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Hanford West reaches lucky 13
 
 09.12.17

HANFORD – League play is back. The West Yosemite League, to be precise, and game one on Tuesday did not disappoint.

The Hanford West girls volleyball team defended their home court and continued their undefeated season with timely plays and veteran composure down the stretch.

Hanford West (13-0, 1-0, WYL) took the match 3-1 (27-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21), but it was no easy task as Lemoore continued pushing until the end.

“We know our league’s really strong,” Hanford West head coach Julie Coelho said. “We know with each team we have to go in, show up and play our game.”

It might have been the first game of the West Yosemite League, but everyone seemed to be in mid-league form. The players, crowd and coaches were all ready and loud.

The fourth and deciding set was a testament to the previous statement. It had seven ties, eight lead changes and the feeling of a championship on the line.

Hanford West took a quick 4-0 lead and it seemed as if it would end quickly, but Lemoore would not be outdone. Not only did the ball, but the match swayed from side-to-side until the score was tied at 17-all.

“I pulled the girls aside and I was like, ‘Look, we need to take it. Nothing hits the floor. We got this,’” Hanford West middle hitter Madison Sousas said.

The short pep talk from the Sentinel’s Volleyball Co-Player of the Year seemed to work, as Hanford West went on a 6-0 run to take a 23-17 lead and close the game, and match, on a kill from outside hitter Shelby Perez.

“I wish all games felt like this,” Coelho said. “The atmosphere’s incredible, we loved to see the school spirit every game like that. It’s so fun to play in and it really adds to the game.”

It was Lemoore trying to play spoiler as they came into the gym ready for a battle. The Tigers beat the Huskies on their home court last season, 3-1, but Tuesday night would be different.

The atmosphere was fiery and intense from the first serve and it seemed as if the 100-plus crowd only got louder as the match went on. Lemoore (8-5, 0-1 WYL) held the early lead in the first set, going on a 5-1 run and taking a 9-4 lead, which forced Hanford West to take a timeout.

Hanford West chipped away until they tied the score at 14-all and then took the lead 15-14, forcing Lemoore to now call for time.

It was a back-and-forth battle from there as neither team gained more than a point of leverage until Lemoore went on a 7-3 run, taking a 21-18 lead. Hanford West called a timeout and tied the game at 22.

The set continued to teeter until Eryn Christensen shanked a serve into the net. The next rally was called on a touch of the net and Hanford West took a 1-0 lead.

The two teams were even again to start the second set before Hanford West took a 7-3 lead with a 5-0 spurt. They would lead by as many as nine points (17-8) before Lemoore started to find their rhythm again.

The Tigers clawed back to within three, but opposite hitter Mary Schoals picked a great time to have her first kill of the game and momentarily stop the momentum of Lemoore. The Tigers were unfazed and managed to close the game to within one (22-21).

But the Huskies showed why they’re undefeated and primed for a West Yosemite League run as they finished off the set with a kill from Perez to take a 2-0 lead.

“It’s something we’ve been working on, learning how to finish games when it’s tight, knowing where to place the ball and playing smart volleyball,” Coelho said. “That’s what [the team] did tonight.”

Lemoore finally broke through in the third set and came out firing with a quick 6-3 burst. The Tigers lead was whittled down until the Huskies took a 16-13 lead. Lemoore called a quick timeout and the game seemed to be over.

Chants of “Let’s go Tigers!” were erupting louder than at any other point in the game and Hanford West countered with long drawn out chants of “Huskies! Huskies!”

Lemoore tied the game at 18 and took a 22-19 lead. This time it was different, the Tigers took the set and made it a 2-1 match.

“Our league is one of the best in the valley,” Lemoore head coach Rachel Taylor said. “[The team] had to dig deep … We need to get mentally tougher.”

Hanford West has a quick turnaround and takes on the defending West Yosemite League champions Redwood (6-2) today at 6:30 p.m. on the road. Lemoore gets a week off to regroup before facing Redwood at home next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re hungry for the WYL,” Coelho said. “We’ve never won league. It’s something we set as a goal, we’re a long way from that, but I think this is a strong start and it’s definitely going to bring some confidence to our game.”


