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WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Phillips, Stave stand out in Badger grid scrimmage

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MADISON - Curt Phillips and Joel Stave stood out at quarterback yesterday, when the University of Wisconsin football team held its first full-scale scrimmage.

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Phillips, the sixth-year senior, opened the afternoon with the No. 1 offense. He appeared to be throwing faster than a year ago, and threw a touchdown for one of his five passes. Stave, who has recovered from a broken collarbone last season, also looked solid – although he was sacked three times. He also threw a scoring pass among seven completions. Junior college transfer Tanner McEvoy lost a fumble, and completed two passes with a touchdown during a red-zone drill. Coach Gary Andersen said he would give McEvoy another chance to quote, “come into his own” at another full scrimmage next Monday. After that, he expects separation among the quarterback candidates. The Badgers are gearing up for their season opener 18 days from now against Massachusetts.

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UW linebacker Ethan Armstrong expects to be ready on August 31st, when the Badgers open their season against Massachusetts at Camp Randall Stadium. The senior Armstrong injured his left leg during the second-day of the Badgers’ pre-season camp last Tuesday. Armstrong calls the injury a “speed bump.” He expects to be back on the practice field no later than August 21st, to give him 10 days to plan for his role in the U-Mass contest. Armstrong had a shoulder operation in the spring, but was still listed as the No. 1 “field linebacker” until his injury last week. Waukesha walk-on Joe Schobert has been working with the No. 1 defense in Armstrong’s place. 

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Green Bay Packers’ running back DuJuan Harris practiced yesterday for the first time at Training Camp. He passed his physical, and was removed from the team’s physically-unable-to-perform list. Harris is a second-year pro who had lung surgery this past spring to control a cyst. He also had a minor knee injury that was not specified. Harris went undrafted out of Troy a year ago. Harris is considered the starter at the running back spot, but he’s in a competitive group that includes James Starks, Alex Green, and rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin. Harris was with the Jacksonville and Pittsburgh before he caught on with the Packers late last season. The 5-7 Harris made his mark with a 26-yard touchdown run in a Green Bay home victory over Detroit last December. He also scored a key touchdown in the Pack’s home Wild Card win over Minnesota in January.

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Ryan Longwell will retire as a Packer. The team said yesterday it approved the kicker’s request to officially end his pro career with the green-and-gold, although he won’t play anymore. Longwell is Green Bay’s all-time scoring leader with 1,054 points. He set a team record by leading the Packers in scoring in all nine of his seasons there, from 1997 through 2005. He also the most points in the NFL from ’97-through-2004 with 964. Longwell made 81-percent of his field-goal attempts with Green Bay, also a team record. He went on to play six more years in Minnesota, ending in 2011. Last season, the Seattle Seahawks signed Longwell for a divisional playoff game against Atlanta. He went 4-for-4 in extra points in that contest. 

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Jonathan Lucroy is having the best season of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers. But the 27-year-old catcher says he’s not able to fully enjoy it, because of the way the team is struggling. Lucroy is in his fourth season as Milwaukee’s Number-One catcher. He already has career highs in homers and RBI’s. Lucroy leads the Majors with 57 RBI’s while playing at the catcher’s spot, and his 61 total RBI’s lead the Brewers. His 16 homers tie him for second among big league catchers. J.P. Arencibia of Toronto leads in that department with 17. With Milwaukee’s biggest hitters either injured or suspended, Lucroy bats in either the third-or-the-fourth spot each game. He says he’s fortunate to stay healthy. He also says that in the big picture, it’s good for the younger players to go through this type of a season so they can see how bad it is – and avoid it in the future. The Brewers are on pace for a 70-92 season, their worst since 2004. Tonight, the Crew opens a brief two-game Interleague series at Texas. Right-hander Marco Estrada will face Texas right-hander Alexi Ogando. 

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Milwaukee Brewers’ right-fielder Norichika Aoki is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow night, when the Brewers play at Texas. Aoki is getting two days of rest. Manager Ron Roenicke benched him yesterday, and the team is off today after taking 2-of-3 at Seattle. Aoki took a meek swing during a six-run Brewers’ rally in the seventh inning on Saturday night. Roenicke said it had nothing to do with his decision to rest the Japanese veteran yesterday, and he had been thinking about it for several days. Aoki is having a solid year with a .281 batting average and a .341 on-base percentage while playing all but six of Milwaukee’s 117 contests. The Brewers remain in last place in the National League Central at 51-67, a game-and-a-half behind the next-to-last Chicago Cubs.

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Aramis Ramirez is expected to return to the cleanup spot for the Milwaukee Brewers tomorrow night, when they open a two-game series at Texas. The question is whether Ramirez will start at third base, or serve as a designated hitter in the Interleague contest. Manager Ron Roenicke is not saying what he’ll do yet. The DH role would let Ramirez ease back, after being out since July eighth with patellar tendinitis in his left knee. He’s been on the disabled list twice this year, after hurting the same knee while sliding into a base. The Brewers have missed his production. After hitting 27 homers with 105 RBI’s a year ago, Ramirez only has five homers this season with 26 driven in. As a veteran, Ramirez was given the option of playing a minor league rehab stint before returning to the Milwaukee dugout. He did not do so the first time. This time, Roenicke said Ramirez would have been interested had the Brewers been home, and he only would have had to travel to Appleton where Class-“A” Wisconsin plays. Neither is the case this week, as the Timber Rattlers are playing at Quad Cities.   

