Former UNCA Bulldog Leads Cardinals

MLB: SEP 26 Cubs at Cardinals
Former UNCA Bulldog Mike Shildt (left) now leads St. Louis. (photo – Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (July 19, 2018) – Mike Shildt, a former middle infielder for the UNC Asheville Bulldogs from 1987-1990, was named the St. Louis Cardinals interim manager last week.

He took quick advantage of the opportunity, winning his first game as the Cardinals’ skipper on July 15 before the team headed into the All-Star break. The manager will go for his second win tonight as the Cardinals head to Wrigley Field to face the rival Cubs at 6:05 p.m. Central.

Shildt coached for the Bulldogs in 1992-1993 and has been in the Cardinals’ organization since 2004. He is the first manager at the major league level without professional baseball playing experience since Dave Trembley led the Baltimore Orioles from 2007-2010.

ACSC Season Ends in Playoffs

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ACSC, shown here against Emerald Force, exited the NPSL playoffs on Thursday.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (July 16, 2018) – The Atlanta Silverbacks ended Asheville City’s 2018 campaign when they defeated the Blues in the second round of the NPSL playoffs on July 12, in Roswell, Georgia.

The Silverbacks dealt ACSC a 2-0 defeat and advanced to the Southeast Conference final. There they defeated Chattanooga FC, 6-5, on penalty kicks following a scoreless regulation to capture the conference crown.

The Blues concluded their 2018 season, their second in the NPSL, with a 5-6-3 mark. (photo – Tom Flynn)

US Faces Canada After Early Wins

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Trevor Baptiste of Team USA (photo – David Silverman/US Lacrosse)

NETANYA, Israel (July 14, 2018) – In an encore of the 2014 finale, the US will face Canada at 12:00 p.m. eastern time on Sunday. 

Team USA (2-0) got by the Iroquois Nationals on Thursday by a 17-9 margin. The Nationals took the early 3-0 lead on the US before the Americans answered with three of their own. University of Denver graduate Trevor Baptiste was 17-19 from the face-off X. Former Hopkins’ Blue Jay Ryan Brown led the US with four goals with Rob Pannell adding three goals and four assists. 

Team USA then defeated Australia, 19-1, early on Saturday. Tom Schreiber tallied three goals and set up two others. 

Canada (2-0) opened with a 12-6 win over England on Friday and followed that up with a decisive 22-3 win over Scotland on Saturday. The U.S. will face both of those opponents to close out the pool play portion of the tournament. 

Sunday’s game will air on ESPN2 in the U.S.

US Lacrosse Opens Today at Worlds

Team USA Schedule 2018
Team USA attackman Rob Pannell  (photo – James Cirrone/Pretty Instant)

NETANYA, Israel (July 12, 2018) – The US opens its 2018 schedule at the FIL Lacrosse World Championships today at 1:30 Eastern against the Iroquois Nationals. The game will be carried live on ESPN2

The US and Iroquois both compete in the blue division, the largest and most competitive of the 14 divisions that segment the 48-team field.  The Nationals include former University of Albany stars Lyle, Ty, and Miles Thompson on their roster as well as current Great Dane, Tehoka Nanticoke.

The US roster includes well-known stars Paul Rabil (M), Rob Pannell (A), Ned Crotty (A), and Matt Danowski (A). It will also feature what could be the most effective lineup of face-off specialists ever assembled on one team in Greg Gurenlian, Brendan Fowler, and recent Denver graduate, Trevor Baptiste.

The schedule for Team USA is below all times are local, and Netanya is seven hours ahead of Eastern time in the U.S. (graphic courtesy of US Lacrosse)

US Lacrosse Schedule

Team Canada is the defending world champion, earning the title when it defeated the US in the finale in 2014, 8-5. With the win, the Canadians gained some measure of revenge after dropping the tournament’s opening match to the Americans, 10-7, in Denver.

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Team USA’s Jordan Wolf  (photo – James Cirrone/Pretty Instant)

Blues Advance in Playoffs

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 11, 2018) – The Asheville City men’s team captured a first-round National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) playoff victory on Tuesday when they defeated Interstate Nashville F.C., 3-1, in Nashville. The two teams are members of the league’s Southeast Conference Division. The loss ended Nashville’s season at 6-6-2.

The Blues’ Jamie Smith, Elma N’For, and Nathan Watt each registered a score, and the team led 2-0 going into the halftime break.

The Blues next face the Atlanta Silverbacks (7-4-3) on Thursday at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell, Georgia. Kickoff for the Southeast Conference semifinal match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.  (photo  – Tom Flynn)

ACSC Women Conclude Season

Asheville City Soccer Asheville City Blues

CARY, N.C. (July 11, 2018) – The Asheville City Soccer Club’s women’s side concluded its season with a 3-2 road loss to Oak City United on Saturday.  The Blues finished their inaugural campaign with an 8-1-2 mark within the WPSL, and fell just short of qualifying for the league’s postseason. ACSC outscored its opponents by 26 goals in their 11 games.

Against Oak City (4-4-1), Megan McCallister and Molly Dwyer scored for the Blues.

(photo Shane Burke/ACSC)

 

Photos: Football above 7,000 Feet

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Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium – (photo – Tom Flynn)

LARAMIE, Wyo. (July 4, 2018) – If altitude is the benchmark, no team is more deserving of its membership in the Mountain West Conference than the Wyoming Cowboys. They play their home games at 7,220 feet, a fact prominently displayed on the turf along the Cowboys’ sideline at Laramie’s War Memorial Stadium

The Stadium was completed in 1950 and is the highest altitude venue for any Division I football team in the country (the highest football stadium at any level is in Gunnison, Colorado). As with many stadiums of that age or older, most of the original structure is now beneath subsequent expansions and renovations. War Memorial is still compact by 2018 standards, seating just over 29,000 fans.

