www.charlestondailymail.com Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers South Charleston girls hoops team shows promise in Shootout http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639907 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639907 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:39:04 -0400 By Derek Taylor CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After spending much of the 2014-15 girls basketball season ranked as Class AAA's No. 3 team, South Charleston looks like it could enter the coming season with the potential to grab one of the state tournament's coveted top two seeds.

Rising junior point guard Aaliyah Dunham had 10 points and five assists Tuesday as the Black Eagles downed perennial power Parkersburg South 42-37 during the first day of the St. Albans Shootout at Tex Williams Gymnasium in St. Albans.

"They're the (state) runner-up, and we only had six players, so that puts us in a good position," Dunham said of what the offseason game could mean to the Black Eagles when the regular season begins in December.

"I know that wasn't their team that they can come up with in the season, but we should be right there too," Dunham said.

The Patriots were without second team All-State power forward Anna Hayton, who like South All-State point guard Taryn McCutcheon is a rising senior. South spent the majority of the game with its star player filling the role of a shooting guard while various others took turns handling the point. McCutcheon scored South's first two points but did not take a shot the rest of the game, as coach Scott Stephens seemed content to experiment with his lineup to find reliable support for the Michigan State-bound McCutcheon.

"I like playing against her. She makes me work," Dunham said of McCutcheon, who won the Mary Ostrowski Award in 2015 as the state's top girls basketball player.

"She makes me work on defense, too. She's so good it makes me better, so it's a good battle," said Dunham, who also was a second-team All-State pick last season.

South and two-time defending state champion Morgantown occupied the top two spots in the Associated Press Class AAA poll for much of last season, and entered the state tournament as the top two seeded teams. Such seeding is important for teams at states, as the top two seeds for Class AAA play on Wednesday each year and thereby are given a day of rest before playing in the semifinals should they advance.

SC coach Gary Greene said that the Black Eagles might not be ready to win a state title, but that the program is taking every possible step it can this summer to move up the ladder and better position itself for run at the championship.

South beat SC 64-41 in the state tournament semifinals last March.

"We intentionally got into every shootout we could here locally," Greene said. "By the time we finish (Wednesday) we'll have played 17 games as a team, playing the style of ball we think we want to play. Our defense has improved tremendously in the half court as far as man to man.

"Last year, we would lose people everywhere at critical times, so we're trying to improve that. But I think the maturity level is better with another year, we had a freshman, Lavender Ward, that came in and she's been tremendous coming off the bench, and all of them have grown up a lot. I think they're more zeroed in on what they know they have to do," Greene said.

Greene said that while SC dressed just six players Tuesday, two more were with the Upward Bound program and couldn't play in the first day of the shootout, while another starter from a year ago has been absent from workouts.

"If we go into the season with these six kids plus the two at Upward Bound as a nucleus to the team when it comes time to start playing games and such, we'll be fine," Greene said. "I know it's summer and shootouts and stuff, but looking at the new kids and how they're jelling with the other kids and the improved maturity level, I'm more than satisfied with where we're at."

The St. Albans Shootout continues Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. with games at St. Albans High School, McKinley Middle School and the Active Sports Complex in St. Albans.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsreallyDT.

Mike Casazza: WVU's first opponent makes preparation a challenge http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639909 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639909 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:23:35 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The scariest movies of the summer don't involve dinosaurs, a poltergeist, zombies or a terminator. They're not even from 2015, but they're sinister, insidious and as spooky as a trip to the gallows.

More than two months before the start of the season, West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has started screening copies of last season's Georgia Southern games to prepare the Mountaineers for the football season opener.

Gibson, by the way, is on vacation, but visions of the Eagles doing their thing with a dynamic running game will ruin a day quicker than the sight of red flags flying at the beach.

"It's not fun to watch," Gibson said.

Consider this: Last season, WVU opened the season in Atlanta against No. 2 Alabama. At this point of that offseason, Gibson hadn't started readying for the Crimson Tide like he is now for the second-year Football Bowl Subdivision program.

"We were watching, but not really explaining things and talking to the kids this much about it," Gibson said. "But you have to with this kind of attack."

Georgia Southern is an offensive force, but it once was an annual powerhouse in the Football Championship Subdivision, a national titlist in 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999 and 2000, a proving ground for coaches like Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson and Army's Jeff Monken.

A year ago, the Eagles jumped up to the FBS and won the Sun Belt. They finished 9-3 and won all of their eight conference games by an average of 18.3 points.

They also averaged 379.92 rushing yards per game, easily the highest national average this century. That has Gibson's attention. The fact the dual-threat quarterback and the team's top two rushers return next season after combining for 3,284 yards and 41 touchdowns last season has Gibson's attention.

But what worries him most is not who the Eagles have or what they do, but rather how they do it. They have a triple option offense, but it call it that limits their skill and scare. Georgia Southern is a mix of different option ideas and varying formations with zone blocking.

"They're in the shotgun. They're going to run split-zone, lead option, load option," Gibson said. "They throw the ball, too. They do a little bit of everything. It's to the point right now where if we're going to play them, I'd rather play them first. I definitely don't want to play them in game two, three or four."

On principle alone, the Eagles will be a challenge. Two years ago, they beat Florida in The Swamp. Last season, they lost by a point to North Carolina State and by four against Georgia Tech. Those two won eight and 11 games, respectively, but on the road Georgia Southern hung up 438 and 528 yards of offense - and only 55 percent of that was on the ground, proving the offense's true capability.

Gibson has been on this since the spring. He has spoken to coaches he knows on staffs that have faced Georgia Southern. He has stockpiled film and tried hard to spotlight games that make sense. The Eagles are unusual, and Gibson furrows his brow when he sees a formation that's not normally associated with an option play or when a running back slices through the middle of a defense that's following a fake and flowing toward the sideline.

His focus, though, is often on the defense. His 3-3-5 isn't ordinary either, and that may give him some advantages in the game as Georgia Southern tries to find ways to block the line and account for the linebackers and the safeties and how they never seem to line up in the same place. But how can Gibson be so sure what reactions to expect when he's not seeing the Eagles face many, or any, defenses like his?

So he has spent most of his time watching the games against teams that used three defensive linemen and teams that might give the Mountaineers clues, if not mixed reviews.

Georgia Southern destroyed Georgia State 69-31 and ran for 613 yards and 10 touchdowns and averaged 9.73 yard per carry. The Eagles beat Appalachian State, which was also new to the FBS, 34-14 and had 408 yards rushing and 6.8 yards per carry. Things were trickier in the final two games of the season. The Eagles lost 52-19 to Navy and ran for 375 yards and 7.98 per carry. They beat Louisiana Monroe but totaled 333 yards rushing and averaged 5.64 per carry.

