing to the 5A quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

 

No one is sleeping on Jon Adkins' team in 2022 as expectations are high. That's OK with the third year coach who indicates his team is embracing the fact they will get everyone's best shot on their schedule.

 

 

With expectations high, Coach Adkins took a very different approach to the summer and indicates he will probably take a different approach to the season. He calls it a less is more approach because he wants to keep his kids healthy.

 

 

Coach Adkins is very excited for the core players he has returning from last year's team. His senior quarterback, Wyatt Bohm, led the state in passing yards last season with a dynamic wide receiver, Quenton Rogers, to throw to and a stout middle linebacker, Nick Golden, that leads the defense. While those three get a lot of the attention, Coach Adkins says he'll let other players that will be impactful make their statements on the field this fall.

 

 

With the season right around the corner and practices opening on Monday, Coach Adkins says the focus for the preseason practice schedule is going to be focusing on the little things that will allow them to get better week after week.

 

Coach Adkins is also focusing on enjoying the accomplishments of his team, something he says he did not do a good job of last year.

 

The Bulldogs open the season taking on Morton, who knocked them out of the 5A playoffs last year. Coach Adkins notes that was somewhat of a fluke circumstance that developed this offseason.

Decatur Eisenhower Football Hoping to Show They Are Ready to Compete

DaJuan Johnson has been around the Decatur Eisenhower football program for many years and understands what it takes to build the program.

 

Coming into the 2022 fall football season, Coach Johnson is very encouraged by the fall 2021 season and then the offseason. He explains they were young in almost every aspect from the coaches on down. 

 

 

For Coach Johnson, this summer was about teaching kids about football and helping them understand the game, what it takes to be successful, and working with individuals in a one-on-one capacity. While many teams filled up the summer with a 7-on-7 schedule, Coach Johnson says they did most everything internally.

 

 

Coach Johnson says the summer taught him that his team is much better than he thought. He also found out that his team is very close and hopes that will be something that other student-athletes gravitate towards.

 

 

As the season gets started this week, he is hoping more kids will come out as he continues to work to build the program but while a lot of teams will dive right into the workouts and X's and O's, he will take time the first few days to connect with the families of his players and let everyone know about the football schedule and expectations. 

 

Coach Johnson says his players have a high motor. He notes his emphasis this year will be about allowing his kids to fly around the field, hit, and have fun. He is aiming to have a well balanced team this year and hopes to send the message that his team is ready to compete. 

Cardinals Outlast Yankees for Series Sweep

Nolan Arenado and Paul DeJong both homered and drove in four runs to help the St. Louis Cardinals outlast the New York Yankees 12-9 on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep.

St. Louis won its season-high seventh straight in a slugfest that took 4 hours, 25 minutes - the longest nine-inning game in the majors this season.

DJ LeMahieu homered for the Yankees, who have lost five in a row. It's their worst skid since a seven-game slide last September.

St. Louis (60-48) moved a season-best 12 games over .500 with its first regular-season series sweep of the Yankees. The surging Cardinals moved two games ahead of second-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

 

New York still has the best record in the American League but its lead in the AL East is down to 9 1/2 games over Toronto, the first time it's been single digits since June 15.

 

St. Louis became the first team to sweep the Yankees in a series of at least three games this year. Atlanta and the New York Mets are the only clubs in the majors to avoid that fate so far.

 

Arenado, who launched a three-run homer in the second inning, had three hits and leads the majors with 18 RBIs in interleague games this season.

 

DeJong, who broke a 6-all tie with a fifth-inning double, added a three-run drive in the eighth inning - his 100th career home run.

 

Aaron Judge drove in four runs for New York, pushing his AL-leading total to 97 RBIs.

 

Frankie Montas struggled in his Yankees debut. Acquired from Oakland on Monday, the right-hander allowed six earned runs and five hits over three innings. He struck out two and walked three.

 

New York manager Aaron Boone was ejected by plate umpire Ed Hickox in the fifth for apparently arguing balls and strikes. It was the 23rd ejection for Boone and his sixth this season. Pitching coach Matt Blake was also tossed. He was ejected by third base umpire Vic Carapazza.

 

Judge gave his team a 4-1 lead with a two-run single in the second. St. Louis responded with five runs in the bottom half. Arenado's 22nd homer put St. Louis up 6-4.

 

The Cardinals scored three times in the fifth to break a 6-all tie. Tommy Edman followed DeJong's double with a run-scoring hit. DeJong was originally called out at the plate on the play, but the call was reversed after a replay review.

 

St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright gave up four runs and eight hits over four-plus innings. He struck out five and walked four.

 

Aaron Hicks had three hits and reached base four times for the Yankees.

 

St. Louis completed a 6-0 homestand, its first homestand sweep of six games or more since September 2013.

 

Chris Stratton (6-4) picked up the win, allowing two runs over 1 2/3 innings of relief. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

 

Ryan Helsley earned his 11th save in 14 chances.

 

Albert Abreu (2-1) took the loss.

 

Miles Mikolas (8-8, 2.92 ERA) takes on Colorado RHP Ryan Feltner (1-3, 5.75) in the first of a three-game series Tuesday in Denver. Mikolas has allowed five home runs in three career starts at Coors Field.

White Sox Get By Rangers

In a game heard on WHOW, Andrew Vaughn had a two-run home run among his three hits, Luis Robert hit a two-run double, and AJ Pollock had two doubles in a three-hit game as the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 8-2 on Sunday to split a four-game series.

 

Leury Garcia had three hits and scored twice and Jose Abreu had three singles as the White Sox broke out offensively. They had 15 hits, five for extra bases, after being limited to four runs and 13 hits in the previous three games.