Sports
Odd ball: Indians chase win streak record that includes tie
Odd ball: Indians chase win streak record that includes tie
 
 09.12.17

CLEVELAND (AP) — As they climb toward baseball history with every win, the streaking Cleveland Indians are chasing a hallowed, 101-year-old record that includes an asterisk.

A major league asterisk.

The 26-game winning string by the 1916 New York Giants includes a tie.

"I think I knew that," Indians closer Cody Allen said.

Not everyone is aware of the peculiarity. And as the Indians, who on Monday night extended the longest winning streak in 15 years to 19 straight, have moved into position to threaten New York's revered mark, questions have arisen as to why a team that won 12 consecutive games, played a tie and then ripped off 14 more wins in a row would have the record.

It's simple. It's complicated. It's baseball.

"A tie was never an acceptable result of a baseball game," explained Steve Hirdt, executive vice president at the Elias Sports Bureau, major league baseball's official record keeper. "If one happened because of darkness or rain or some certain circumstance, the game was played over.

"Sports fans are used to the nuance in hockey and football of the difference between a winning streak and an unbeaten streak or consecutive games streak without a loss. Baseball has never had those two different records. They would replay the game until a legitimate won or loss result was achieved."

Only three teams — the 1916 Giants, the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and the 2002 Oakland Athletics (20) — have won 20 in a row and the Indians, who are closing in on another AL Central title, try to join them Tuesday night with Cy Young contender Corey Kluber on the mound against the Detroit Tigers.

If they get to 20, the Indians have five more consecutive home games to inch closer to a record — with its slight abnormality — that has endured.

Perhaps because of confusion over the tie, New York's 26-game streak has been absent from lists on some baseball websites and elsewhere. The omission could be because some databases only recognize wins and losses and when the Giants' season is calculated, there is an interruption in a streak that is widely known to hardcore baseball fans as the one to beat.

"The Giants' 26-game winning streak has existed since the beginning of time," Hirdt said. "I do not know why certain people are looking at the 21 now and holding that up as the record or alternately trying to parse language so that they can somehow exclude the 26.

"It's the longest winning streak, it's the record for most consecutive wins, etc., because a tie game breaks neither a winning streak or losing streak for a team because it always gets replayed unless the season ends first."

Those streaky New York Giants, guided by irascible manager John McGraw, were in the midst of a 31-game homestand at the Polo Grounds when they won 12 straight before a Sept. 18 game against Pittsburgh — 42-year-old Honus Wagner drove in the Pirates' only run with a sacrifice fly — was called by rain after nine innings and the score tied 1-1.

The Giants came back the following day and, playing their third doubleheader in four days, swept the Pirates. They didn't lose again until Sept. 30, falling 8-3 to the Boston Braves.

Earlier that season, the Giants won 17 straight games — all on the road — to offset a 2-13 start. Despite its tendency to take off on a tear, New York finished 86-66 and in fourth place in an eight-team league won by the Brooklyn Robins.

"Incredible," Hirdt said of the Giants' streakiness. "I guess if they weren't streaking, they weren't interested."

Today, games that are tied when called are suspended and resume at that point. There are instances where games end in ties, as happened to the Cubs last season when a late September game with Pittsburgh ended 1-1 because the teams were not scheduled to meet again.

During their streak, the Indians have been bulldozing teams, outscoring opponents 132-32 during a remarkable run that began on Aug. 24 with a 13-6 win at Boston followed by three straight shutouts at home over Kansas City.

Since then, there's been nothing but W's, let alone a tie.

But tied games were fairly common a century ago, when doubleheaders often were played in the late afternoon and there were no stadium lights.

While the Indians insist they're not chasing history, often repeating the one-day-at-a-time cliche athletes typically fall back on to explain success, Hirdt, like many baseball fans, is eager to see if Cleveland can topple the Giants' gigantic mark.

"This is the record that I always wanted to see challenged," he said. "People always ask me, 'What record would you like to see broken?' I've always been a team-oriented guy and I tell them I would like to see a consecutive winning streak.

"And here it is."


Sports
Danica Patrick done at Stewart-Haas after '17, future unsure
Danica Patrick done at Stewart-Haas after '17, future unsure
 
 09.12.17

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Danica Patrick, the only female driver at NASCAR's top level, is likely at the end of her driving career after a sponsorship shake-up left her without a ride at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Patrick posted a statement on her Facebook page Tuesday saying her time with Stewart-Haas "had come to an end" due to a new sponsorship arrangement for the team next season. The statement came shortly after Smithfield Foods said it will leave Richard Petty Motorsports to become a primary sponsor at Stewart-Haas next year.

