Tony Granato to lead Team USA at 2018 Olympics

Wisconsin will have a significant presence in building and shaping the USA hockey team for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

On Friday, it was announced that current Wisconsin coach Tony Granato would head the team, while former Badgers and NHL defenseman Chris Chelios would be among his assistant coaches. Also, the general manager of the team, Jim Johannson, played for Wisconsin in the early 1980s.

“What you feel is honored,” Granato told UWBadgers.com. “You feel how lucky you are that the sport of hockey has given you these opportunities. You feel pride in your country and in your sport.”

Granato had a very good first season in charge of the Badgers. The team won eight more games than the previous two years combined and finished second in the Big Ten. Before coming back to Madison in April of 2016, Granato had spent 14 years as a player in the NHL and then another 14 as a coach.

Chelios will join Granato as an assistant. The former Wisconsin star spent 27 years in the NHL before officially retiring in 2010. Chelios spent time as part of the Detroit Red Wings front office after his retirement and the last two years as an assistant with the team.

Tasked with building the team is Johannson, who has served as part of the USA Hockey staff since 2000.

Mallards fall 2-1 at Wisconsin Rapids

Madison got a great outing from its pitching staff, but could get nothing going offensively in a 2-1 loss to Wisconsin Rapids Thursday night in Northwoods League action.

The Mallards struck first with an RBI from left fielder Andrew Baker in the third inning, but that ended up being the only run they managed to get across the plate. That was largely due to the Rafters Isaiah Carranza, who went seven innings, giving up just the one run on five hits and striking out five.

For Madison’s part, Logan Wonn gave up one run over 3 2/3rds of action, and the loss went to Sam Cottingham-Beard, who allowed what proved to be the winning run on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.

With the loss, Madison dropped to 11-9 in the second half of the season, 2 ½ games back of first place in the South Division.

The Mallards and Wisconsin Rapids will play a double header today at the Duck Pond. The first game gets underway at 5 p.m., and the second will begin a ½ hour after the end of the first. You can hear both games on 106.7 FM/1670 AM ‘The Zone.’

Vince Biegel, Demetri Goodson to start training camp on the PUP list

Vince Biegel’s first training camp practice will not come for a few weeks.

Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Thursday morning that the former Wisconsin linebacker will start on the Green Bay Packers physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from offseason foot surgery. He’ll be joined there by cornerback Demetri Goodson, who suffered a knee injury in the final regular season game a year ago.

“Both those guys have been here every day I’ve been in here. They’re making progress,” McCarthy said prior. “Vince looks like it’s going to be a couple weeks. Don’t really have a timeline for Demetri.”

Biegel, a fourth-round pick in April’s NFL draft, had surgery after Green Bay’s rookie minicamp. It’s the same foot he injured during his senior year at Wisconsin.

His absence is notable for a number of reasons, including the fact the team lost Julius Peppers and Datone Jones in free agency, leaving them thin at outside linebacker.

“I’m confident in the other guys,” McCarthy said. “We got to get Vince back to 100 percent. We have time.”

LISTEN: Packers coach Mike McCarthy on being smart with the use of Aaron Rodgers

Stricker solid in British Open first round

The British Open also known as “The Open” started today and over half of the golfers have already finished up their first round. The British Open is the third major during the golf season. The co-leaders in the clubhouse are Jordan Spieth and this year’s U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who shot a -5 under 65. Fan favorite Matt Kuchar is also at -5 under through 11 holes. 

Wisconsin’s own Steve Stricker made the trip across the pond to compete in the tournament. Stricker shot a even par 70, which currently has him tied for 34th. On the front nine, Stricker compiled seven pars and two bogeys. He finished his back nine with three birdies, one bogey, and five pars. Stricker is still searching for his first major championship win.

Notables

Hideki Matsuyama shot -2 for the day

Henrik Stenson shot -1 for the day

Jason Day is -1 through thirteen holes

Rickie Fowler is E through twelve holes

Dustin Johnson is E through seven holes

Phil Mickelson is E through five holes

Bubba Watson is +1 through five holes

Sergio Garcia is +2 through thirteen holes

Jason Dufner shot +3 for the day

Rory Mcllroy is +5 through seven holes

 

Home Run Derby Results

The Home Run Derby occurred last night at Marlins Park in Miami. Major League Baseball stayed with the tournament style format that they experimented with last year. Eight of the top home run hitters in the game squared off against one another in a three round contest, where winners would advance to the next round. The hitters were seeded one through eight, and each batter had four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. If they hit at least two home runs over 440 feet, they would receive a bonus of thirty seconds to their time. Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees came away victorious beating the Twins Miguel Sano in this year’s derby.

