Archive for September, 2013
(Hutchinson) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team has reached the midway point of its season, and Head Coach Paula Wiedemann believes the team is headed in the right direction for a strong finish.
“We’re building in the right areas, but we’re at that point in the season when it’s nice to slow down a little bit,” she said. “We only have two games in the next two weeks, so that will give time to rest up and heal. It also will give us time to work on the things that will help us build team chemistry, which in turn will help us build confidence. That is the key.”
This past weekend’s tournament at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College revealed some lingering issues in the team chemistry department. After a competitive match against ninth ranked Iowa Western Community College of Council Bluffs Friday afternoon, which the Grizzlies lost 21-25, 25-18, 19-25, 20-25, the team struggled against unranked New Mexico Military Institute of Roswell later that evening and lost 22-25, 13-25, 21-25.
“I felt we played well against Iowa Western, but we had a variety of frustrations and struggles against New Mexico that affected the outcome of that game,” Wiedemann said. “Our players need to learn how to overcome their emotions when they’re out on the court, and they need to continue to cultivate their relationship with each other. Part of creating chemistry on a team is the willingness of the players to connect and interact with each other. It builds respect, trust and other factors that every great team needs.”
The Grizzlies are more than willing to work on these issues, the coach said, and the first step in that process is a new team rule – turn off the electronics. From now on, she said, electronic devices will be used sparingly on trips and will be turned off during games and practices.
Following the New Mexico match, players turned off their devices and started interacting with each other more, and the results were nearly immediate on Saturday. The Grizzlies defeated Redlands Community College, El Reno, Okla., 10-25, 25-8, 25-21, 25-19 and Seminole (Okla.) State College 25-12, 25-18, 25-19.
“When you’re disconnected as a group, there can be tendencies to be negative about things, and it’s easy to disconnect when you ‘connect’ yourself into your own world,” the coach said. “But once we created this new ‘team’ atmosphere, things turned around.”
Statistical leaders for the Grizzlies at the tournament included sophomore outside attacker Helena Peric with 69 kills, 53 digs and 75 points earned; freshman setter Brianna Zebert, 121 assists; freshman middle attacker Leondra Barrett, 8.5 blocks, including five solos; and sophomore middle attacker Nella Ioramo, five service aces.
“We continued to do a good job defensively, and that put us in a position to have opportunities offensively,” Wiedemann said. “We need to keep working on taking good swings offensively and improving our swing efficiency. We need to stop giving away points with an ‘all of nothing’ attitude at times.”
The Grizzlies next match will be 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at home in the West Plains Civic Center against Region 16 rival Mineral Area College of Park Hills, Mo. “The girls are excited about playing at home, but they need to keep focused. With this being a region game, it has added importance,” Wiedemann said.
The match is being sponsored by The Fish Shack and The Pizza Shack. The Grizzlies also are asking fans to bring a craft item such as construction paper, colored markers or crayons, glue, etc., or a card game or board game to donate to the West Plains Area Boys and Girls Club for the team’s community service project that evening. Those who donate an item will receive free tickets to the game.
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.
(Milwaukee) (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals clinched a playoff berth on the same day manager Mike Matheny turned 43.
Neither milestone caused much of a stir.
Washington’s 4-2 loss to Miami in a doubleheader opener Sunday assured the Cardinals of at least an NL wild-card berth.
“We want to win the division and then go on and go deep into October,” first baseman Matt Adams said before Sunday night’s game against Milwaukee.
The Reds beat the Pirates earlier Sunday 11-3, leaving both teams 2 1-2 games back of first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
There was no champagne on ice in the clubhouse for clinching a third straight trip to the postseason. No victory cigars were being lit up.
Some players in the quiet clubhouse were more engrossed with the Colts-49ers game on the big-screen televisions. Others busily pounded away on their smartphones.
“We’re confident. We know we have a good ballclub. Everything’s clicking right now,” Adams said. “We’re happy but we want to keep taking things day by day and then win the division and then go from there.”
Matheny said he learned of the Nationals’ loss while in the weight room. There was some chit-chat, and Matheny said he would have a quick conversation about it with his club after Sunday night’s game.
Don’t expect the Cardinals to rest their players the final week just because they’re in, too.
“Right now, we’re nowhere near that,” Matheny said. “We’ve got a lot of baseball to win these next seven games.”
He’s feeling spry on his birthday, and not necessarily just because St. Louis is in the lead for a division title.
“This spring, I wasn’t so sure I would be able to say that, some back issues,” Matheny said. “But I feel really good right now.”
Left fielder Matt Holliday couldn’t say the same Sunday night. Initially in the starting lineup, Holliday was scratched because of back spasms. He was replaced by Shane Robinson.
(Arlington) (AP) – Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin sustained a hamstring injury in Sunday’s game against St. Louis.
The team announced the injury soon after Austin came down hard while trying to make a leaping catch along the sideline in the third quarter.
