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The Chicago Cubs lost on Sunday to the San Diego Padres but it was still a great homestand for the Cubs. The Brewers and Cardinals were winners on Sunday while Baseball's Hall of Fame welcomed a pair of Chicago Baseball stars. Finally, an Irishmen was the winner at the British Open. All of this and more in today's LocalSportsNow.coim Daily Sports Update... 

 



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How the Moves Shaped the League

Throughout this NBA offseason, fortunes and futures have changed as players have moved around and teams have bolstered or weakened their chances at a 2020 NBA Championship. The most recent trend seems to be towards a two-star model, as we move away from the controversial “Big Three” Era. Whether it be Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers, or Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Clippers, the balance of power has changed and become more balanced across the league.

 

There are no fewer than eight teams who now have legitimate reason to see themselves as championship contenders, with a few more slightly on the outside. What that means is that for the first time in perhaps at least a decade, there appears to be true parity in the NBA. It feels like an eternity since we have not gone into the season, realistically, knowing who will likely be crowned champions, and as a fan all this does is create more excitement. 

 

There appears to have been a real change in mentality as well, from “let’s team up to win titles”, to “let’s team up to beat those other guys who are teaming up”. It feels much more competitive. And you know the pairing of Russell Westbrook and James Harden in Houston will be as competitive and hyperactive as any in the league. What a fun season this will be, and we can’t wait to watch it unfold.

 

For the NBA’s full story on the impact of the 2019 offseason, you can click here.

 

 



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The Chicago Cubs take on the San Diego Padres beginning this afternoon on WKEI. The Cubs were off on Thursday but the White Sox were in action and their struggles continued on Thursday. Finally, the British Open is underway and while Rory McElroy came in as the favorite, he finished the first round far from the top of the leaderboard. All of this and more in our LocalSportsNow.com Sports Update for Friday, July 19th...

 



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The A & W Titan have a new head football coach. Logan Willits has taken the helm of the Titans and he talked to LocalSportsNow.com on Thursday about the season ahead. We also talked about another Cubs win in the second half of the major league baseball season on this edition of the LocalSportsNow.com Noon Hour Sports Show...

 



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*Story Courtesy of the Summit League*

 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Summit League officials announced Thursday that 1,370 student-athletes have earned Summit League Academic Honor Roll distinction. The list includes students from all nine member institutions and four affiliate members competing in 17 different sports.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

·         Student-athletes must have at least a 3.2 cumulative grade-point average (GPA), on a 4.0 scale, for the year awarded

·         Student-athletes must have used a season of competition (a year of athletic eligibility) in the sport in which he/she is nominated.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

·         A total of 1,370 student-athletes across 17 sports were honored

·         South Dakota State led with 189 total student-athlete selections, followed by South Dakota with 187 selections and North Dakota State with 161

·         The Coyotes led the League in total number of honors, which includes duplicates for cross country and track and field, with 213. They were followed by South Dakota State (211) and North Dakota State (180)

 

NOTE: “Selection” means the total number of student-athletes each university garnered; it does not account for duplicated student-athletes on the list.

 

Academic Honor Roll Rankings (by total number of student-athletes):

 

1.      South Dakota State – 189

2.      South Dakota – 187

3.      North Dakota State – 161

4.      North Dakota – 143

5.      Omaha – 135

6.      Western Illinois – 134

7.      Denver – 129

8.      Oral Roberts – 127

9.      Purdue Fort Wayne – 110

 

10.  Eastern Illinois – 30 – men’s soccer and swimming & diving associate member

11.  Valparaiso – 13 – men’s swimming & diving and men’s tennis associate member

12.  Illinois State – 8 – men’s tennis associate member

13.  Drake – 4 – men’s tennis associate member

 

Academic Honor Roll Rankings (by total number of selections):

 

1.      South Dakota – 213

2.      South Dakota State – 211

3.      North Dakota State – 180

4.      North Dakota – 149

5.      Omaha – 143

6.      Western Illinois – 143

7.      Oral Roberts – 137

8.      Denver – 129

9.      Purdue Fort Wayne – 114

 

10.  Eastern Illinois – 30

11.  Valparaiso – 13

12.  Illinois State – 8

13.  Drake – 4

 

A complete list of the 2018-19 Summit League Academic Honor Roll recipients can be found in the link above as a PDF.



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Sophomore Guard to Represent WIU in Thailand

Despite sitting out most of last season due to injury, WIU women’s basketball guard Carla Flores Garcia has gotten the call to represent Spain at the 2019 U19 FIBA Women’s World Cup. 

