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Birmingham Blanks Mobile

Saturday April 30, 2011
Posted: 9:15 p.m.

WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
Josh Phegleys RBI single in the bottom of the ninth lifted Birmingham to a 1-0 victory over Mobile Saturday night at Regions Park.

The Barons and the BayBears battled in a dandy pitching duel for 8 innings before Brandon Short got the winning rally started with a two-out double. After Christian Marrero was walked intentionally, Phegley singled to center for the game-winner. Its been a struggle in the early going for Phegley, but he finished with two hits for his fourth multi-hit game of the year to push his average past the Mendoza Line to .203.

Dan Remenowsky picked up the win after pitching two perfect innings of relief. Matt Zaleski started and struck out eight while giving up two hits over seven innings. It was quite the contrast from his last outing, during which he allowed six runs on eight hits over 3 23 innings at Huntsville.
Winston-Salem A
Terry Doyle continued to pitch in tough luck Saturday as Winston-Salem dropped a 3-1 decision to Wilmington at Frawley Stadium.

Doyle 0-3 remained winless as the Dash fell to 0-5 in games that he has started. The loss also marked the 18th time in 22 games this season that Winston-Salem has played a game decided by three runs or less. Doyle certainly pitched well enough, allowing two runs in a season-high seven innings. He scattered six hits but allowed two third-inning runs and that was the difference.

Jose Martinez went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .382. Nick Ciolli had a double and an RBI while Ian Gac extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Hes hitting .364 16-for-44 during that stretch. Winston-Salem was 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

In other action, Chris Villanuevas RBI single in the bottom of the 10th lifted Hickory to a 2-1 victory over Kannapolis. Jimmy Ballinger took the loss. Brady Shoemaker and Dan Black each had two hits for the Intimidators. Spencer Arroyo started for Kannapolis and allowed a run over seven innings. Charlotte saw its modest two-game winning streak come to an end Saturday night as Columbus blanked the Knights 6-0. Gabby Hernandez had another miserable effort in falling to 0-4. He allowed five runs on eight hits in 5 13 innings.
CUBS Peoria A
The Chiefs exploded for five 10th-inning runs Saturday afternoon and scooted by Beloit, 13-8, at Pohlman Field.

Smaily Borges solo homer got the 10th inning started, snapping what had been an 8-8 tie. Richard Jones added a two-run single to fuel the inning and make a winner of Marcus Hatley 2-0, who pitched two scoreless innings and fanned four.

Hayden Simpson started and went the 4 23 innings, marking the fifth time in as many outings that he didnt make it past five innings. He gave up two homers and a season-high five runs. The Chiefs allowed a season-high six homers.

Matt Szczur and Micah Gibbs extended their hitting streaks to 12 games. Included in Gibbs effort was his first professional homer. While Greg Rohan didnt drive in a run, he did have three hits to finish April with a .357 average. His 22 RBIs are the most in April for a Chiefs player since Travis Hansen had 26 in 2003. Peoria had a season-high 19 hits.
Daytona A
Jae-Hoon Ha smacked a two-run homer Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium to lead Daytona to a 4-2 victory over Dunedin.

Has blast was part of a three-run third inning. Justin Bour added a solo shot in the sixth to close out the scoring. The only other hit the Cubs picked up was a Logan Watkins triple but Nick Struck and a pair of relievers made it stand. Struck 3-1 struck out six and scattered five hits over five innings.

Jeff Beliveau and Frank Batista each pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only three hits.

In other action, Rafael Dolis walked four and gave up a hit while allowing four runs in two innings to allow Carolina emerge with a 7-6 victory over Tennessee. Matt Spencer, James Adduci each had a pair of hits while Rebel Ridling was 1-for-4 to finish April hitting .403.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Jamal Mayers join Pat Boyle to discuss the teams wins over the Rangers and Penguins.  Have they figured some things out and what is the identity of this team after 20 games?

Jammer weighs in on Artem Anisimov’s big week and are there enough Hawks committed to net front presence?  They also discuss the surging play of the blue liners and did the Hawks fail to send a message to Evgeni Malkin, after he kneed Corey Crawford in the head?

Lauri Markkanen, Lonzo Ball making rookie history as they prepare to face each other

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USA TODAY

Lauri Markkanen, Lonzo Ball making rookie history as they prepare to face each other

It'd be a stretch to say that any rookie is having a better or more impactful season than Philadelphia's Ben Simmons. The Sixers are 9-7, and Simmons looks like a 10-year veteran with his decision making, athleticism and all-around feel for the game. He's the frontrunner for MVP, but there are two other rookies vying to catch Simmons and win that title. And they'll face each other tomorrow night in Los Angeles.

Lonzo Ball was the second pick in June's NBA Draft, and fellow Pac-12 freshman standout Lauri Markkanen went five picks later to the Bulls, who had traded up as part of the Jimmy Butler trade. Both players were drafted to rebuilding franchises - the Lakers still working out the kinks in the post-Kobe era, and the Bulls beginning their rebuild after dealing Butler - and were expected to make immediate impacts on their franchises.

Ball's was more pronounced, as the Lakers dealt D'Angelo Russell to the Nets on draft night to free up space at the point for their prized No. 2 pick. Markkanen's came more abruptly, as the 20-year-old was thrust into the starting lineup after Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic's fight put Mirotic in the hospital and Portis on paid leave. However they got there, both players have been impressive in their early NBA careers.

Starting with Markkanen, the Bulls knew the 7-foot stretch forward was a perfect build for the modern NBA. He set freshman 3-point and rebounding records that, since 1992, only some guy named Kevin Durant had reached. After a successful summer in Eurobasket he was set for a large role with the Bulls, and he's succeeded in just about every aspect. His 15.6 points per game are third only to Simmons and the other Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, and his 8.1 rebounds are second to Simmons. And his 2.6 made 3-pointers per game are most among rookies, and well past No. 2 on the list (Utah's Donovan Mitchell, 1.9 per game).

In fact, Markkanen would become the only rookie in NBA history to average at least 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers per game. The 2.5 3-pointers would break a rookie record currently held by Damian Lillard (2.3 per game). The closest a rookie has ever come to reaching those marks was Stephen Curry, who averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 3-pointers per game as a rookie. Allen Iverson also met the 4/2 threshold, but that's a far cry from Markkanen's 8/2.5 mark. Paul Pierce's rookie season saw him average 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers.

But that's not all. If he kept those averages up he would be just the fifth player EVER to accomplish those thresholds. The others are James Harden, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Antonie Walker, who naturally did it twice.

So, yeah, Markkanen is having quite a rookie year.

So, too, is Ball. While he's had some real issues with efficiency, slashing .313/.228/.462 and has committed 2.6 turnovers per game, his counting stats have been outstanding. Ball is averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists, and that puts him in equally impressive company.

Simmons has reached those numbers this season, too, averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists. You may have heard of the other two players, named Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

The two future Hall of Famers averaged these numbers:

Robertson: 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 9.7 assists (missing averaging a triple-double for the season by 20 assists)

Johnson: 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists

Ball is also averaging 0.9 blocks, and no other rookie guard has ever accomplished that. It might not always look pretty for Markkanen and Ball as they feel their way out in the NBA, but just remember watching these two that they're in the midst of making history in the new era of the NBA.