Quartz Hill flirts with no-hitter in baseball opener

QUARTZ HILL — Ryan and Logan Reddemann combined to throw 6.2 innings of no hit ball for Quartz Hill in a 6-1 Golden League win over Highland in the first baseball game of the season on Saturday.

The season was canceled during the preseason last year due to the pandemic.

Highland got its first hit of the game with two outs and two strikes in the seventh inning.

Mason Johnson led the Rebels with a three-run single. Johnson finished with four RBIs.

Ryan Reddemann had six strikeouts in four innings to start the game, finishing with two walks.

Logan Reddemann struck out two in three innings.

“It was nice to be out there again after over a year of missing,” Quartz Hill coach Aaron Kavanagh said. “I was really proud of the boys for waiting to be out there and adjusting to the different rules and the ever changing landscape. I’m also glad the school district has backed the return to sports to allow us out there.”

Chargers, QB Chase Daniel agree to 1-year deal

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Chargers have found a veteran to back up quarterback Justin Herbert, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with Chase Daniel on Friday.

Daniel has appeared in 69 games with five starts over 11 seasons, throwing for 1,694 yards and eight touchdowns. He appeared in four games for Detroit last season.

New coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi are familiar with Daniel. Staley and Daniel were together in Chicago in 2018, and Lombardi was Daniel’s quarterback coach in New Orleans.

Daniel entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2009, signing with Washington before being released in the last round of roster cuts. He was signed by New Orleans to their practice squad and was on the active roster from 2010-12. Daniel has also been with Kansas City and Philadelphia.

Los Angeles was in the market for a veteran quarterback after Tyrod Taylor signed with Houston early in free agency. The Chargers also have Easton Stick on the roster, but he has seen only two offensive snaps his first two seasons.

Herbert was the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year last season and set a rookie record with 36 touchdowns (31 passing, five rushing).

US plays Honduras for berth in men’s Olympic soccer in Japan

The trendline is clear: The United States failed to qualify for the men’s Olympic soccer tournament in 2012 and 2016, then ended a streak of seven straight World Cup appearances when it missed out on 2018.

A young U.S. team admittedly missing its top players tries to stop the skid when it plays Honduras at Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday night in a one-game matchup for a trip to this summer’s Olympics in Japan.

“Every tournament now going forward is an opportunity for U.S. Soccer,” U.S. captain Jackson Yueill said Saturday. “You start in the Nations League and then I think it goes on to this tournament and the tournaments in the summer and World Cup qualifiers. I think each opportunity for the U.S. national team is an opportunity to stake a claim and to increase U.S. soccer and make it better. So I think the team is looking really good, and we’re ready to make the most of this moment.”

In North and Central American and Caribbean qualifying delayed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. opened March 18 with an unimpressive 1-0 win over Costa Rica on a goal by Jesús Ferreira, then clinched advancement with a 4-0 rout of the Dominican Republic behind an opening goal by Yueill, two goals by Hassani Dotson and one by Djordje Mihailovic. Sebastian Soto’s giveaway led to the only goal in a 1-0 defeat to Mexico.

Scheffler mows down European stalwarts in Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas — Scottie Scheffler delivered all the right shots Saturday and moved into the semifinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play by taking down Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm.

Scheffler was the highest seed remaining at No. 30, which is just a number the way he handled Austin Country Club against two of Europe’s best in this format

The 24-year-old Texan made 15 birdies in the 31 holes required to get through his two matches.

“Being able to take down those two guys, and Xander (Schauffele) in the final match on Friday, like I said before, I think my game’s trending in the right direction this week,” Scheffler said.

He advances to a final day that features three Americans and one European — Victor Perez of France, who made short work of Sergio Garcia in their quarterfinal match.

Matt Kuchar, the only player to win every match he has played in this most unpredictable event, pulled out a 1-up victory over Jordan Spieth in the morning and then kept Brian Harman from another amazing rally by rolling in a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole of their quarterfinal match.