 

The White Sox pulled within two games of first-place Minnesota in the AL Central and remained three games behind in the wild-card race.

 

Lucas Giolito allowed one run in five innings on six singles and three walks to earn his second consecutive win. Giolito (8-6) struck out five and threw 103 pitches, four short of his season high.

 

Nathaniel Lowe hit a solo homer in the seventh inning and delivered an RBI single in the third among his three hits for the Rangers. The 452-foot homer, a lefty-on-lefty shot, was the longest by a Rangers player this season.

 

Texas completed a 2-5 homestand and dropped 12 games below .500, matching its season low.

 

Spencer Howard (2-4) gave up six runs, five earned, in 3 1/3 innings.

 

Vaughn hit his 11th homer of the season in the third inning to give Chicago a 3-1 lead.

 

Robert's two-run double came in the three-run fourth, making the score 6-1 and chasing Howard.

 

Pollock's RBI single in the second inning scored the game's first run. Pollock doubled in the fourth and the sixth for his third three-hit game of the season.

 

Howard struggled for a second consecutive start - he allowed six runs in four innings last Tuesday in an 8-2 loss to Baltimore - after his best outing of the season, when he outpitched Shohei Ohtani in a 2-0 road win over the Los Angeles Angels.

 

Garcia scored from first base in the seventh inning when Texas third baseman Ezequiel Duran's throw to first went wide. 

 

Lance Lynn (2-4, 5.87 ERA) will start one game on Tuesday at Kansas City. Royals RHP Brady Singer (4-4, 3.67) will start one game.

Marlins Blank Cubs

Jesus Luzardo allowed one hit over seven innings for his first win since April, and Jacob Stallings and Peyton Burdick hit back-to-back home runs as the Miami Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Sunday to prevent a three-game sweep.

 

Yan Gomes singled with two outs in the fifth off Luzardo (3-4). Nick Madrigal's leadoff single in the ninth against Tanner Scott was Chicago's only other hit. Scott then got a groundout and two strikeouts for his 15th save.

 

Charles Leblanc opened the fifth with a double off Adrian Sampson (0-3) before Stallings put Miami on the board with his third homer of the year, a two-run drive just over the left-field fence.

 

Burdick connected on the next pitch for his first major league home run. He got his first career hit Saturday.

 

After a 56-minute rain delay at the start, Luzardo struck out six and walked one in his first win since April 30. It was only Miami's second victory in nine games.

 

The 24-year-old lefty from Peru stymied Chicago with four-seam fastballs inside, two-seam fastballs away and changeups low in the zone.

 

Sampson allowed six hits in six innings while striking out four and walking one.

 

Chicago had its five-game home winning streak snapped and was shut out for the seventh time this season.

 

Keegan Thompson (8-5, 3.48 ERA) gets the start Monday night against RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-4, 7.65) as Chicago hosts Washington to start a three-game series.

Bears WR Harry To Have Tests on Injured Ankle

The Chicago Bears suffered a blow this weekend, as wide receiver N'Keal Harry went down with what was reported to be a severe ankle injury on Saturday. Harry suffered a high-ankle sprain, per NFL Media, and he will see a specialist to determine how much time he could miss. 

 

Harry was traded from the New England Patriots to the Bears just under a month ago in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round pick. The Arizona State product was selected by the Patriots with the final pick of the first round back in 2019, and was seen as one of the top wideouts in the class. However, he struggled to carve out a role for himself under Bill Belichick.

 

In 33 career games, Harry has caught 57 passes for 598 yards and four touchdowns. He suffered through multiple injuries in his first three seasons, and trade rumors quickly abounded. That trade finally came this offseason, and many were interested to see if a change of scenery could unlock his potential.

 

If Harry were to miss significant time, it would certainly be a blow to the Bears. The wide receiving corps is seen as a weakness on this team, as it's headlined by Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown and rookie Velus Jones Jr. It's very possible Chicago could once again be in the market for a free-agent wide receiver.

Harvick Takes Home Win at Michigan

Kevin Harvick ended a 65- race winless drought that lasted nearly two years with his sixth victory at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.

 

Harvick’s win shakes up the playoff race with just three races remaining in the regular season, leaving little time for drivers to earn a spot in the 16-car postseason, and gives a boost for a veteran that entered the weekend No. 17 in points.

 

NASCAR has had 15 different Cup winners this season. If there are two new winners over the last three races, a driver with one win will be eliminated from the 16-car playoff with a tiebreaker based on points. Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. are top-10 drivers in points, but they have not finished first to put their postseason positioning in peril.

 

Harvick’s No. 4 Ford pulled away from Bubba Wallace and the rest the field following a restart with 35 laps to go at the FireKeepers Casino 400. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver took advantage of clean air, helping him coast to his 59th victory, including five wins since 2018 on the two-mile oval in the Irish Hills region of southern Michigan.

 

Harvick had not won since claiming a NASCAR Cup Series postseason race on Sept. 19, 2020, at Bristol Motor Speedway.

 

Wallace finished second in his No. 23 Toyota — 2.9 seconds behind Harvick — followed by Denny Hamlin in his No. 11 Toyota.

 

Austin Cindric, who won the Daytona 500 for his first career victory, started the day No. 15 in points and finished last in the 37-car race after his No. 2 Ford hit the wall head-on in a nine-car crash that knocked Kyle Busch out of the competition.

 

Wallace won his first career pole Saturday, becoming the only driver to break 190 mph in the Next Gen car during qualifying this season and went even faster early in the race after a 90-minute rain delay.