"Our problem is we don't see anybody who does anything similar at all," Gibson said. "There's really nothing to compare, unless you want to pull out the Wofford film from 10 years ago, but then you look at that and we're not the same. They're different. It's a double-wing look, so you try to get maybe Navy film or you try to get Army film, but it's not the same."

United States tops Germany, advances to Women's World Cup final http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/ARTICLE/150639910 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/ARTICLE/150639910 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:21:08 -0400


MONTREAL - Carli Lloyd buried a penalty kick, Hope Solo got another shutout and the United States beat top-ranked Germany 2-0 on Tuesday night to advance to the title match at the Women's World Cup.

Lloyd's penalty kick in the 69th minute went into the right side of the goal less than 10 minutes after Celia Sasic shot wide on a penalty kick for Germany.

"Just slotted it home. I knew what I had to do," Lloyd said.

Solo has posted five straight shutouts for the United States in the tournament. Kelley O'Hara came in off the bench and scored in the 85th minute, delighting the pro-American crowd.

The second-ranked United States will play the winner of Wednesday night's match in Edmonton between defending champion Japan, ranked No. 4, and sixth-ranked England. The final is set for Sunday at Vancouver's BC Place.

"It's a dream come true," Lloyd said. "This is what we trained for."

It was the fourth World Cup meeting between Germany and the U.S. In each of the first three games, the winner went on to win the title.

The marquee matchup led to lines of fans waiting to get in about three hours before the game. The line for the main souvenir stand snaked up a half-dozen ramps to the building's third level at one point.

The stadium built for the 1976 Olympics, where the East German men won the gold medal, was filled nearly to its blue fabric roof, mostly with fans cheering for the United States. The crowd was announced at 51,176.

Previous games in Montreal had the stadium less than half full, with the upper bowl completely empty.

The United States had several good chances from the start. Julie Johnston missed on a header off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan's breakaway in the 15th minute was stopped by goaltender Nadine Angerer.

There was a scary moment in the first half when Germany's Alexandra Popp and American midfielder Morgan Brian collided in front of the U.S. goal following a free kick from about 25 yards out.

Television cameras caught blood in Popp's hair, and Brian was prone on the field for several minutes. Both players returned to the match.

After a scoreless first half, Lloyd had a header bounce inches wide to open the second.

Sasic's penalty kick came after Johnston fouled Popp in the box. Sasic fooled Solo, who went right, but her kick went wide left, prompting a roar from the crowd.

Sasic went into the match as the tournament's high scorer with six goals.

Shortly thereafter, Annike Krahn got a yellow card for fouling Morgan in the box, but replays showed it occurred just outside. Lloyd's penalty kick was her third goal in three matches.

O'Hara scored on Lloyd's left-footed cross.

The United States tweaked its formation for the match. Morgan started up top, with Lloyd as an attacking midfielder with Rapinoe and Tobin Heath on the wings.

The U.S. had success in its quarterfinal against China when it had Lloyd roaming up top and Brian back as a holding midfielder. Lloyd scored the lone goal in the 1-0 victory.

The United States improved to 3-1 against Germany in World Cup matches and 19-4-7 overall.

The United States has won two World Cup titles, but none since 1999. The Americans have appeared in the semifinals of all seven of the women's tournaments.

Germany has also won the title twice, in consecutive tournaments in 2003 and '07.

This tournament has played out with FIFA embroiled in scandal.

Earlier Tuesday, FIFA confirmed that President Sepp Blatter would skip the World Cup final, as U.S. officials pursue a criminal investigation into the game's ruling body.

Blatter's second-in-command, secretary general Jerome Valcke, also will be absent from the biggest event in women's soccer "due to their current commitments in Zurich," FIFA said in a statement Tuesday.

Oosthuizen tries to regain magic from Chambers Bay at Greenbrier http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639911 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639911 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:18:08 -0400 By Rich Stevens


WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Consistency is what every PGA Tour golfer craves, and two weeks after tying a U.S. Open record for a nine-hole score (29) and 54-hole score (199), South African Louis Oosthuizen appears to still be searching for his.

When Oosthuizen tees off at 8 a.m. Thursday from the No. 10 tee at the Old White TPC, he'll try to regain the magic that saw him record five consecutive birdies on the final nine at Chambers Bay and finished tied for second. Of course, Oosthuizen shot a 77 in the first round that put him in too deep a hole.

Last week at the Travelers Championship, Oosthuizen missed the cut with back-to-back 71s.

"I just couldn't get going," said Oosthuizen, who tied for 17th at the 2013 Classic with four sub-70 rounds and a 7-under 273 total. "Once I hit a good shot it was followed up by a poor one. I missed the fairway and things like that. The whole week I felt a little sort of lazy, tired."

In his last nine events, Oosthuizen has missed two cuts and withdrew from the Colonial.

Still, he has earned $2,043,652 in 13 events this season, marking just the third time he has made more than $1 million in a season. He reached $3,460,995 in 2012 when he competed in 19 tournaments - the most of his career.

"I feel the game is still there and I'm mentally still on that high note," Oosthuizen said. "I hope for a good week this week."


LEE TREVINO will do some teaching at the Greenbrier, spending 70 days of the summer at the Greenbrier County resort.

He revealed some of the secrets to his style of teaching on Tuesday at the Greenbrier Classic.

"I'm a tweaker," he said. "I don't tear down a golf swing and I don't teach golf swings. Who would want to learn a golf swing from me? I look like a pretzel maker. But, I get results."

Trevino is joined by instructors Scott Hall and Billy Winters at the Greenbrier.

He also lives in a house "and free food" provided him by resort owner Jim Justice and stays on site with his wife Claudia and their two dogs, a French bulldog and a Papillon.

The 76-year-old Trevino - the 2013 recipient of the PGA Distinguished Service Award - also has four children, including 22-year-old son Daniel, who graduated this year from the University of Southern California.


TREVINO WILL serve as caddy for Shaquille O'Neal at Wednesday's Pro-Am in a group that will include Jim Justice and his son, Jay.

"Mr. Justice wanted me to play with he and Shaq in the Pro-Am and I refused," Trevino said. "I can't reach the par 3s and I can't play the back tees. He said, 'No, you can go up to the front.' I said, 'No, I don't want to go up there (to the women's tees). Some guy will say something to me about playing off the ladies' tees and I'm going to have to jump those ropes.

