ENDS IN Displayed poorly Not relevant North Muskegon’s Justice Sikkema eyes the loose ball. Photo/Randy Riksen Displayed poorly Evan Fles sends a pass upfield for WMC. Photo/Randy Riksen Bestseller Displayed poorly ENDS IN The North Muskegon team celebrates after Justice Sikkema finds the team’s first goal. Photo/Randy Riksen Other Shop Now Ads by Amazon DEAL OF THE DAY Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Report a problem This item is… Not relevant Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Displayed poorly North Muskegon’s No. 5 all Kinahan battles Western Michigan Christian’s Evan Fles. Photo/Randy Riksen Mail $19.38 $0.00 DEAL OF THE DAY Inappropriate / Offensive DEAL OF THE DAY (832) Not relevant (8133) Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Fox Sports Go DEAL OF THE DAY $9.99 × Other Thank you! 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(32825) Ads by Amazon Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Not relevant Not relevant Not relevant Share Bestseller Share × Displayed poorly (35309) ENDS IN × Twelve × Tyler VanBeek chases for the loose possession against North Muskegon’s No 15 Dalton Fuller Bestseller × Inappropriate / Offensive Other ENDS IN Other (1445) × Inappropriate / Offensive Lemedy Women Padded Sports Bra Fitness Wo… Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. ENDS IN Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Sports Illustrated Report a problem This item is… Inappropriate / Offensive ENDS IN Bestseller ENDS IN Inappropriate / Offensive Not relevant Report a problem This item is… DEAL OF THE DAY Other Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Report a problem This item is… × Bestseller Displayed poorly Report a problem This item is… (5153) Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets, Citru… $20.00$233.61 Other Bestseller ENDS IN Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. By Steve GunnLocalSportsJournal.comMUSKEGON – In a lot of ways, the North Muskegon and Western Michigan Christian soccer teams couldn’t be more evenly matched.Both came into their Division 4 district tournament showdown on Monday ranked high in the state – North Muskegon at No. 4 and WMC at No. 5.Justice Sikkema looks up for the North Muskegon possession. Photo/Randy RiksenIn a previous meeting earlier this season, the teams tied 1-1.But North Muskegon has Justice Sikkema, one of the most electrifying offensive players in the state, and that made the difference.Sikkema scored twice and the Norse walked away with a dramatic come-from-behind 3-1 victory over the Warriors on WMC’s home field.North Muskegon, now 15-1-2 on the season, moves on to play Muskegon Catholic Central in Wednesday’s district semifinals at MCC.Western Michigan Christian finished the season 14-5-1.“We knew we weren’t going to keep them to zero – WMC is too good,” said an excited Sikkema after the game. “We knew we were going to have to fight back and come with our complete 100 percent ‘A’ game and not leave anything on the field, and that’s what we did.”After the game, one North Muskegon played yelled to his teammates that they had to turn their attention to the next game.But Norse Coach Jeremy Tjapkes replied, “You can celebrate all night with this one. We’ll worry about Catholic tomorrow.”“Soccer is about memories and enjoying the moment,” Tjapkes said later. “If you never take time to enjoy the moments then they’re not worth anything. Tonight we’re going to let them enjoy this one.”Dylan Mines springs for the WMC head ball. Photo/Randy RiksenThe game was scoreless until the 16:12 mark of the first half, when WMC’s Hayden Hubers worked a shot through a crowd and into the goal, giving the Warriors a 1-0 lead.North Muskegon tied the game almost three minutes later when Sikkema broke in alone on the WMC goal, hesitated a brief moment, then trickled a slow shot past the Warrior keeper.The score was 1-1 at halftime, with the Norse having a 6-4 edge in shots on goal.North Muskegon took control in the second half, keeping the ball largely in the WMC zone and missing several good chances to score.The game-winning goal came with 15:43 remaining, when North Muskegon’s Zach Burdon broke in toward the WMC goal with the ball, trailed almost step-for-step by a Warrior defender. The referee ruled that Burdon was taken down, giving the Norse a penalty shot from inside the box.Dylan Hoffman calmly cashed in on the shot, giving North Muskegon a 2-1 lead.WMC Coach Dave Hulings questioned the call that led to the penalty shot, but was careful to say that it didn’t cause his team to lose.