 

Wallace, driving for 23XI Racing formed by Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin in 2020, stayed out front until he made a pit stop after 21 laps — two shy of his career high — and the decision that cost him track position due to a crash soon thereafter that included one-fourth of the field.

 

Busch had another frustrating day, getting knocked out of the race on lap 25 due to the multi-car crash following a restart that also ended Cindric’s day.

 

Busch has failed to finish in the top 10 in eight straight races, the longest streak of the two-time champion’s career, and he does not have a contract for next year.

Three days before racing at Michigan, he and his wife and their two young children escaped the Mall of America in Minnesota after shots were fired.

 

Austin Hill made his Cup debut for Richard Childress Racing and finished 18th. 

 

Kurt Busch missed his third straight race with concussion-like symptoms. Ty Gibbs, the 19-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, filled in and was a Cup career-high 10th in the No. 45 Toyota for 23XI Racing. 

 

Cole Custer’s No. 41 Ford had its front left tire engulfed in flames, ending his day midway through the race a week after Chris Buescher’s No. 17 Ford caught fire.

NASCAR shifts to Richmond Raceway in Virginia, one of the last three races of the regular season. Hamlin won at Richmond in April.

Rangers Edge White Sox

In a game heard on WHOW, Meibrys Viloria had a tiebreaking pinch-hit single in the seventh inning and Texas beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Thursday night, when the Rangers became the first team since 1986 to have two of its first-round picks make their big league debuts as starters in the same game.

 

Left-hander Cole Ragans, who twice had Tommy John surgery after being their first-round pick in 2016, allowed one unearned run over five innings in his debut. Bubba Thompson, the team's first pick in 2017, was 1 for 3 with

a bunt single in his first big league game.

Brock Burke (5-2) struck out four in two scoreless innings after taking over for Ragans, who struck out three, walked four and allowed three singles in a 93-pitch debut. Jonathan Hernandez pitched the ninth for his second save in two chances.

 

Leody Taveras had an RBI single for the Rangers, who ended a seven-game home losing streak. That hit in the second inning came after Nathaniel Lowe extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the first of his two doubles.

 

White Sox starter Johnny Cueto (4-5), unbeaten in his last six starts, gave up three runs and 11 hits. He struck out four without a walk while pitching the entire game.

 

Texas had two on with one out in the seventh when Viloria singled up the middle to make it 2-1 when hitting for struggling third baseman Ezequiel Duran, in a 3-for-30 slide after striking out in both of his at-bats. Thompson's bunt loaded the bases before Marcus Semien's sacrifice fly.

 

Yoan Moncada had an RBI triple for the White Sox in the eighth before Thompson, who was in left field, made a running catch of a liner in the gap to end that inning.

The debuts by Ragans and Thompson came after the Rangers formally introduced 2022 first-round pick Kumar Rocker at the ballpark earlier in the day.

 

Ragans started after Texas put Jon Gray on the injured list with a left oblique strain. The 24-year-old lefty was 8-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 18 starts combined at Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco.

 

Chicago did load the bases in the first on a walk and two singles that sandwiched Ragans' first big league strikeout. But right after a mound visit, Ragans induced an inning-ending infield popout on his 26th pitch.

 

Ragans settled down, but before the game saw the water shaking when he picked up a bottle and held it in his hand.

 

Thompson hit .303 with 13 homers, 48 RBIs and 49 stolen bases in 80 games at Round Rock. He showed his speed on the bunt single, and Woodward isn't convinced that Thompson shouldn't have already had a hit from a play in the fifth, when third baseman Moncada was given an error when trying to field a tough chopper on the run.

 

The last time two former first-round picks drafted by the same club made their MLB debuts in the same game was April 8, 1986, when first baseman Will Clark and second baseman Robby Thompson debuted together for the San Francisco Giants at Houston.

 

Chicago got its run in the third, when Luis Robert had a leadoff walk before going to third after right fielder Adolis Garcia's error on a dropped flyball that initially was ruled a catch before the White Sox challenged. Replay showed that Garcia never had control, and that the drop wasn't caused by him trying to transfer the ball from the glove to his hand. Robert scored on Andrew Vaughn's fielder's choice comebacker.

 

White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease (11-4, 2.01 ERA) makes his first start in August after being the American League's pitcher of the month in June and July. He has won his last four starts, not given up more than one run in his last nine. Rangers right-hander Glenn Otto (4-7) is 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in seven starts since his return from the COVID-19 related IL.

Cardinals Take Two From Cubs

Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in the opener of a split doubleheader.

 

St. Louis trailed 3-0 before rallying in the seventh against Marcus Stroman. Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back homers before Nolan Arenado doubled and scored on Nootbaar's flyball to center.

 

Arenado and Paul DeJong walked with one out in the ninth against rookie Erich Uelmen (0-1). Nootbaar then drove in Arenado with a liner to right on a 2-2 pitch.

 

Nootbaar said he thought Arenado would be able to score the winning run. Arenado's slide beat the tag by catcher Willson Contreras.

 

Ryan Helsley (6-1) got three outs for the win, helping the Cardinals pull within a half-game of Milwaukee for the NL Central lead.

 

Contreras homered for Chicago, which dropped its fourth straight game. Stroman was charged with three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

 

The doubleheader was scheduled after Wednesday night's game was postponed by rain. St. Louis improved to 5-2 in its four doubleheaders this season, and Chicago dropped to 1-8 in its five doubleheaders.

 

Contreras, who was the subject of trade rumors ahead of Tuesday's deadline, hit a solo drive in the first for his 15th homer.

 

The Cubs added two more in the sixth against Miles Mikolas. Contreras doubled and scored on Seiya Suzuki's single, and Patrick Wisdom added a sacrifice fly.