"We can avoid all that stuff, so I'm going to caddie. I'm going to find out what kind of tipper Shaq is."


ANGEL CABRERA will look to become the first player in the history of the Greenbrier Classic to repeat as champion.

Cabrera's victory at the Old White TPC last year was his third PGA Tour title and the first that wasn't a major. He won the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters and was the first Greenbrier champion who had won a major.


STATE AMATEUR champion Sam O'Dell is in the last group to tee off on Thursday, joining Tom Hoge of Fargo, N.D., and Oscar Fraustro from Mexico for a 2 p.m. tee time off No. 10.

David Bradshaw of Bakerton is in a group with Jonathan Randolph of Brandon, Miss., and Mark Hubbard of Denver. They'll precede O'Dell's group, also on No. 10.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.

Reed ready to rebound at Greenbrier Classic http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639912 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639912 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:17:45 -0400 By Rich Stevens


WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Getting one's photo on the walls of the Greenbrier Classic media center isn't the goal of PGA Tour players, but there is certain significance to the eight that hang in the section of the tennis building that is cordoned off for media covering the event.

The five champions - Stuart Appleby (2010), Scott Stallings (2011), Ted Potter Jr. (2012), Jonas Blixt (2013) and Angel Cabrera (2014) - have photos on the wall of the interview room.

The hospitality room has three photos: Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters champion who owns a house on the Greenbrier resort property; Tiger Woods, a 14-time major champion; and ... Patrick Reed.

The San Antonio, Texas, native can't boast a major win, but he is one of only five players that has earned four PGA Tour victories before the age of 25.

He already has claimed to be a top-five player in the world, but remains reserved in most interviews.

"He's already proven how good he is going to be," Greenbrier resort golf pro emeritus Lee Trevino said. "He won three tournaments there right off the bat."

Reed's most recent title was at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January, but he's seventh in FedEx Cup points and 15th in the World Golf Rankings thanks to making the cut in 14 of 16 events since. He was second in the Valspar Championship, losing in a playoff to Jordan Spieth.

"I feel like my game is in the right place," said Reed, who has won $2,761,126 in 17 made cuts this season. "I feel like I'm rolling the ball well and feel like I'm hitting the ball solid. I need to have everything click at the same time.

"Seems like this year, so far, one thing has been off here or there, which has caused me to have top 25s that should have been top 10s and top 10s that should've had a little bit more chance to win coming down the stretch."

He'll go for his fifth PGA Tour win beginning at 1:10 p.m. Thursday when he tees off with Keegan Bradley and defending champion Angel Cabrera when the Greenbrier Classic begins on the Old White TPC.

Just three years ago Reed, who helped Augusta State win back-to-back NCAA championships (2010-11), was attempting to qualify for his fifth PGA Tour event via the Monday route at the Resort at Glade Springs.

He missed the Greenbrier that year, but qualified six times via Mondays that year.

Boundless confidence, a superb short game and the ability to keep controversy outside the ropes has put the 24-year-old on the fast track to superstardom.

"People seem to criticize the part that he's a little on the mean side," Trevino said. "But, I like that. You got to be a little on the mean side. I thought (Ben) Crenshaw would've been a hell of a player if he would've been a little meaner."

Reed doesn't turn 25 until August 5, giving him the Greenbrier Classic (Thur-Sat), John Deere Classic (July 9-12), The Open Championship (July 16-19) and Canadian Open (July 30-Aug. 2) to win his fifth.

Spieth was 20 years, 13 days when he won the 2013 John Deere Classic; Tiger Woods was 20 years, nine months and nine days old when he won the 1996 Canadian Open; Sergio Garcia was 20 years, four months, 11 days old when he won the 2001 Colonial and Rory McIlroy was two days from turning 21 when he won the 2010 Quail Hollow.

Spieth and McIlroy have avoided the off-the-course issues, Woods' personal life has been well-documented and Garcia and Woods were involved in a much-publicized feud in the late 1990s.

As for Reed, his transgressions have also failed to avoid the glaring spotlight of the media, including rumored cheating in college, a gay slur that could be heard on the broadcast of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and his wife reportedly having Reed's parents removed from the 2014 U.S. Open.

"The main thing for me is whatever gets written or said, at the end of the day, that doesn't matter as much as just focusing on what I need to do, which is to play golf," he said. "If I'm playing well, that will take care of everything else. For us, it's still a job."

For the time being, Reed has plenty of confidence in his job.

That could lead to a championship week at the Old White TPC, where he tied for 26th last year, but missed the cut in 2012.

Then he can get his photo moved to the room next door.

"I feel like the course fits my eye," he said. "I just feel like I need to go out there and stick to my game plan and hopefully hit the ball solid and roll some putts in."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.

Kentucky's Newcomb hopes to seize Classic opportunity http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639914 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639914 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:14:04 -0400 By Rich Stevens WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Golf doesn't necessarily consume the life of Murray State University graduate Patrick Newcomb, but one of his favorite movies is Tin Cup.

And, his Twitter handle is @threewiggle99 - which originates from a line in the 1996 motion picture. The 99 was added because @threewiggle was taken.

And, he went to South Africa just for the opportunity to play within two years after earning his advertising degree.

Newcomb will compete in the second PGA Tour event of his career this week when the sixth Greenbrier Classic unfolds on Thursday at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs.

The 25-year-old was one of four players to fill the Classic field from the Monday qualifier at the Resort at Glade Springs, shooting a 65.

The first time he qualified through a Monday - for the 2014 McGladrey Classic - he birdied six of the final eight holes, including the playoff.

The two-time Kentucky State Amateur champion has spent the last week working to perfect the renovation of his putting, which was "completely broken down and rebuilt," he said.

"I broke it down and changed all of my fundamentals ... everything I learned. That's been a big difference. I had 10 good looks (on Monday), 10 makeable putts."

He had six birdies and 12 pars on Monday and officially hit 17 greens. He putted the ball the only time he didn't hit a green in regulation, saying, "If I have the putter in my hand, then I consider it hitting the green.

"(That was) a special day to hit 18 greens," he said. "When I miss greens, the putter has been leaving me. I would hit 15 greens and be like, 'What are you doing out here?'

"The last six days, and in this game six days can be a lifetime, it's the first time I've had a whole lot of confidence stepping overy putt."

Newcomb had a busy Summer Swing in South Africa, playing in Sunshine Tour qualifying school on Jan. 20 and following with 10 events through June 5. He earned $2,500 at Q school and another $35,790 in three made cuts between April 9 and April 30.

