Sports Headlines - April 11



Plainview gets run-rule win in cross-town rivalry game with Ardmore

The Plainview Indians attempted to avenge an early-season loss to cross-town rival Ardmore yesterday and did with a 14-2 run-rule victory in only five innings.

The Indians jumped out 3-0 in the first inning due to errors, then added three more in the third which was highlighted by a Drake Harper home run deep over the left field wall.

While Plainview didn’t play a perfect game, they did show that they are a team not to take lightly.

The Indians improved to 14-7 with the win after a tough start to the season.


Texas Ballpark celebrating 20 years today


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A perfect game, Major League Baseball's first regular-season interleague game and consecutive World Series for the Texas Rangers.

Those are some of the highlights over the past two decades at the Texas ballpark that has also been home to four AL MVPs, used to have a Hall of Fame pitcher sitting in the front row and been the site of the franchise's best seasons.

The 20th anniversary of the first regular-season game played there is Friday, when the Rangers host Houston in the opener of a 10-game homestand.

When Texas played its 1994 home opener against Milwaukee, the Brewers were still in the American League and there weren't even teams yet in Arizona or Tampa Bay. George W. Bush was part of the Rangers' ownership group before his two terms as Texas governor and then two terms as president of the United States.

Here are some things that stand out over 1,619 regular-season a
nd postseason home games in the stadium that opened as The Ballpark in Arlington, after 22 seasons across the parking lot at old Arlington Stadium:

RANGERS WIN PENNANT: Under Friday night lights at home on Oct. 22, 2010, Texas clinched its first AL championship. Neftali Feliz got former Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez on a called third strike to end Game 6 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees, the team that had ended the Rangers' only three previous playoff appearances.

Texas lost the World Series in five games against San Francisco. The Rangers made it two AL titles in a row in 2011 when they beat Detroit in six games, also clinching at home, before losing the World Series in seven games to St. Louis.

HOME OF MVPs: Juan Gonzalez was a two-time AL MVP (1996 and 1998), before catcher Ivan Rodriguez (1999), Alex Rodriguez (2003) and Josh Hamilton (2010) won the award while playing in Texas.

A-Rod's MVP season capped a three-year stint with the Rangers when he had 156 homers and 395 RBIs before the rest of his $252 million, 10-year contract was dealt to the New York Yankees. When A-Rod got to Texas as a free agent in December 2000, his deal was worth about $2 million more than what Tom Hicks had paid to buy the team just less than three years before that.

PERFECTION: On July 28, 1994, 3½ months after losing the home opener, Rogers threw the Rangers' only perfect game, and their last no-hitter. Rookie center fielder Rusty Greer made a spectacular diving catch in the ninth before catching a routine flyball to end the perfect game against the Anaheim Angels.

RYAN'S ROLE: Nolan Ryan's final season as a pitcher was in old Arlington Stadium, but he remained a big presence after that. He sat in the front row near the Rangers dugout from 2008-13, when he was CEO, president and part-owner for the team's only two World Series teams.

There is a life-size bronze statue of Ryan in the center field plaza recognizing the last five of his record 27 MLB seasons, when with the Rangers he recorded his 5,000th strikeout and last two of his record seven no-hitters of his career. He is the only Texas player whose number has been retired, and went into the Hall of Fame as a Ranger.

TRAGIC NIGHT: Shannon Stone was attending a game with his 6-year-old son on July 7, 2011, when the Brownwood, Texas, firefighter reached out for a foul ball tossed into the stands by Hamilton, his son's favorite player. Stone fell headfirst about 20 feet onto concrete behind the outfield wall and was pronounced dead within an hour.

By the following season, new higher railings had been installed throughout the ballpark. The team also dedicated a statue at the home plate gate that depicts Stone and his son, Cooper, and is inscribed "In memory of Shannon Stone and dedicated to all fans who love the game."

THE OTHER LEAGUE: Other than the World Series or exhibitions, there had never been an MLB interleague game until Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants visited Texas on June 12, 1997. Darren Oliver was the starting pitcher for the Rangers in their 4-3 loss.

SHINING STAR: The 1995 MLB All-Star game was played in Arlington.

WINNING MANAGERS: Johnny Oates was the manager that led Texas to its first three AL West titles from 1996-99. His No. 26 jersey was retired by the team months after he died from a brain tumor on Christmas Eve 2004. Ron Washington, the manager for both World Series teams and now in his eighth season, is the franchise's winningest skipper with 615 wins.


Old guys get it done in opening round at Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — In a tournament packed with a bunch of young newcomers, the 50-and-over crowd made a bit of a stand in the first round of the Masters.

Miguel Angel Jimenez was leading the tournament for a time before stumbling on the back nine. Fred Couples was on the leaderboard himself before tying the 50-year-old Jimenez with a 1-under 71 that left both players three shots off the lead.

And former champion Bernard Langer managed to shoot even par in his 31st Masters.

