College baseball: 10 players to watch on the diamond in 2017 –

College baseball season returns on Feb. 17. With that in mind, here are 10 players to watch in 2017:

ANDREW BECKWITH, Coastal Carolina, Sr., RHP: Led nation in wins with 15-1 record and was Most Outstanding Player in College World Series. Moved from bullpen to starter’s role second half of season and finished with 1.85 ERA. At CWS had two complete games in three starts and 0.76 ERA.

LUKEN BAKER, TCU, So., IF: Hit seven of team-leading 11 homers in postseason. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder led Big 12 with .379 batting average, 94 hits, 59 runs and 62 RBIs. Was 3-1 with 1.70 ERA before injuring arm in April. Expected to be first baseman and designated hitter and won’t pitch this season.

SETH BEER, Clemson, So., IF: Became first freshman to win the Dick Howser Trophy as national player of the year. First baseman also was Golden Spikes Award finalist. ACC player of the year batted .369 with 13 doubles, 18 homers, 70 RBIs and had a .700 slugging percentage.

RELATED:?2017 college baseball season preview

J.B. BUKAUSKAS, North Carolina, Jr., RHP: Went 7-2 with 3.10 ERA, including 6-2 with 2.45 ERA in 10 ACC starts. Ranked third in nation with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Allowed one unearned run in 21 2/3 innings on U.S. college national team last summer.

CARLOS CORTES, South Carolina, Fr., OF/DH: One of the top high school players in Florida (Oviedo) last season. The 5-7, 195-pounder is ambidextrous, throwing with right hand when playing infield and with left hand when playing outfield.

COLTON EASTMAN, Cal State Fullerton, So., RHP: Big West freshman of the year heads a strong group of starters for Titans. Went 8-3 with 2.24 ERA and struck out a freshman school record-tying 100 in 100 2/3 innings.

ALEX FAEDO, Florida, Jr. RHP: Went 13-3 with 3.18 ERA in 17 starts, including 7-1 in SEC play. His 133 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings were most by a Florida pitcher in 18 years. Had five 10-plus strikeout games.

JEREN KENDALL, Vanderbilt, Jr., OF: No. 1 college player, and No. 2 overall on’s list of top 50 draft prospects. Led team with .332 batting average, 63 runs and 59 RBIs. Tied school record with eight triples and hit career-high nine homers.

Vanderbilt will rely on Jeren Kendall in its pursuit toward returning to the College World Series.

Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt will rely on Jeren Kendall in its pursuit toward returning to the College World Series.

NICK MADRIGAL, Oregon State, So., IF: Pac-12 freshman of the year. The 5-7, 161-pounder batted .333 with 11 doubles, five triples, one homer and 29 RBIs. Played second base in 2016 but goes into week of opener competing for SS job.

RELATED:?Five big-time power threats returning in 2017

BRENDAN McKAY, Louisville, Jr. IF /LHP: The first baseman-pitcher is two-time winner of John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year. Lefty was 12-4 with 2.30 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 17 starts. Batted .333 with six home runs, 19 doubles and 41 RBIs.

This article was written by The Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


MMA fighters battle for cause – Great Falls Tribune

Neil Tredray, For the Tribune

Published 10:03 p.m. MT Feb. 10, 2017 | Updated 2 hours ago

Mixed-martial arts began its 2017 run with Fightforce?s Great Falls Rumble at the Heritage Inn in front of about 750 people Friday night.

The event was also an opportunity for fighters and fans to give to a good cause. Fightforce donated proceeds from merchandise sales to the ?Do it for Love? charity, supporting 4-year-old Raegan Love who was diagnosed with leukemia in October of 2016.

Fighter Tommy McMillen?s girlfriend is Raegan?s aunt.

?I got to hang out with Raegan a little bit this summer,? McMillen said after his fight. ?It broke my heart when I heard the news so I wanted to do a little something; as much as I could to help.?

McMillen defeated Butte?s Brandon Brisbo to win the Fightforce 155-lb. title belt. McMillen grappled with Brisbo for most of the fight before locking in a rear naked choke in the second round.

?I?m pretty excited to win,? McMillen said. ?This was a step on my path, a test that I just passed.?

The main event was a professional fight between Great Falls favorite Gage Saunders and Kyle Campbell who fights out of Missoula.

The midcard started with an MMA matchup between Koda Greenwood from Eureka and Great Falls? Erik Sturchio.

Sturchio used his extra three inches to his advantage with a front kick that kept Greenwood away.

?I guess I have strong legs from being an infantry doorkicker,? Sturchio said.

Greenwood did manage to get in close enough to tag Sturchio for a knockdown, but Sturchio rallied for a knockout win.