Kuchar and Scheffler will meet in one semifinal match. Perez will face Billy Horschel, who never led in his quarterfinal match until Tommy Fleetwood sent his tee shot out of bounds on their 19th hole, the par-5 12th.

Kuchar won the Match Play in 2013 and lost in the championship match two years ago to Kevin Kisner. With his five wins this week, he now has 33 in this tournament, second only to the 36 matches won by Tiger Woods.

Inbee Park takes 5-shot lead in bid for elusive Kia win

CARLSBAD — Inbee Park opened a five-stroke lead Saturday in a bid to finally win the Kia Classic.

Second in the event in 2010, 2016 and 2019, the Hall of Famer shot a 3-under 69 to reach 12-under 204 at Aviara Golf Club — the scenic course that was set up some 300 yards shorter for the third round.

Park is making her first LPGA Tour start of the season. The 32-year-old South Korean star, ranked fourth in the world, has 20 tour victories — seven of them majors.

“It’s tough putting on these greens, but I have been handling myself really well on the greens,” Park said. “Obviously, they made the course very reachable today and I couldn’t take advantage of those holes, but I played the rest of the holes well. So I’m happy with that.”

Playing partner Mel Reid lipped out a birdie try from off the green on 18 in a 71 that left her tied for second with Mi Jung Hur (67) and Minjee Lee (68).

LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK — The Nets aren’t finished bringing big names to Brooklyn.

LaMarcus Aldridge is next after deciding Saturday to sign with the Nets for the remainder of the season, a person with knowledge of the details said.

After reaching a buyout agreement with the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, the veteran forward quickly became a coveted free agent for contending teams.

He picked the Nets, the person told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the signing wasn’t official.

ESPN first reported Aldridge’s intentions.

Aldridge joins a Nets team that has current All-Stars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, and added a former one earlier this month when it signed Blake Griffin.

Aldridge averaged 19.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in 5 1/2 seasons for the Spurs, before they removed the 35-year-old from the rotation earlier this month while searching for a potential trade. None materialized before the deadline Thursday, so the Spurs bought out Aldridge’s contract.

Lakers rally past Cavaliers to snap 4-game losing streak

LOS ANGELES — Montrezl Harrell had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied in the second half to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-86 Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

It’s the Lakers’ first win since both LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been injured and out of the lineup. James has missed four games after spraining his right ankle on March 20 against Atlanta, and Davis hasn’t played since mid-February due to a right calf strain.

Los Angeles trailed 51-44 at halftime before seizing control in the third quarter, scoring 19 of the first 21 points. Harrell and Dennis Schröder scored five points apiece during the run. The Lakers shot 11 of 19 from the field and held the Cavaliers to 3-of-21 shooting in taking a 72-61 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Lakers largest lead was 19 points in the fourth quarter. Schröder had 17 points and Talen Horton-Tucker added 15.

Larry Nance Jr. had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland and Darius Garland added 14 points. Jarrett Allen had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Ravens adding wide receiver Sammy Watkins in 1-year deal

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who won a Super Bowl with Kansas City, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

Watkins must pass a physical exam before signing.

Entering his eighth NFL season, Watkins has been a solid target for Buffalo (2014-16), the Los Angeles Rams (2017) and the Chiefs (2018-20). He was the fourth overall selection in the 2014 draft by the Bills, who traded him to the Rams in 2017. Watkins joined the Chiefs in 2018 as a free agent.

Watkins has 321 career receptions for 4,665 yards and 33 touchdowns. His teams have reached the postseason in each of the past four seasons, and in seven total playoff games and the Super Bowl, he’s made 26 receptions for 500 yards and one touchdown.

Viola’s Known Agenda prevails in Florida Derby at Gulfstream

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Known Agenda owner Vincent Viola kept asking trainer Todd Pletcher the same question over the last few days.

“Do you think we really have a shot in the Florida Derby?”

Pletcher kept telling him the answer was yes. And the horse left no doubt.