"A 72 is not that shabby," the 56-year-old Langer said.

Not shabby at all, though the Masters is the one major championship where older players tend to do well. Jack Nicklaus finished in a tie for sixth here at the age of 58 in 1998, while Couples always seems to be hanging around the lead in the early rounds.

Power still counts, but sometimes the older players can make up for it by knowing where to put the ball and being crafty.

"It's hard for anyone. There are a lot of young guys that can hit the ball a long ways," said Jimenez, who was 4 under and in the lead before making bogey on No. 11 and double on 12 after hitting it in the water. "I don't hit the ball that far, but I hit it and it goes straight to the flag, you know. It's nice to see that I'm being competitive with all the guys."

Couples, who won the 1992 Masters, said he feels like he can still play Augusta National and compete with younger players, tho
ugh he concedes he would have to get some breaks to put on another green jacket on Sunday.

"Can a 50-year-old win here?" the 54-year-old Couples asked. "I think so. I'm one of them."
___

FAMILY TIES: Bill Haas didn't let blood get in the way of work. He fired his brother last month and picked up a new caddie for the Masters.

"I needed to switch it u
p," Haas said. "My brother has been on the bag a bunch for a few years, and I think I needed a change."

Jay Haas Jr. has been hired and fired before — just like any other player-caddie relationship — and Bill, his younger brother, is known to be tough to work for at times. Plus, Bill didn't just go find anyone from the caddie yard.

He is using Scott Gneiser, who was with David Toms when he won the 2001 PGA Championship. Gneiser started this year working for PGA Tour rookie John Peterson until getting fired, about the time Bill put his brother on the bench.
___

TOUGH 12: The tricky little Par-3 12th at Augusta National played tougher than it has in years.

The 155-yard hole, which has water and a bunker in front, proved to be the second-hardest on the course in the opening round Thursday. Nicknamed "Golden Bell," the hole yielded six birdies, 56 pars, 26 bogeys, six doubles and three triples. The only hole tougher was the par-4 No. 11. The last time the 12th played as hard was 2009.

It was the only blemish on defending champion Adam Scott's scorecard.

Scott doubled the 12th after his tee shot caught the bank in front of the green and hopped back into Rae's Creek.

"I h
ad just received the most incredible ovation as I came to the 12th tee — and I hit my worst shot of the day," Scott said. "I think that's my first-ever trip into Rae's Creek."
___

IKE'S TREE: Three former champions who have combined for 13 wins in the Masters have different ideas about what should happen to the 17th hole now that the Eisenhower Tree is gone.

"
I think I would probably put a tree right back where the tree was try to get it about as similar as it was when it was taken out," Arnold Palmer said.

Jack Nicklaus, the six-time champion who is most heavily involved in golf course design, said he would pay closer attention to the hole beyond where Ike's tree was.

"It does look a little naked," Nicklaus said. "It's not only Ike's tree, but Little Ike and a couple other trees were gone. But they really had no effect on the play of the golf tournament as it relates to the tournament. ... Sure, you could put a tree back. But I personally think that the hole needs definition a little further up, not back."

Gary Player said no other tree has had greater significance on a golf course. That said, Player is not a big fan of trees that come into play off the tee.

"As much as I had for the name attached to the tree, I think it's best that the tree does not be put back," Player said.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said the club would move slowly in figuring out the best change, if any.
___

DONALD PENALTY: Luke Donald's 7-over 79 — his highest score ever at the Masters — included a two-stroke penalty.

After Donald left his third shot in a green-side bunker at par-4 ninth, he grounded his club before his next stroke. That incurred a two-stroke penalty that left him with a quadruple-bogey 8. He rebounded with seven pars and a bogey over his next eight holes, but ended the round with a bogey that left him just shy of 80.
___

DUFNER'S DUFF: Jason Dufner carded the highest score of the day, a quadruple-bogey 9 at the 13th. Things unraveled in a hurry, too, after reaching the green-side rough in two. Dufner's third shot slid past the hole, just missing the pin by a few inches, and didn't stop until it rolled off the green, down an embankment and into a creek.

With part of his ball above water, Dufner tried to chip out from there, but the shot came up short and rolled back in. He dropped from there, then chunked his sixth shot well short. He chipped on and two-putted for his highest score by far in 13 rounds at the Masters.

Dufner finished at 8 over.
___

DIVOTS: Eight players shot 80 or higher: amateur Chang-woo Lee (80), Hideki Matsuyama (80), Jason Dufner (80), Graham DeLaet (80), amateur Jordan Niebrugge (81), Craig Stadler (82), Ben Crenshaw (83) and Branden Grace (84). ... Bubba Watson (3-under 69) had the only bogey-free round of the day. ... Of the six amateurs in the field, three of them — Matthew Fitzpatrick, Oliver Goss and Garrick Porteous — shot 76.

 

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