Judge hit 47 home runs between the three rounds, including a huge first round of 23 home runs. He could have easily hit more out of the ballpark had he hit first in each round, but instead was cut off once he defeated the other participant. Judge hit three baseballs over 500 feet, including his farthest shot of 513 feet. He also had the fastest exit velocity recorded at 119 mph.  His average home run distance was an outstanding 457 feet. He was a man among boys out there. Judge was spraying it to right field as a right-handed hitter after not getting all of the ball and still hitting it 420 feet with ease. After the competition, Judge said he was definitely interested in potentially defending his crown in next year’s Home Run Derby hosted at Nationals Park.

Round by Round Breakdown

Round 1

Miguel Sano edged out Mike Moustakas 11-10. Moustakas ran out of gas and couldn’t manage another home run in the final minute.

Gary Sanchez defeated reigning champion Giancarlo Stanton  17-16.  Stanton hit multiple home runs over 490 feet.

Cody Bellinger managed to sneak by Charlie Blackmon 15-14, thanks to the extra thirty seconds he earned at the end of his round.

Aaron Judge defeated home crowd favorite Justin Bour 23-22 in the most entertaining match-up of the night. Judge’s 23 home runs was the third highest total for a round in Home Run Derby history.

Round 2

Sano defeated Sanchez 11-10. Sano swung at a good pace and essentially outlasted Sanchez.

Judge defeated Bellinger 11-10 with ease. Judge was cut-off from swinging with about two minutes left in his round.

Finals

Judge defeated Sano 11-10 and once again was cut-off with about two minutes left in his round. Judge once again put on an impressive performance and his power really wasn’t matched all night.

Bucks drop to Celtics 96-89: Last shots

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks turned back the clock in the ‘Return to the MECCA’ game on Thursday night. Their 96-89 loss to the Boston Celtics was played at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, right across the street from their usual home, The BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee struggled to find consistency throughout the evening, trailing by […]

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Win Wisconsin Football Tickets With Joe+ Mantality!

  Joe and Mantality want to hook you up with tickets to see Wisconsin take on Iowa at Camp Randall Stadium on November 11, 2017.Get signed up below to enter to win by November 2, 2017!    

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Jonathan Taylor Takes Home Big Ten Honor

For the second week in a row, the Wisconsin Badgers have a player honored as one of the Big Ten’s finest. This week, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week has been awarded to freshman running back Jonathan Taylor for his performance against Nebraska in week six. Last week, […]

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Jonathan Taylor Shines in his Biggest Spot

The University of Wisconsin has a long tradition of great running backs. That’s no secret. To put Jonathan Taylor up with the likes of Ron Dayne, Montee Ball, and Melvin Gordon after five games would be irresponsible. That being said, he’s certainly on track to reach that level of greatness. Taylor is already the best […]

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Former Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave back in the NFL

Joel Stave has found a new team. The former Wisconsin quarterback has been signed to the Washington Redskins’ practice squad, the team announced Tuesday. Stave went undrafted in 2016 after finishing his Wisconsin career with 7,365 yards, 48 touchdowns and the most wins (31) of any quarterback in program history. He spent time with the […]

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Mallards fall 6-4 to Kenosha

A three-run homer from Sam Armstrong was about all the offense the Madison Mallards could muster in a 6-4 loss to Kenosha on Tuesday night.

The bullpens of the two teams was the difference, as four different Kenosha relievers held Madison scoreless over the final four innings of the game, while the Mallards relievers were unable to hold up once starter Nate Brown left after four innings. That included Andrew Buckley, who was tagged for a pair of runs in the ninth and took the loss.

Coll Stanley was the standout for Kenosha offensively with three RBIs, including both of the runs scored in the ninth inning to give the Kingfish the lead and eventually the win.

The loss dropped the Mallards to 16-13 on the year. They’ll travel to take on Kalamazoo on Wednesday night. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m., and the game can be heard on 106.7 FM/1670 AM ‘The Zone.’

Mallards take both games of a doubleheader at Wisconsin Rapids

The Madison Mallards took both games of a double header Thursday night at Wisconsin Rapids.

The first game went to extra innings, with Madison getting a pair of runs in the top of the 10th, including a sacrifice fly by Jeffrey Mitchell, to pull out a 4-3 victory.

The win was due in large part to the relief work of David Stover, Dom Savino and Andrew Buckley, who combined for six innings of action, allowing five hits and one run.

In the nightcap, things were a little more explosive, but Madison still found itself on top with a 12-10 win thanks to a six-run outburst in the seventh and eighth innings.

Centerfielder Doran Turchin and first baseman Angel Camacho combined for six RBIs on the night, while shortstop Cole Daily and third baseman Thomas Smart contributed a pair of their own.

With the two victories, the Mallards moved to 17-13 on the year and are 8-2 over their last 10 games, as they sit in fifth place of the Northwoods League’s South Division.

Madison will face the Rafters again on Friday night at the Warner Park. First pitch is at 7:05 and can be heard on 106.7 FM and 1670 AM ‘The Zone.’