 

Garcia has already experienced success at the youth international stage, having previously helped Spain win gold at the U16 tournament. 

 

During her injury plagued season, Garcia was able to average 16.7 minutes a game, and recorded totals of 13 points, 23 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals. This tournament will surely be a way for Head Coach J.D. Gravina to see what he has in the Spanish international.

 

Spain was drawn in Group D for the tournament taking place in Thailand, and will begin with games against Colombia, Germany and Japan. Spain comes in with high expectations and may be one of the favorites to win the whole tournament, as they come in ranked #2 in the World. 

 

*Story Courtesy of WIU Athletics*



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Yu Darvish finally has his first win at Wrigley Field as the Cubs continue their hot play out of the All Star Break. The White Sox struggles continue while the Cardinals got a big home run to keep their winning ways going. All of this and more in today's LocalSportsNow.com Sports Update... 

 



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Wednesday on the LocalSportsNow.com Noon Hour Sports Show we talked about Chicago Cubs baseball and the Cubs much needed win over the Cinncinati Reds. We talked about the strange interference call in Tuesday's game that stalled a Cubs rally and we heard from game winner Kyle Schwarber talking about his first career walk off home run...

 



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 It took 14 home starts spread across two seasons and 17 calendar months, but Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish finally earned his first win at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

"It's amazing," Darvish said after leading the Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. "First win at Wrigley. I was always looking for that first win."

 

Cubs are off today. Next up, a weekend series hosting San Diego.



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Duffy (4-5) pitched a strong six innings and ended a nine-start winless skid, and Jorge Soler and Nicky Lopez hit back-to-back RBI singles twice as the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 7-5 on Wednesday night.

 

The Royals and White Sox conclude their four-game set with a day game this afternoon. Brad Keller (5-9) will start for the Royals, looking to continue a strong July. Keller has allowed just two runs in 13 2/3 innings this month and is coming off a career-high eight innings Saturday in a 4-1 win over Detroit. Ross Detwiler will get the ball for the White Sox, making his third start of the season. 



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Team-First Mentality Key for Young Chargers

In talking with Illini West Head Volleyball Coach Dakota Flesner, the biggest takeaway I had was that she preaches and hammers home the point of her players playing like a team. Strong communication, unselfishness and a willingness to work are just a few of the requirements she holds and believes her players should hold of themselves, should they expect consistent playing time. This summer, do to a very young roster with not much varsity level experience, that has been a learning process, but one she feels is going in the right direction.

 

“There’s expectations for everybody and I have girls working harder than I’ve ever had in seasons past, because everyone wants to play,” Said Flesner, “Playing time, I tell the girls, is the biggest motivator and I’ve seen that this summer. Last year at our home tournament, we went 0-4. This year we went 3-1. You know records in the summer don’t matter, but still that tells me that their hard work is helping them progress.”

 

In that tournament, which took place this past Friday, July 12, and featured West Hancock, Southeastern, West Prairie, Bushnell Prairie City, Lewistown, Rushville-Industry and Western, Illini West impressed throughout. They seemed to communicate very well with one another and with Flesner, and their play flowed nicely as a unit. The result may, as stated, be irrelevant for the regular season, but it goes to show how the team has developed throughout the summer.

 

“Our defense and servicing were pretty consistent,” Flesner remarked, “We went up against some hard servers and our girls kept their head. If you saw us shank a ball or miss a pass, I saw someone step up on the next one. The last thing we want is for one error to turn into another error and add on from there. We seemed mentally tough for being young.”

 

Among the attributes that stuck out to me and have resonated with Flesner so far, has been the communication of the team. They are a very talkative group, constantly calling for plays, positioning, and discussing and attacking the issues that develop over the course of a game. Flesner says this is a product of the mentality she coaches with every day.

 

“Every single day in practice we have to have perfect effort and a perfect attitude, and with that is communication” Said Flesner, “You can’t give good effort and be a quiet teammate and I always tell them, if you’re quiet, you’re a selfish player. You have to be talking all the time. The first year I was here that was tough, because they just didn’t talk. The girls have now seen going through three years with me, they see that when they talk they’re more relaxed on the court, they’re more confident, they make plays that they didn’t think they could make, and it probably helps that I talk a lot from the sides. But you can’t be a successful teammate and be mute on the court, and they see that.”