 

Mikolas allowed seven hits, struck out six and waked one in 6 1/3 innings.

 

Rafael Ortega had three hits for Chicago, and Nico Hoerner went 2 for 4.

 

Newly acquired Jose Quintana won in his debut with St. Louis, Tyler O'Neill and Nolan Arenado homered and the Cardinals beat Chicago 7-2, completing a doubleheader sweep of the Cubs on Thursday night.

 

The Cardinals won the opener 4-3 as Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth.

 

Quintana, traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to St. Louis on Monday, surrendered one run, one hit and two walks and struck out seven batters in six innings in a no-decision debut with the Cardinals, who have won four straight and are tied for first place in the NL Central with Milwaukee.

 

Jordan Hicks (3-5) allowed a run on a hit and two walks, and Genesis Cabrera and Chris Stratton each tossed a scoreless inning in relief in the combined two-hitter.

 

Sean Newcomb allowed two runs on five hits in three innings serving as an opener in his first major league start since Aug. 10, 2020, at Philadelphia as a member of the Braves.

 

O'Neill hit a three-run home run, his sixth of the season, off Kervin Castro (0-1) in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 2-all tie.

 

Nelson Velazquez tied the game when he drove in Patrick Wisdom on an infield single that ricocheted off Hicks' glove in the top of the seventh.

 

Arenado hit his 21st home run of the season into the third deck in left field to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.

 

Wisdom hit his 20th home run of the season in the first inning against his former team.

 

Cubs lefty Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86 ERA) will make his 20th start of the season in the opener of a three-game series against Miami. Miami has not announced a starting pitcher.

 

Cardinals RHP Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.10 ERA) will square off against Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.53 ERA) in the opener of a three-game set.

Cubs, Cardinals to Play in London in 2023

Major League Baseball plans to return to London next year for the first time since 2019.

 

The league announced Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play a two-game series on June 24-25, 2023, at London Stadium. The NL Central rivals were supposed to play in London in 2020, but the games were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

MLB last played in London in 2019, when the New York Yankees swept a two-game set against the Boston Red Sox in June at London Stadium. Those were also MLB’s first regular-season games played in Europe.

 

Chicago and St. Louis have played international games before. The Cubs opened the 2000 season in Tokyo against the New York Mets, and played a three-game series against the Montreal Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2003. The Cardinals played a two-game set against Cincinnati in Mexico in 2019.

 

The 2023 London Series is part of an international slate that was approved in the March labor agreement between MLB and the players’ association. It also calls for London games in 2024 and 2026, the first France games in 2025, annual Mexico City games from 2023-26, an Asian opener in 2024 and a Tokyo opener in 2025.

NASCAR Heads to Michigan

Tyler Reddick survived an intense overtime battle with Ross Chastain to win on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week as the Cup series heads to Michigan this weekend for the Casino 400.

 

Reddick’s victory was his second this month, both on road courses, his second this season and the second of his career. 

 

Chastain was later penalized for taking a shortcut through a turn on the course and finished 27th. 

 

Reddick is the sixth multiple winner this season. He’s leaving Richard Childress Racing after the 2023 season to join Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan at 23XI Racing. 

 

Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. are the non-winners that would qualify for the playoffs now on points, with four more chances to ensure their spot. Kevin Harvick would be the first one out of the 16-driver playoffs field without a victory of his. 

 

Chase Elliott’s string of five top-two finishes ended, but he still leads Blaney by 125 points and Chastain by 129.

 

Blaney won after starting third last year.

 

Practice and qualifying is at 12:30 on Saturday with the green flag dropping shortly after 2 pm on Sunday.

 

AJ Allmendinger overcame an early 25-second pit stop and won on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his third victory this season last week in the XFinity Series as the circuit also heads to Michigan.

 

All three of Allmendinger’s victories this year have come on road courses. He led 42 of 62 laps despite the long pit stop that dropped him from first to 13th on lap 19. 

Allmendinger has 17 top-10 finishes in 20 races and remains the points leader, by 17 over Justin Allgaier and 30 over Ty Gibbs. 

 

The top six in the standings have all won more than once, and the top seven are the only series regulars to have taken a checkered flag this season.

 

Allmendinger will look defend his win last year after starting second.

 

Practice and qualifying is at 8 am on Saturday morning with the green flag dropping shortly after 2:30 pm on Saturday. 

 

The Camping World Truck Series returns next weekend at Richmond. 

White Sox Get By Royals

Lance Lynn threw four-hit ball over six innings, Jose Abreu homered for the second consecutive game and Eloy Jimenez hit three singles as the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 Wednesday.

 

Lynn (2-4) struck out eight for the third time this season while not walking a batter for the third time in his last four starts. Rookie Bobby Witt Jr. snapped Lynn's shutout bid by hitting a home run with one out in the sixth.

 

The White Sox (53-51) won for the third time in four games while remaining two games behind the Twins (55-49) and one behind the Guardians (54-50) in the AL Central. The Royals fell for the seventh time in nine games.

 

Michael Massey, who was promoted from Triple-A Omaha before the game, collected two hits off Lynn. Matheny said Massey, who attended Brother Rice High School - 25 minutes from Guaranteed Rate Field - and the University of Illinois would be given an extended look at second base.

 

The game was delayed because of rain for 1 hour, 5 minutes with two outs in the bottom of the second.

 

The Sox will start RHP Johnny Cueto (4-4, 2.86) Thursday at Texas. Cueto allowed two runs in seven innings Saturday in a 3-2 win over the Athletics.

Normal West Football Looking To Take Step Forward This Season

After finishing 6-3 and making the 6A postseason, the Normal West Wildcats football team is looking to build on what a young team did in the fall of 2021.