He hopes to pocket some this week at the Old White TPC. Newcomb tees off at 1:40 p.m. on Thursday with New Zealand's Steven Alker, who has earned $67,973.72 in June alone by finishing tied for 22nd at the St. Jude Classic and tied for 60 at the Travelers; and Chile's Benjamin Alvarado, who missed the cut in his previous two events - the Byron Nelson and the St. Jude Classic.

Newcomb, who turned pro last year, is a two-time Kentucky Golf Association Player of the Year, winning the award in 2011 and 2012.

"This game has turned into such a ball-striking game," he said. "You have to hole putts to shoot low, but it's more about giving yourself as many looks as you can. It's not about getting it close.

"You're going to have days where you hit it close all day, but generally it's about giving yourself a bunch of looks."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail

Greenbrier County reaps economic benefits of Greenbrier Classic http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM01/150709988 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150630/DM01/150709988 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:35:39 -0400 By Marcus Constantino


As the sixth edition of The Greenbrier Classic gets underway, Lewisburg businesses are getting ready for both newcomers and annual "regulars" who are coming back to their favorite shops and restaurants.

Crowds will gather en masse today for the Pro-Am, a star-studded event that will feature celebrities like former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and "Duck Dynasty" star Jase Robertson, as well as TOUR golfers including Tiger Woods, whose only other Greenbrier Classic appearance was in 2012.

But Lewisburg businesses have already been in high gear this week hosting golfers, their families and the thousands of volunteers and members of the media that come to town early for the event.

Melissa Barrow and her daughter, Katie, both of Texas, were out shopping in Lewisburg on Tuesday afternoon as the professional golfers put in time at the driving range and practice green at The Greenbrier. Melissa's husband is a producer for the CBS Sports broadcast, so they travel occasionally to PGA TOUR events. The Greenbrier Classic, they say, is one of their favorites because of the small-town atmosphere in the Lewisburg area.

"It has a family feel to it," Katie Barrow said. "I know a lot of people that are here with the TOUR. You notice a lot of them brought their families, their wives and children, so that makes it stand out from other tournaments because it's such a family-friendly environment."

"There's a lot of things for everybody to do during the week," Melissa Barrow added.

Sandy Carter, owner of The Bakery on Court Street, was hard at work with his wife and daughter Tuesday morning preparing lunch for crew members from CBS Sports, which is televising the third and final rounds of the golf tournament live on Saturday and Sunday. Carter said he's baked seven dozen bagels and prepared lunches for the CBS Sports crew each day of the tournament for the past four years.

Carter said the crew members enjoyed the bagels so much, he was asked to ship a dozen bagels to CBS' headquarters in New York. Producers from The Cooking Channel's "Chuck's Eat The Street" show learned of his delectable bagels and featured his shop on the show in September 2014, which thrust his business into the national spotlight.

"We had people from all over come in because of it," Carter said. "CBS has helped put us and Lewisburg on the map."

Carter said he and other Lewisburg shops regularly see professional golfers and their families come through during the week along with the regular crush of tourists. He also sees a steady steam of what he calls "golf widows" - the wives and children of men who are watching the tournament.

Carter prefers to call them "guests," because the hope is that the visitors will want to come back to Lewisburg.

"Lewisburg itself, year after year, is getting more exposure, more traffic," Carter said. "There's a lot of neat towns in America, but Lewisburg, in my opinion, is unique among all those little towns. I have people tell me they walk around town and they feel like they're for a short time a part of it. They're not treated as outsiders or tourists."

Kara Dense, executive director of the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said hotels as far away as Beckley and Lexington, Va., have been booked solid for the tournament, and many rooms are booked as early as a year in advance. The tournament gives businesses the opportunity to leave a lasting first impression on visitors, but it also thrusts Lewisburg into the national spotlight as television crews from The Golf Channel and CBS Sports cover the tournament closely all week.

Though Dense didn't have exact numbers for how much of an economic impact The Greenbrier Classic makes for Greenbrier and surrounding counties, she said it's a big part of Greenbrier County's $247 million tourism industry.

"It's giving us exposure and public relations we couldn't afford to buy," Dense said. "When you get four days on The Golf Channel and CBS, and the course, when you watch it on TV, it looks amazing. And the announcers talk about how beautiful the people are and how beautiful (Greenbrier County) is."

Carter admits Lewisburg has come a long way from when The Greenbrier nearly went out of business in 2009, and Jim Justice purchased it and saved it from bankruptcy. Between the Greenbrier Classic, the New Orleans Saints' summer camp and the State Fair of West Virginia, Carter said Lewisburg is bustling on any given summer day.

"You gotta hand it to Jim Justice," Carter said. "Everything he's done to keep The Greenbrier going, to keep it local, to do everything it's doing. He's putting energy in it and advertising into it, and he's out there day after day after day tooting West Virginia's horn, so to speak."

Contact writer Marcus Constantino at 304-348-1796 or marcus.c@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/amtino.

Power's Suchy gains momentum at the plate http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629106 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629106 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:55:41 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia Power outfielder Michael Suchy is taking the mission of the minor leagues, developing as a player, to heart.

Entering Monday night's series finale against the Greenboro Grasshoppers, the 22-year-old former Florida Gulf Coast University star was batting 100 points better in June than he was in May. It has plenty to do with clear, positive thinking, plus a little about his body.

The combination had Suchy batting .345 for June. He didn't drive in a run Monday, but the Power still pulled off a rain-shortened 3-2 win against Greensboro. That victory gave West Virginia (42-32, 5-0 second half) five straight and its first five game series sweep since 2011.

Jordan Luplow's two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth broke a 1-1 tie and gave West Virginia the lead for good. Greensboro (29-45, 0-5 second half) got a run back in the sixth, but the skies opened during the seventh-inning stretch and the game was called.

That home run was Luplow's fourth of the season. Jose Regalado (2-3) picked up the win with three innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts and no walks.

Suchy went 1 for 2 with a walk, pushing his season batting average to .269.

"I think I've been seeing the ball about the same," Suchy said. "I think it really comes down to our strength staff and our mental conditioning staff. They help us take those lumps and not feel down on yourself. And when I'm feeling tired, they get my body feeling right."

Suchy took plenty of lumps at the plate to start his stint with the Power. He finished April batting just .222, and Power manager Brian Esposito could tell he was struggling with the ups and downs of each at-bat, wearing the results of each one heavily.

It's hard to compete when you're hanging your hat on the result of each individual at-bat, Esposito said, but Suchy has been able to get past that and approach every plate appearance with a clear perspective.

