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WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Division titles at stake in Northwoods League

In the Northwoods League, both divisional titles are up for grabs as the final week of the season’s first half begins.

The Madison Mallards moved into first place in the South Division over the weekend – and three other teams still have a shot at winning the crown. The Lakeshore Chinooks, owned by a group that includes Brewers’ Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount, is in second place at a half-game back. La Crosse is one game off the pace, and Wisconsin Rapids is two back. Three teams are also battling for the North Division championship. Waterloo has the lead, with Willmar one game back and Duluth three. Tonight, Madison plays at Battle Creek, where the Mallards won 10-to-2 last evening. Wisconsin Rapids hosts La Crosse, on the heels of an 8-6 Rapids victory. Lakeshore again hosts Green Bay, after a 3-1 Green Bay win on Sunday. Eau Claire is in Wausau to play the Wisconsin Woodchucks, after a 9-5 Express victory. Also, Duluth is at Saint Cloud. Rochester plays at Willmar. Thunder Bay hosts Alexandria. And Mankato is at Waterloo.


The Milwaukee Brewers are in desperate need of something to spark their offense, after scoring just two runs in their last 31 innings. The Crew lost by a run at Pittsburgh yesterday, in which they batted just 1-for-41 outside of Martin Maldonado’s three-hit day. The Crew takes a five-game losing streak into a series at Washington which begins tonight. The Brewer offense scored just 11 runs during those losses, with Ryan Braun on the disabled list and Aramis Ramirez playing through a knee injury that has weakened his power. Milwaukee is now 16 games below .500 and three games behind the Cubs for last in the National League Central. Tonight, they’ll play a Nationals team’s coming off a 13-to-2 rout of the New York Mets yesterday. The Nats hope to get their star outfielder Bryce Harper back this evening. The 20-year-old phenom has missed 31 games with a knee injury. Former U-W Stevens Point star Jordan Zimmermann will go for his Major League-tying 12th win over the year, when he starts for Washington against Brewers’ ace Yovani Gallardo. 


The Houston Rockets are reportedly going after Milwaukee Bucks’ free-agent guard Mike Dunleavy Junior. The Houston Chronicle says Dunleavy is expected to meet with Rockets’ officials in Los Angeles. The same team is also reportedly making an all-out effort to lure free-agent center Dwight Howard. The Chronicle said a delegation of past-and-present Houston players has met with Howard in LA, where he finished the season with the Lakers. Today is the first day of the NBA’s free-agent negotiating period. Dunleavy shot a career-high 43-percent from three-point range for the Bucks last season. He was also one of the Bucks’ few bright spots when they were swept by Miami in the first round. Dunleavy averaged around 12 points and four rebounds during the four-game series with the Heat.


Philadelphia Eagles’ running back Bryce Brown owned a dog and a litter of seven puppies at a breeding facility in Eau Claire County whose operator faces possible criminal charges. Media reports said a judge has ordered Joseph Sudbrink to return the dogs to Brown. Authorities said they arrested Sudbrink on possible charges of mistreating animals and being a dog-breeder without a state license. The 30-year-old Sudbrink operates Northland Pits in Fall Creek. A total of 27 dogs were seized from the facility in late May. Officials said the other 19 dogs were mainly pit bulls – and they were at the Eau Claire County Humane Association’s shelter at last word.