The news is a blow to RPM, which is also losing driver Aric Almirola. But it also forced changes at Stewart-Haas, which has struggled with sponsorship for three of its four cars, including the No. 10 Ford driven by Patrick.

"It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons," Patrick wrote. "Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve."

Patrick, whose participation in NASCAR has always been polarizing given the attention she receives despite her lack of success, closed the post by writing: "I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future."

Patrick has launched a clothing line, has a book coming out next year and has made a huge transition into promoting a healthy and fit lifestyle. It has her positioned for a second career at the age of 35 if she chooses. She's also in a long-term relationship with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will make his debut in the playoffs this weekend.

Sponsorship dollars have been hard to come by for a number of drivers and teams. Smithfield's decision leaves Petty's team in need of a sponsor, and Almirola is looking for a ride.

But the bigger changes are clearly underway at SHR, which didn't reveal where Smithfield will be in the organization in 2018.

"Details of the agreement, including the driver who will be added to SHR's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2018, will be provided at a later date," SHR said in a statement.

That means Smithfield could end up on the car Patrick has driven. Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch both need sponsorship on their cars, too. Busch, the Daytona 500 winner, does not have a deal with SHR for next season.

Both Harvick and Busch will represent SHR in the 10-race playoffs that begin Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.

Now that Patrick has confirmed she's out at SHR, the team could choose to downsize to three cars, or pursue Almirola, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne or any other available driver. The team could be in the market to replace just Patrick, or both Patrick and Busch.

Patrick has driven for Stewart-Haas Racing her entire Cup career. She has seven top-10 finishes in 180 career starts and is currently 28th in the standings, the lowest in her Cup career.

Still, she won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, won an IndyCar race in 2008, is the highest finishing female driver in Indianapolis 500 history with a third-place run in 2009 and is the only woman to lead laps in both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. Patrick is the only woman to win a Cup pole and those top-10 finishes are the most of any female Cup driver.

"She will go down as the best female NASCAR driver of all time. Will likely take decades to see anyone even challenge her legacy," Brad Keselowski posted on Twitter. He later added in a second post: "Have come to accept that mankind never knows or appreciates what it has until its gone. NASCAR fans will miss her badly in time."

Patrick's contract with SHR ran through 2018, but the team has been searching for sponsorship since Nature's Bakery abruptly ended its three-year deal after one season.

RPM is now in a similar bind because it lost Smithfield, which has been associated with Petty the last six years. RPM this year downsized to one Cup car because of sponsorship reasons, and talks on a contract extension with Almirola stalled when Smithfield began looking at other options.

Petty ripped the company and suggested he was blindsided.

"Over the past few months, Smithfield had continually told me they wanted to be with us, and I recently shook hands on a deal to extend our relationship," Petty said. "I come from a time when we did major deals with sponsors like STP on a handshake. I'm sad to see this is where we are now. This decision is very unexpected, and we are extremely disappointed in this late and abrupt change of direction."

Smithfield CEO Kenneth M. Sullivan called Petty's claim of a handshake deal "unequivocally and patently false," and accused the team of not delivering on "tens of millions of dollars of unwavering financial support."

"Smithfield's numerous discussions with RPM over the past several months focused exclusively around one issue: RPM's inability to deliver on the track and the organization's repeated failure to present a plan to address its lack of competitiveness," Sullivan said in a statement. "It is very unfortunate and disheartening that RPM has chosen to disseminate false statements regarding our communications to NASCAR fans who we have supported wholeheartedly with more than a $100 million investment in the sport over the last several years."

Almirola was 20th in the standings when he broke his back in May. It caused him to miss seven races, and the team is currently 25th in the standings. He did make NASCAR's playoffs, in 2014, after he won at Daytona in July.

Petty, the Hall of Fame driver and seven-time NASCAR champion, is no longer the primary owner of his race team. Andrew Murstein of Medallion Financial Corp. is the majority owner of the team.

Petty said he and Murstein were committed to "moving forward" with the No. 43 team.

"Losing a sponsor of this magnitude in September is a significant set-back to Richard Petty Motorsports," Petty said. "We've been around since 1949, and we'll be around a lot longer."


