WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Ramirez to make first start for Brewers tomorrow
PHOENIX - Aramis Ramirez will make his Cactus League debut tomorrow, when the Milwaukee Brewers play Kansas City in an exhibition game in Phoenix.
Ramirez has not played while recovering from colon surgery in December to remove a non-cancerous polyp. He's been at Spring Training for the past two weeks, but Brewers' skipper Ron Roenicke said he has not been 100-percent running the bases until now. He'll start at third base right away, and will gradually increase his playing time. Ramirez said he'd rather do that than be a designated hitter. He says he has more than enough time to get ready before Milwaukee's regular season opener on March 31st at home against Atlanta.
The Green Bay United prep girls hockey cooperative won the first semifinal game this afternoon at the WIAA girls' state high school hockey tournament in Madison at Veterans Memorial Colesium. The Green Bay Co-op team defeated a co-op squad from the Wausau area 2-1. Courtney Wittig scored twice for Green Bay, which will play either St. Croix Valley Fusion or the Onalaska-Coulee Region co-op in the title game tomorrow. Those latter two teams were playing their semifinal contest this afternoon. Tonight, the boys' hockey tournament will have its semi-finals. Green Bay Notre Dame takes on Verona, and Onalaska will play the University School of Milwaukee. Title games for both the boys and girls will be played tomorrow at Madison's Alliant Energy Center.
The Milwaukee Admirals will play a home-and-home series with Rockford. Game-One tonight at the Bradley Center. Game-Two is tomorrow night in northern Illinois. Milwaukee is fourth in the American Hockey League's Midwest Division, with a two-game winning streak for the first time since early December. Former Admirals goaltender Pekka Rinne helped his old team turn things around while on a rehab assignment for the NHL's Nashville Predators. Rinne went 33-for-35 in save attempts in a pair of games last weekend -- both Milwaukee victories. The Admirals are 25-19-6-6. Rockford comes in at 30-22-5-3, with a six-point edge over Milwaukee.
The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team will play at Penn State for the first time tonight and tomorrow night. The fifth-ranked Badgers have four games remaining in their inaugural Big Ten season. Mike Eaves' team is 10-5-1 in the conference, and 19-9-2 overall. The Badgers were off a week ago. Penn State is 2-13-1 in the Big Ten, and 6-22-2 overall. Badgers' goal-tender Joel Rumpel is third nationally with a .786 winning percentage. He was recently named as one of 18 candidates for the inaugural Mike Richter Award, to be given each year to the nation's top college men's goaltender. Also today, the No. 2 ranked Badger women play North Dakota at the WCHA's Final Face-off in Bemidji Minnesota. Four teams are vying for the league title.
Top-ranked Saint Norbert will host Saint Scholastica tonight for the men's championship in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. The Green Knights from De Pere advanced with a 6-0 win over Lake Forest in last weekend's semifinals. Saint Scholastica, from Duluth, beat Adrian 4-3 in the semis. Meanwhile, it's down to the final four in the NCHA women's hockey tournament at Lake Forest. The host Foresters will entertain Adrian College in the first semi this afternoon. Today's winners will square off tomorrow for the title. In the first-ever WIAC men's hockey tournament, UW-Eau Claire will host Superior tomorrow night for the championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III tourney. UW-River Falls will host UW-Stevens Point tomorrow for the WIAC women's crown.
Madison golfer Steve Stricker was tied for 58th place this afternoon at the WGC's Cadillac Championship in Miami. Stricker finished his rain-delayed first round this morning at five-over-par 77 -- and he was three-over in his second round with just three holes left. Stricker is at plus-eight for the tournament. Hunter Mahan was the mid-afternoon leader at four-under. Meanwhile, Jerry Kelly of Madison was tied for seventh at mid-afternoon at the PGA's Puerto Rico Open. Kelly completed his second round today at five-under-par 67, after shooting a 69 yesterday. That puts him at eight-under-136 at the halfway point. James Driscoll was the mid-afternoon leader at minus-11.
The WIAA girls' state high school gymnastics meet began this afternoon in Wisconsin Rapids with team competition. The suburban Milwaukee squad of Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek and Whitnall high schools is going for its fourth straight Division 1 crown. River Falls is back to defend its Division 2 championship from a year ago. Individual competition takes place tomorrow.
The WIAA state high school team wrestling tournament opens this evening at the UW Field House in Madison. All three divisions will crown new champions. In the Division 1 quarterfinals tonight, Merrill goes against Mukwonago. Bay Port takes on Stoughton. Undefeated Sauk Prairie wrestles Burlington. And unbeaten Kaukauna goes against Menomonee Falls. The D-1 semifinals also take place tonight, while semis begin tomorrow in two other groups. In Division 2, Pewaukee wrestles Wittenberg-Birnamwood, while Ellsworth faces Evansville/Albany. The only unbeaten team in Division 3, Spring Valley/Elmwood, goes against Riverdale. And Coleman faces Random Lake. Title matches in all three divisions are set for tomorrow afternoon starting at 3 p.m.
The Milwaukee Bucks will get another chance tonight to beat a team that's struggling almost as badly as they are. The Bucks are in New Orleans to play the Pelicans -- who are 24-37 and appear to be headed to finish last in the NBA's Southwest Division for the third year in a row. The Bucks went into the tank early, and are now 12-48. They had a chance to beat a struggling Sacramento team at home on Wednesday night -- but Milwaukee was sluggish, and blew a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time in almost an entire year. Both teams have shining young players -- Anthony Davis for the Pelicans and Brandon Knight for the Bucks. Davis had 28 points and 15 rebounds in a seven-point New Orleans' victory over the LA Lakers on Tuesday night. Knight scored 25 against Sacramento. He has scored 22 in his last two meetings with the Pelicans. New Orleans has won 13 of its last 15 games against Milwaukee -- and 11 straight in the Big Easy.
The UW-Milwaukee men's basketball team will play Valparaiso tonight in the second round of the Horizon League Tournament in Green Bay. The fifth-seeded Panthers are 18-13, after eliminating Detroit by ten points at home on Tuesday night. Fourth-seeded Valpo is 18-14, after a victory over Illinois-Chicago in the first round. Tonight's winner will play top-seeded UW-Green Bay in tomorrow's semifinals. The final three rounds are being played at Green Bay's Resch Center. Also tonight, the UW-Parkside men are playing Missouri-Saint Louis in the quarter-finals of the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament in Evansville, Indiana.
The road to a national championship begins tonight for four Wisconsin men's college basketball teams. UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater are both hosting two rounds of regional play in the NCAA Division III tournament. The top-ranked Pointers are hosting Marian of Fond du Lac. The winner will play either Saint Olaf or Central College of Iowa tomorrow night for a slot in the Sweet-16. At Whitewater, the Warhawks are hosting Northwestern College of Saint Paul tonight. The winner faces either Saint Thomas or Augustana tomorrow night in Round 2. The fourth Wisconsin entry, Saint Norbert plays Ohio Wesleyan tonight at Illinois Wesleyan. The winner will play either the host school or Webster tomorrow for a Sweet-16 slot. Meanwhile, five Wisconsin women's teams open play tonight in their Division III tournament. Carthage hosts a four-team regional in Kenosha, where the Lady Reds will play Saint Norbert in the first round, and Wisconsin Lutheran will take on Hope College. UW-Oshkosh also hosts a four-team regional in which the Titans will entertain Saint Mary's of Minnesota, and Northwestern College of St. Paul takes on Washington of Saint Louis. Also tonight, UW-Whitewater opens in St. Paul against Concordia-Moorhead.
Wisconsin's four regular NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers are in Las Vegas for the Kobalt-400 on Sunday. Beloit-born Danica Patrick took fifth-place in a four-hour testing session last night. Matt Kenseth of Cambridge was tenth, Paul Menard of Eau Claire 13th, and Janesville native Travis Kvapil 38th. Tonight, all four will take part in qualifying to determine where they'll start on Sunday. Kenseth is seventh in the season point standings after two races. Kenseth will also compete in tomorrow's Nationwide Series race at Vegas, the Boyd Gaming-300.
At the Big Ten women's basketball tournament...
Minnesota 74, Wisconsin 68 in overtime
In women's regular season college basketball...
UW-Green Bay 67, Oakland 52
In exhibition baseball...
Milwaukee 5, Colorado 3
At the WIAA boys' state high school hockey tournament...
Verona 3, Superior 0
Green Bay Notre Dame 7, Eau Claire Memorial 0
University School of Milwaukee 2, Wausau West 1 (2OT)
Onalaska 4, Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago 3
Wisconsin boys' high school basketball sectionals semifinals…
Wausau West Sectional
Marshfield 67, Hudson 43
Neenah 58, Stevens Point 56
Germantown 63, Sussex Hamilton 51
Kimberly 46, Bay Port 41
Mukwonago 60, Beloit Memorial 48
Sun Prairie 54, Verona 53, 2-OT
West Allis Central Sectional
Milwaukee Rufus King 77, Brookfield Central 74, OT
Racine J.I. Case 89, West Allis Central 73
Rhinelander 45, Shawano 32
Rice Lake 64, La Crosse Central 55, OT
Manitowoc Lincoln Sectional
Port Washington 66, Plymouth 54
West De Pere 60, Seymour 50
Sun Prairie Sectional
Greendale 77, McFarland 67
Mount Horeb 65, Sauk Prairie 59
Brookfield Central Sectional
Pewaukee 66, Milwaukee Bradley Tech 50
Wisconsin Lutheran 62, Milwaukee Pius XI 47
Eau Claire North Sectional
Elk Mound 48, La Crosse Aquinas 41
Prescott 44, Somerset 40
Little Chute 58, Tomahawk 44
Manitowoc Roncalli 54, Valders 37
Lodi 58, River Valley 46
Marshall 74, Lakeside Lutheran 71
Whitefish Bay Sectional
Brown Deer 58, East Troy 55
Ripon 45, Oostburg 38, OT
New Richmond Sectional
Mondovi 53, Osseo-Fairchild 39
Unity 36, Abbotsford 32, (2OT)
Appleton East Sectional
Auburndale 43, Stevens Point Pacelli 38
Brillion 52, Shiocton 31
Blair-Taylor 67, Markesan 63, OT
Cuba City 69, Mineral Point 64
Whitefish Bay Dominican 65, Racine St. Catherine's 55
Oshkosh Lourdes 56, Lake Country Lutheran 36
Drummond 27, Luck 23
Thorp 52, Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran 47
Green Bay NEW Lutheran 63, Wausaukee 58
Wausau Newman 39, Marshfield Columbus 34
La Crosse Logan Sectional
Barneveld 43, Cassville 37
Cochrane-Fountain City 57, Hillsboro 56, OT
Kettle Moraine Sectional
Central Wisconsin Christian 53, Burlington Catholic Central 46
Sheboygan Lutheran 68, Milwaukee Academy of Science 53