Softball: Close encounters but mixed results for Wisconsin against Iowa

first_imgWisconsin was close, but the Badgers only had one comeback attempt in them this weekend.After coming back from a 4-1 deficit Saturday to win in walk-off fashion over Iowa, Wisconsin (17-22, 2-9 Big Ten) couldn’t complete the same feat Sunday in a 3-2 defeat in 10 innings.After hitting the game-tying home run Saturday along with pitching a complete game, Taylor Paige Stewart took the mound for the Badgers to square off against Shayla Starkenburg in a rubber match full of missed opportunities to score.In the opening frame both pitchers were in danger of giving up runs, but Iowa (14-31, 5-9) left two runners on base while Wisconsin’s Chloe Miller narrowly missed a two-run homer after flying out to the warning track.Iowa’s Alyssa Navarro capitalized on the windy day in the top of the second with a solo shot to left-center to give the Hawkeyes a 1-0 lead. Unlike her previous outing, which featured seven strikeouts in the first two innings, Stewart struggled early with command and loaded the bases with two outs in the same frame, but a pop out to center field prevented any further damage.Iowa picked up right where they left off with leadoff double from Molly Hoffman in the third. First basemen Kaitlyn Mullarkey nearly cleared the bases with a two run shot to left, but it was caught at the warning track as the Hawkeyes again stranded a runner on third.It took until two outs in the bottom of the third for Wisconsin to put a hit on the board, after Maria Van Abel legged out an infield single with no one able to cover first base. Marissa Mersch followed up with a line drive, but it went straight to third baseman Sarah Kurtz to keep Starkenburg’s shutout intact and Iowa’s lead at 1-0.Wisconsin put forth its first considerable scoring threat of the day in the bottom of the fourth, after a leadoff triple to right-center from Kelsey Jenkins brought up the looming possibility of a tie game. After two consecutive outs, Ashlee Van Zeeland capitalized with an RBI single right up the middle to even the score, just the third hit of the game by the Badgers.A single by Navarro loaded the bases up for the Hawkeyes with just one out in the top of the fifth, which allowed Erin Erickson to drive home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right field. But a strikeout stranded runners at the corners as Stewart kept the damage to just one run going into the bottom of the frame.Wisconsin was in position to tie the game back up in the bottom of the fifth with two runners on and two outs, but its efforts were cut short when Van Abel was thrown out trying to steal home. Iowa catcher Hoffman quickly noticed the attempt and got in position to make the easy tag.With Wisconsin still trailing in the last of the seventh, Megan Tancill tripled to jumpstart the game-tying rally. After Starkenburg struck out the next two hitters, it looked as if Wisconsin might come up short with a runner in scoring position again. But Mersch stepped up with an infield single, just barely beating the throw, as the Badgers tied the game at two. With Mersch on third, Starkenburg kept her team alive with a strikeout to end the inning and send the contest into extras.In a game where both teams combined to leave 32 runners on base, Van Zeeland believes it’s important to keep things in perspective with so many games in a season.“The coaches always tell us to learn from games like this,” Van Zeeland said. “We had a lot of little mistakes that we can fix, so if we just come together as a group and stay with it. We’ll be fine.”With the bases loaded for Iowa in the top of the eighth, shortstop Megan Blank made a crucial play for Wisconsin with a throw to home plate to get the lead runner and keep the game tied. Katie Christner then came up with a full speed catch, crashing hard against the fence afterwards to end the top of the frame in style and help UW escape danger.Just like the Hawkeyes, the Badgers found themselves with the bases loaded and just one out in the bottom of the eighth, with the winning run for the game and the series just 60 feet away. It was the defense again, however, that seized the moment with a strikeout and groundout keeping the Hawkeyes in business.They finally capitalized on that in the top of the 10th inning.A towering homerun from Megan Blank over the right field fence gave Iowa a 3-2 lead, an advantage that they wouldn’t relinquish. The Badgers made the last out of the game on the base paths, with pinch runner Brianna Flugaur trying to advance to third on an infield grounder. On the same play, Van Zeeland was on third and would’ve come across to score if it were not for the out.Despite the disappointing outcome for her team, UW head coach Yvette Healey emphasized the positives moments where her players stepped up in big moments instead of dwelling on their shortcomings at the end of the contest.“It’s a heartbreaker. We got a great performance out of Taylor [Stewart], which is wonderful to see. I think that’s super important, and she threw a great game. We’re proud of her,” Healey said. “Their hero just came up bigger than ours. Megan Blank is their big kid, and she stepped up when it counted. A lot of our best kids had the shot, but we just didn’t convert. I’m proud of the kids that did convert.”Game 1Iowa set the tone early in the series opener, rattling freshman starting pitcher Mariah Watts to the tune of five runs in a third of an inning. Hoffman recorded two hits in the first inning alone, with three RBIs in the process. The Hawkeyes scored 10 total runs in the first inning, as Wisconsin managed only four runs in the 16-4 final.Game 2Following a two RBI double by Hoffman and two-run home run off the bat of Mullarkey in a third inning, the Badgers found themselves in a 4-1 hole in the bottom of the sixth inning. With opportunities waning, Mersch delivered an RBI single, followed up by a sacrifice fly from Miller to chip down the deficit to one. A scoreless frame by Iowa in the top of the seventh left the Badgers needing one run, which was delivered by Stewart’s first career homer to tie the game. Van Abel’s walk-off fielders choice gave Wisconsin the stunning comeback victory.last_img read more