 

Head Coach Nathan Fincham says it was a steep learning curve for a young team competing in the Big 12 and says the vibes around the program coming into this season are very positive.

 

 

According to Coach Fincham, they pushed their team a little more than they usually would in hopes of moving the kids farther along. He hopes to be able to throw the ball a little more this fall and use their team speed.

 

 

Monday opens the new season for the fall of 2022 and Coach Fincham is hoping his team comes to practice every day with consistency and keeps their edge in the weeks leading up to the season.

 

 

Coach Fincham says the Big 12 should be very balanced, maybe more balanced than normal. He hopes the balance of the conference will pave the way for the teams of the conference to succeed in the postseason. 

 

You can follow the Normal West Wildcats football program on Twitter at the handle @ncwhs_football. You follow the Normal West athletics department at the handle @ncwhsathletics. Or you can follow them on Facebook by searching 'Normal West football'.

Cubs, Cardinals Postponed

Wednesday's game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals was postponed by rain, allowing the Cardinals to line up their newly fortified starting rotation.

 

St. Louis added four pitchers in deals over the last several days, including left-hander Jose Quintana, who will make his Cardinals debut in the second game of Thursday's day-night doubleheader. The twinbill was scheduled because of the rainout.

 

Then, on Saturday, left-hander Jordan Montgomery will make his first start for St. Louis against his former team, the New York Yankees, who dealt him to the Cardinals on Tuesday for outfielder Harrison Bader.

 

Entering Wednesday, St. Louis trailed first-place Milwaukee by two games in the NL Central. The Cardinals were one-half game outside the final NL wild-card spot.

 

Miles Mikolas (8-8, 2.86 ERA) will start the first game of the doubleheader, followed by Quintana (3-5, 3.50), who is 0-4 with a 3.40 ERA in seven starts against the Cubs. Chicago will start RHP Marcus Stroman (3-5, 3.99) and LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86), but the team did not say who will pitch which game. Stroman has allowed two earned runs over a combined 20 1/3 innings in his last four starts.

Washington Football Excited About Young Players In Transition Year

When a high school football team sees a large senior class graduate that experienced a lot of success, a lot of uncertainty is left for what the next year will look like.

 

Washington High School football Coach Darrell Crouch is hoping a young group he has that will largely fill those spots from last year's 6A playoff quarterfinal team will be able to tap into experiences of the last few seasons and will lead to success this fall.

 

 

Coach Crouch indicates this summer he took a little different approach with his team because of having to bring kids along with limited experience. He credits this group for working hard in the weight room all summer.

 

 

For Coach Crouch and his Panthers football program, they like to get to the power run. He says in that power run, they'll go to several formations to give a different look.

 

 

With practices starting up next week, Coach Crouch says his goal is to just get his young players reps and get better at the things they want to do. No matter how young his team is, its their goal to compete for the Mid-Illini Conference title and peak at the end of the season. 

 

You can follow the Washington football program on Twitter at the handle, @wchsfootball201. 

White Sox Slam Royals

Eloy Jimenez set season highs with three hits and four RBIs, Jose Abreu homered and Chicago pounded the Kansas City Royals 9-2 on Tuesday night.

 

The White Sox made no major moves before the trade deadline and will bank on improvement from within as they try to overtake Minnesota and Cleveland to win their second straight AL Central championship. This one wasn't exactly pristine, but they'll take the lopsided win.

 

The White Sox have been getting a big boost lately from Jimenez following a slow start and a right knee injury that caused him to miss six weeks. He has been on a tear since the All-Star break, going 14 for 33 with three homers in 10 games. That's sent his batting average soaring from .197 to .273.

 

Jimenez singled and scored in a three-run first inning and smacked a two-run double in the fourth to bump Chicago's lead to 5-2. He added a long sacrifice fly in the sixth before Abreu chased Royals starter Brad Keller (5-12) with a two-run homer off the left-field foul pole, making it 8-2.

 

Gavin Sheets hit a solo homer in the seventh. Andrew Vaughn added three hits and scored twice, helping Chicago move back above .500 at 52-51. The White Sox are 24-29 at home.

 

Lucas Giolito (7-6) went five innings, allowing two runs and five hits in his first win at home since beating Boston on May 25. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three after posting a 6.75 ERA in his previous nine outings.

 

Keller got tagged for eight runs and 13 hits - both career highs - in 5 2/3 innings.= The right-hander lost his third straight start.

 

White Sox CF Luis Robert was activated from the 10-day injured list after the slugger and Gold Glove winner was sidelined because of blurred vision and lightheadedness. Robert exited Chicago's win at Minnesota on July 15. He was having trouble seeing from a distance and getting jumps on balls. 

 

The three-game series wraps up with the White Sox sending RHP Lance Lynn (1-4, 6.42 ERA) to the mound and the Royals going with RHP Brady Singer (4-3, 3.51). Lynn is coming off a loss to Oakland. Singer went seven innings, striking out 10, in Kansas City's 1-0 loss Thursday at Yankee Stadium that ended with Aaron Judge's homer off Scott Barlow.

Cardinals Blank Cubs

Adam Wainwright pitched seven spotless innings with longtime catcher Yadier Molina back behind the plate, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Tuesday night.

 

Paul Goldschmidt homered and drove in three runs to lead the St. Louis offense. Dylan Carlson, the subject of trade speculation before Tuesday's deadline, hit a two-run shot and made a nice catch in center field. Nolan Arenado also went deep.

 

Molina returned from knee inflammation that had sidelined him since June 16. Paired once again with Wainwright, the two 40-year-olds teamed up to shut down Chicago.