"You should obviously be happy with every hit you get and be mad when you get out when you feel you shouldn't," Suchy said. "But know how to use it. I think I've let some at-bats get to me, and that's something I've had to work on.

"That's what I've been trying to do lately," he continued, "not let those outs, those hard-contact outs or strikeouts get to me and get ready for the next one."

Suchy then tried to simplify his hitting approach. He began his inaugural South Atlantic League season trying to become a jack-of-all-trades at the plate. The early returns proved simpler was better.

"It's knowing what pitch he wants to drive, what location and where," Esposito said. "He's seeking that pitch and, once he gets it, he doesn't miss it. Earlier this year, coming out of spring training, he was trying to cover so much of the strike zone - balls up and away, balls down and away, breaking balls. That's hard to do. So he really just made it simple."

That keener eye helped in his first at-bat Monday night, drawing a first-inning walk, his fifth of the series. He added a single in bottom of the sixth. Against the Grasshoppers this series, Suchy went 7 for 13 with two doubles and three RBI.

Suchy combined his improved mental approach with a slight modification in his stance, putting his weight more on his back side.

"In the box, all it really comes down to is being comfortable," Suchy said. "So all I've been trying to do in the last couple of months is make myself as comfortable as possible and let my body take over."

Suchy will try to keep his hot streak going at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, when the Power starts a four-game series at Kannapolis. Esposito wasn't surprised with Suchy's jump in production. All he needed, the manager said, was some time.

"It's just experiencing what he needs to experience and that's what development is all about," Esposito said. "You can talk about what you want to do, you can put it down on paper, but you have to experience it first."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

Former WVU running back Garrison headed to Fresno State http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629107 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629107 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:54:21 -0400

from staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Former West Virginia University running back Dustin Garrison is transferring to Fresno State, the player announced on his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

The 5-foot-9, 181-pounder from Pearland, Texas played four seasons with the Mountaineers, rushing for 1,060 yards on 206 carries in his career. He scored eight touchdowns, six of which came as a true freshman in 2011. He rushed for 742 yards as a rookie, but never re-established himself after a left knee injury prior to the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2011 season.

Last season, Garrison rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries. He hadn't scored a touchdown since 2012.

Garrison, who announced his intention to transfer on Feb. 24, is eligible immediately.

Marshall football lands pair of offensive linemen commits http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629108 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629108 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:51:52 -0400


CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Marshall football team picked up verbal commitments Monday from a pair of offensive linemen. The first came from Lowndes (Ga.) High lineman Tarik Adams and the second came from Madison Central (Ky.) High's Will Ulmer.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Adams is rated two stars by Rivals and 247Sports. He held offers from several Conference USA schools, Army, Navy, Air Force and Cincinnati. Ulmer, at 6-5 and 285 pounds, is rated two stars by Rivals and Scout. Marshall now has 11 verbal commitments, including seven in the last four days.

Verbal commitments are non-binding. Football players can sign their letters of intent starting Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.

Bradshaw earns elusive Greenbrier Classic spot http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629109 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629109 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:32:16 -0400 By Rich Stevens

More Greenbrier Classic coverage and live updates here

DANIELS, W.Va. - Former Shepherd University golfer David Bradshaw wiped away six years of frustration in 23 holes on Monday at the Resort at Glade Springs.

The 32-year-old member of PGA Tour Canada had a bogey on the fifth playoff hole in the Greenbrier Classic Open Qualifier on the par 71, 6,987-yard track to secure the final spot for this week's Classic at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs. The four-round tournament begins Thursday and concludes Sunday.

Bradshaw joins medalist Garland Green of Tazewell, Va. (7-under 65), Patrick Newcomb of Benton, Ky. (6-under 65) and Garrett Osborn of Birmingham, Ala. (5-under 66) - the first one to advance through the playoff with a birdie on the fourth playoff hole.

"Finally," said Bradshaw, who played in all but one of the Classic's open qualifiers, missing last year because the dates overlapped with the big-money Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational in Pittsburgh. "I know I have a lot of local support here. A lot of people wanted me in this golf tournament, so I'm fired up. And, it's official."

In the first Classic Open Qualifier in 2010, Bradshaw made a playoff but was eliminated on the first hole (No. 10). In 2011, he lost in a playoff, despite being 5-under when rain suspended play in regulation. In 2013, he shot a 69, four strokes away from even securing a spot in a playoff.

Bradshaw was in the fourth group to begin Monday and his 66 was the low round when he signed his scorecard. By the time the 66-player field had completed 18 holes, there were two qualifiers and three players - Bradshaw, Osborn, and Milwaukee's Mike Van Sickle, who has a blog titled "Diary of a Monday Qualifier" - competing for two spots.

In the first five Monday qualifiers, only three times did a player shoot higher than 66 to earn one of the four positions: Alex Hamilton (68) and David Morland (69) in 2010 and Andre Stolz (67) in 2011.

Bradshaw immediately squandered an opportunity to get his much-desired spot in the Classic, but missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the par 4 No. 10 - the first playoff hole.

"I made a good putt, I just expected it to break right and it didn't," he said. "I hit a good putt, it didn't go right, and that was that. Oh well, on to the next one."

He had to scramble on the third playoff hole (No. 18), he hit his second shot into a bunker. Needing to get over a second bunker to reach the green, he didn't quite make it. Bradshaw got up and down to save par.

Van Sickle then missed a 4-foot putt that would have made him the 155th player 156-player Classic field.

"I got so hosed in that first bunker ... my ball was against a rock," Bradshaw said. "I had no shot. I didn't hit a very good bunker shot after that, because I was a little fired up. Made the putt."

On to the fourth playoff hole where Osborn hit his second shot 3 feet short of the hole and tapped for birdie. As Osborn left the course to prepare for the Greenbrier Classic, Bradshaw and Van Sickle continued toward No. 17 for the third time on Monday.

"I knew he was going to make it, so I just thought, OK, now it's two (players) for one (spot)," Bradshaw said. "Then, I had to beat Mike. I felt bad for him. That putt on 18 ... he should've made that."

Van Sickle overshot the green and left his ball in the fringe 40 feet from the hole, while Bradshaw used a 7-iron to come within 6 feet. Van Sickle hit twice and was staring at a putt for bogey. Realizing a two-putt for par was all he needed, Bradshaw lagged his first to within 5 inches and tapped in his second.

In claiming the last spot on Monday, Bradshaw is the 24th competitor from Glade Springs' Monday qualifier to reach the Greenbrier Classic. There have been no players repeat the feat on the Cobb Course.