“It was two boys going after a ball that they were going after all night,” Hulings said. “Nobody had a scoring opportunity, they were shoulder-to-shoulder. I let the refs make the call. That’s what they make the big bucks for.“That’s not what lost the game. It was two good teams and somebody had to lose. They played better. I’m not trying to make excuses.”Sikkema put the icing on the cake for the Norse just 18 seconds later, scoring on a breakaway to make the score 3-1.The Warriors applied heavy pressure toward the end of the game, but North Muskegon goalkeeper Ian Collins, who played the second half, made several big saves to preserve the lead and the win.North Muskegon had an overall 13-8 advantage in shots on goal.“Hats off to Dave (Hulings) and his team for having a fantastic year,” Tjapkes said. “It’s unfortunate that these two teams had to play in the first round of districts, but to be the best, you have to beat the best.” Displayed poorly Other Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Displayed poorly Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Special… Bestseller Report a problem This item is… Add Comments (Max 320 characters) DEAL OF THE DAY Not relevant
In the midst of the tightest division race in the majors at the All-Star break, the first-place Orioles have benefited from their fair share of surprise performers in the midst of a 51-36 start.While there haven’t been any players to seemingly come out of nowhere as we’ve frequently seen in the Buck Showalter-Dan Duquette era, several have turned in performances few would have predicted at the start of the 2016 season. Their accomplishments are major reasons why Baltimore has been able to exceed expectations in the competitive American League East.Below are my five biggest individual surprises of the first half of the season with the biggest disappointments coming later this week:[poll id=”23″]Honorable mention: Joey Rickard5. Jonathan SchoopMaybe we shouldn’t be surprised about the 24-year-old’s first half after he hit .279 with 14 home runs and a .788 on-base plus slugging percentage in 321 plate appearances last season, but to see the second baseman take that production to the next level has been impressive.In addition to being one of only two Baltimore players to play in all 87 games before the All-Star break — a year removed from a knee injury that cost him almost three months last season — Schoop is hitting .304 with 14 homers, 23 doubles, and 52 RBIs. His .847 OPS ranks third on the club among qualified players, which is quite a leap after he produced a .598 mark as a rookie just two years ago.Schoop has likely benefited from some good fortune with his .348 batting average on balls in play, but he’s also shown some modest improvement in his free-swinging ways with a 3.8 percent walk rate that remains well below average but represents improvement from his 2.8 percent career mark entering the 2016 season. He hit safely in 20 of his 21 games before the break, posting a .414 average and 1.112 OPS over that stretch.4. Dylan BundyOne could argue that Bundy would be pitching in the minor leagues in a perfect world, but perhaps he’d be the ace of the Orioles rotation by now if such a sphere existed. Either way, the 23-year-old has overcome an array of injuries over the last few years to contribute meaningful innings out of the bullpen.Instead of serving as a pseudo Rule 5 pick who’s only in the majors because he’s out of minor-league options, Bundy is rapidly becoming an intriguing candidate to start in the second half despite the Orioles’ plans of trying to keep him healthy while massaging his development in a relief role. Since Showalter began regularly giving him at least three days of rest between outings, Bundy has pitched to a 1.42 ERA with 23 strikeouts and four walks in 19 innings of work.Bundy’s 3.08 season ERA is even more impressive when noting how opponents have a .371 BABIP against him, an average likely to normalize in the second half. His velocity has also spiked since receiving more regular rest as his average fastball velocity is 94.6 mph since May 31 and was just 93.2 before that.It remains to be seen what Bundy’s role will look like in the second half, but his continued health and reemergence as an important part of the club’s future are wonderful developments.3. Brad BrachHow many would have believed that Darren O’Day would miss nearly six weeks of action and the Orioles would still rank second in the AL and fourth in the majors with a 3.12 bullpen ERA at the break?With no disrespect intended to phenomenal All-Star closer Zach Britton, Brach is the biggest reason why as he’s built upon his first two good seasons in Baltimore with