 

Wainwright (8-8) allowed six hits and struck out four in his 192nd career win.

 

Molina flashed his Gold Glove form by throwing out Rafael Ortega attempting to steal second in the first inning.

 

Goldschmidt drove in two runs in the third with a single.

 

A three-run fifth put St. Louis up 5-0. Carlson's homer came after Tommy Edman led off with a walk. With one out, Goldschmidt hit his 25th homer.

 

Arenado added his 20th home run with two outs in the seventh.

 

Cubs starter Keegan Thompson (8-5) gave up five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

 

Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86 ERA) lasted only 3 2/3 innings last time out in San Francisco. He will be making his third career start against the Cardinals. He took a no-decision in his first start against them this season, tossing seven innings and allowing one earned run.

 

Miles Mikolas (8-8, 2.86) went seven innings last Friday, allowing two runs and six hits in the Cardinals' 6-2 win over the Nationals.

Cardinals, Cubs Make Deadline Moves

The Cardinals and Yankees have agreed to a trade that will send left-hander Jordan Montgomery to St. Louis in exchange for center fielder Harrison Bader, the teams announced. 

 

Montgomery, 29, posted a 3.69 ERA (104 ERA+) and a 4.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 114 innings this season in pinstripes. He's scheduled to hit free agency after the 2023 season. Montgomery does most of his work behind a three-pitch mix: a 93-mph fastball and low-80s changeup and curveball. He throws strikes and has generated a career-high 46 percent ground balls this season, making him a good fit in front of St. Louis' top-notch defensive infield. 

 

Bader, 28, will also qualify for free agency after next season. He's currently on the injured list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He's expected to return before the regular season ends, albeit not anytime soon. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch tweeted that Bader will be shut down for a week or two and placed in a walking boot. 

 

Prior to going on the shelf, Bader had hit .256/.303/.370 (93 OPS+) with five home runs and 15 stolen bases (on 17 tries). He's regarded as one of the best-fielding outfielders in the majors, having amassed 47 career Defensive Runs Saved, according to Baseball-Reference. In other words, the Yankees would be justified if they use Bader as their center fielder, moving Aaron Judge back to a corner.

 

The Cardinals on Monday also acquired veteran left-handed starting pitcher Jose Quintana from the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of a four-player trade. Both teams have announced the deal. 

 

Quintana, 33, has pitched to a 3.50 ERA/119 ERA+ and a 2.87 K/BB ratio across 20 starts and 103 innings this season for the Pirates. Those outputs constitute a rebound for Quintana, who in 2021 had an ERA north of 6.00 in a mix of rotation and bullpen work for the Angels and Giants. Early in his career with the White Sox, Quintana was a regular purveyor of 200-inning seasons and better-than-average run-prevention numbers, but following a trade to the Cubs he seemed to enter a premature decline phase. This season he's regained effectiveness, in part because of increased use of his changeup. 

 

Quintana is on a one-year contract worth $2 million, so he's a "rental" acquisition by the Cardinals. 

 

Right-hander Chris Stratton is also going to the Cardinals in the trade. Stratton, who turns 32 later in August, has worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen for the Pirates since they acquired him in 2019. Over that span, he's put up a 3.98 ERA in 162 relief appearances and one start. 

 

Right-hander Johan Oviedo and third base prospect Malcom Nunez are going to the Pirates in the trade. Oviedo, 24, has put up a 3.20 ERA in 13 relief appearances and one start for the Cardinals this season. For his career, he owns an ERA+ of 86 in 19 starts and 14 relief appearances spread across three big-league seasons for St. Louis. Nunez, 21, owns a slash line of .280/.366/.465 with 41 home runs in 276 minor-league games. This season, he's put up an OPS of .823 at Double-A Springfield. MLB.com ranked Nunez as the No. 10 prospect in a deep Cardinals system. 

 

Mets prospect Saul Gonzalez was traded from New York to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday in exchange for Mychal Givens, Andy Martinez of Marquee Sports Network reports.

 

A 22-year-old righty, Gonzalez has never pitched above Single-A, where he sports a 2.81 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 25.2 innings this season. It seems likely that the 6-foot-7 hurler will eventually end up in the bullpen.

 

Phillies propsect Ben Brown was traded from Philadelphia to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday in exchange for David Robertson, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports.

 

Brown broke out this year and emerged as one of the Phillies' better pitching prospects. The 6-foot-6 righty logged a 3.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 105 strikeouts in 73 innings at High-A. He turns 23 in September.

Normal Community High School Football Eyes 26th Straight Playoff Appearance

26 is the magic number for Jason Drengwitz and his Ironmen football team from Normal Community High School.

 

Last year, the Ironmen finished the regular season 9-0 but had a disappointing exit in its 25th straight playoff appereance. Coach Drengwitz explains his team got great experience between the COVID spring season and the return to a regual fall schedule last year.

 

 

 

 

Going through summer workouts and getting ready for the start of the fall season, Coach Drengwitz indicates the focus is always getting bigger, faster and stronger. Sometimes he may mix up the summer routine but for the most part it usually stays the same.

 

 

For those unfamiliar with Ironmen football, Coach Drengwitz says they try to take a balanced offensive approach with a balanced run and throwing the ball around. He feels the approach of the program has been consistent the last decade-plus.

 

 

Practices for the high school football season commence next Monday, Aug. 8 and then kickoff is Friday night, Aug. 26. Coach Drengwitz is looking forward to the strength of the special teams. He feels they have two of the better skill position players in the area.

 

 

The Ironmen play in the Big 12 Conference and will look to defend the conference title this year. Coach Drengwitz says it is going to be a very balanced conference that is going to offer a challenge each week. 