Rams backup defensive end William Hayes, who had been dealing with a hip problem, came out of the game in the first half because of a knee injury. He was apparently hurt while playing special teams on a punt return.
Austin missed six games because of hamstring problems in 2011 and dealt with the issue again last season, when he missed only one game.
(Arlington) (AP) – DeMarco Murray strolled around left end for 14 yards on his first carry. There wasn’t a St. Louis defender near him until the end of a much longer run a few plays later.
The Rams almost looked like they didn’t remember what the Dallas running back did to them in their last meeting.
Murray rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown two years after setting a franchise record against St. Louis as a rookie, and Tony Romo threw for three scores in a 31-7 victory Sunday.
The third-year back had 96 yards rushing to 18 for the entire the St. Louis offense at halftime. His 41-yard run two plays into the third quarter gave him his first 100-yard game in more than a year and set up a touchdown for a 24-0 lead.
Murray probably could have threatened the 253 yards he set against the Rams in 2011, but he was soaking up cheers from the crowd when the huge video board at the Cowboys’ $1.2 billion showplace showed him relaxing on the sideline in the fourth quarter.
“When you get a runner like that going, you can feed on him,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He gets a little contagious for everybody. Everybody starts feeling it.”
Sam Bradford, Murray’s old college teammate at Oklahoma, was only feeling pressure.
The Cowboys (2-1) sacked him four times in the first half and had six in total after St. Louis (1-2) hadn’t allowed a sack in four games dating to last season. It was the longest streak for the Rams since John Hadl was under center for a division champion in 1973.
DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and broke Harvey Martin’s 30-year-old franchise record of 114. Then-coach Bill Parcells and owner Jerry Jones used to have fun throwing around bets how many sacks 2005 first-round pick Ware would get.
“I think of it every time I think of his number of sacks,” Jones said. “I can’t say that it is unexpected because of how hard he works, and his talent level, and his competitiveness.”
Romo, who had 210 yards passing, went 2 yards to Dez Bryant for the first Dallas score. He had a pair of 24-yarders in the second half to rookie tight end Gavin Escobar and Dwayne Harris.
When the Rams finally started getting defenders around Murray at the line of scrimmage, Romo found him on the outside for a pair of catches on a drive that ended with a 2-yard run by Murray for a 17-0 lead.
Murray went around left end before extending the ball over the goal line right on the pylon, and there was no review. His last 100-yard game was the 2012 opener, and he was coming off a 25-yard performance in a loss at Kansas City.
“I don’t know that there was anything that stood out to me, other than it was just the same commitment and drive and work ethic he’s shown all year in the offseason and the first two games,” Romo said of Murray, who declined to talk to reporters.
St. Louis avoided the shutout on Bradford’s 4-yard pass to Austin Pettis on fourth down late in third quarter after an interception by rookie safety J.J. Wilcox was wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Jason Hatcher.
Bradford, who finished 29 of 48 for 240 yards, was hit eight more times in addition to the sacks. The Rams didn’t get a first down until the second quarter.
“In the first half, we just never got anything going, played behind the chains all day,” Bradford said. “Just a very poor performance on our part today.”
The Rams had a chance to stay in the game on the drive after their lone score, but Bradford threw behind Chris Givens on fourth down. Dallas scored three plays later for a 31-7 lead when Romo hit Harris in stride in the back of the end zone.
“We didn’t run it, we didn’t stop the run, we didn’t throw it, we didn’t stop their passing game,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “I did not see this coming.”
(Milwaukee) (AP) – Matt Carpenter knew he had done something special. The St. Louis Cardinals are confident there is more to come, too.
Carpenter broke Stan Musial’s team record for doubles by a left-handed batter in a season as the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 Saturday night to maintain a two-game lead in the NL Central.
Carpenter’s fifth-inning double was his 54th one more than Musial’s total in 1953. Carpenter went into the game aware he was tied with Stan the Man.
“To know that you have done something, took a record from (Musial) or broke a record that he held, you can’t put it into words,” Carpenter said. “It is pretty amazing. It is something I am extremely proud of and definitely a cool thing.”
Carpenter grounded out to start of the game and flied out in the second. But with two outs in the fifth, he hit a shot into the right-field corner to set the mark.
“Someone had mentioned to me that I tied him last night, so when I hit it today, I knew,” Carpenter said. “I got the ball and I got the base, so pretty cool.”
Despite his personal success, Carpenter and the Cardinals know they have more to do.
“The only thing on my mind is the division championship,” he said. “If I can do my job to help us win, then all those individual things will take care of themselves.
The Cardinals lead Pittsburgh by two games and are ahead of Cincinnati by three games.
St. Louis won for the 12th time in 17 games and improved to 14-4 against the Brewers this year, including 8-1 in Milwaukee.
“We don’t shy away from the fact that anything you get to play after game 162 is special,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Lance Lynn (14-10) allowed one run, four hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings. He had been 0-5 with a 5.44 ERA in eight starts since winning at Cincinnati on Aug. 4.