This will be the fifth time Bradshaw has played in a PGA Tour event. He missed the cut at the Honda Classic and Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2011, the Tampa Bay Championship in 2013 and again at the Zurich Classic in 2014.

"I've been hitting the ball good all year, my putter's just been really rough," Bradshaw said. "(Monday), it saved me."

Charleston's Swanson Smith shot a 67, missing the playoff by one stroke; Also from Charleston, Christian Brand, who plays on the Web.com Tour, shot a 69; former Marshall University player Nathan Kerns shot a 71; Parkersburg's Ken Hess shot a 74; and Kermit's Davey Jude shot a 77.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.

Derek Redd: Conferences should get creative with title games http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629111 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629111 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:06:10 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Run a college football conference? Trying to decide a champion? The options soon will be as plentiful as the space in your imagination.

The constraints major college football used to have - a two-division format and a 12-team minimum - are about to disappear. At least that's what Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is predicting.

Bowlsby also is the chairman of the NCAA's football oversight committee, and he told ESPN.com that, when the matter of conference championship deregulation hits the desk of the NCAA Council, he expects that group to stamp its approval.

"We haven't encountered any resistance to it at all," Bowlsby told the website. "It's really deregulation, is allowing conferences to do what they want to determine their champion. In the end, I expect that it will be approved."

That would allow Bowlsby's Big 12 to create a conference title game if it so chooses. Some believe a championship game could have helped a Big 12 team climb into the College Football Playoff. The conference's co-champs, Baylor and TCU, just missed last year's four-team tournament.

But if the handcuffs truly are off of conference title games, why not let those conferences completely unshackle their creativity? And if they're looking for some ideas, here are a few ...

* SEC - Instead of a title game, the SEC crown would be decided via popular vote, tallied through the calls taken from each team's fans on Paul Finebaum's radio show. Print enough Auburn/Alabama co-champion T-shirts to last the next 50 years.

* Big Ten - Rather than a conventional football game, put the two division champs on the field and hang the conference championship trophy above the 50-yard line. Put a ladder on the field. Have each team try to scale the ladder and retrieve the trophy. That Big Ten champion now can challenge the CFP champion for that national crown at any point in the next calendar year. Pray that WWE impresario Vince McMahon doesn't notice and sue for copyright infringement.

* ACC - Fly to Tallahassee, Fla. Let Florida State pick a conference team out of a hat. There's your title game.

* Pac-12 - Why is everyone so hung up on naming someone "champion?" Why do we have to be so into labels, man? If we have to, why not decide a champion like the Big Sky did in 1975? Oh, you don't know about that? It's, like, really obscure. I'm sure you've never heard of it. Totally awesome, though.

* Mid-American Conference - Draw straws.

* American Athletic Conference - Rock-paper-scissors.

* Sun Belt - Mascot potato sack races.

* Mountain West - Just hand it to Boise State.

* Conference USA - After division champions are crowned, the conference would decide which team hosts the game through a complicated, semi-secret mathematical formula that may or may not change during the calculation process.

(Oh, wait ... they already did that.)

* Big 12 - Hold off on announcing a conference title game until the end the regular season. If the CFP rankings show that the Big 12 needs a title game, play one. If it shows the Big 12 champ is comfortably in the playoffs, don't bother. If, during the championship game, it's learned that the Big 12 champion would make the playoffs, regardless of the outcome, both teams would immediately halt play, slowly walk off the field and pretend as if the last couple of hours never happened.

Off-beat? Maybe, but it's either these or leave the door open for another Wake Forest-Georgia Tech ACC title game.

And, suddenly, a mascot potato sack race becomes that much more attractive.

St. Albans Shootout brings in tops teams in the state http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629112 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629112 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:04:33 -0400 By Derek Taylor CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There will be no shortage of talent and competition at the 2015 St. Albans Summer Shootout.

Of the 33 schools that will send at least one girls basketball team to the two-day event that begins Tuesday and sees 100 games played at five different gyms in St. Albans, 11 qualified for the 2015 state tournaments at the Charleston Civic Center.

"We've got a lot of good teams coming in this year. A lot of the better teams from across the state don't play until the afternoon or Wednesday since they need to travel to get here, but we've got several blocks of games that are really good, I think," Shootout director and SA coach Scott James said.

Games get underway at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Tex Williams Gymnasium at St. Albans High School, as well as in SA's auxiliary gym and the gyms at the Active Sports Complex and McKinley Middle School, also in St. Albans. Tuesday games will also be played in the gym at St. Francis of Assissi School beginning at 10:40 a.m.

Shootout regulars such as South Charleston, Parkersburg South, Huntington, Bridgeport, Parkersburg, Tolsia and the host Red Dragons all see action with their varsity teams Tuesday. Each shootout game features a running clock for two 20-minute halves.

The 2 p.m., 3:40 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. timeslots could prove to be the most intriguing Tuesday. At 2 p.m., South Charleston takes on Parkersburg South and reigning Mary Ostrowski Award winner and Michigan State commitment Taryn McCutcheon, a rising senior point guard who recently was named the Most Outstanding Player at The Spartans' 2015 Elite Camp. South Charleston is led by rising junior point guard Aaliyah Dunham, an All-Kanawha Valley selection last season.

The Black Eagles and Patriots meet in SA's main gym at the same time Class AAA state tournament semifinalist Huntington takes on Class AA semifinalist and state tournament top seed Wyoming East in SA's auxiliary gym. North Marion's varsity squad takes on Ohio Division III state tournament semifinalist Proctorville Fairland at the Active Sports Complex at 2 as well, the same time that Class AA runner-up Fairmont Senior faces Class AAA quarterfinalist Spring Valley at McKinley.

St. Albans, which narrowly missed its first state tournament berth since 1993 when it fell to Huntington in a Region 4 co-final, plays its first varsity contest of the shootout against South Charleston at 5:20 p.m. at the Active Sports Complex. The Dragons take on Wyoming East at 10:40 a.m. Wednesday in the school's main gym, and will play North Marion - another Class AA state tournament team from a year ago - at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday before wrapping up their week with a game against Fairland at 5:20 p.m. that day.

James, whose team went 6-3 at the West Virginia University team camp a week ago, said his team is developing well in the off-season coaching period.

"We're playing well. One of our losses was to the Pennsylvania state tournament runner-up, and we beat a couple really good teams from Pennsylvania, too," said James, whose team features 2015 Kanawha Valley Rookie of the Year Jaden McDaniels, a rising sophomore point guard.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsreallyDT.