 

Despite all of this positive development, the youth in this roster will still create challenges throughout the season. With just 3 returning seniors in Alexis Smith, Paige Gutting and Taylor Pence, it is a season of transition for the Chargers. There is plenty of promise though, as sophomores Ava Bliss, Hallie Ray and Megan Harrell have all shown plenty of potential to become star hitters, and junior Karli Artman returns as one of the smartest setters in the area. One of the most intriguing players mentioned, however, was 5’3” outside hitter, Alisza LeMaire. Despite her height, Flesner said she “plays tall” and that she “covers the back really well and can hang in the air with taller hitters”. There is excitement in the air, but it will still require plenty more work.

 

“We truly only have two, maybe a third, players who have quality varsity experience,” Flesner replied, “So I’m expecting to see a lot of underclass mistakes, typical underclass mistakes. Hitting errors, stuff like that. What I keep telling the girls is to not get frustrated, we’re going to get better, I’d rather make those errors early in the season and then by the end we’re fine tuned.”

 

Expectations are still extremely high for the program, coming off of a season that saw the Chargers reach the Semi-Finals of the IHSA Sectional tournament a year ago. The seniors, having experienced such success, are hungry to repeat that one more time, and for the underclassmen, it is all about building a foundation of success for future squads to step into. This has all the makings of a fun season in Carthage.

 

“From what I’ve seen this summer, and our senior leadership, a Regional Championship I don’t think is out of their reach,” Said Flesner, “The seniors set their goals and talked to me about it during the summer, and they want to win a Regional Championship and more. So we just have to remind them, like every team, you can’t just say ‘I want to win’ and not put the work in. If that’s their goal, I’m going to hold them to it.”



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The Chicago Cubs win in a walk off against the Cinncinati Reds. The Cardinals three game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday while the struggles of the Chicago White Sox continued on Tuesday. Finally, the British Open is now just one day away. All of that and more in today's LocalSportsNow.com Sports Update... 

 



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Glenn Sparkman pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game, Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier both had three hits including a home run, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White sox 11-0 Tuesday night.

Game 3 first pitch is tonite at 7:15.



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Kyle Schwarber hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Chicago Cubs a 4-3 comeback victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. Game 3 is this afternoon, with the series being split.



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The Chicago Cubs struggles against the Cinncinati Reds continued on Monday night in the wake of bad news about catcher Wilson Contreras which led to the Cubs trading for a new catcher. The Cardinals have won three out of four out of the All Star Break while the White Sox continue to struggle. All of this and more in today's LocalSportsNow.com Sports Update... 

 



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The White Sox fell 5-2 at Kauffman Stadium on Monday night. Game 2 0f 4 is tonite at 7:15.



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In their first three games since the All-Star break, the Cubs had exhibited clean play in the field, which translated to a three-game winning streak. But when the defense broke down on Monday night, the Cubs were strapped with their first loss of the second half in a 6-3 setback against the Reds at Wrigley Field. Second game tonite at 7:05.



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Today on the LocalSportsNow.com Noon Hour Sports Show we looked back at our weekend long coverage of the John Deere Classic made possible by our friend's at Cerno's Bar and Grill and by Yemm Auto Group in Galesburg with audio from John Deere Classic Champion, Dylan Frittelli. We also looked back at a great weekend in Cubs baseball as the Cubs are now 3 and 0 out of the All Star Break... 

 



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Coverage of the John Deere Classic all weekend long on our Regional Media stations was presented  by Cerno's Bar and Grill and by Yemm Auto Group. Dylan Fritelli was among those who cheered the loudest when his college teammate Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic in 2013 and again in 2015. Now, Frittelli has given Jordan Spieth a reason to cheer by winning the tournament for himself in 2019. Dylan Frittelli road a strong 4th round to a 2 shot lead and finished at 21 under par for the tournament for his first PGA Tour championship. Reporter George McNeilly was at Deere Run... 

Dylan Frittelli after the tournament spoke to reporters about following in the footsteps of his college teammate Jordan Spieth... 

Frittelli then talked about why he feels the John Deere Classic is special... 

Part of what makes the tournament special is the remarkable John Deere Support staff whom Dylan expressed gratitude to after his championship winning round... 

Congratulations Dylan Frittelli on winning the John Deere Classic. 



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A first time winner at the John Deere Classic emerged in the final round as Dylan Frittelli, a former college teammate of former John Deere Classic winner Jordan Spieth emerged victorious at Deere Run. The Cubs came back from Baseball's All Star Break with a sweep of the Pirates and the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright is back to pitching at his standard. All that and more in today's LocalSportsNow.com Sports Update....