WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers' All-Star Crew hopes for better play after break
MILWAUKEE - The three Milwaukee Brewers who started in the All-Star Game are confident that the Crew can turn things around quickly, after losing 11-of-13 going into the break.
Veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez said a group that plays well for 80 games won't become a bad team just because they've hit a slump. Ramirez said it's not a fluke that Milwaukee still has the second-best record in the National League, a half-game in back of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brewers remain atop the Central Division, one game ahead of second-place Saint Louis. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who had a pair of RBI doubles in the All-Star Game, said it was obvious the Brewers were not playing at the level they should. He said every team goes through rough patches, and "adversity is good for you." Center-fielder Carlos Gomez said Sunday's decisive 11-2 home win over the Cardinals was big for his team. Ramirez, Lucroy, and Gomez were a combined 4-for-7 with two RBI's and a run scored in the National League's 5-3 loss to the Americans. The entire Milwaukee team will return to action on Friday night at Washington.
When Derek Jeter first stepped to the plate in last night's All-Star Game, the retiring Yankees' shortstop gave kind words to Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The crowd in Minneapolis was chanting Jeter's name, when the future Hall-of-Famer turned to Lucroy and congratulated him on his first All-Star appearance. Jeter then proceeded to double and score, to help the American League kick off a 5-3 victory over the National League. Lucroy turned out to be the N-L's best hitter in the Mid-Summer Classic, belting a pair of doubles which drove in two of the Nationals' three runs. Lucroy said he understood why Jeter -- who played his 14th and last All-Star Game -- is considered the classiest player in baseball. Lucroy said he finds it hard to be happy all the time, like Jeter appears to be. Before the game, the Brewers' catcher said he was not aware he was filming an ad to attack the Saint Louis Cardinals during the fan voting which determined the All-Star starters. The ad was patterned after a political attack ad -- and had he known it in advance, Lucroy said he would not have done it. He told National League manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals that he respected Cards' catcher Yadier Molina -- who got hurt last week and was replaced by Lucroy as the starting NL backstop.
The Milwaukee Brewers' first-round draft pick from 2012 has been named the hitter-of-the-week in the Class-"A" Florida State. Brevard County left fielder Victor Roache belted three solo homers last week, and he had three straight multi-hit games last Wednesday through Friday. Roache missed all of the 2012 season with a broken wrist. Last year, he hit 22 homers with the Class-"A" Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. This season, Roache had a three-homer game on May fourth. Since the Florida State League's All-Star break, he has hit .241. MLB.com ranked Roache as the Crew's Number-eight prospect at the start of this campaign.
The Lakeshore Chinooks have the Northwoods League's best record at 10-and-2 for the second half. The Chinooks will host Wisconsin Rapids tonight in Mequon, after blanking Rapids 2-0 last night. Madison is in second place in the South Division, two games behind Lakeshore. Madison edged Green Bay 7-6, and the same two teams will play tonight in Titletown. Eau Claire leads the North Division at 9-4, a game up on Saint Cloud. Eau Claire hosts Thunder Bay this evening, on the heels of a 5-3 Eau Claire victory. La Crosse plays at Alexandria, after an 8-7 La Crosse win in ten innings. The Wisconsin Woodchucks topped Kalamazoo 7-5, and that series continues tonight in southern Michigan. And the expansion Kenosha Kingfish are at Battle Creek, after 12-to-one rout at the hands of Battle Creek.
Teams will in the Class-"A" Midwest League will open a second round of inter-divisional play tonight. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host Bowling Green of Kentucky at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton. The Beloit Snappers are also home against Dayton. The entire league was off last night for the Major League All-Star Game. Wisconsin is third in the Western Division at 13-11 for the second half, four games behind front-running Kane County. Beloit remains last in the West at 7-17, ten games off the pace. South Bend leads the Eastern Division at 16-8.
The Milwaukee Bucks will enter the tournament phase of the NBA Summer League tonight in Las Vegas. At 0-3 so far, the Bucks were seeded 21st. They'll play the 12th-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Each team will have at least two more games, either in the winner's bracket or a consolation bracket. If Milwaukee wins this evening, the Bucks will have a second chance to beat Utah tomorrow.
UW-Stevens Point has a new softball coach. She is Ashley Steltenpohl, who will also serve as the athletic department's strength-and-conditioning coach. Steltenpohl has spent the last four years as the coach at Marian of Fond du Lac, where she averaged almost 15 overall wins per season.
Two more coaching changes have been made among Wisconsin schools in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. At Division-Three Marian of Fond du Lac, Kyle Rago has been named the new cross country and track coach for both men and women. He's been an assistant for both running programs at Olivet Nazarene since 2008, a year after he graduated from that school. Also, Lakeland College of Plymouth has split the coaching duties in the men's and women's soccer programs. Adam Galla has coached both for the past two years, but will now be the head coach for just the Lakeland men this fall. Women's assistant Kim Kriese moves up to the top spot on her squad.