July 24, 2014

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AP Sources: Riley, LeBron meet, no decision yet
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 8:00 PM

Associated Press

 

LAS VEGAS — Pat Riley made his pitch. And now, LeBron James wants time to think.

The Miami Heat president met with the 4-time NBA MVP on Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because neither side publicly disclosed details of the meeting. James, his agent Rich Paul, Riley and Heat executive Andy Elisburg were at the meeting, said one of the people.

According to the person, James has not made a decision and will not make any announcements before today, adding, “He wants to meet with his family.”

So now, Miami waits. So does Cleveland. So, too, does just about the entire NBA — because once James picks the Heat or the Cavaliers, the teams believed to be serious suitors for his services, the domino effect of other free agent moves will surely follow.

The meeting in Las Vegas lasted for more than an hour and took place more than two weeks after James opted out of his contract and elected to become a free agent and the day before free agents may begin signing contracts.

James spent part of his day before the meeting at his annual skills academy with some of the nation’s top high school and college players, interacting and observing workouts. That was part of the reason why Riley had to fly across the country to make the meeting happen, with hopes that he would return to Miami from the gambling haven with a huge win — keeping James in Heat colors for at least another season.

Several teams have met with Paul during the free-agent process but it appears James has only one decision to make: Cleveland or Miami, the same choice he pondered four years ago when he decided play with the Heat. With James, the Heat won four Eastern Conference titles and two NBA championships.

The Cavaliers didn’t sit idle waiting for James and Riley to meet.

Cleveland created salary-cap space earlier Wednesday with a 3-team trade with the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, ensuring they have enough to offer the James a maximum contract.

But James had said he would meet with Riley and the Heat before making his decision.

The meeting came nearly three weeks after Riley addressed reporters following Miami’s loss to San Antonio in the NBA Finals, when he insisted that the Heat needed to make some adjustments to get better — but didn’t need a massive rebuilding job to stay at a championship level.

If James leaves, it’ll be more than a retooling project that awaits Miami.

 
Almirola: Congrats from Petty a special moment
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 8:00 PM

By HANK KURZ Jr.

Associated Press

 

RICHMOND, Va. — Aric Almirola waited two days to experience one of the highlights of his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series.

It came during a dinner Tuesday night when he finally saw car owner Richard Petty, whose famed No. 43 racer Almirola put in Victory Lane on Sunday at Daytona International Raceway. It was the iconic car’s first victory in 15 years and a span of 544 races.

“When he walked up to me, he gave me a hug and he told me he was proud of me,” Almirola said Wednesday, reflecting on his meeting with Petty. “To have Richard Petty come up and tell you he’s proud of you — and knowing that you got his No. 43 car back to Victory Lane — is really special.

“I’ll take that with me for the rest of my life.”

Petty, also known as “The King,” is a 7-time series champion who won a record 200 races. Almirola said Petty deserves a lot of credit for making his victory possible.

“The reality is that from 1999 and even before 1999, through that time period and over the last 15 years, Richard Petty Motorsports has not been a race team that was really capable of winning races all the time,” Almirola said. “They were doing all they could to just get to the race track.”

It was Petty, he recalled, who finally realized the team could no longer keep its operation in his hometown of Randleman, North Carolina, but had to move to the Charlotte area, where most teams have shops.

“That was the start of them basically remaking the race team,” said Almirola, in his third year with RPM.

He was contending for a victory at Kansas last season, running side by side with Jimmie Johnson, and dueling Carl Edwards at Bristol this year but a blown right front tire ruined both runs.

 
Argentina reaches World Cup final after penalties
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 8:00 PM

Associated Press

 

SAO PAULO — Goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved two penalties Wednesday to send Argentina into the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after the match finished in a 0-0 stalemate.

A day after Germany lit up the World Cup with its clinical 7-1 destruction of host Brazil, the Netherlands and Argentina could not manage a goal between them in 120 minutes before the shootout.

Romero — thought to be a weak link in this Argentine team and not even a starter for his Monaco club most of last season — blocked penalties by Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder. For Argentina, Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez all converted their spot kicks.

Argentina will play Germany in Sunday’s final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. That means Brazilians will have to watch their fiercest rivals play for the world title in their most hallowed stadium, bringing the country’s World Cup to an extra-bitter end.

It was the second straight penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw for the Dutch. Against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals, coach Louis van Gaal brought on substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul in the last seconds of extra time to replace Jasper Cillessen and Krul saved two efforts.

This time, Van Gaal had used up all three substitutions by the end of extra time and Cillessen had to face the shootout.

The young Ajax goalkeeper got a hand to Rodriguez’s decisive powerful shot but could only deflect it into the roof of the net, then collapsed onto his back in the goal. Krul walked across the pitch to console him and Van Gaal later gave him a pat on the back of the head.

