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Winthrop coach pleads for action after shooting

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Winthrop coach pleads for action after shooting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Moments after his team lost a basketball game, Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey spoke of a bigger loss.

The first-year coach of the Eagles gave an impassioned plea for government and private leaders to act soon to prevent further massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last week that left 20 children and six adults dead at the school.

``The last thing I want to say is I'm really, really lucky, because I'm going to get on an eight-hour bus ride, and I'm going to arrive in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and I'm going to walk into my house, and I'm going to walk upstairs, and I'm going to walk into two pink rooms with a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old laying in that pink room, with a bunch of teddy bears laying in that room,'' he said, concluding his remarks in the wake of a 65-55 loss at No. 7 Ohio State.

``And I'm going to give them the biggest hug and the biggest kiss I've ever given them. And there's 20 families in Newtown, Conn., that are walking into a pink room with a bunch of teddy bears with nobody laying in those beds. And it's tragic.''

Kelsey said he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, as a small, mid-major college coach, to reach a large audience with his emotional words.

``I know this microphone's powerful right now, because we're playing the (seventh)-best team in the country,'' he said. ``I'm not going to have a microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe the rest of my life.''

He said he didn't have a solution. But that didn't mean others shouldn't pursue one - and quickly.

``I don't know what needs to be done. I'm not smart enough to know what needs to be done, OK?'' he said. ``I know this country's got issues. Is it a gun issue? Is it a mental illness issue? Or is it a society that has lost the fact, the understanding, that decent human values are important?''

Kelsey called on political leaders to get past petty differences and accomplish something.

``I didn't vote for President Obama. But you know what? He's my president now. He's my leader. I need him to step up,'' he said. ``Mr. (John) Boehner, the Speaker of the House ... OK, he needs to step up.''

He also called for others to get involved and prevent a reoccurrence of the tragedy.

``Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches - everybody needs to step up. This has to be a time for change,'' he said. ``And I'm going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise. But hopefully things start changing, because it's really, really disappointing.''

His voice rising, and his eyes welling, he finished by saying, ``I'm proud to grow up American. I'm proud to say I'm part of the greatest country ever. And that's got to stay that way. And it'll stay that way if we change.

``But we've got to change.''

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

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3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

This one is going to go the distance.

The Washington Capitals staved off elimination on Monday with a 3-0 Game 6 win to force a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy looked unbeatable for much of the game, but T.J. Oshie finally got one past the Lightning netminder on the Caps' first power play since the second period of Game 4. Devante Smith-Pelly finished them off with a third-period tally.

Game 7 will be on Wednesday with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

Here are the three stars of Game 6.

1.  T.J. Oshie: Oshie scored the goal that saved Washington's season.

The Caps were doing everything right, but they just could not get one past Vasilevskiy. Finally, Oshie struck with a one-timer from the high-slot that just managed to beat Vasilevskiy.

Oshie also added an empty-netter to ice the game away.

We will never know how close frustration came to really wearing down Washington, but it probably came closer than you think. Just seconds before Oshie's goal, John Carlson rang a blistering slap shot off the inside of the post. It was so close, the horn went off briefly, but play continued. Had Washington not been able to finish off the power play, would they have recovered or would Vasilevskiy officially have Halaked them?

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Don't let the score fool you, Vasilevskiy was absolutely brilliant. He really stood out in the first period when he denied great chances again and again to keep the score locked at 0-0. You knew he was on his game when he denied a great chance from Alex Ovechkin from the slot with the blocker. His best save, however, was saved for Evgeny Kuznetsov when he was on the ice and desperately extended the arm just in time to deny Kuznetsov.

Vasilevskity made a total of 32 saves in the losing effort.

3. Braden Holtby: Though he was not tested as much as his counterpart, Holtby was equally as brilliant in his 24 save performance for his fifth career playoff shutout.

The Lightning made a real push in the second and third period and some key saves by Holtby ensured the Caps did not give up the first goal or the game-tying one. The most critical save came on Anthony Cirelli in the second period with the game still tied at 0-0. A Lightning 2-on-1 resulted with Cirelli coming in all alone on Holtby, but the Caps' netminder just managed to extend the toe for the save.

Smith-Pelly had seven goals in the regular season. he has four in the playoffs. Smith-Pelly put the exclamation point on the game with his third period goal to extend the Caps' lead to 2-0.  He was set up by a phenomenal pass by Chandler Stephenson.

It was clear from the outset that the Caps wanted to be very physical in this game and Smith-Pelly really took that message to heart with 

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.