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Funeral services will be held Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee for former Braves’ shortstop Johnny Logan. Visitation begins at 10 Thursday morning at Wisconsin Memorial Park’s Chapel-of-the-Chimes. A service begins at three that afternoon. The 87-year-old Logan died Friday night. He was also an Army veteran, and was president of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association.   

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The Lakeshore Chinooks are up one-game-to-none in the Northwoods League South Division Finals. The Chinooks crushed the Madison Mallards in game-one last night, 15-0 in Mequon. Mike Hollenbeck had two doubles in four trips with four RBI’s and three runs scored. The Chinooks can wrap up the best-of-three series tonight with a Game-Two victory in Madison. In the North Division Finals, Duluth is up one-game-to-one, after beating Waterloo at home last night, 5-2. Reliever Nate Carter got Duluth out of a bases-loaded jam with three straight outs in the eighth inning – and he sealed the Huskies’ victory by throwing a perfect ninth. Duluth can win the series tonight with a victory at Waterloo in game two.

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Ricky Hearden of Green Bay is tied for seventh place after the first qualifying round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur Championships. Hearden shot a two-under-par 68 yesterday in Brookline, Massachusetts. Jordan Niebrugge of Mequon is tied for 12th at two-under-69. The Top-64 after today’s second qualifying round will advance to match play tomorrow. The Amateur has a total field of 312. Charlie Danielson of Osceola shot a two-over-par 72 yesterday. Eddie Wajda of Brookfield shot 78. Keegan Drugan of Holmen had 79.

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Steve Stricker of Madison remains at No. 13 in the new World Golf Rankings. That’s after he tied for 12th at the PGA Championship. Stricker also remains 19th in the Fed-Ex Cup season point standings, but he has said he will not take part in the month-long Fed-Ex playoffs which begin a week from Thursday. Stricker also skipped the British Open this year, in a limited schedule in which he says he’s devoting more time to his family.   

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Planning is already underway for Wisconsin’s next PGA Championship two years from now at Whistling Straits near Sheboygan. It will be the 97th edition of the season’s final major. Organizers promise a better experience for fans than the first two times the PGA was played at Whistling Straits in 2004-and-2010. David Kohler, the tournament’s general chairman, said construction would take place to make the course easier to walk, while making it easier to see everything. The main entrance will be moved closer to the course, and carts will move spectators from the parking lot. Also, corporate hospitality areas will be on the course for the first time, with chalets near the 17th and 18th holes. David Kohler, who’s 35, is taking over the top tournament post from his father Herbert. Former PGA employee Michael Belot will be the vice-chair of the event for the Kohler Company, which owns Whistling Straits. Jason Mengel of the PGA of America is the tournament’s championship director. 

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Former University of Wisconsin track standout Evan Jager has advanced to the men’s steeple-chase finals at the world track-and-field championships in Moscow. He won the second of two heats this morning, with a time of 8:23.76 seconds for three-thousand meters. Jager is competing as an American. He beat out 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya, who placed second in the heat just eight-hundredths-of-a-second back. Both qualified for the finals in the event late Thursday morning. Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France won the first heat in 8:15.43. 

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Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf won their fifth straight American Le Mans race at Road America in Elkhart Lake yesterday. They beat out Chris McMurry and Tony Burgess in a race that ended under caution when the two-hour-and-45-minute time limit was reached. A revolutionary Delta-Wing car placed fifth, driven by Katherine Legge. She and co-driver Andy Meyrick led for a combined 16 laps. Luhr was the leader for the first 19 laps, in a race that began with a wet surface following a late-morning rain. Luhr won his 46th American Le Mans race, and Graf was a winner for the 19th time. 

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Scores: 

In Major League Baseball…

Cincinnati 2, Chicago Cubs 0

Minnesota 3, Cleveland 0

Chicago White Sox 6, Detroit 2

In the Midwest League…

Wisconsin 9, Quad Cities 1

Burlington 3, Beloit 1

Kane County 4, Cedar Rapids 3

Clinton 7, Peoria 1

Great Lakes 3, Lansing 1

West Michigan 10, South Bend 4

Lake County 3, Bowling Green 2

Fort Wayne 8, Dayton 5

In the Northwoods League playoffs…

South Division Finals

Lakeshore 15, Madison 0 (Lakeshore leads Best-of-3 series, 1-0)

North Division Finals

Duluth 5, Waterloo 2 (Duluth leads Best-of-3 series, 1-0) 

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Sean Scallon
Sean Scallon has been a reporter and Sports Editor at the Pierce County Herald newspaper in Ellsworth since 1998. He holds a bachelors degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's also worked at newspapers in Glenwood City, Wisconsin; Marion, Illinois and Shawano, Wisconsin. Sean also works as a sports reporter for other newspapers and websites in RiverTown Multimedia from River Falls to Hudson to New Richmond and Red Wing.
(715) 273-4334
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