?I mean, I knew if I didn?t get back up he?d just beat the (tar) out of me,? Sturchio said after his victory.

The midcard also featured a title fight for the Fightforce lightweight Muy Thai belt. Canadian Cody Jerome squared off against Ryan Ibsen of Great Falls.

Jerome combined a flurry of gloved fists and furious feet for an assault that Ibsen couldn?t weather. Jerome won via TKO in the first round and became the new Fightforce champion.

The undercard featured a handful of MMA bouts and two kickboxing matches.

The highlight of the undercard was the MMA matchup between Shane McClure and John Robertson, both from Great Falls.

Robertson sprawled into a takedown defense, quickly gained side control into full mount, and proceeded to ground and pound to earn a win just 38 seconds into the fight.

Punekwa Vielle of Blackfeet Nation defeated Great Falls? Cody Bautista via TKO in the third round.

Great Falls? Ryan Scottfree and James Dyson squared off in an MMA match. Scottfree scored a huge takedown in the first which led to him raining blows down upon Dyson for the win.

The final undercard match was a heavyweight kickboxing clash between Eduardo Fernandez of Great Falls and Lethbridge?s Adam Urabnczyk.

Both big men went the distance, trading heavy hands through three rounds. Fernandez prevailed, winning a split decision victory.

The night began with a kickboxing match between Butte?s Andrew Huckeby and Marshall Sutherland of Great Falls. Huckeby won a split decision after three rounds.

Sports betting tout who scammed millionaire used money on luxury cars, home – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Sentencing for Adam Meyer, the nationally known betting tout who has admitted scamming a Fond du Lac millionaire out of $45 million, was delayed for the third time Friday.

Meyer, 44, was arrested in 2014 and has pleaded guilty to six felonies, including extortion, for conning?Gary Sadoff, owner of Badger Liquor Co. Inc., into sending millions of dollars to various accounts controlled by Meyer.

Federal prosecutors are asking U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman to sentence Meyer to 12 years. Meyer,?of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is asking that he not be sentenced to more than five years.

Sentencing was delayed until March to give lawyers on both sides more time to negotiate. Additional details were not disclosed.

RELATED:?Fond du Lac millionaire was betting tout’s friend before he became victim

Meyer once billed himself as the “sports consultant to the stars” and sold betting tips predicting the winners of sporting events for up to $250,000 each. Sadoff was a Meyer customer before becoming a victim.

In recently filed documents U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad ?wrote that Meyer used the money he stole “to pay gambling debts, as well as to gamble more and to fund his extravagant lifestyle, buying expensive real estate, cars and jewelry.”

Haanstad wrote that Meyer bought a $3 million home in Florida and bought nine luxury cars between 2009 and 2013. ?Cars purchased by Meyer included Mercedes Benzes, a Porsche and a Bentley.

Ray Batista, who flew to Wisconsin on a private plane with Meyer in 2012?in order to stick a gun in Sadoff’s head while Meyer demanded about $10 million, is serving a four-year sentence.

Meyer has been held without bail since April 2015.

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No point shirking a battle says Twiston-Davies – Racing Post Bloodstock

Nigel Twiston-Davies: runs a pair of aces at Newbury on Saturday

Nigel Twiston-Davies: runs a pair of aces at Newbury on Saturday

? PICTURE: Martin Lynch ( ?

?By?Lee Mottershead 8:30PM 10 FEB 2017?

NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES has questioned why more owners and trainers shy away from running in the sport’s big Saturday prizes after today’s two feature chases at Newbury attracted only eight runners in total.

A number of top trainers on Friday suggested the prospect of racing on soft ground a month before the Cheltenham Festival may have contributed to why only three horses contest the Betfair Denman Chase, with five in the Betfair-backed Game Spirit Chase.

Also suffering numerically is the ?155,000 Betfair Hurdle, which attracted just 20 horses at Monday’s forfeit stage, down on the race’s 24-horse limit even before the declaration stage, at which 16 were kept in Britain’s most valuable handicap hurdle.

“I can’t believe people are hanging on for Cheltenham,” said Twiston-Davies, who saddles Bristol De Mai in the Denman Chase before running Ballyandy and Ballyhill in the Betfair Hurdle.

“I can only imagine the fields are due to the soft ground. We can run in the Betfair Hurde and the County Hurdle. Maybe people just get nervous? I don’t know why. I love a battle.”

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls said: “It’s odd and I’ve been surprised at some of the fields. Cheltenham is five weeks away and not everyone is thinking of that. A lot of the horses I’m running tomorrow aren’t even going to go there.

“There have not been a lot of abandonments, but you can’t keep running horses, especially when the ground is bad. We’ve got loads of horses who are waiting for better ground.