Herbert Mensah lashes out at authorities for ignoring families of May 9 victims

first_imgFormer Asante Kotoko chairman Herbert Mensah believes not enough has been done for families of victims of the May 9 stadium disaster.Ghana will be remembering the over 126 soccer fans who lost their lives in a stampede which occurred at the Accra Sport Stadium when Hearts of Oak clashed with Asante Kotoko in 2001.Today ( Monday) marks exactly 15 years the sad event occurred and the then chairman of Asante Kotoko Herbert Mensah says enough has not been done for this worst disaster.“As you see for fifteen year we have not had any political recognition, any political assistance, we have not had proper association with the football association,” he saidThe people in authority who should know better have shown that they do not know better, those that should have had greater concern for the families and not their political images have shown over the years that they are not worth the positions in which they sit“The people who matter are the families of whom we give respect to year in and year out and we ensure the world does not forget.” –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Albert Pujols homers twice to tie Ken Griffey Jr., David Fletcher gets his first as Angels clobber Mariners

first_imgPreviousA fan wearing traditional Japanese kimono walks through the seats before a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)The Angels’ David Fletcher rounds the bases after hitting his first career home run during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Mariners at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)The Angels’ David Fletcher, center, is congratulated by teammates after hitting his first career home run during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Mariners. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsAngels manager Mike Scioscia and teammates Ian Kinsler (3) and Albert Pujols (5) congratulate David Fletcher as he returns to the dugout after hitting his first career home run during the first nning of Thursday’s game against the Mariners at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws to a Seattle Mariners batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager connects with an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon, right, slides into home to score on a single by Kyle Seager as Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado waits for the throw during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon scores on a single by Kyle Seager during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton throws to a Los Angeles Angels batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a two-run homerun during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols hits a two-run home run during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim watches his two-run homerun during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols watches the flight of his two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners looks on after allowing a two-run homerun to Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the first inning of a game at Angel Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols celebrates his two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners catcher David Freitas, right, adjusts his mask as Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, center, celebrates his two-run home run with Mike Trout during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton, left, and a trainer walk off the field after he was removed during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners’ Nelson Cruz heads back to the dugout after striking out during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)A single hit by Seattle Mariners’ Ryon Healy flies past Los Angeles Angels third baseman David Fletcher during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)A single hit by Seattle Mariners’ Ryon Healy flies past Los Angeles Angels third baseman David Fletcher during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners’ Denard Span takes off his helmet after he grounded out during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Tyler Skaggs #45 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, bottom, steals second base as Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon catches the throw during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton comes around after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, center, celebrates his three-run home run with Mike Trout as Seattle Mariners catcher David Freitas stands near the plate during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols rounds the bases past Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager after hitting a home run, his second homer of the night, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after hitting a single during the fifth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 12: Kole Calhoun #56 and Mike Trout #27 congratulate Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at the dugout after his solo homerun during the sixth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, left, celebrates his second home run of the night with Mike Trout during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, left, celebrates his second home run of the game with Mike Trout during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager reacts after striking out during the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, left, of Japan, and Mike Trout celebrate the team’s 11-2 win against the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)A fan wearing traditional Japanese kimono walks through the seats before a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)The Angels’ David Fletcher rounds the bases after hitting his first career home run during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Mariners at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)NextShow Caption1 of 33The Angels’ David Fletcher rounds the bases after hitting his first career home run