(Update) Morning State Sports Briefs: Bay Port wins quarterfinal game at state tourneyWisconsin Sports
-- Bay Port was the first to advance this morning, as the state spring high school baseball tournament got underway at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton.
GRAND CHUTE - Bay Port was the first to advance this morning, as the state spring high school baseball tournament got underway at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton.
Bay Port crushed Kenosha Bradford 9-0 in the first Division-One quarter-final. Ben Messenger tossed a three-hitter for Bay Port and struck out 16 batters. And Messenger drove in four runs at the plate with a double and a single in three trips. Bradford ended its season at 23-5. Bay Port improved to 24-6, and will face either Middleton or Hartford in the first Division-One semi-final tonight. Middleton and Hartford were squaring off in the second quarter-final late this morning. This afternoon, Stevens Point will face Oconomowoc. And then Appleton North and Sun Prairie will wrap up the quarterfinal round.
They say that good teams beat the clubs they’re supposed to beat – and that’s only starting to happen for the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have won four-of-six over the past week against the Chicago Cubs and San Diego, who have the two worst records in the National League. That moved Milwaukee to within four-and-a-half games of first place in the NL Central, after they were eight down on May 27th. Now, the Brewers will play a pair of road series against the two worst teams in the American League – Kansas City and Minnesota. And if Milwaukee can take 4-of-6 again, they’ll be back at .500 for the first time since April 24th when they were 9-9. The Brewers will open a three-game series tonight at Kansas City, against a Royals’ team that’s 10 games below .500 with a four-game losing streak. Ned Yost’s Royals just got swept for three games at Pittsburgh, and scoring only seven runs in the process while batting .138 with runners in scoring position. Yost – a former Brewers’ skipper – said he’s tired of making excuses. But tonight, the Royals have a reason to be sharper on their game as they face Zack Greinke – who spent seven years at KC before he was dealt to Milwaukee before the 2011 season. Greinke hopes to win his third straight start. The Royals are putting up right-hander Luis Mendoza, who’s filling in for the injured Felipe Paulino.
Former Brewers’ slugger Russell Branyan is playing in Triple-“A,” after he missed the first two months of the season with a back injury. He returned last week to the New York Yankees’ farm club at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – and he was named the International League’s player-of-the-week. The 36-year-old Branyan had two homers and six RBI’s against the Durham Bulls last Tuesday – and he pounded three more homers in his next four games. Branyan had five blasts for the week, with 12 RBI’s in nine contests. He’s a 14-year Major League veteran. He had two stints with the Brewers – the first in 2004-and-’05, and the second in 2008.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers can clinch the first half title in the Midwest League’s Western Division tonight with either a victory at Clinton, or a Beloit loss at home to Peoria. The Rattlers have a five-game lead over second-place Beloit with six games left in the season’s first half. Wisconsin has already clinched at least a Wild Card playoff spot, making the post-season for the first time since 2005. The Rattlers closed out their series against Beloit with an 8-7 victory yesterday. Elsewhere in the Midwest League tonight, Kane County is at Quad Cities. Burlington plays at Cedar Rapids. Eastern Division champion Lansing is at Fort Wayne. Dayton plays at Great Lakes. Bowling Green hosts West Michigan. And Lake County entertains South Bend.
In the Northwoods League, the La Crosse Loggers and Lakeshore Chinooks are both tied for the South Division lead, as their current series continues tonight in Mequon. La Crosse beat the Chinooks 6-1 last night. Both are now 8-and-5, with a one-game lead over the second-place Wisconsin Woodchucks. The ‘Chucks won at Madison 9-6 last night, while Green Bay edged Wisconsin Rapids at home 5-4 in 10 innings and Eau Claire won at Battle Creek 7-3. All those series continue tonight. Elsewhere, Waterloo is at Rochester again tonight, after the Bucks pounded out a 21-10 victory last evening. Duluth hosts Willmar. Thunder Bay is at home against Saint Cloud. And Mankato entertains Alexandria. Mankato leads the North Division at 10-3
An arbitrator ruled yesterday against Green Bay Packers’ defensive end Anthony Hargrove. Stephen Burbank said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to punish Hargrove and three New Orleans’ Saints players for their roles in the Saints’ bounty system. Burbank, a University of Pennsylvania professor, had delayed Hargrove’s case last week until the NFL explained why he was suspended for eight games – the second-worst punishment among the four players. The league said most of Hargrove’s suspension was for quote, “lying and obstruction” to NFL investigators about the details of the Saints’ bounty payments for injuring opposing quarterbacks. The ruling said most of the evidence pertained to Hargrove’s “active participation” in the bounty program by pledging and giving money to the bounty pool. Hargrove, Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Scott Fujita will all appear before Goodell next Monday as part of the appeals of their suspensions.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ leader Matt Kenseth and his son Ross will both race tonight in a late-model event in Milwaukee as part of the ASA Midwest Tour. They’ll join about 80 drivers who are entered for the Swiss Colony Howie Lettow Memorial 150 at the Milwaukee Mile at State Fair Park. Qualifying takes place throughout the day. Kenseth moved into the lead on Sunday in the season point standings in NASCAR’s top series. Retired NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace is also part of the field tonight, along with Johnny Sauter of Necedah – who won last Friday night’s NASCAR Truck Series’ race. Several other past-and-present Wisconsin NASCAR drivers are also entered including Kelly Bires of Mauston, Tim Schendel of Sparta, Wausau natives Scott and Chris Wimmer, Rich Bickle of Edgerton, and Tim Sauter of Necedah.
In the Midwest League…
Wisconsin 8, Beloit 7
Peoria 10, Kane County 9
Cedar Rapids 6, Clinton 2
Quad Cities 18, Burlington 7
Lansing 7, Lake County 1
Dayton 9, Bowling Green 5
West Michigan 11, Great Lakes 6
Fort Wayne 9, South Bend 2
In the Northwoods League…
La Crosse 6, Lakeshore 1
Wisconsin 9, Madison 6
Green Bay 5, Wisconsin Rapids 4 in 10 innings
Eau Claire 7, Battle Creek 3
Waterloo 21, Rochester 10
Mankato 10, Alexandria 8
Willmar 5, Duluth 4
Thunder Bay 10, Saint Cloud 5