 

You can follow the Ironmen on Twitter at the handle @ironfootball and Coach Drengwitz notes the program is also working on establishing an Instagram account. 

White Sox Topple A's

In a game heard on WHOW, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez homered, Dylan Cease threw six strong innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Sunday.

 

Abreu and Leury Garcia had two hits apiece for the White Sox, who have won 10 of 15 and returned to above .500. Chicago, the preseason favorite to win the AL Central, trailed first-place Minnesota by three games entering the day.

 

Liam Hendriks pitched around Ramon Laureano's double in the ninth for his 20th save in 23 opportunities.

 

Cease (11-4) allowed a run and four hits, striking out seven and walking one. The right-hander has won four straight starts and allowed no more than one earned run in each of his last 12 outings.

 

Laureano homered for the A's, who have the second-worst record in the majors but are 7-4 since the All-Star break.

 

Jimenez hit his fifth homer off Adam Oller (1-4) in the seventh. Oller allowed four runs, seven hits and no walks, setting career highs for innings (6 1/3) and strikeouts (six).

 

Chicago scored three in the second inning to take the lead. Abreu led off with his 12th homer before Josh Harrison doubled and scored on Garcia's single. Seby Zavala followed with a double for a 3-1 lead.

 

Laureano homered on the first pitch in the second inning, ending Cease's career-high 22-inning scoreless streak. Seth Brown and Stephen Piscotty just missed connecting, hitting foul balls down the right-field line. A review confirmed a long Piscotty fly ball was foul. Brown had hit three homers in his last two games.

 

Laureano's 11th homer gave Oakland 36 homers in July, ahead of just 15 in May and 21 in June.

 

Michael Kopech (4-6, 3.16) is slated to pitch Monday to open a home series against Kansas City, which will start RHP Brad Keller (5-11, 4.18).

Cardinals Blank Nationals

Paul DeJong homered for the second straight day after ending a minor league demotion, Andre Pallante pitched into the ninth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 5-0 Sunday.

 

Corey Dickerson also homered for the Cardinals, who broke the game open in the fourth inning against starter Josiah Gray (7-7).

 

Washington star Juan Soto was 0 for 3 with a walk. Soto is one of several Nationals who could be dealt before Tuesday's trade deadline. Washington has the worst record in the majors at 35-68 and went 6-19 in July.

 

An All-Star in 2019, DeJong was demoted to Triple-A Memphis in May after hitting .130 with one home run in 24 games. He seemed to rediscover his power stroke with the Redbirds, slugging 17 homers in 51 games, including one in each of his final three games.

 

DeJong homered in his return Saturday, then connected again in the sixth inning Sunday against Jordan Weems.

 

Pallante (4-4) allowed five hits in eight-plus innings and earned his first road victory for St. Louis, which ends July a game behind Philadelphia for the NL's third wild card. The Cardinals went 4-4 on their three-city, eight-game trip coming out of the All-Star break.

 

Pallante struck out a career-high eight and walked one. The Nationals didn't get a runner to third base until chasing Pallante with a single and a double to begin the ninth. Ryan Helsley then retired the next three hitters to end it.

 

Gray issued two four-pitch walks with one out in the fourth inning before retiring DeJong. Dickerson then poked a curveball down the right-field line for his fourth homer of the season.

 

Gray allowed four runs on five hits in five innings while striking out six.

 

Dickerson doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Dylan Carlson's groundout in the third to account for the Cardinals' first run.

 

Adam Wainwright (7-8, 3.28 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at home Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.

Giants Blank Cubs

Carlos Rodon struck out 10 over seven dominant innings amid speculation he could be traded, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 Sunday night.

 

Rodon (9-6) got help from his defense early. Left fielder Luis Gonzalez reached over the outfield wall to snare Christopher Morel's leadoff drive.

 

The Giants won three of four from the Cubs after bring swept by the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks following the All-Star break. The subject of widespread rumors that he could be headed elsewhere by Tuesday's trade deadline, Rodon admitted that the Giants are hoping to stay together to make another postseason run.

 

Cubs first baseman P.J. Higgins slammed his right hip into the railing of an oddly-shaped photo well in foul territory chasing a foul ball in the seventh inning. He was shaken up and consulted with a team trainer before remaining in the game. He made a diving stop on Slater's grounder an inning later.

 

Following Monday's scheduled off-day, the Cubs will play a three-game series at St. Louis. Chiccago's Keegan Thompson and St. Louis' Adam Wainwright will meet in a matchup of right-handers.

Bears Notes: C Patrick Sidelined; DE Quinn Ready For Practice

Robert Quinn wanted nothing more than to remain with the Chicago Bears after setting a franchise record with 18 1/2 sacks last year.

 

The defensive end has his wish — for now.

 

Quinn joined the rest of the team on the practice field Wednesday for the first time under new coach Matt Eberflus after missing all of the offseason voluntary and mandatory work.

 

Quinn said he doesn’t expect or want to be traded, as the rumors suggested all offseason.

 

Linebacker Roquan Smith, who wants an extension as he enters the fifth and final season of his rookie contract, was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday.

 

Smith was at practice, just not taking part. Eberflus doesn’t want to reveal the injury that landed Smith on the PUP list, assuming there is one. Smith was at all the offseason practices — voluntary and mandatory — and did not have an injury then. The last offseason workout was in mid-June.

 

Eberflus had no problem talking about what he sees ahead for Quinn, even if the 2021 Pro Bowl player did miss all the offseason practices and mandatory minicamp.

 

Quinn had to accept a fine for his absence at minicamp, but said he didn’t mind because he was getting his “body right.”