during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Mariners at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)ExpandANAHEIM — The first home run ball of David Fletcher’s career was sealed in a clear plastic bag in his locker Thursday night. If he had any immediate plans for where the ball would go, Fletcher was not willing to share them with the media.Fletcher, a shy 24-year-old rookie from Cypress High, grinned sheepishly when it was suggested that he needed only 629 more homers to catch his most prolific teammate. Across the Angels’ clubhouse, Albert Pujols waxed about the friendship he formed with Ken Griffey Jr., whose 630 home runs are now tied for sixth place on baseball’s all-time list.Time and again, the Angels’ 2018 season has celebrated the old and the young, with surprisingly little assurance of team success in between. Their 11-2 thumping of the Seattle Mariners was the latest example.Pujols hit two home runs and collected three hits, tying him for 25th all-time with Rickey Henderson – another former opponent now in the Hall of Fame – with 3,055 for his career. Justin Upton hit a three-run home run, his 18th of the season. Tyler Skaggs continued the best streak of pitching in his career, allowing one run over six innings. Mike Trout, with bat and glove, helps Angels end losing streak Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Their reward: a small step closer to the Mariners (58-36), whose lead in the American League wild-card standings is now 10 games over the Angels (48-46).On the same day Garrett Richards was lost for the remainder of the season, two quick home runs by Pujols and Fletcher roughed up Mariners starter James Paxton before a bad back knocked Paxton out for good.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Listed at 5-foot-10, Fletcher had never hit more than three home runs in three professional seasons prior to 2018. But he had six homers at Triple-A Salt Lake before earning his first major league call-up in June.“I’m not a home run hitter but every now and then I’ll run into one,” Fletcher said. “I think I made a big jump this year with some swing adjustments.”Paxton (8-4) lost a start at Angel Stadium for the first time since April 2015. The Mariners left-hander owned a 2.07 earned-run average in 11 prior starts against the Angels. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield center_img Clippers, Mavericks brace for the unknown in Game 4 But he lasted just five batters before a trainer escorted him off the mound with what the Mariners described as “low back tightness.” Paxton was charged with three runs in two-thirds of an inning.Just like that, the remaining eight innings were bushwhacked into an unobstructed path to victory.Pujols finished 3 for 3 with a walk, the first time this season he’s reached base four times. The last of his three hits: a no-doubt, 419-foot home run to left field in the sixth inning against Nick Rumbelow.Ian Kinsler also had three hits for the Angels. Fletcher and Upton each had two of the Angels’ 15 hits against Paxton and six relievers. Former Angels infielder Andrew Romine mopped up the final inning, his fifth career pitching appearance, and allowed two runs.Skaggs (7-5) rebounded nicely from an early error. Dee Gordon began the game with a chopper toward first base, went to second base when Skaggs scooped an underhand throw to no one in particular and scored on an RBI single by Kyle Seager.Skaggs threw 26 pitches in the extended first inning but limited the damage to one run. Over the next five innings, the left-hander faced two batters above the minimum before turning the game over to the bullpen. He walked one batter while striking out five and scattering five hits, all singles.Skaggs was 3-4 with a 3.60 earned-run average on May 28. In six starts since, he hasn’t allowed a home run, going 4-1 with a 0.95 ERA.“This is the best I’ve ever thrown the ball in my whole career,” he said.Right-hander Noe Ramirez pitched a scoreless seventh inning. The last batter he faced, Gordon, hit a laser ground ball back to the mound that left a bulbous bruise on Ramirez’s right calf. Ramirez said Manager Mike Scioscia planned to remove him at that point anyway, but he was limping after the game. His next outing might have to wait at least a day.Right-hander Oliver Drake allowed one run over the final two innings for the Angels, who visit the Dodgers for a three-game interleague series beginning Friday night.With an announced crowd of 44,027 for a Shohei Ohtani bobblehead giveaway, Ohtani did not appear in the game. Scioscia preferred Jefry Marte at first base, and Pujols as his designated hitter, with the left-handed Paxton starting the game. Despite Paxton’s quick exit, Ohtani remained on the bench.Even without their rookie sensation, the Angels had plenty to celebrate. Pujols and Griffey were opponents for seven and a half seasons in the National League Central, when Pujols played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Griffey was with the Cincinnati Reds.Related Articles “Griffey was everybody’s hero growing up,” he said. “As a little boy, even though I was a right-hander, everybody wanted to have that sweet swing.”Pujols could only smile as he spoke about Fletcher’s home run, a 393-foot shot against a genuine ace. Pujols’ first victim was Armando Reynoso, whose greatest claim to fame might be his role as Pujols’ first victim.“Since we called him up, he’s been really our spark in our lineup. He’s really done a great job,” Pujols said of Fletcher. “Not just any pitcher. Paxton’s really tough against anybody in the league. That’s really special. I’m really happy for him.”When Ohtani hit his first career home run in April, the Angels gave him the “silent treatment” – an oft-repeated tradition of ignoring a player in the dugout after his first career home run. By contrast, Fletcher was greeted warmly.“We don’t know how many more Fletch is going to hit,” Scioscia said. “He’s a little guy. We knew Shohei’s going to hit a lot. We don’t know where Fletch’s next one is going to be, so we better celebrate it.“That’s Ian Kinsler, not me, talking.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more