Known Agenda ran away from the field in the Florida Derby on Saturday, and might keep on going all the way to Churchill Downs to start the Triple Crown season. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. guided Known Agenda to the win in the Grade 1, $750,000 race at Gulfstream Park, picking up 100 Kentucky Derby standings points — which will be more than enough to qualify him for that race in five weeks.

“Well, that’s certainly the hope,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher won the Florida Derby for a record sixth time, and Known Agenda covered the 1 1/8 miles on the dirt in 1 minutes, 49.45 seconds. He returned $12.80 for the win, $6.60 to place and $3.20 to show.

Soup and Sandwich was second and heavily favored Greatest Honour — who came into the race with more than enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby — settled for third. Greatest Honour ran into traffic coming out of the gate and was nowhere near the front as the group headed into the first turn, though settled in along the rail and simply waited for an opening.

Mystic Guide wins 25th edition of Dubai World Cup

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — American challenger Mystic Guide provided Godolphin with victory in the 25th edition of the Dubai World Cup on Saturday.

Mystic Guide recorded a third successive victory in the Meydan showpiece in the owners’ blue silks, and their ninth in all following Thunder Snow’s back-to-back triumphs in 2018 and ‘19.

Mike Stidham’s 4-year-old, sent off the 6-4 favorite with Luis Saez onboard, prevailed by 3 3/4 lengths from Japan’s Chuwa Wizard.

Craig Smith, who fortified Utah State, hired as Utah coach

SALT LAKE CITY — Craig Smith, who quickly turned Utah State into one of the nation’s best mid-major programs, was hired Saturday as Utah’s basketball coach.

The Utes said Smith will replace Larry Krystkowiak, who was fired this month.

Smith led the the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament twice in three years. Utah State won the Mountain West Conference Tournament title in 2020, but didn’t get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Utah State won the MWC Tournament again this season and won 20 games before losing 65-53 to Texas Tech in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Smith has been an adept recruiter in Logan, bringing in players like Sam Merrill, now with the Boston Celtics, and Portuguese big man Neemias Queta.

Netherlands beats Latvia 2-0; Turkey downs Norway 3-0

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands got its World Cup qualification back on track Saturday by beating Latvia 2-0, while Turkey continued its strong start in Group G with a 3-0 victory over Norway to go top on goal difference.

Steven Berghuis curled in a left-footed shot in the 32nd minute and Luuk de Jong headed home a corner in the 69th as the Netherlands rebounded from a 4-2 midweek defeat in Turkey.

Russia beats Slovenia in WCup qualifying, Croatia wins

SOCHI, Russia — Artem Dzyuba scored both of Russia’s goals in a 2-1 win over Slovenia on Saturday to close in on the Russia scoring record, while Luka Modric set the outright record for most games for Croatia in a drab 1-0 win against Cyprus.

Russia’s win in front of a crowd of 13,000 — allowed amid the coronavirus pandemic under competition rules and Russian law — kept Russia at the top of Group H as it rebuilds following a disastrous end to its Nations League campaign last year. Slovenia’s momentum stalled after its upset win over Croatia on Wednesday.

When he opened the scoring in the 26th minute, Dzyuba initially intended to set up teammate Daler Kuzyaev with a cushioned header, but he got the ball back when Kuzyaev found himself blocked in by the defense. Dzyuba picked up Kuzyaev’s pass and hit the ball low past goalkeeper Jan Oblak’s outstretched hand.

Chen wins 3rd straight worlds, beating Olympic champ Hanyu

STOCKHOLM — Nathan Chen already has established himself as one of America’s greatest figure skaters. His performance Saturday lifted him into the company of history’s best worldwide.

In becoming the first American since Scott Hamilton to win a third consecutive World Figure Skating Championships men’s title, the 21-year-old Chen also outskated two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. And Chen believes he has been — and can be — even better.

“I wouldn’t say this is my best free program ever,” he said. “But it’s one I will definitely remember forever and cherish, being able to skate like that and skate this piece here at worlds.”