Many of Argentina’s players stripped off their shirts in the rain at the Itaquerao Stadium and danced in front of their fans.

Argentina, a 2-time World Cup winner, reached its fifth final, its first in 24 years. It won the title in 1978 and 1986 and lost the championship matches in 1930 and 1990. It played West Germany in both the ‘86 and ‘90 finals.

The Netherlands, which has never won the World Cup, was seeking to reach its fourth final.

 
Doty and WoO returns to Limaland
Written by Jim Metcalfe   
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:14 PM
Brad Doty (foreground) enjoys a conversation with Tom Offenbacher, the producer of the “On the Fast Track at Limaland” show for Lima radio station 93.1 The FAN, during Tuesday’s press conference regarding today’s Ohio Logistics 26th annual Brad Doty Classic presented by Racing Optics. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

By JIM METCALFE

DHI Media Sports Editor

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LIMA — Limaland Motorsports Park has developed quite a reputation in Northwest Ohio — and throughout the nation — for its racing schedule.

One of the main reasons is the annual Brad Doty Classic that has previously attracted NASCAR stars such as Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart to the semi-banked, 1/4-mile oval.

Today is the 26th annual installment of the Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic presented by Racing Optics event which brings the best of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series to the dirt track west of Lima.

“This started as a benefit in 1989 for me and my family after an accident ending my racing career in 1988. It has grown into what we have today: an exciting, highly-competitive and highly-sought-after race on the circuit,” he reflected.

Especially since there has been seven different winners in the past eight events — defending champion Donny Schatz is the only 2-time winner in that span and is also the current leader of the World of Outlaws — 20 overall and only four that won twice: Schatz, Danny Smith, Steve Kinser and Dale Blaney.

“Steve has announced that 2014 will be his last year of full-time racing in the World of Outlaws, so this might be his final time here. I know he wants to win every race but I think he especially wants to win here,” Doty said. “This race is not only national in scope but international. You get drivers from Australia coming here to race. These are full-time professionals and they take it very seriously. That’s one of the reasons why this race has grown to what we have today.

“The second is the great racing that attracts fans. That is what you have to have every year and that, as a co-promoter, is what you work hard for; to make sure you have great racing.”

The setting itself is a great draw for racers and fans, according to Doty.

 
Bath earns ACME State berth at expense of Van Wert
Written by Jim Metcalfe   
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:12 PM
Van Wert’s Ryan McCracken makes contact with the ball on a pitch from Bath’s Andrew Renner Monday evening at Elida. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

By JIM METCALFE

DHI Media Staff Writer

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ELIDA — Bath scored two unearned runs in the top of the first inning versus Van Wert in their ACME summer baseball District Tournament on a warm Monday evening at Ed Sandy Memorial Field in Elida.

Wildcat starter Andrew Renner made it stand up with a 3-hitter as the Wildcats dismissed the Cougars 7-0 to end their season at 15-8.

Bath (17-6) advances on to the ACME State Tournament Saturday night versus host Archbold.

Renner threw a 94-pitch complete game (52 strikes), ceding those three hits and walking four. He fanned one.

Cougar Caleb Fetzer was the hard-luck loser, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and five runs (2 earned), while walking four, striking out three and uncorking three wild pitches. Josh Braun finished the outing (2 2/2 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned, 1 base-on-balls, 2 strikeouts).

Justice Tussing (triple), Joe Lisa and Ryan McCracken had the Cougar safeties.

“We fell behind and put us in uphill mode the rest of the way. In games like this, you never know what can happen,” Van Wert ACME coach Carlin Dunlap explained. “We made three errors and they were all costly; that will happen against good competition. Offensively, we hit into two double plays and just seemed a hit away. Their pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off-balance. All in all, this summer was a learning experience and we improved a lot. That’s what summer ball is for; finding out what you need to work on for the spring.”

Cam Jenkins had the best day at the plate for either unit, going 2-for-3 (2 doubles) and knocked in a run. Tyler Stahr scored twice.

Bath had no errors and turned a pair of double plays while Van Wert had three defensive miscues.

“Andrew isn’t a hard thrower but he keeps batters off-balance. Plus, he had great defense behind him,” Bath ACME coach Johnny Simindinger noted. “Offensively, getting the lead early really helps. We made solid contact and took advantage of everything they gave us.”

Bath got two unearned tallies in the first. A 2-base error on Tyler Stahr’s fly ball led it off. He advanced on a fly ball to deep center and scored as Jenkins drilled a double to right. Cam Clark’s groundout advanced the runner to third, from where he came plateward on an Andrew Jordan 2-baser to deep left.

 
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