Monday, April 8, 2019
A Weekend Swing Across The Sports Universe
by Harry Cummins
Gary Sanchez smashed 3 of the Yankees 7 home runs Sunday in a 15-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles. The injury riddled Bronx Bombers plated 26 of their 29 runs during the 3-game weekend sweep via the home run ball! Sunday was also win number 2,000 of Brian Cashman's 22-season tenure as Yankees' GM. The home run ball was center-stage this week, not only in NY, as Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels has clubbed 5 HR's in his last 4 games as well. Sanchez, the Yankees hard-hitting catcher, has now hit 6 home runs thru the team's first 9 games and is tied with Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the major league lead.
*Another slugging backstop, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, homered in all three games of the Beavers (23-6-1) sweep of Utah. He is now hitting a robust .423 with 11 long balls. The Beavers, winners of 8 in a row in the Pac 12, host the Oregon Ducks 5:30 pm Tuesday night at Goss Stadium. OSU infielder Ryan Ober continued his amazing season with a 6 for 10 performance against Utah and is now hitting .385 on the year.
*Borrowing a page from the Willis Reed scrapbook, Lauren Cox of the Baylor Lady Bears returned to the floor on crutches from the locker room in the 4th quarter in time to cheer on her teammates to a pulsating 82- 81 national championship win over Notre Dame. Cox had been instrumental in providing Baylor with a double -digit lead before she crumpled to the floor with what appeared to be a serious knee injury with 1:22 left in the 3rd quarter. Baylor's dapper coach Kim Mulkey gets her 3rd National Title while Cox, hopefully fully recovered, returns for her senior season as a National Player of the Year candidate in 2019-20. Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, who just announced she will forgo the WNBA draft and return to the Lady Ducks for her senior season, may also have something to say about the POY award.
*The NCAA Frozen Four is set. Providence will take on Minnesota while Denver will clash with UMass in Thursday night's national semifinals in Buffalo, NY. The NCAA ice hockey championship game will be contested between the two semifinal winners on April 13.
*Canadian Corey Connors had quite a week at the Valero PGA Texas Open. The last player to enter the field when he survived a 6 man playoff in the Monday Qualifier, Connors becomes just the fifth player in PGA tour history to go from earning a spot in a tournament field on Monday, to winning the Championship on Sunday. His final round 6 under 66 mimicked his roller-coaster week. He struggled with a string of 4 straight bogies on the front nine but posted a spectacular 10 birdies on the final day as well. Conners now heads to Augusta, Ga, the last man to punch his ticket to the upcoming Masters April 11-14.
*Madison Keys and Gabine Maguruza posted big tennis wins over the weekend on the WTA Tour. Keys bested Caroline Wozniacki in the finals of the Volvo Open in Charleston, S.C. while Maguruza defeated Victoria Azarenka to capture the Monterrey Open in Mexico. On the Men's side, the ATP Tour is back in action, shifting to clay this week, with tournaments in Houston and Marrakech. The Marrakech event is the only African tournament on the ATP tour. World No 3 Alexander Zverev enters play as the top seed.
*Virginia seeks vindication tonight in the men's NCAA National Basketball Championship Game vs. Texas Tech. Anyone remember last March, when Virginia became the first ever No 1 seed to lose to a No 16 seed in the history of March Madness. Wasn't that a Virginia Slims commercial that said "You've come a long way, baby"? CBS lets us all know tonight if the Cavaliers have any magic left after their heart stopping win over Auburn on a disputed foul call Saturday with 0.6 seconds left. And then there was that uncalled double-dribble a few seconds earlier and....oh well!!
*UCLA's Bruins (23-6) are the Number 1 team in NCAA D-1 college baseball right now after taking 2 of 3 games over the weekend from Stanford (20-5) in their marquee national match-up of PAC-12 powers. Stanford remains in the No. 2 spot nationally in the Baseball America poll. Cardinal RHP Brendan Beck was stellar in Friday nights Stanford 3-2 win, which was capped by former West Linn standout Will Mathiessen's walk off single in the bottom of the 9th inning.
*Kemba Walker and The Charlotte Hornets (38-42) won their 3rd game in a row Sunday to keep their flickering East playoff hopes alive. Charlotte and Miami are tied for the ninth spot, a game behind Detroit. All 3 teams have 2 games left in the regular season. Detroit has now lost 4 in a row and is in danger of missing the playoffs for the 9th time in a decade. 15 of the 16 final spots in the NBA playoffs have been decided. Detroit, Miami and Charlotte will battle for the final spot the next 3 days!!
* Edward Cheserek, the ex-Oregon Duck, matched the IAAF World 5K Record for the roads in winning the 5,000 meter race in Carlsbad, Ca. Sunday in a time of 13:29. Among those cheering Cheserek was his girlfriend Sharon Lokedi, a University of Kansas senior who won the NCAA outdoor 10,000 in a meet record time last June in Eugene. Just minutes earlier Sunday, Lokedi had won the women's race in 15:48. 'King Chez' and Lokedi each earned $5,000 for their Carlsbad wins. 5,500 athletes registered for this year's race, dubbed the "Party By The Sea"
* The road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby stopped at Aqueduct in New York Saturday as Tacitus won the $750,000 Wood Memorial, earning 100 qualifying points for the upcoming classic to be held on the first Saturday in May. Tacitu rallied from 10 lengths back to win the Tampa Bay Derby last month in her 3 year old debut and has now won three of her four career starts. She becomes one of the early favorites for the Run For The Roses.
*IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla) knocked off previously unbeaten and No 1 ranked LaLumiere School (LaPorte, Ind) 66-55 to win the GEICO National High School Basketball Championships this weekend. IMG was paced by Josh Green, a 6'6 guard from Australia, and tourney MVP Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who chipped in with 18 points. Both Green and Robinson-Earl will be in Portland, Oregon this coming Friday night for the 2019 Nike Hoop Summit at the Moda Center. The annual game features the top high school players in the nation as they battle their counterparts from around the world and has traditionally produced the number 1 pick in the NBA draft.
*Finally, a shout out to NW Missouri State's (38-0) men's basketball team. They recently capped just the 5th undefeated season in the history of NCAA Division 2 by winning the National Championship with a 64-58 win over Pt Loma and their recently named D-2 Player of the Year Daulton Hommes. For more on Pt. Loma's Hommes, please check our story in Craw's Corner from Dec 2, 2018 entitled 'Small College Basketball's New Beacon'