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WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Favor Hamilton's name taken off Big Ten award

CHICAGO - The Big Ten Conference female athlete-of-the-year is no longer named in honor of former Wisconsin Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton. The league said today that it dropped Favor Hamilton’s name from the award, after discussions between the Badgers and conference officials.

Last December, she admitted working as a $600-dollar-an-hour call girl in Las Vegas, after the Smoking Gun website broke the news. The 44-year-old Favor Hamilton called it a coping mechanism for depression and other personal issues. Favor Hamilton is from Stevens Point. She was the Big Ten’s female athlete-of-the-year in 1988, and went on to win seven national track titles, while performing in three Olympics. Madison area native Amanda Kessel, a former hockey star at the University of Minnesota, was named the winner of the Big Ten award last week. She’s giving up her senior year with the Gophers to play for Team USA in the 2014 Olympics.


It appears that Jean Segura will be the Milwaukee Brewers’ only hope of having a starter in the July 16th All-Star Game. Updated voting totals were released today – and Segura remains third in the fan balloting among National League shortstops with almost two-point-one million. Brandon Crawford of San Francisco remains second. But it appears that the players will choose the NL shortstop because the top person in the fan voting, Troy Tulowitzki of Colorado, will miss the game with a hip injury. It’s possible the players will pick Segura, who leads the National League in hits with 106. Milwaukee left-fielder Ryan Braun dropped to eighth in the voting for the three starting outfield spots. Braun remains on the disabled list with a right hand injury. Milwaukee centerfielder Carlos Gomez is 12th among N-L outfielders. The rosters for both the American and National League teams will be announced on Saturday. The All-Star Game is set for two weeks from tonight in New York.


The Brewers will try to end a six-game losing streak tonight when they play the Nationals in Washington. The Crew has not lost seven straight since last July 26th – when they also fell to the Nationals. Right-hander Wily Peralta will start for Milwaukee this evening against right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Peralta is 5-9 with a 5.88 ERA. He gave up seven runs in a loss to the Chicago Cubs last Thursday, but only three of them were earned. Peralta has only two wins in his last 10 starts. Strasburg is 4-6 with a 2.41 ERA. He has just one victory in his last four outings, despite having a solid ERA of 1.47 in his last eight appearances. The Brewers have only hit .227 during their six-game losing streak, and they’ve committed eight errors in those losses – including two by shortstop Jean Segura last night. The Brewers, meanwhile, are trying to dig out of a hole in the National League Central. They’re three-and-a-half games behind next-to-last-place Chicago. A Washington win tonight would put the Nationals three games above .500 for the first time since May 18th. 


The Milwaukee Brewers’ Double-“A” minor league team has canceled a raffle to win a gun at tomorrow night’s home game in Huntsville Alabama. The Huntsville Stars were planning to hold a “Second Amendment Night” promotion – but Minor League Baseball officials have told the team that the event was probably not in the club’s best interest. Stars’ spokeswoman Nicole Colonis says members of the NRA will still be admitted free tomorrow night, by showing their membership cards. 


The Madison Mallards will try to hang onto a one-game lead in the Northwoods League South Division, when they play at La Crosse tonight. With only a few days left in the first half, Madison maintained its edge with an 11-1 rout of Battle Creek last evening. Second-place La Crosse is a game back, while Lakeshore is third at one-and-a-half out. Lakeshore is at Eau Claire, after getting blanked by Green Bay 4-nothing. Eau Claire is coming off a 4-2 win over the Wisconsin Woodchucks, as the ‘Chucks move on to Battle Creek. Green Bay hosts Wisconsin Rapids, after Rapids fell to La Crosse 8-4. Elsewhere, Duluth hosts a double-header against Willmar this evening. Waterloo plays at Mankato. Rochester entertains Saint Cloud. And Thunder Bay is at Alexandria. Waterloo leads the North Division by a game over Willmar and three over Duluth.


The Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League will play their home opener for next season on Saturday night, October 19th. The Admirals announced only the date for the opener today. The opponent has yet to be announced, and the Admirals’ entire 76-game schedule will be out later this summer. A pre-sale for group tickets begins July 15th, and individual game tickets go on sale in September. The Admirals are the top minor league squad for the NHL’s Nashville Predators.