Marshall's academic center boosts quantity, quality of service http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150639987 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150639987 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:33:12 -0400 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - When Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick first returned to the university in that job, the former Thundering Herd linebacker asked where student-athletes went for tutoring, computer labs and academic advising. He didn't like what he saw.

"I can remember walking into this little room in the Shewey Building and there were 12 computers and five of them were broken," he said, "and there were 20 kids sitting, waiting to get onto a computer."

The days of cramped rooms and broken computers are gone. Marshall student-athletes now can take advantage of the wide-open spaces of the Buck Harless Student-Athlete Academic Center, a 14,000-square-foot area on second floor of the Chris Cline Athletic Complex.

The center, which opened earlier this month, traded the outdated facilities of old for the room and technology that could appropriately serve the university's nearly 400 student-athletes. Tara Helton, the athletic program's director of academic counseling, said the anticipation to open the facility grew by the day, but nothing matched watching the student-athletes actually using it.

"You realized - obviously the space, the technology - you knew it was going to be much better than anything we have at Marshall," she said. "But when you walked in and saw student-athletes using it, it sort of took your breath away a little bit to know it's finally come to fruition. To have something on this grand of scale, I'd put this academic center against any in the nation."

Before the Harless Center opened, Marshall student-athletes had a room at the Shewey Building and another at Gullickson Hall. Shewey's room had eight computers. Gullickson's area had 17 computers, two cubicles and a five-person classroom.

The Harless Center more than quadrupled the number of available computers. The main computer lab has 64 touch-screen computers. A separate "quiet" lab has 34 more. The center has four tutorial rooms that can house two to four students, plus four group rooms for four to six students, a 25-seat classroom and a 75-seat auditorium, all equipped with computers. It also includes a recruiting lounge where coaches from all sports can meet with recruits in a room that has both the Harless Center and the indoor practice facility and track in full view.

The new technology was first and foremost on Helton's wish list for the new center, along with the room to allow student-athletes to study comfortably. A welcoming space can make a big difference in a student's desire to study, she said.

"It's crucial," she said. "It's critical. You have a convenient location for our student-athletes, ample technology, ample space for group meetings, one-on-one tutoring, quiet places to sit down and study. I think it makes all the difference for our student-athletes to succeed."

The Harless Center is part of the fruits of Marshall's Vision Campaign, which includes an indoor practice facility and track, an athletic hall of fame, the new soccer stadium and the soon-to-open Marshall Sports Medicine Institute.

"Every one of these facilities, our goal was to make sure it was the best that you could build, and we've done that," Hamrick said. "The academic facility is up there with the rest of them. It's absolutely amazing. Really, we're going from having nothing to having probably one of the best in the country. This thing matches up with anything I've ever seen and anywhere I've ever been."

Marshall athletics has done well in the academic arena. The latest multi-year academic progress rates for football, men's basketball, men's golf and both indoor and outdoor track and field were the highest in the 10 years the NCAA has used the APR and tennis and women's cross country matched their 10-year highs.

Helton said the Harless Center will be perfect in helping those numbers to continue climbing.

"I can actually say we got everything we asked for," she said.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

Bradshaw, Brand meet again at Glade Springs in Greenbrier qualifier http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629190 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629190 Sun, 28 Jun 2015 21:13:10 -0400 By Rich Stevens CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Just when it looked like David Bradshaw's quest to reach the PGA Tour had neared an end, the native of Bakerton and former West Virginia Conference standout has reemerged.

Bradshaw returns to Monday's Open Qualifier for the Greenbrier Classic on the Cobb Course at the Resort at Glade Springs, the site of what began as a substantially frustrating attempt to play in West Virginia's PGA Tour event.

The aggravation with being close still burns for Bradshaw, but with a Canadian PGA Tour victory, and a second Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational title and the $40,000 that goes with it, the 2003 WVC Tournament medalist has gained perspective.

"I've been around the game long enough to know that I'm not going to just go tee it up at a PGA Tour event and just win," said Bradshaw, a resident of San Diego, Calif., who 12 months ago contemplated taking time off and giving lessons. "They have such an advantage facing that kind of pressure week in and week out. At this point, I'm going to have to do it the old school way through Q (Qualifying) school and the Web.com."

The seven-time State Open Championship winner will be joined by defending West Virginia Open champ and Web.com Tour player Christian Brand and a field of 69 players seeking one of the four remaining slots for the Greenbrier Classic July 2-5 at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs.

The last time Bradshaw and Brand faced each other happened to be in the State Open at the Cobb last July when Brand - who had won a state high school title while at Capital and the State Amateur - was 6-under in the final round of the 54-hole Open to complete the trifecta of a high school individual title (2005), State Amateur Championship (2011) and the Open (2014).

This time, however, they won't be among the favorites in a field that includes former PGA Tour regulars Josh Teater - who earned almost $4.5 million on the Tour from 2010-14; Patrick Sheehan, who earned more than $4 million (2003-09); and Vaughn Taylor, who claims almost $11.9 million on the PGA Tour and a Ryder Cup appearance in 2006. Mike Van Sickle, the 2013 Fuhrer Invitational champion, also is in the field.

Bradshaw has the experience of playing in the Monday qualifier, but that hasn't helped him. Before skipping the Classic qualifiers last year while competing in the Frank B. Fuhrer, Bradshaw played in four. He lost in a playoff in 2010 - which he admits still eats at him.

Brand, who at 27 is five years younger than Bradshaw, has competed in Qualifying School in 2013 and finished 56th, which provided him with conditional status on the Web.com Tour. Five spots higher and he would've landed exemptions into the first eight Web.com events. As it were, he played in nine for the season, and made one cut. This season, he made the cut in his only event, finishing tied for 30 at the Rex Hospital Open and pocketing $3,221.

Bradshaw is playing on the Mackenzie Tour - Canadian PGA Tour - and has one victory from 2014. He made six cuts in seven events and earned $30,939.

He reached the final round of Q School last December, but managed just a tie for 118th.

"I played terribly and that was that," Bradshaw said. "About the only good news out of that is I get to skip the pre-qualifiers."

Ultimately, Bradshaw said, there is so much more competition for spots on the Tour that the challenge is more palpable every year.

"There's so much at stake with so many more players and young guys who are hungry to get on the PGA Tour," said Bradshaw, who, like Brand, will take another shot at qualifying school this winter. "If you don't perform at Q school, you're kind of out for the year. Twenty years ago, when the Nike Tour was starting, there were barely enough guys to have competitive purses at that level. Now, it's at the point there are alternates for PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour China, PGA Tour Latin America ... there are thousands of us.