Russia completed its medals run when Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov took the ice dance gold.

Chen was dynamic in easily surpassing short program winner Hanyu and stamp himself as the man to beat at next year’s Beijing Olympics. Hanyu struggled mightily Saturday and fell to third place behind 17-year-old countryman Yuma Kagiyama, who took silver in his first senior worlds.

Tsitsipas, with Big Three missing, makes 4th round in Miami

MIAMI — For tennis up-and-comers like Stefanos Tsitsipas, the draw at the Miami Open began to look a lot less daunting even before the tournament began.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer withdrew because of injuries, and Novak Djokovic decided against making the trip from his native Serbia. They stayed home with their 58 Grand Slam trophies.

“It’s a first test to see how it is playing without them,” Tsitsipas said after his third-round victory Saturday. “There is going to be a time in the future where this is going to be more frequent and happening more regularly, and maybe even a standard soon. So, yeah, we get a taste of how it is playing without them.”

The No. 2-seeded Tsitsipas is among those with the best chance to take advantage, and he looked the part against Damir Dzumhur, winning 6-1, 6-4.

Ranked a career-high No. 5, Tsitsipas improved to 15-4 this year — and 2-3 lifetime against Dzumhur. The 22-year-old Greek used his serve to dominate Dzumhur, who never had a break point.

“I created a lot of opportunities with my serve — I wasn’t rushing at all, finding the right angles and executing it perfectly,” Tsitsipas said. “Even with my second serve I felt like I did a lot of damage, not giving him a chance to press first and apply pressure with his shots.”

Tsitsipas will next face No. 28 Kei Nishikori, who outlasted Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4.

In women’s play, top-ranked Ash Barty and three-time champion Victoria Azarenka advanced to a round of 16 showdown.

Barty beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 and had a much easier time than in the previous round, when she saved a match point to beat qualifier Kristina Kucova. That was Barty’s first match away from her native Australian since February 2020.

Verstappen takes superb pole at Bahrain GP ahead of Hamilton

SAKHIR, Bahrain — Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a superb pole position on Saturday for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and will start the race immediately ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen earned his fourth career pole to deny Hamilton his 99th, edging out the world champion by .39 seconds on his final attempt.

Red Sox closer Matt Barnes tests positive

Boston Red Sox closer Matt Barnes has tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be ready for opening day.

Manager Alex Cora said Saturday that Barnes is asymptomatic. Matt Andriese, who was scheduled to start a spring training game against Pittsburgh, was scratched because of contract tracing.

“It’s a fire drill now,” Cora said.

Barnes had emerged as the top candidate for the closer’s job this spring. He will need to remain out for at least 10 days.

Yanks’ Voit needs knee surgery, giving chance for Jay Bruce

TAMPA, Fla. — Major league home run champion Luke Voit needs knee surgery to repair a partial meniscus tear, an injury that opened a New York Yankees roster spot for Jay Bruce on Saturday as a converted first baseman.

Voit will not have any baseball activities for three weeks after the operation on his left knee, manager Aaron Boone said. Voit is expected back in May.

“Let’s have the surgery, see how the early days are and then we will be able to evaluate,” Boone said.

The injury to Voit, who hit 22 homers in the pandemic-shortened season, played a role in the decision to add Bruce, who attended spring training with a minor league contract.

Brewers re-sign Jordan Zimmermann to minor league deal

PHOENIX — The Milwaukee Brewers re-signed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann to a minor league contract one day after releasing him.

This move enables the Brewers to send the 34-year-old right-hander to their alternate site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

“I think Jordan is going to help us at some point in the season,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I think he’s a great presence in the clubhouse and I’m happy we were able to work something out for him to be able to stay with us. We’re going to need depth.”

Under baseball’s labor contract, players who became free agents after the World Series and agreed to a minor league contract had to be told by Saturday that they would be added to the major league roster by opening day, given a $100,000 retention bonus or released. Cutting Zimmermann and then re-signing him got around that.

 

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