“It is the same motto we’ve had all year, one game at a time,” Lynn said. “That is all you can worry about.”
Lynn has made a career-high 32 starts this year, including four against the Brewers.
He had a rough first inning, but after that nothing bothered him.
“He was struggling a little bit,” Matheny said. “Once he found that groove, and you could tell found that four-seamer, it was a completely different game.”
Yovani Gallardo (11-10) gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings and dropped to 1-11 with a 6.46 ERA in 17 career starts against St. Louis.
Matt Adams hit a two-run homer for the second straight night, putting the Cardinals ahead in the first. Davis hit an RBI grounder in the bottom half, but the Cardinals blew open the game in a five-run eighth.
“He hits mistakes,” Gallardo said. “He’s one of those guys that got a lot of power. It doesn’t take much for him to hit the ball hard somewhere.”
(Kansas City) (AP) – Kansas City has gone 27 years without making the playoffs and time is running out for the Royals to not extend that streak to 28.
Matt Garza pitched eight impressive innings for his first victory in six starts and the Texas Rangers kept close in the playoff race, beating the Royals 3-1 on Saturday night.
The Rangers won for only the fifth time in 19 September games to remain a half-game behind Cleveland for the second AL wild-card berth.
The Royals, out of the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, dropped 3 1/2 games in back of the Indians.
“We know we can’t do anything unless we win,” said Eric Hosmer, who homered in the ninth for the only Royals’ run. “We’re still in it. We’re not out of it yet. We’ll come out and do our end of the bargain.”
The Royals have eight games remaining with the last seven are on the road, but against the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox, clubs with losing records.
A rare Kauffman Stadium sellout Saturday night could not spark the Royals to a victory against Garza.
“The crowd was into the game, the whole game,” said Jarrod Dyson, who tripled with two out in the fourth, but was stranded when Alcides Escobar struck out looking. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win for them. We’ve got to bounce back for them.”
With six clubs bunched within 3 1/2 games for two wild-card playoff berths, the Royals appear to be in dire straits.
“I go day to day,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The only thing I think about is what is it going to take to win tomorrow.”
Adrian Beltre got two hits and drove in a run for Texas.
Garza (10-6) was 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in his first three September starts. He pitched four-hit ball before giving up Hosmer’s leadoff home run in the ninth and getting pulled.
“He challenged everybody with his fastball,” Dyson said. “A lot of times guys can’t get away with that. He had his stuff working.”
Garza struck out five and walked one.
“We were a little more than off-balance,” Yost said. “He was really good. He was really pounding the strike zone. He threw, I think, 70 strikes and 26 balls. He had a good fastball, a really good slider, and a good chase pitch. He was ahead all night. He pitched a really good game.”
Garza is 4-5 in 12 starts since the Rangers acquired him on July 22 in a trade with the Chicago Cubs.
“Garza had a nice start,” losing pitcher Jeremy Guthrie said. “It was going to take an extraordinary game to beat him.”
After Hosmer’s 17th homer, Joe Nathan relieved. The Texas closer struck out two for his 40th save in 43 chances. Nathan posted his 41st career save against the Royals.
Guthrie (14-12) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. He has permitted six runs and 20 hits in 14 innings in losing his past two starts.
Beltre’s .374 career batting average at Kauffman Stadium is the highest for an opposing batter with at least 150 plate appearances.
Guthrie gave up a triple to Ian Kinsler to lead off the game. Kinsler scored on Elvis Andrus’ groundout.
In the third, Guthrie’s control betrayed him when he walked Andrus and Alex Rios on eight pitches, and both scored.
Beltre bounced an RBI single up the middle and A.J. Pierzynski had a sacrifice fly.
It was revenge time for the Liberty Eagles on Friday night, when they had a chance for some payback against an Ava Bears team that had beaten them last season. Revenge was not only sweet, but swift.
Here’s Brain Ingalls with your Friday Night Football Follow-Up:
Liberty improves to 4-0 on the season and host Willow Springs next Friday for Homecoming at the Nest.
The Cabool Bulldogs went up against the Houston Tigers at Home for the closest game that they have had all season. For the first time this Fall the Bulldogs were on the board inside the First Quarter. However, after a tough fight and a super close game, the Tigers stole the victory from the Bulldogs in the second half. The final score for the night was 42-28.
The voice of the Cabool Bulldogs Brad McNew has your Friday Night Football Follow-Up:
Once again the score for the night was 42-28; Houston. In the forth week of play for the Bulldogs their record for the season stands at 0-4.
On Friday night the Willow Springs Bears faced off at home against the Mountain Grove Panthers. The Panthers grabbed the lead in the first quarter and held on to it for the rest of the game. The Panthers won the game with a 14 point lead, for a final game score of 42-28.
The voice of the Willow Springs Bears Marty Spence has your Friday Night Football Follow-Up:
Once again the the final score was 42-28; Mountain Grove. This game gives the Bears a 2-2 record for the season in week four.