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Zulli, Quiteh, Hill lead AP Little-America team

Zulli, Quiteh, Hill lead AP Little-America team

Shippensburg quarterback Zach Zulli and Bloomsburg running back Franklyn Quiteh have been selected to the AP Little All-America team.

The Little All-America team honors players from Division II, III and NAIA.

Zulli tied a Division II record with 54 touchdowns passes, set a record for TDs responsible for with 56 and threw for 4,747 yards.

Quiteh, a Little All-American in 2010 as a freshman, went over 2,000 yards rushing for the second time in his career. He leads Division II in rushing at 176.8 yards per game and has scored 24 touchdowns.

Michael Hill of St. Joseph, Mo., another Harlon Hill Trophy finalist as the top player in Division II, and the second-leading rusher in D-II behind Quiteh, was selected to the first-team. Hill averages 154.9 yards rushing.

Mount St. Joseph running back James Clay, who leads Division III with 212 yards per game, also was a first-team selection.

The Little All-American receivers are Jeff Janis from Saginaw Valley and Isaiah Voegeli from Merrimack. Janis caught 106 passes for 1,635 yards and 17 touchdowns. Voegeli leads Division II with 150 yards receiving per game.

The Little All-American offensive line is led by Ryan Schraeder from Valdosta State. He and the Blazers will Winston-Salem on Saturday in Florence, Ala.

Curtis James of St. Thomas, Minn., which plays Mount Union on Saturday for the Division III championship, was also picked for the offensive line.

The other offensive linemen selected to the first team were: Garth Heikkinen of Minnesota-Duluth; Manase Foketi of West Texas A&M and Mark Jackson of Glenville State.

Pittsburg State receiver/kick returner John Brown was selected as an all-purpose player.

The kicker was Sergio Castillo of West Texas A&M.

The defense was highlighted by Missouri Southern tackle Brandon Williams. The 325-pound senior is an NFL prospect who has been invited to play in the Senior Bowl.

Ethan Westbrooks of West Texas A&M has 19.5 sacks to lead Division II. B.J. Stevens of California, Pa., leads D-II with 1.32 sacks per game. D.J. Chappell of Division III Huntingdon completes the defensive line.

The linebackers are Corey Johnson of Catawba, Leron Furr of Fort Valley State and Ronnell Williams of West Chester.

Defensive back Rontez Miles of gave California, Pa., two players on the first-team defense. Jack Moro of St. Cloud State leads Division II with 11 interceptions. Trelan Taylor of Chadron State is tied for second with eight picks.

Nick Driskill of Mount Union rounds out the secondary.

Taylor Accardi of Colorado Mines is the punter. He averages 51 yards per kick.

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

After losing three straight, the Capitals battled back in Game 6 on Monday. With their 3-0 win, Washington forced the Eastern Conference Final into a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here is how the Caps did it.

Braden Holtby matched Andrei Vasilevskiy save for save

Andrei Vasilevskiy was just as great in this game as he was in the three previous, but one of the major differences in this one was that Holtby was just as good. He may not have been tested as much (Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Holtby 24), but he was big when the team needed.

In the second period with the scored tied at 0, Holtby made one of the most critical saves perhaps of the entire season when he denied Anthony Cirelli with the toe on a 2-on-1. When the Caps took the lead, Holtby really shut the door in the third period with 10 saves to cap off what was his fifth career playoff shutout and first shutout of the entire season.

T.J. Oshie’s timely goal

Over halfway into the game, it looked like it was just going to be one of those nights. Caps fans know it well by now. Washington outplays their opponent, they get chance after chance and develop a whopping advantage in shots, but they run into a hot goalie and a random play suddenly turns into a goal for the other team, game and season over.

Vasilevskiy was on his way to having perhaps his best performance of the series. Considering how he played in the three games prior to Game 6, that’s saying something. The Caps were doing everything right, but he continued to make save after save. Then on the power play in the second period, John Carlson struck the inside of the post, the horn went off and the roar of the crowd gave way to dismay as the referee waved his arms to indicate there was no goal and play continued. Just seconds later, T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the 1-0 lead.

You have to wonder if doubt was starting to creep into the back of the minds of the players when that puck struck the post as they wondered what else they had to do to beat Vasilevskiy. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.

Special teams

Braydon Coburn’s tripping penalty in the second period gave Washington its only power play of the night and its first since the second period of Game 4. They had to make it count given how well Vasilveskiy was playing and they did.

Washington now has a power play goal in each of their three wins against the Lightning and no power play goals in their three losses. So yeah, it’s significant.

Tampa Bay had two opportunities of their own, but Washington managed to kill off both power plays in the penalty kill’s best performance of the series.

Washington’s physical game plan

On paper, the Lightning are better than the Caps in most categories. One area in which Washington has the edge, however, is physical play and it was clear very early that they intended to use that to their advantage in Game 6. Tampa Bay was pushed around and they seemed to struggle to recover.

Ovechkin was a one-man wrecking ball out there hitting everything that moved. The energy he brought with every hit was palpable and both the team and the crowd fed on it.

Washington was credited with 39 hits on the night compared to Tampa Bay’s 19. Ovechkin had four of those as did Nicklas Backstrom while Devante Smith-Pelly contributed five and Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six.

Fourth line dagger

Tampa Bay’s fourth line was the story of Game 5, but Washington’s fourth line sealed the deal on Monday with its third period goal.

Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, forcing Braydon Coburn to play the puck along the wall. Jay Beagle picked it up, fed back to Stephenson who backhanded a pass for the perfect setup for Devante Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in the regular season. He now has four in the playoffs.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

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.