“At least it’s good racing. Everyone wants to see good horses, even in small fields.”

Nicky Henderson argued “a lot of people are very reluctant” to take on star horses and also highlighted testing ground at Newbury, adding: “There are some small fields but it’s February and there are important things just around the corner.”

Oliver Sherwood agreed. He said: “A lot of people have their eyes on Cheltenham and sometimes on very heavy ground you can leave your race behind.”

Newbury’s head of communications Andy Clifton expressed no disappointment.

He said: “In an ideal world we’d have eight for each race but it’s unrealistic to expect trainers to run their horses against superstars when they have no chance of winning.

“Altior is a big draw and we have outstanding quality in both races. The Denman Chase is fascinating. I’m pretty happy with the fields.”


Louisville basketball's Mangok Mathiang, Deng Adel apologize to fans for missing curfew – The Courier-Journal


Before Rick Pitino’s weekly press conference the Cardinals’ Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang apologized for missing curfew and subsequently missing the game against Virginia.

Louisville basketball players Mangok Mathiang and Deng Adel apologized on Friday to Cardinals?fans for missing curfew this past weekend and getting suspended?ahead of?Monday’s loss at Virginia.

Mathiang and Adel?said they asked coach Rick Pitino and U of L?media relations director Kenny Klein if they could express their remorse to the media before Pitino’s Friday press conference previewing Louisville’s game Saturday against Miami.

“We want to apologize to our whole fan base about the situation that happened last weekend,” Mathiang said. “We made a mistake, and me and (Adel)?regret it.?We just want to apologize to everybody for the selfish and stupid thing that we did, missing curfew and all that. Right now we’re just happy to be back on the team and be practicing and getting ready for Miami and just trying to make a run at the whole rest of the season.”


?Miami at No. 4 Louisville basketball: Storylines, how to watch
?Nearly full-strength Louisville basketball has a point to prove

?Pitino: Charles Oakley ‘all-Knick, inside and out’
?Louisville basketball’s Tony Hicks on track for return

?Ask Me Anything: First mailbag of the hoops season
?Trend Report: King, Snider up … who’s down?

?The Resume: U of L’s updated NCAA tournament profile

With Adel and Mathiang suspended and Quentin Snider and Tony Hicks sidelined with injuries, U of L only had?seven scholarship players available for the game at Virginia. The Cards (19-5, 7-4 ACC)?led at halftime but were overwhelmed in the second half and lost, 71-55.

Mathiang, a redshirt senior center who also had his captain’s title stripped because of the rules violation, said it was painful to watch his team’s game from home. He had averaged 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds over the previous five games before his suspension.

“Being a person that sat out last year and had to watch everybody and know this time I was actually healthy enough to help?but made my own decision (to break curfew), it made it feel even worse,” said Mathiang, who missed most of last season with a broken foot.

Adel, U of L’s third-leading scorer, said the first thing he and Mathiang did was apologize to their teammates for their rules violation.

“We know we hurt them more than anybody else,” Adel said. “We wanted to be there as much as they wanted us to be there, but at the end of the day, we learned from our mistake.”

Pitino confirmed?that Adel and Mathiang will be available to play against Miami, though freshman wing V.J. King is expected to start a second consecutive time?in place of Adel, who started every game before his suspension.

U of L’s staff took away?Adel and Mathiang’s?cell phones and computers as punishment, Pitino said, though he added that both players are “great guys.”

“We’ve had more curfews this year than any other period,” Pitino said, referencing U of L’s ongoing case with the NCAA.?”Just because we’ve got to make sure that nothing happens in this program right now. We’re on guard. I will say, I totally trust this basketball team implicitly. I really do.”

Pitino said the most frustrating factor in Adel and Mathiang’s suspensions was that it imperiled all the work U of L had done to prepare for Virginia, a team that has bedeviled the Cards since they joined the ACC.

“They both realize how much they hurt the basketball team,” Pitino said. “They understood what we were fighting for. They both feel awfully down about letting the team down. Like I told them, the Christian in me has forgiven them. The coach in me has not.”

District wrestling: Breaking down Saturday's top sites and matchups –

Want to wrestle at Wells Fargo Arena? Find a way to get to Saturday?s district finals.

Starting at noon Saturday, spots in next week?s state tournament are up for grabs in Classes 3A, 2A and 1A. The brackets in Des Moines will be built across 24 district sites and 14 weight classes, with district champions and runners-up qualifying for the state tournament field.

Here?s a quick rundown of what to watch for in your corner of the state?


Sites ??Ankeny Centennial, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Fort Dodge, Glenwood, Mount Pleasant, North Scott, Waukee, Waverly-Shell Rock.