 

Still, Quinn acknowledged he could easily be traded. The Rams and Dolphins both dealt him in the past.

 

Quinn had only two sacks two years ago in his first season with the Bears, then bounced back by breaking Richard Dent’s franchise record. So he anticipated he would be someone the new coaching staff wanted to keep.

 

Besides, while he was with Dallas, he had played in a similar style defense to the 4-3 scheme the Bears are using. So it made sense he would be comfortable.

 

Center Lucas Patrick is out indefinitely because of a right hand injury, leaving a retooled offensive line without an important piece.

 

Eberflus confirmed Friday that Patrick injured his right hand and said there is no timetable for his return.

Offensive tackle Teven Jenkins missed his second straight practice and defensive back Thomas Graham Jr. sat out Friday’s practice.

 

Eberflus declined to say if they were injured or sick. He said Jenkins — who had back surgery last August after former general manager Ryan Pace traded up to draft him in the second round — was “working through something with the trainers,” and so was Graham.

 

Patrick, who turns 29 on Saturday, left Thursday’s practice. The Bears signed him in March to a two-year deal to be their starting center.

 

Patrick made 34 starts and played in 73 games with Green Bay after joining the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He started 11 games at center, one at left guard and one at right guard last year after spending most of his time at right guard in 2020. New Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was the Packers’ quarterbacks coach the past three seasons.

 

Rookie Doug Kramer has been taking snaps with Patrick hurt. Sam Mustipher has experience at center, though he’s been working out at right guard.

 

Kramer is from suburban Hinsdale and played for former Bears coach Lovie Smith at Illinois before getting drafted by Chicago in the sixth round.

 

The Bears added two veterans to their line this week when they signed guard Michael Schofield and tackle Riley Reiff.

 

Chicago opens the season against San Francisco on Sept. 11. The Bears hired general manager Ryan Poles and Eberflus to replace the fired Pace and Matt Nagy after going 6-11 and missing the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 years.

 

DL Sam Kamara was added to the PUP list with Smith. S Dane Cruikshank, DB Michael Joseph and WR Tajae Sharpe went on the non-football injury list. 

 

The Bears experimented with rookie CB Kyler Gordon playing some downs at nickel cornerback along with Tavon Young.

Tyler Reddick Collects Second Road Course Win of '22

Tyler Reddick this month already grabbed his first Cup career victory, qualified for NASCAR’s playoffs and signed a big contract with a new team.

 

Now he’s got a victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Reddick closed the best month of his career with an overtime win Sunday on the road course at Indy to give him two victories in the last five Cup races.

 

Reddick broke through for his first career victory on July 3 at Road America in Wisconsin, then announced nine days later he was leaving Richard Childress Racing in 2024 to drive for 23XI, the team owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.

 

Win No. 2 seemed to be easily within reach as Reddick was comfortably out front for 15 late laps when debris from Christopher Bell’s car brought out the fourth caution of the race with only six to go.

 

It set up a restart with three laps remaining and Reddick lined up alongside road course ace Chase Elliott, who briefly got past Reddick for the lead until he was spun for another caution that sent the race into overtime.

 

Reddick on the next restart had to hold off defending race winner AJ Allmendinger, who also won Saturday in the Xfinity Series. But Allmendinger was physically exhausted and struggling because his cooling device had not worked the entire race, and he hardly challenged Reddick at all.

 

Allmendinger collapsed when he climbed from his car. His wife and team personnel were seen draping his head in wet towels and dumping water over him before Allmendinger was taken to the care center.

 

So it was Ross Chastain who made Reddick claw his way to the Yard of Bricks.

 

Chastain missed the first turn completely and used the access road to return to the racing course ahead of Reddick and the apparent new leader. Reddick chased him for an entire lap around the 2.439-mile course and finally reclaimed the lead in time to lead the entire final lap.

 

NASCAR after the race penalized Chastain for using the access road, which dropped him to 27th.

 

Reddick’s win made him the first RCR driver since Kevin Harvick in 2013 to win multiple races in a season, and multiple victories for RCR in a season for the first time since 2017.

 

It was RCR’s fourth win at Indianapolis as Reddick joined Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard as Indy winners for Richard Childress. The previous three wins were on the Brickyard’s oval.

 

Austin Cindric, who drives for track owner Roger Penske, finished second in a Ford and was followed by fellow rookie Harrison Burton, who was a career-best third for Wood Brothers Racing. The No. 21 Ford that Burton drives is an offshoot of Team Penske.

 

Todd Gilliland was next in fourth for his career-best finish, and the rookie led his first career Cup laps when he was out front for four laps in the final stage.

 

Bubba Wallace in a Toyota for 23XI was fifth and followed by Joey Logano of Penske and finally Allmendinger, who dropped to seventh on the overtime restart. Michael McDowell was eighth and followed by Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing and Chris Buescher of RFK Racing as Ford drivers took seven of the top-10 spots in a race won by a Chevy.

 

Chevrolet has now won 10 straight Cup races on road courses win since the manufacturer’s 2021 milestone 800th win at Circuit of The Americas.

 

Kyle Larson had a lousy 30th birthday with a long Sunday at Indianapolis that ended with a frightening crash in which the brakes on his Chevrolet appeared to fail.

 

The reigning NASCAR champion was already five laps down because of an early flat tire. His day ended early when Larson seemed to have no ability to slow his car as he sailed into a turn and directly into the side of Ty Dillon’s car at full speed.

 

The hit destroyed Dillon’s car. Once Larson was out of his own car, he jogged over to Dillon to check on him.

 

NASCAR races Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, the opener for the final four-week stretch to finalize the playoff field. Ryan Blaney is the defending race winner.

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