Sports Digest: Sea Dogs settle for split after comeback win in opener


Ceddanne Rafaela and Tyreque Reed homered in the sixth inning as the Portland Sea Dogs rallied for a 4-3 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels in the first game of an Eastern League doubleheader Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.

In Game 2, Sean Roby hits a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the sixth, leading Richmond to a 3-2 win. Tyler Dearden doubled home both Portland runs in the fifth and Victor Santos (5-7) went the distance on the mound.

In the opener, Rafaela led off the sixth with his fifth home run in only 14 games for the Sea Dogs, cutting Portland’s deficit to 3-2. Reed then put the Sea Dogs ahead with his fourth home run, following a double by Pedro Castellanos. Rafaela also hit an RBI single in the third inning.

Sea Dogs starter Brian Van Belle (1-1) struck out seven over five innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Joan Martinez and Jake Thompson each pitched a scoreless inning.

and allowed only three hits in seven scoreless innings, leading the Sanford Mainers to a 3-1 victory over the North Shore Navigators at Goodall Park.

Adam Dapkewicz singled and eventually scored on an error in the first inning. Jake Rainess homered in the fourth, and Devan Bade drove in a run with a groundout in the eighth.


US CHAMPIONSHIPS: Isaiah Harris of Lewiston advanced to the semifinals in the 800 meters by winning his heat Thursday in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 1 minute, 47.10 seconds.

Harris will race again Friday, looking to earn one of eight spots in Sunday’s final.

Kate Hall of Casco finished fifth in the women’s long jump with a best jump of 21 feet, 4 3/4 inch.


EASTBOURNE: Serena Williams’ competitive preparation for Wimbledon will amount to two doubles matches. A right knee injury to Williams’ doubles partner, Ons Jabeur, led to them withdrawing from the grass-court event in Eastbourne, England, the WTA said.

They were scheduled to play Magda Linette and Aleksandra Krunic in the semifinals after winning two matches with Williams making her comeback after nearly a year away from tennis. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion has received a wild-card entry to play in the singles tournament at Wimbledon, which starts on Monday. Jabeur is ranked No. 3 in singles. There was no immediate news about the seriousness of her injury.

Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil advanced to the semifinals after her opponent, Lesia Tsurenko, withdrew because of a right elbow injury. Hadded Maia will be fresh when facing Petra Kvitova in the last four on Friday after Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, ended the hopes of British wild card Harriet Dart in a 6-3, 6-4 victory on center court.

The other semifinal match will be between defending champion Jelena Ostapenko and 12th-seeded Camila Giorgi, who also had straight-sets wins.

In the men’s event, British wild card Jack Draper reached his first ATP semifinals by beating compatriot Ryan Peniston 6-3, 6-3. Maxime Cressy of the United States ensured there would not be another all-British match in the semis but ousting home hope Cameron Norrie, the top-seeded player, 7-5, 7-5.

That left third-seeded Taylor Fritz as the highest-ranked player left in the draw and he became the second American to advance from the quarterfinals by beating Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-2. Fritz will next play defending champion Alex de Minaur, who defeated Tommy Paul 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

MALLORCA OPEN: Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev will remain without a title on grass this season after a straight-sets loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals in Palma, Spain.

Medvedev lost 6-3, 6-2 after entering the match with an 8-2 record on the surface for the year, with his coming losses in consecutive finals in Germany and the Netherlands. Medvedev, who will not play at Wimbledon because of the ban on Russians over the war in Ukraine, needed to come from behind to get past Aslan Karatsev in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas had cruised into the quarterfinals but needed three sets against American Marcos Giron to make it to the last four on Thursday. His 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3 victory came in more than 2½ hours. The sixth-ranked Greek, who leads the tour with 38 wins this season, will next face Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, who defeated Germany’s Daniel Altmaier 6-3, 6-4.


BAFFERT BAN: The New York Racing Association suspended trainer Bob Baffert for one year for repeated medication violations.

A panel credited Baffert for time served from an initial suspension that makes the two-time Triple Crown-winner eligible to saddle horses in New York again Jan. 26. The final decision marks the end of a protracted back and forth about Baffert’s status in the state that began in May 2021.

The ban is shorter than the two years Churchill Downs sidelined Baffert after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a substance that is not allowed on race day. Retired New York State Supreme Court Justice O. Peter Sherwood, who was serving as the NYRA hearing officer, previously recommended a two-year suspension.


SPAIN: An investment group led by former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who lost his job in baseball in the wake of a sign-stealing scandal, has bought Spanish soccer club Leganés.

“We will do all we can improve this club,” Luhnow said in Madrid after purchasing the second-division team for an undisclosed sum from prior owners Victoria Pavón and Felipe Moreno. Leganes is a modest club based in a neighborhood of southern Madrid. The team finished 12th in the 22-team second division last season.

Two years ago, Luhnow and Astros Manager AJ Hinch were suspended for one year by Major League Baseball after it was found that the team engineered a sign-stealing scheme using electronics during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season. They were both fired in January 2020.

Luhnow heads Blue Crow Sports, an investment group that he said includes investors from the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Canada. Earlier this month, Blue Crow Sports completed its acquisition of Mexican club Cancun FC.

The club earned promotion to the first division for the first time in 2016. It spent four seasons competing with the top teams in Spain before being relegated. Its greatest achievement came in 2017-18 when it beat Real Madrid on its way to reaching the semifinals of the Copa del Rey.

WORLD CUP: FIFA approved bigger 26-man squads for the World Cup in Qatar, deciding to extend soccer’s relaxation of rules that help coaches and players during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move was expected from the FIFA Bureau – comprising the presidents of FIFA and soccer’s six confederations – after 23-player rosters were expanded for recent continental championships. Adding three players to the typical World Cup roster follows UEFA doing the same for the European Championship last year.

MARADONA: An Argentinian judge ruled on Wednesday that eight medical personnel involved in the care of soccer star Diego Maradona will face a public trial for criminal negligence.

Brain surgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov are among those who will stand trial for homicide, the judge ruled. The trial is not expected to begin until the end of 2023 or early 2024. The defendants are accused of failing to take proper care of Maradona when he was recovering from surgery, which led to his death.

Maradona died at the age of 60 on Nov. 25, 2020 due to a cardio-respiratory arrest while he was recovering at a house outside Buenos Aires from surgery for a blood clot on his brain. A few days after his death, Argentine prosecutors began an investigation into the doctors and nurses involved in his care.


NATIONS LEAGUE: Players on the German national volleyball team refused to face China rivals a few days after some of their opponents tested positive for COVID-19, costing the team a forfeit loss.

The men’s Volleyball Nations League game in Quezon City, Philippines, was canceled “even though the Chinese athletes were cleared by local authorities after testing positive,” the International Volleyball Federation said in a statement.

China was awarded a 3-0 victory in Quezon City. The German volleyball federation said 21 members of the Chinese delegation had tested positive on Saturday. It requested follow-up PCR tests on the Chinese players before agreeing to play but organizers deferred to local health regulations, the federation said.

On Wednesday, China forfeited its game against France because of the virus cases. China is scheduled to play Argentina on Friday as games continue in the Philippines through Sunday.

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