Fred Couples wins Am Fam Championship, Steve Stricker finishes third

MADISON — An emotional and draining few weeks came to an end Sunday afternoon for Steve Stricker.

The Madison resident, who needed a qualifier just to get into the first-ever U.S. Open in Wisconsin earlier in June, and then went and finished in the top-20 against the best players in the world in that tournament last week, was just off the course after his final round of the American Family Insurance Championship when he walked up to speak with reporters. The exhaustion was all over his face, but just how drained was he?

“I’m tired,” Stricker said with a grin. “This is six out seven weeks playing, and the last two have been full of excitement and pressure. It’s been great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m ready for a little time off and to get away from the game a little bit.”

Despite being tired, Stricker came on strong down the stretch, shooting a 3-under-par 69 on Sunday, coming in at 12 under for weekend, good enough to finish in a tie for third.

But no one could keep up with Fred Couples, who took the lead midway through his round and went on to shoot a 66, winning by two strokes over Scott Verplank.

LISTEN: Fred Couples talks about his win.

“It was one of those days where you’re trying to press, you’re trying to catch (Couples), and that makes it harder,” said Stricker, who served as the host of the tournament. “It’s harder to make putts when you have to, and that’s kind of where I felt like I was at today. I had to make them, and I just didn’t.”

Like they did a week earlier at Erin Hills for the U.S. Open, large crowds followed Stricker’s grouping wherever it went during the three-day event at University Ridge. And while it may have added a little pressure to Stricker’s round, Couples reveled in it.

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“I made a putt at 18 (on Saturday), which put me in a pairing with (Stricker),” Couples said. “That was a big deal because everyone knows there will be 15,000 people all following Steve and I wanted to be in that group. It gets your heart rate going.”

It was Couples’ second win on the Champions Tour this year, as he also took home the title at the Chubb Classic in Florida back in February. But this win came after not playing the last seven weeks thanks to his ongoing battle with his own body breaking down as he gets older.

“He’s a tremendous talent. He’s always been a great player. Why would it stop now? He showed us why he is the type of player that he is,” Stricker said.

“He forced everybody to come and get him and nobody could.”

Stricker was fine with the result.

“That’s OK,” the 50-year-old said. “[Walking up 18] I’m like, ‘Well, if you win now, you have to come back.’ He’s like, ‘I’ll be back.’ So all good things.”

The same could be said of the last few weeks for Stricker. He wasn’t expected to make it into the U.S. Open but did. Few thought he had chance to compete on a monstrous course like Erin Hills, but he silenced any doubters with his performance. And then, in his first chance to play in his own tournament, he more than held held his own. Throw in the money raised for the UW Children’s Hospital this past week and things couldn’t have played out much better for Stricker’s hectic June.

“This just tops it all off,” Stricker said. “It was a tremendous week on all counts.”

Mallards earn winning record for first time since opening night

MEQUON, Wis. — With the second game of the series and an above-.500 record hanging in the balance, the Madison Mallards (13-12) finished the job against the Lakeshore Chinooks by taking a 6-2 win on a lovely Saturday night on the west shore of Lake Michigan.

The Mallards jumped on top of the Chinooks early with a three-run first inning. Infield singles and defensive miscues from Lakeshore made the early lead possible for Madison. Two innings later, Angel Camacho (Jacksonville) would slap a homer over the right field wall with a little help from the wind blowing towards Lake Michigan. Camacho and Thomas Smart (Oakton) teamed up in the fifth inning with a pair of singles to left field to bring in two more runs for Madison.

The middle of the lineup for Madison has been extremely productive over the last week. The first three hitters in the Mallards order found ways on base, but only combined for one hit tonight. It was Camacho and Smart doing the heavy lifting for Madison at the plate. Camacho has now recorded an RBI in five of his last six games, while Smart has knocked in a run in six of his last seven games.

On the mound for Madison, Ryan Schmitt (Illinois) pitched a gem through seven innings, only allowing five baserunners and no runs. Seven innings is the most that Schmitt has thrown in a game both with Madison and at Illinois. The freshman showed confidence and command on the mound as he mowed through the Lakeshore lineup. The Chinooks didn’t sniff anything close to a run until the eighth inning with Schmitt off the mound. Lakeshore pieced together two runs off of three consecutive hits from the top of the lineup with David Stover (Marietta) throwing for Madison. Stover gathered himself next inning, and in the bottom of the ninth, the junior reminded Lakeshore why he has become the Mallards closer by slamming the door to end the game. With his seven inning start, Ryan Schmitt was awarded Northwoods League Pitcher of the Night.

Madison improves to 13-12 on the year, breaking .500 for the first time since being swept by Lakeshore in the second series of the season. With an improving bullpen and a consistent offense, the Mallards are poised to make a run at a first-half second place in the South Division. Madison is currently 3.5 games behind the Kenosha Kingfish (17-9).

(MallardsBaseball.com)