Daniels delivers all-around performance for Syracuse in Seton Hall series finale

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 22, 2013 at 1:27 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Standing over the left side of the batter’s box in the bottom of the third inning, Shirley Daniels used the top of her bat to draw a cross in the dirt, the letter “D” in the top-right corner of it. Just two weeks ago, Daniels’ friend died in a car crash. The cross and “D” is a way for her to remember him before each at-bat.Daniels fouled back Seton Hall pitcher Danielle DeStaso’s first offering, then used the second one to honor her friend in an even grander way. Daniels smacked a solo home run that cleared the netting of the outfield wall and landed well behind the fence in right.“I always play for God,” Daniels said. “But today was also in remembrance of him.”After dropping both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, Syracuse (17-24, 5-9 Big East) edged Seton Hall (16-24, 4-10) 4-3 at SU Softball Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Daniels’ speed is what makes her a recognized name throughout the Big East, but she showed Sunday she can do more than just run. She delivered not only with her legs but with her bat and glove, as well, to help the team avoid a weekend sweep.Her routine has been one the Orange can rely on.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDaniels led the game with a walk after an eight-pitch at-bat. She then took head coach Leigh Ross’ sign from across the diamond and readied herself to run. When DeStaso tossed her first offering to Veronica Grant, Daniels flew toward second and slid in way ahead of the throw.Safe and untouched.“Shirley comes everyday and wants to produce for us, and today she did a good job,” Ross said. “To know that she can always take second base and we don’t need to give up an out helps our offense out so much.”She’s attempted 26 steals on the season and has been safe every time. Her steal in the first inning on Sunday added to her Big East-leading total, and helped her pass former SU speedster Stephanie Watts for fourth on the program’s all-time, single-season list.“I didn’t know I had that many steals,” Daniels said of her stolen base mark. “26, really? I guess it’s pretty cool to be leading the conference in something.”After starting the game with a walk and a steal, Daniels displayed sure-handedness in the field and a versatile skill set at the plate.“We need someone to step up, and it’s nice to have her doing it,” Grant said. “We definitely needed a spark and she provided that today.”After Kuwik walked Seton Hall shortstop Brittany Hammer with two outs in the top of the third, DeStaso slowly walked to the plate. DeStaso owned SU on Saturday, grabbing a win in game one of the doubleheader and collecting four RBIs on four hits in the two games, including a home run in each.She took the first offering from Kuwik and drove it deep to right field. Daniels tracked the ball while running backward, but it seemed like it would easily clear the fence. Then, she jumped up and grabbed it out of mid-air, pulling the would-be home run back into the field of play just before DeStaso gave the Pirates a two-run lead.As Daniels used the fence to push herself up, the SU crowd erupted and her teammates waited for her at the first-base line.But there was no time for celebration. She was due up first in the bottom of third and hastily grabbed her bat and helmet so she could time DeStaso’s pitches in the on-deck circle.She put the Orange on the scoreboard with her fourth home run of the season.“That catch that she made was incredible,” Ross said. “And then for her to quickly run in and get focused on hitting was even better. Showed how tough she is.” Commentslast_img read more

Wales 1-0 Belgium: Brilliant Bale blasts Dragons step closer to Euro 2016

first_imgGareth Bale was the savour of Wales again, as the Dragons clinched one of the biggest victories in their history to beat Belgium 1-0 and take a massive step towards Euro 2016 qualification.An unlikely victory hands them a three-point lead at the top of Group B with four games left to play, and also means they will be among the top seeds for next month’s World Cup draw in Russia.Manager Chris Coleman described it as the nation’s “biggest game for more than a decade”, against a side ranked second in the world which boasted both the Premier League and Bundesliga players of the year.But, apart from a threatening early spell, the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Benteke failed to click and the Red Devils struggled to really get going against the stubborn hosts.Chances came and went for Benteke, captain Hazard and Raja Nainggolan, who saw a low drive from 20 yards well saved by Wayne Hennessey, but the midfielder will be having nightmares about his dreadful defensive error which led to Bale’s strike, coming on the winger’s 50th Wales appearance.The Real Madrid star was played through by an attempted head back to the keeper, and displayed superb control to bring the ball down with his chest before coolly slotting through the legs of Chelsea glovesman Thibaut Courtois in the 25th minute, sparking wild celebrations at a bouncing Cardiff City Stadium.It was only the second goal the Red Devils have conceded in the whole of their qualifying campaign, and the hosts should have had another moments later.Courtios did well to get a glove to Aaron Ramsey’s initial shot from an angle, but striker Hal Robson-Kanu was guilty of a horrible miss on the follow up, sidefooting wide with the goal at his mercy.After the break, it was expected Belgium would look to spark a comeback, with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku joining Benteke up front to form an intimidating partnership, but instead they looked sluggish and rarely forced Hennessey into a telling save.The visitors were frustrated as they piled forward in the late stages, but Wales, who were encouraged by the earlier goal and grew in confidence as the game wore on, performed an admirable shut-out.Ashley Williams got a vital block in to divert Benteke’s header over the bar, while Nainggolan and De Bruyne whistled efforts just wide of Hennessey’s goal, but that was the closest they came.It was a heroic display from the dogged Dragons, with Bale’s 17th goal for his country sending Wales a huge step closer to their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup. 1 Wales hero Gareth Bale last_img read more