his own All-Star campaign that includes a microscopic 0.91 ERA and a strikeout rate of 10.6 per nine innings over 49 1/3 innings. The right-hander has allowed just one of 19 inherited runners to score and has held lefty bats to a .238 average and a .644 OPS, an important feat given the lack of a lefty specialist in the Baltimore bullpen.Right-handers are batting .080 with a .326 OPS against Brach in 97 plate appearances as he’s provided occasional length as well as serving as a strong replacement for O’Day, who hasn’t pitched since June 1. The 30-year-old ranks third in strikeouts (58) and second in innings pitched among AL relievers.According to Baseball Reference, Brach ranks third on the club with 2.6 wins above replacement, an illustration of how critical he’s been to the first-place Orioles.2. Mark TrumboExpecting Trumbo to help fill a void in the heart of the order that wasn’t addressed after the post-2014 departure of Nelson Cruz was realistic, but the right-handed slugger has instead been one of the best offensive players in the AL in 2016.Trumbo leads the majors with 28 homers, six more than he hit in 170 more plate appearances a season ago and only six shy of his career-high 34 in 2013. His 68 RBIs rank fourth in the majors, and his .288 average and .923 OPS would easily be career bests for the 30-year-old outfielder.While his strikeout and walk rates are in line with his career marks, Trumbo has swung at fewer pitches outside the strike zone and has shown more consistency than his streaky track record preceding his time in Baltimore. It would be unfair to expect him to hit 50 home runs, but Trumbo has done more than his expected share for one of the best lineups in baseball.And his offseason acquisition is arguably the best trade pulled off by Duquette during his time in Baltimore.1. Hyun Soo KimJust over three months ago, the Orioles were convinced that Kim wasn’t worthy of being in the big leagues, a reminder that we shouldn’t take spring training performance as gospel.Whether the organization was foolishly mistaken, he simply improved and adjusted to the majors, or it was a combination of both, the 28-year-old South Korean outfielder took advantage of sparse opportunities early and eventually earned a regular role against right-handed starters by late May. His .329 average and .410 on-base percentage lead the club among those with at least 170 plate appearances.Kim has provided a steady ability to get on base in a lineup known for its power and free-swinging ways. His 12.7 percent strikeout rate is the lowest on the club among regulars, and his 10.4 percent walk rate has been a helpful addition in the No. 2 spot in the order ahead of the likes of Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Trumbo.His .370 BABIP suggests Kim will have a difficult time sustaining his current level of production, but he’s done more than enough to suggest he’s worthy of being a major leaguer and that the thoughts of sending him back to the Korean Baseball Organization in the spring were grossly premature.
The Hershey Bears won their fifth straight game of the season Friday night against the Harford Wolfpack. It would take almost twenty five minutes for anyone to score as Nathan Walker put Hershey on the board at 4:31 with a quick pass from Jeremy Langlois. However with less than two minutes left in the middle period Cole Schneider would tie the game.The rest of the game would play out, scoreless until former Hartford Wolfpack, Joe Whitney would score on the faceoff at 17:57 i, making the score 2-1. This would be Whitney’s first time playing in Hartford since being traded to Hershey on February ninth of this year.With Hartford’s goalie Chris Nell on the bench, Hartfod gained a 6-on-5 advantage and Scott Kosmachuk would capitalize scoring a game tying goal bringing the score to 2-2 at 18:23. As fans prepared for what looked like overtime in the making, Hershey would answer back with a quick pass from Tyler Graovac, and Nathan Walker would score the game winning goal less than 10 seconds later at 18:32. Jeremy Langlois would add an empty net goal just over a minute later at 19:33 and Hershey would add a tally to the final score, making it 4-2.The fifth straight win for The Hershey Bears is the longest winning streak of the season and brings their record to 23-25-3-4. Hershey outshot Hartford 29-23.Hershey will host the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night at Hershey Giant Center, game starts at 7pm. Hershey will be headed up north to Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton to take on the Baby Pens with a 3pm early start!Please follow and like us: