SB : Watts, Watson each homer to avenge earlier bad breaks

first_imgStephanie Watts and Jasmine Watson made a pact in center field.In the second game of a doubleheader against Rutgers on Saturday, they swore they wouldn’t give Scarlet Knights center fielder Lindsey Curran the chance to track down their fly balls.Curran robbed two potentially game-tying home runs to help Rutgers upset the Orange in the first game, so Watts and Watson promised they’d clear the wall this time.‘In between games, I went up to Watson and I challenged her to hit more home runs than me,’ Watts said. ‘It was a friendly thing, but we wanted to make sure we got those home runs back.’Both players smashed home runs that sailed over Curran, earning them redemption in a 5-3 win over the Scarlet Knights at Skytop Softball Stadium on Saturday. Syracuse (34-11, 11-3 Big East) defeated Rutgers (22-24, 9-10 Big East) 1-0 in the series finale Sunday to take the weekend series.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It was great to see them bounce back like that after catching those bad breaks in game one,’ head coach Leigh Ross said. ‘That’s just the way the game is sometimes, but obviously they were disappointed about it.’Watts and Watson both hit long fly balls that would have cleared the fence and tied the game 3-3 to give SU pitcher Jenna Caira a shot to win a game in which she set a career high with 18 strikeouts, but Curran took them away.Curran’s most spectacular catch came when she took away Watts’ homer. In the fifth inning, Rutgers starting pitcher Alyssa Landrith threw the second baseman a changeup that she said she could ‘put some power into.’When she launched the ball to deep left center, Watts assumed she had tied the game.But Curran had other plans. She leapt at the last second and extended her glove over the outfield fence to prevent a home run.‘I thought I had it for sure,’ Watts said. ‘I actually started into my home run trot to first because I thought I had it. She made a great play, but it was a bummer to see.’Curran’s glove robbed Watson in the next inning, too. The center fielder snatched another potential game-tying blast at the fence.‘It was frustrating,’ Watson said. ‘You had two big chances to tie the game, and it just didn’t happen.’Watts and Watson decided to turn their frustrations into a friendly home run competition to start the second game. Watson said it was the perfect way to break the tension of losing a game both players felt they could’ve won for their team.In the second inning, Watson drilled her ninth home run of the year to put SU ahead 1-0, buckling the knees of Curran when she realized she couldn’t track down the deep shot to straightaway center field.When she realized she hit the home run that evaded her in the previous game, Watson threw her hands up in elation on the jog to first base.‘I was a little happier to hit that one than I would’ve been otherwise,’ Watson said. ‘I’ve been struggling lately, and with what happened in the first game, it just felt good to hit one there.’Watts chased starter Abbey Houston out of the game an inning later with a two-run shot of her own, pushing the Orange lead to 3-0.From there, SU was in control, and in Ross’ eyes, Watts’ homer meant she was even with Curran for the two runs she denied them in the first game.‘You control what you can control, but it was a little bit of poetic justice,’ Ross said.nctoney@syr.edu Published on April 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: nctoney@syr.edu | @nicktoneytweets Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more

Hurricanes and Canadiens go back and forth on Twitter over Sebastian Aho’s offer sheet

first_imgDon’t think Sebastian Aho is on his way to Montreal just yet.The Hurricanes have seven days to match the five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet. The contract pays Aho $21 million in the first year, but Carolina doesn’t seem too frightened by it. General manager Don Waddell addressed the offer sheet in a press conference and said, “I’m actually surprised it wasn’t more.” Just over an hour after the poll was tweeted, the Canadiens’ social media team seemed to still be confident the franchise could acquire Aho. Either Montreal’s staff didn’t realize the Hurricanes planned to match the offer sheet, or they believed Carolina was bluffing.Learn more about restricted free agent centerman Sebastian Aho.FAST FACTS➡️ https://t.co/tEusADWarx@LeTrioHockey #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/K3byVtMlM3— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) July 1, 2019Aho’s contract will have a cap hit of $8.454 million, and after signing netminder Petr Mrazek to a two-year deal with an AAV of $3.125 million, the Hurricanes have $19,573,334 in projected cap space. Their challenge is ensuring they can fill out the rest of their roster the way they would like around Aho. If they do let him leave, they would receive the Canadiens’ first three picks in next year’s draft.The 21-year-old led the Canes with 83 points (30-53–83) and a plus-25 rating last season. He posted 12 points (5-7–12) in 15 playoff games. #Canes GM Don Waddell said the team is reviewing Sebastian Aho’s offer sheet from Montreal. “I’m actually surprised it wasn’t more.”— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) July 1, 2019Waddell did not give a timetable on when the team will announce its decision but made it apparent the team has every intention of keeping Aho.“We look at Sebastian as our best player and we certainly want to keep him long term,” he said. “I know my summer just got better because I know I’m not going to spend all summer negotiating a contract now. We’ll make a decision and move on.”NHL free agency tracker 2019: Full list of signings, best available playersShortly after the news conference, the Hurricanes tweeted and pinned this particularly one-sided poll:Will we match the offer sheet for Sebastian Aho?— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) July 1, 2019The poll has over 127,000 votes and the team has already retweeted the poll.last_img read more

