WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers have plenty of top vote-getters for All-Star Game
MILWAUKEE - Five Milwaukee Brewers are among the top-five vote-getters at their respective positions, as fans choose the starters for baseball's All-Star Game.
Ryan Braun is third among NL outfielders in the initial results announced this afternoon. It means he would get a starting spot if he doesn't slip down the standings like he did a year ago, when Braun was facing injuries and his impending drug suspension. Despite the boos he hears at most ballparks on the road, Braun has the most votes of any Brewer with almost 447,000. Aramis Ramirez is second in the voting for National League third basemen with 318,000, apparently due to his strong start in April. He fell into a 3-for-48 slump shortly before missing most of May with a bad hamstring. Carlos Gomez is sixth among N-L outfield candidates. Jonathan Lucroy is fourth among catchers, and Jean Segura is fifth at shortstop. Gomez and Segura were chosen by players and coaches to the National League All-Star squad a year ago. Voting continues through July third at Brewers-Dot-Com and at Miller Park. The All-Star Game is set for July 15th at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Brewers' catcher Jonathan Lucroy will try to extend his hitting streak to ten games tonight, when the Crew closes out a three-game home series against Baltimore. Lucroy has the longest string by a Milwaukee player this season. He has batted .459 in his last nine games with nine doubles and six RBI's. Carlos Gomez is nursing an eight-game hitting streak, in which he has batted .441 with four doubles, two homers, and eight RBI's. That includes a three-run blast last night in Milwaukee's extra-inning victory over the O's. The Brewers have only won four of their last eleven, but they still lead the National League Central by a game-and-a-half over Saint Louis. Baltimore has dropped four of its last six road games. The Orioles are third in the American League East at 26-24. Milwaukee is 31-22, with the NL's second-best winning percentage behind San Francisco.
Yovani Gallardo will return to his normal job tonight, when he starts for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Baltimore Orioles at Miller Park. The Brewers were out of position players in the bottom of the tenth last night, so they called on Gallardo to pinch-hit -- and he belted a walk-off double in the Crew's 7-6 victory. Gallardo is the Brewers' career batting leader for pitchers with a .204 average, 12 homers, and 42 RBI's. He has eight game-winning R-B-I's, tied with the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright for the most among active Major League hurlers. Now, the Brewers hope the right-handed Gallardo will improve on the mound. He's 0-and-3 in his last four starts. He has not won in his last eight outings. And Gallardo is coming off an ankle injury eight days ago against Atlanta. He missed his last scheduled start at Miami last Sunday. Gallardo is 2-3 with an ERA of just over three-and-a-half. The Orioles will send veteran right-hander Bud Norris to the hill. He's 3-4 with a 3.83 ERA. The Brewers saw a lot of Norris when the Houston Astros were in the National League. Norris is 0-1 in four career starts at Miller Park.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will play at Cedar Rapids tonight in the Midwest League. The Rattlers split a pair at Clinton last evening. Wisconsin won a suspended game from Monday night by a 6-2 score in 10 innings. The Lumberkings won the scheduled contest, 4-3. The Beloit Snappers will open a series at Quad Cities. That's after the Snappers got crushed by Cedar Rapids yesterday, 16-5. It was a scoreless game until the fifth, when Cedar Rapids scored seven times in that frame -- and three runs in each of the next three innings.
Even though it's only Day-Two, the weather has already put a crimp into the Northwoods League schedule. The Madison Mallards will try to host a pair of seven-inning games against Kalamazoo tonight, after their season opener was rained out last evening. The Lakeshore Chinooks will play at pair at Eau Claire, also following a Tuesday night rain-out. The weather should cooperate. Forecasters call for clearing skies statewide this evening. Kenosha will try to go 2-0 at Wisconsin Rapids, where the expansion Kingfish crushed Rapids 14-0 on their opening night. The Wisconsin Woodchucks of Wausau play at La Crosse again, after the host Loggers won another slug-fest 14-6. The Green Bay Bullfrogs are at home again to play Battle Creek. Green Bay lost its Tuesday night opener 10-9.
UW-Whitewater's national baseball title was very special for coach John Vodenlich -- and not just because of the history it made. The coach's father Sasha saw Whitewater win Vodenlich's first NCAA Division III trophy in 2005 -- but he died in 2010, so he couldn't see this one. Vodenlich said he wanted to dedicate the new title to his family, first and foremost. Whitewater won the national DIvision III baseball championship yesterday with a 7-0 win over Emory. It was the first time since 2002 that the title game featured a shutout -- and Whitewater became the first NCAA school ever to win the baseball, men's basketball, and football crowns in the same year. Lots of Whitewater fans came up to Appleton to see it. Over 2,042 people attended, the largest for a title game since the Division III tournament was moved to Fox Cities Stadium in 2000. The Warhawks were honored in Whitewater last night with a ceremony at its diamond, and a fire truck parade around town.
Former Marshfield High School softball standout Andie Varsho has signed a pro contract with the Pennsylvania Rebellion of the National Fastpitch league. Varsho has just finished her senior season at Purdue, where she batted .416 and ended her career as the Boilermakers' all-time leader in hits and batting average. The Rebellion is based in Washington, Pennsylvania, and it's grouped with three other teams -- the Chicago Bandits, Akron Racers, and the USSSA Pride from Kissimmee, Florida. Varsho's new team opens its schedule on Friday night against the Pride. They'll play a 49-game schedule which ends on August 16th.
A wildly successful era for Wisconsin pro golfers is getting closer to an end -- and another one could soon be getting started. Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly, Mark Wilson, J.P. Hayes, and Skip Kendall have won a combined 22 PGA tournaments with almost $100-million dollars in prize money. The 48-year-old Hayes, from Appleton, is retired. Kendall, of Fox Point, turns 50 on September ninth -- when he can join the senior Champions Tour after falling to the second-tier Web.com tour in recent years. Stricker and Kelly, both of Madison, will both be 50 within the next three years, and can join Rhinelander native Dan Forsman in finding new life on the Champions Tour. Pewaukee native Wilson will be 42 then. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes that a several young Wisconsin players could be heading toward PGA stardom. They include U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Jordan Niebrugge of Mequon and Charlie Danielson of Osceola. Danielson, a student at Illinois, tied for 29th at the recent NCAA Division I tournament. Niebrugge, of Oklahoma State, tied for 42nd. It's been a while since Wisconsin has had a women's LPGA standout -- Sherri Steinhauer of Madison being the last. Alyssa Ferrell of Edgerton is said to be one of several possibilities. The Michigan State senior was 10th in her NCAA tournament last week.
Former Milwaukee Bucks' star Junior Bridgeman now says he's open to becoming a minority owner of the team. Bridgeman's name surfaced as a likely principal owner in the final weeks that Herb Kohl owned the Bucks. He tells Milwaukee radio station WSSP that he would have to scramble to sell his part ownership of the Sacramento Kings -- and it would not have been possible. Now, Bridgeman has a little more time to consider dropping his share of the Kings, and joining the new Bucks' ownership team under Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. Bridgeman said he has talked with both men -- and he believes they're great people who will do what they can to get a winning team. Bridgeman starred for Milwaukee in the 1970's. His Number-two is retired, and it hangs in the rafters of the Bradley Center.