Nationals

Baron sparks Canisius past Temple 72-62

Baron sparks Canisius past Temple 72-62

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Billy Baron scored 19 points, including nine in the final 4:12 as Canisius defeated Temple 72-62 in a nonconference game Wednesday night.

Consecutive baskets by Baron, the second a 3-pointer, gave the Golden Griffins (8-2) a 62-58 lead with 3:07 remaining, and they made all 10 of their free throws the rest of the way.

The Owls (8-2), who had won 11 straight at home, led 36-28 at halftime, but Canisius went ahead 43-42 with a 9-0 run, including seven points by Isaac Sosa.

After Temple regained the lead, three treys by Reggie Groves put Canisius ahead 57-51 with 8:51 left.

Sosa finished with 13 points, and Groves and Harold Washington scored 12 each for Canisius, which got 13 rebounds and four blocks from Chris Manhertz.

Khalif Wyatt had 17 points and Jake O'Brien 14 for Temple, which shot 25 percent (8 of 32) in the second half.

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Juan Soto welcomes cardboard cutouts of family to Nationals Park

Juan Soto welcomes cardboard cutouts of family to Nationals Park

As Juan Soto made his return to the Nationals lineup on Wednesday after dealing with a positive COVID-19 test to begin the season, his family was in the stands to cheer him on. Well, sort of.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no fans are allowed at MLB games. Instead, teams have opted to place cardboard cutouts of supporters in seats throughout the ballpark to make the atmosphere feel a little more normal. So of course, Soto's family was "in attendance" for his first game back in left field as the Nationals star had custom cutouts made. 

In a perfect gesture, Soto greeted his cardboard relatives by slapping an RBI double to left field in his first trip to the plate. Though there was no applause from the seats, you can bet there was plenty of cheering going on wherever they are watching the game.

Soto's connection with his family runs deep, and it was on display throughout the Nationals 2019 World Series run. From getting tackled by his father after his clutch knock in the NL Wild Card Game to having a traveling fan club at the World Series, the Soto's are clearly his No. 1 supporters.

RELATED: AS SOTO RETURNS, BASEBALL IS REMINDED HOW MUCH IT MISSED HIM

So while the pandemic may be keeping them from being there in person, there was no chance Soto was going to return to action without a way to have his family cheer him on.

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Nationals remind fans of Juan Soto's GOAT status, he responds with first-inning RBI double

Nationals remind fans of Juan Soto's GOAT status, he responds with first-inning RBI double

The Nationals were forced to play their first eight games of the 2020 season without 21-year-old phenom Juan Soto, but they finally got him back in the lineup Wednesday just under two weeks after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Anticipation was building up ahead of his first at-bat and the Nationals’ official Twitter account did what it could to fuel the fire. Before first pitch, the team posted a photo of Soto’s “spray chart” that had the dots shaped like a goat around the field.

Though that may not actually be what Soto’s spray chart looks like, the leftfielder lived up to the “GOAT” status by smacking an RBI double in his first at-bat before making a diving catch the very next inning.

Soto may be a bit behind the rest of the league in terms of racking up at-bats, but he looked just the Soto that posted a .949 OPS last year and earned the distinction of a Gold Glove finalist.

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