How the Patriots can replace opt-outs Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon in 2020 season

first_imgThe in-between solution would be plugging in a recent draft pick into Cannon’s spot, either 2018 seventh-rounder Korey Cunningham, 2019 third-rounder Yodny Cajuste or rookie sixth-rounder Justin Herron. Given Cannon is 32 and is under contract through only 2021, one of those three could emerge as a promising longer-term replacement in a short-term battle.For most teams, losing two key starters so close to the season would cause major scrambling and concern. The Patriots are better prepared than most teams, however, because of their constant search for specific role players who can “do their job.”Their free-agent gutting at linebacker had them look further ahead with their youth movement and their returning health up front offensively softens the blow of not having Cannon, something they have often handled before. Not surprisingly, making such successful adjustments are nothing new in New England. Instead, there’s a greater challenge at the all-important second level of Bill Belichick’s defense and a sudden blocking void to fill. Belichick already was facing his toughest coaching job to date without Brady. Hightower and Cannon are not as hard to replace, but the Patriots now need to worry a little more about something other than Jarrett Stidham vs. Cam Newton in camp.With Hightower gone, the Patriots will be missing a versatile defensive leader who just earned his second Pro Bowl nod for his age 29 season. He gave them 5.5 sacks and 71 total tackles in 2019 for his productive year since 2014.MORE: Complete list of NFL players opting out of the 2020 seasonConsider that Hightower, along with Van Noy and Roberts, were the Patriots’ three starting linebackers for their most recent game, the wild-card playoff loss to the Titans. The Patriots run a hybrid defense and expected to play a combination of 4-3 and 3-4 based on opponent in 2020. In either scheme, Hightower (6-3, 260 pounds) would have been used to flank rising star J’Whaun Bentey who has similar size (6-2, 255 pounds), leadership qualities and natural run-stopping sensibilities, with some untapped upside in pass defense. Without Hightower, Collins, Van Noy, Roberts, Danny Shelton and Michael Bennett, the Patriots are trying recover 25.5 of their 47 sacks from last season. Second-year player Chase Winovich is the new lead asset in their pass rush by committee and, along with John Simon, can fit the team’s needs there at either end or outside linebacker, in the spots vacated by Collins and Van Noy.The Patriots had the foresight to add similar help in the draft with rookies Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings. Uche can be the ultimate situational chess piece on the edge for Belichick on passing downs. Jennings is a physical, strong run stopper with some burst to the QB in the Van Noy mold. Given the overall inexperience of the group, the Patriots also brought in former Jet Brandon Copeland for more seasoned depth.Beyond that, the Patriots added two linebacker-like safeties in former Charger Adrian Phillips and rookie second-rounder Kyle Dugger, in the wake of trading Duron Harmon to the Lions. Phillips has history as a prolific tackler, while Dugger has great range, capable of lining up everywhere in the back seven and making plays in both linebacker and cornerback support. NFL COACH RANKINGS:Has Bill Belichick’s reign at No. 1 come to an end?Now those moves take on greater meaning with Chung joining Hightower and Cannon opting out for the season. Unlike Hightower and Cannon, though, Chung showed serious decline last season, and Dugger gives the Patriots a lot more playmaking upside next to Devin McCourty.The loss of Hightower will hurt most in not having familiarity and reliability. But in terms of rebooting the middle of the defense and the pass rush, the Patriots are well positioned to compensate should Belichick get all this talented, highly athletic youngsters to jell.Replacing Cannon is a little trickier for the offense, because the Patriots can’t do it by committee.Moving dominant left guard Joe Thuney is an option, but there’s a potential of weakening two positions. The Patriots could go out and bring back former Cannon fill-in La’Adrian Waddle and know the other four-fifths of their line will help raise his game after the team survived the dropoff with Marshall Newhouse at left tackle last season. The Patriots will be missing a lot more veteran stability than Tom Brady in the 2020 NFL season. The team learned right before training camp that it will lose three other longtime starters — inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower, right tackle Marcus Cannon and safety Patrick Chung — who are opting out because of concerns over COVID-19.New England was facing different outlooks at the first two positions. At linebacker, Hightower’s absence piles on losing linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts in free agency earlier in the offseason. On the offensive line, the team was expecting to be at full strength with left tackle Isaiah Wynn and center David Andrews coming back from injuries.last_img read more

Gareth Southgate proud of England fightback

first_img0Shares0000England manager Gareth Southgate congratulates his players after their dramatic win over Croatia © AFP / Adrian DENNISLONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 18 – Gareth Southgate hailed England’s maturity and resilience as Harry Kane fired his side into the Nations League semi-finals with a dramatic 2-1 win over Croatia on Sunday.England were on the brink of relegation to the second tier of the competition after Andrej Kramaric gave Croatia the lead against the run of play in the second half at Wembley. But Southgate’s vibrant young side pulled off a stirring escape act in the closing stages to gain a measure of revenge for their World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia earlier this year.Jesse Lingard came off the bench to poach England’s equaliser and captain Kane was on hand to turn in the winner with five minutes left.England’s fightback took them to the top of Group A4, above Spain and relegated Croatia, and they can look forward to playing in the last four in June next year.“I’m hugely proud. We’ve grown together. We’ve improved every step,” Southgate said.“This was another big occasion. There was plenty of pressure on the game but we coped really well.“We had good chances and should have been ahead. Then we had to show resilience to stay in the game. We saw the game through with some maturity.“They should be very proud of what they have done. This is a significant step for us.”It was a cathartic moment for England, who have made a habit of suffering painful defeats against Croatia, with this year’s World Cup woe following the 2007 loss that cost them a place at Euro 2008.More importantly, the performance provided further tangible proof that Southgate is building a team capable of challenging for the major prizes after years of under-achievement.Southgate and his players have changed perceptions of the England team among a previously jaded sporting public over the last year and the Three Lions coach took pride in the jubilant response of fans to their victory.“The most pleasing thing was the connection with the fans. I haven’t heard Wembley like that for years,” he said.“We’ve given the fans some memorable days and nights this year. That energy really came back to the team when we needed it at the end today.”– Close to perfect –England’s appearance in the semi-finals of the Nations League, which are set to be held in Portugal next June, offers another chance to reach their first major final since 1966.Following the 3-2 Nations League win over Spain in Seville last month, this tournament has been a serious statement of intent from Southgate’s team and they will go into 2019 with great expectations.“We know where we sit, we aren’t perfect but we are improving,” Southgate said.“Slowly we are starting to beat those top teams. We have learned so much from this year, because you have to be close to perfect to beat those teams.”Despite dominating the first half, England fell behind in the 56th minute.Kramaric was allowed time and space to turn in the area and the Hoffenheim forward took full advantage, clipping a shot that deflected off Eric Dier and looped over Jordan Pickford’s despairing dive.But England kept their composure, equalising in the 78th minute when Lingard tapped-in from Joe Gomez’s long throw.England’s deserved winner arrived in the 85th minute.Ben Chilwell curled over a teasing low free-kick and Kane timed his run to perfection, guiding his shot past Lovre Kalinic from close-range.Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic claimed his side had paid the price for their exertions in Thursday’s win against Spain.“It was very difficult for us to recover after the match against Spain. We don’t have such a big squad,” he said.“In the last 15 minutes we lost concentration, which could be down to our condition physically.”Referencing a popular England fans’ song, Dalic backed Southgate’s team to fulfil their potential soon.“They have a young and fast team. It’s coming home, very soon!,” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more