Tough draw ??District 7 in Waukee. Second-ranked Valley would seem to make this field stacked enough, but add in rival Dowling Catholic, Waukee and its five ranked wrestlers at home, and young prospects trying to break through from Carlisle and Des Moines East, and it will be tough on any underdogs ??Des Moines Roosevelt, Newton and Urbandale included ??to claim a tournament spot.

Wild-card weight ??Fort Dodge?s Drew Bennett sits atop the rankings at 113 pounds, with last year?s 106 champ, Waukee?s Kyle Biscoglia, behind him. Then it all goes sideways. District 1 at Ankeny Centennial is projected to feature No. 3 Kobey Pritchard of Indianola, No. 5 Sam Kallem of Ankeny, No. 7 Eric Owens of Centennial and No. 8 Mark Ames of Southeast Polk. Only two of those four can get through, leaving the contenders in an oddly experienced class as anybody?s guess.

Prime preview ??Six of the top 10 wrestlers at 195 pounds could realistically see a state tournament opponent before their work is done Saturday. That field includes Dowling Catholic?s Kaden Sauer and Valley?s Connor Corbin, who are ranked No. 1 and No. 3 and set up for their fifth meeting of the season. Corbin took the first two, then Sauer rallied for the next two. The rubber match might have state seeding implications.

Title trail??District 3 in Fort Dodge features three returning state champs. Obviously, the Dodgers play a hand in that; junior Brody Teske and senior Triston Lara rolled to titles at 113 and 126 last year?and are top-ranked at 126 and 138 this season. Two-time champ Marcus Coleman of Ames will try to continue his run here as well.


Sites ??Decorah, Fairfield, Harlan, Iowa Falls-Alden, Knoxville, Maquoketa, Spencer, Webster City.

Tough draw ??District 1 in Decorah has assembled a talent-rich region into one weekend gauntlet. New Hampton is the top-ranked team in 2A, and it doesn?t even lead the field in qualifiers. Denver-Tripoli and Crestwood may not have the firepower New Hampton can boast in Michael Millage (126), Keaton Geerts (138) and Ryan Gorman (160), but Union, Oelwein and North Fayette Valley have high-end prospects, too.

Wild-card weight ??It has to be 113, if only because so many hands are reaching for the title. In any order, the sophomore trio of Webster City?s Drake Doolittle (38-2), Albia?s Aden Reeves (46-1) and Clear Lake?s Eric Faught (36-1) is outstanding. Other ranked contenders at this weight could see each other Saturday, but Faught and Doolittle are on opposite sides of the bracket for a duel in District 8.

Prime preview ??District 3 in Harlan will be a state preview and a conference rematch at the same time. The Hawkeye 10 gets its top squads back here in Atlantic/CAM and Creston/OM, plus real contenders from Bedford/Lenox and Perry make these go-to-state matches must-sees. Tangles at 113, 120 and 195 should feature top-five wrestlers.

Title trail ??Clear Lake?s Ryan Leisure (33-0) and Creston?s Chase Shiltz (50-0) are each going for their third consecutive state titles, meaning a trip to Webster City or Harlan could be part of history.


Sites ??Hudson, Lake Mills, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, Okoboji, Pleasantville, Starmont, Underwood, Wilton.

Tough draw ??District 3 in Mapleton has an absurdly deep field by virtue of hosting No. 3 Missouri Valley and No. 5 Logan-Magnolia. Both squads qualified nine wrestlers for districts, and 13 other schools will have representatives as well. Those include Westwood?s second-ranked Kody Berg at 126 and Hinton?s second-ranked Daniel Bishop at 195, giving this venue talent throughout the day.

Wild card weight ??Only two of last year?s eight medalists at 160 pounds are back this season, and Missouri Valley?s Nathan Haynes (52-2) and Wapello?s Rogan Pforts (28-4) are ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. The top two ranked wrestlers at the weight right now ??Iowa Valley?s Jacob Krakow and Sumner-Fredericksburg?s Karsen Seehase ??were at 138 and 152 last year. This race looks wide open.

Prime preview ??Slade Sifuentes is excellently named and the defending champ at 195. The unbeaten Lake Mills senior is opposite West Hancock?s Heath Hagen in District 2, who happens to be ranked second and has suffered his only losses of the season to Sifuentes. A fourth meeting is likely in the works and, if form holds, perhaps a fifth in Des Moines.

Title trail ??Lisbon will be the favorite from this Saturday until next, but the powerhouse hasn?t won a team title since 1993. The Lions can get a head-start on fixing that drought in District 8, where they?ll take 11 qualifiers. That group is led by star freshman Cael Happel, who is wrestling at 113 just one season after his older brother Carter closed out a four-time championship career at 138.