Sports
Rain, rallies, 11th straight loss for LA; game ends 2:10 am
Rain, rallies, 11th straight loss for LA; game ends 2:10 am
 
 09.12.17

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Dodgers rallied once, twice and then a third time. Manager Dave Roberts thought his club would snap out of its long losing streak at last.

The National League-leading Dodgers lost their 11th straight game for the longest skid since the club moved to Los Angeles, finishing their 8-6 defeat to the San Francisco Giants at 2:10 a.m. local time Tuesday morning after a pair of rain and lightning delays late Monday.

"It's disappointing because our guys played hard tonight, they really did," Roberts said. "I thought that we were going to win that game. I thought we put ourselves in a position to win but we couldn't hold the lead."

Hunter Pence hit a go-ahead single in the sixth for San Francisco against Pedro Baez (3-5).

Following a 42-minute delay ahead of first pitch, Curtis Granderson struck out against Chris Stratton, then the game immediately entered an even longer delay — this time for 2 hours, 52 minutes, before resuming at 10:50 p.m. local time.

The total delay time of 3:34 was more than the game time of 3:22. Roberts said his preference would have been a doubleheader but he understood it as a league decision, saying "it was out of our hands."

"This is obviously very uncharacteristic to start a game this late," he said.

Los Angeles, which has lost 16 of 17 overall, had its lead atop the NL over idle Washington trimmed to 3 1/2 games. The Dodgers travel to play the Nationals next.

The skid topped a pair of 10-game losing streaks in L.A. from 1961 and '92. The 1944 Brooklyn team lost 16 straight games. L.A. held a season-best 21-game division lead for four days and as recently as Aug. 25, but that has dwindled to nine games over Arizona.

"It's disappointing every time you lose," shortstop Corey Seager said. "I thought tonight was better. We came back, got back in the game a couple times. Unfortunately we didn't win. Just got to get back to winning, that's about it. Nothing else about that."

An announcement came on the scoreboard during a fourth-inning pitching change: The final BART trains would leave downtown locations at 12:20 a.m. "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch came at 1:25 a.m.

And one devoted — or call it crazy — kayaker stayed out in the cove in his craft trying to retrieve baseballs into the wee hours. A hardy group of loyal fans stayed until the final out.

"In my mind I didn't think we were going to be playing tonight, once it started to get around 9:45," Giants center fielder Denard Span said. "... Then we came out here and tried to battle our butts off."

Ty Law (4-1) pitched the sixth for the win.

Yasiel Puig homered in the fifth and Los Angeles came back from down 4-0 but couldn't hold it.

Span splashed a two-run homer into McCovey Cove in the bottom of the first inning against Kenta Maeda. Span batted third for just the fourth time in his career and first this year as manager Bruce Bochy shook up his lineup after San Francisco was outscored 21-2 the past two games at the White Sox. It was his fifth career home run into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field wall.

Jarrett Parker homered leading off the second for San Francisco.

Once the game resumed, Ty Blach was on the mound and Stratton's day was done — the shortest start of his career.

Sam Dyson, San Francisco's seventh reliever, pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

VOGELSONG RETIRING

Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong will retire as a Giant on Sunday, when he will take the AT&T Park mound once more as San Francisco honors him.

The 40-year-old Vogelsong was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 1998 amateur draft and made his major league debut in their waterfront ballpark on Sept. 2, 2000, finishing his 12-year career 61-75 with a 4.81 ERA while pitching two stints each for San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

"He's done some great things for us, for the Giants," Bochy said. "We're trying to do something special for him."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: With Hyun-Jin Ryu being skipped in the rotation during the San Francisco series for extra rest, he was set to throw a simulated game of four or five innings Tuesday.

Giants: 1B Brandon Belt is unlikely to play again this season because of a concussion and is still unable to do baseball activities. "I would be surprised at this point," Bochy said.

UP NEXT

LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-3, 2.15 ERA) makes his third start for the Dodgers since coming off the disabled list with a lower back strain, having gone 20-9 with a 1.62 ERA in in 39 career games and 38 starts against San Francisco. Kershaw lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his last start against Colorado on Sept. 7. RHP Johnny Cueto (7-7, 4.43) also makes his third start since coming off the DL.