The Cowboys went 8-5 in 2017, and closed out the year with a postseason victory over Central Michigan. They are 7-8 overall in bowl games, with five of those appearances coming in the past two decades, an era that saw the number of bowl games increase from 20 in 1997 to 41 in 2017. The most successful postseason stretch for the Cowboys was from 1956-1966 when they played in, and won, three Sun Bowls (1956, 1958, 1966). 

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Earlier this spring, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills and was the seventh overall pick in the draft. With the selection, Allen became the highest drafted Cowboy in the history of the program, which began play in 1892. The NFL’s first draft was in 1936.

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Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen (photo –  Steve Conner/Icon Sportswire)

The Cowboys open their 2018 campaign on the road on Saturday, August 25, against the New Mexico State Aggies. The Aggies are an FBS Division-I independent, while Wyoming is projected by Athlon to finish third in the Mountain West’s Mountain Division.

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Photos: A Visit to Jayhawk Country

 

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Inside the entrance to the Allen Fieldhouse (photo – T.Flynn)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (June 27, 2018)  The home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks looks the part, as KU venues and colors run throughout the small city of Lawrence, Kansas (pop. 87,643 – 2010).

Most famous among its athletic venues is the 1955 Allen Fieldhouse, home to the Jayhawks’ basketball program. The men’s basketball team at KU has won or shared the regular season Big-XII title for 14 consecutive seasons and 16 of the last 17 years. The Jayhawks also captured the national championship in 2008, the third time they’ve done so since the NCAA tournament began in 1939.

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Rim Rock Farm is just over 10 miles north of downtown Lawrence and is home to the Kansas cross country program. Former head track and field and cross country coach Bob Timmons donated the property to the University in 2004.

The 1965 and 1966 NCAA Division I National Championships were held at Rim Rock. The only Kansas national championship in men’s cross country came in 1953, when National Track and Field Hall of Famer Wes Santee was a member of the Jayhawks’ squad. Santee was also the individual winner that year.

Rim Rock hosted both the women’s and men’s national championships in 1998. 

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Although the KU football program has struggled in the last decade, Kansas Memorial Stadium has hosted its fair share of football history since it opened in 1921. To date, the Jayhawks have 12 bowl games on their resumé, with an even 6-6 record. Their biggest win was a 2008 Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. That year they also achieved their highest national ranking ever (#2) and finished the season at #7, the same spot that they finished in 1968.

KU has yet to win a Big-XII title and posted six Big-Eight titles between 1908-1968. The most famous player to come out of a Jayhawks’ huddle is Gale Sayers, who earned All-American honors in 1963 and 1964 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Sayers played seven seasons for the Chicago Bears and was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34. He is the youngest inductee in its history. 

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Blues Defeat Eclipse, 6-0

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (June 26, 2018) – On Thursday, Asheville City defeated the Lake Norman Eclipse at Memorial Stadium, 6-0, to remain undefeated in 2018. Earlier this month, the Blues topped Lake Norman on the road in Mooresville by a 4-0 margin.

Kendall Fischlein (pictured) opened the scoring for ACSC with a header off a feed from Tina Shimschock 19 minutes into the first half. 

Anna Sumpter followed with the Blues’ second goal six minutes later. A third goal followed from Lisa Marie-Woods to give the hosts a 3-0 lead at halftime. Parker Roberts, Megan McCallister, and Maddie Ramsey added second-half scores to seal the outcome.

Bryson Lee and Carrie Revlett split time in goal for ACSC to keep the Eclipse off the board for the shutout. The Blues are now 6-0-1 in the Carolinas Conference of the WPSL. Lake Norman fell to 3-3-1.

Asheville City returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts conference foe Oak City United (3-3-1) at 7:00 p.m. (photo  – Tom Flynn)

Photos: A Visit to Evansville’s Bosse Field

 

 

A League of their Own
Tom Hanks and Geena Davis starring in the 1992 film, “A League of Their Own” (photo – copyright Sony Home Entertainment)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (June 24, 2018) – Two of the three oldest baseball parks still in use professionally today are well-known – Boston’s Fenway Park (1912) and Chicago’s Wrigley Field (1914). Less famous but far more evocative of its distant past is Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana, the third oldest active park in the nation. Bosse is home to the Evansville Otters of the 12-team independent Frontier League.

Bosse Field

Bosse opened on June 17, 1915, as the new home of the Evansville River Rats of the Central League, a class “B” minor league circuit based primarily in Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio. Within a decade, it also served a short stint as an NFL venue when it hosted the Evansville Crimson Giants, who played there for the 1921 and 1922 seasons before folding.

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The Evansville Crimson Giants c. 1922 (photo – public domain)

Years later, Bosse had a prominent role in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” as the home of the Racine Belles of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The interior of the park still has signage dating to the film, and adorning its exterior is a painting of actress Geena Davis, who starred in the movie and notably quipped afterward, “I’d rather play the baseball player than the girlfriend of the baseball player.”

The Otters have called Bosse home since they began play in 1995. They most recently won the Frontier League title in 2016. Josh Allen, a member of that team and the league’s MVP the same year, recently signed a contract with the New York Mets organization and was assigned to their AA-affiliate in Binghamton. The Frontier League, as with all independent baseball leagues, is unaffiliated with MLB but regularly sells the contracts of players to major league organizations. Allen originally made the Otters when he attended an open tryout for the team. (photos – Tom Flynn)

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