"When they posted the sign-up date for the three PGA Tour Canada qualifiers, those qualifiers (Florida, California, Canada) filled up in a matter of hours. That's 450 players that signed up for qualifying for PGA Tour Canada in a couple of hours."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.

Rich Stevens: Reed could eventually replace Tiger as top Tour draw http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629192 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629192 Sun, 28 Jun 2015 21:12:50 -0400 By Rich Stevens CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The smiley-face and goofy-haircut profile picture on the PGA Tour's website aside, Patrick Reed is ultimately what the PGA Tour needs to re-energize if, and when, Tiger Woods decides to put his golf clubs away for good.

Eldrick Woods doesn't fit the profile of the guy who will play until he's a half-century old and then shuffle off quietly to the sunset of the Champions Tour.

When he's ready to hang it up, despite the appearance that he craves the attention which comes with being the world's most-polarizing, yet popular, golfer, I don't anticipate Tiger ever being a regular on the senior circuit.

I could be wrong, but if he did, the Champions Tour would be licking its chops for the attention it desperately craves despite being loaded with Hall of Fame players.

Play or not as a guy eligible for senior discounts, his departure probably scares the daylights out of the PGA, which has leaned heavily on his status as a needle-mover for television ratings.

They need not worry.

Yes, Jordan Spieth has won two majors this year, remaining alive to win the calendar-year grand slam despite being less than a year removed from being legally permitted to purchase alcohol.

Rory McIlroy is one of the most-publicized young golfers because of his ability and a high-profile relationship with one of tennis' bright, young and attractive stars, Caroline Wozniacki - don't underestimate the drawing strength of an athletic power couple retaining the attention of TMZ, et al.

As much as it will disappoint folks who want desperately a "gentleman" (i.e. quiet, mannerly, robotic) to become the next big thing on the PGA Tour, they're going to have to accept Reed.

If that sounds painful, don't be alarmed and try to understand the reasoning as both players get set to compete this week on the unpredictable, yet grand Old White TPC.

Reed hasn't toed the line that the Tour keeps drawing in the sand for players to maintain the aura of the ultimate gentleman's game.

OK, it's not the Tour per se, but what people on the periphery deem acceptable on a golf course.

Growing up around golf, the expectations are that you don't move in a player's line of sight, don't cough in a backswing and never, ever, peel off the Velcro of your glove when somebody is hitting swinging a club. We had one of those situations at a West Virginia Golf Association event some years ago.

Every other professional sport is inundated with irrational, loud and intoxicated fans, law-breaking participants and powers-that-be not wanting to upset the balance that brings eyes to the TV like deer to headlights.

In basketball, hard fouls are expected. In baseball, it's OK to throw at a batter if he admires a homer in his previous at bat and touchdown dances once were the synchronized norm of the NFL. In the NHL, the mere thought of banning fights on the ice is blasphemous to some.

Guess what drew the attention to the PGA Tour?

An African-American golfer who is remarkably talented.

Quite frankly, you'd be hard pressed to find any athlete, in the past 50 years, have as much impact on a professional sport as Tiger.

Even with his indiscretions, Tiger has maintained the ability to carry a sport more than anybody else (yes, this includes LeBron James).

That's not the kind of pressure Reed needs, but his edgy personality and lack of political correctness has drawn the ire, and focus of many.

He's quite the polarizing guy, from tales of fudging scores in college to gay slurs insulting himself during a tournament to a personality that some describe, in the most conservative sense, aloof.

When he was earning tournament spots through the grueling Monday qualifier path in 2012, he was not receiving sponsor exemptions. This wasn't the guy, evidently, that the Tour needed. He told me at the 2012 Monday at Glade Springs that he didn't understand why nobody was stepping up to give him a pass to an event here or there.

I didn't either.

The world of professional golf is as competitive as ever thanks to the lucrative career players can enjoy.

Fact is, you're getting paid to play a game.

It's not exactly digging ditches, so you can appreciate the allure.

At the Ryder Cup last year, before the much-publicized bickering between captain Tom Watson and team, Reed was outplaying his more experienced colleagues and shushing the crowd at Gleneagles.

There's a level of confidence with this guy that's often perceived as arrogance.

I guess it's not entirely true that there's no such thing as bad publicity, if that's what you think pugnacious Reed brings to the table.

Then again, the PGA Tour will need something to keep, at least, a modicum of the television ratings it loses when Tiger takes his glove off for the last time.

As long as he keeps winning, Reed will answer the call.

W.Va. Power still perfect in SAL second half http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629193 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629193 Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:58:39 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It looks like a break was just what the West Virginia Power needed.

The Power, behind a seven-run fourth inning and solid start from right-hander Alex McRae, won its fourth straight game to start the South Atlantic League's second half. West Virginia smacked the Greensboro Grasshoppers 13-3 on Sunday at Appalachian Power Park.

It marked the first time West Virginia had won four straight since taking three from Delmarva and one from Lakewood from May 29 to June 1. The Power (41-32, 4-0 second half) has won at least four straight games three times this year - that pair of four-game streaks and five straight wins from May 22 -26.

"This is who we've been all season long," Power manager Brian Esposito said. "It's been a matter of figuring it out a little bit more. Guys have gotten progressively better over the season. The energy's always been high. These first four games, we've put together a lot of things we've been working on in the first half."

West Virginia lost nine of its last 12 games of the SAL's first half, finishing 7½ games behind Northern Division leader Hickory at the All-Star break. The players, though, felt they had the potential to secure one of those two Northern spots in September's postseason.

"We all knew we wanted this second half," designated hitter Jerrick Suiter said. "We played really well in the first half and things just kind of dwindled down toward the end. Something we talked about before we left (for the break), we had to come out strong and get ahead when we could."

Greensboro struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first on an Austen Smith RBI single. West Virginia struck back with two in the second - on an Elvis Escobar groundout and Chase Simpson sacrifice fly - and two more in the third - a Pablo Reyes RBI double and a Michael Suchy RBI single.

The knockout combo, however, came in the fourth. Grasshoppers pitchers Jorgan Cavanerio and Connor Overton gave up eight hits total in that inning, including two doubles (Tito Polo and Connor Joe), a two-run Suiter triple and a two-run Pablo Reyes home run, his seventh homer of the season.

Polo and Francisco Diaz blasted back-to-back homers to start the bottom of the fifth, and West Virginia led by as many as 11. The last time Power players hit home runs in consecutive at bats was June 8, 2014, when Harold Ramirez and Edwin Espinal completed the feat.

"It's incredible," Suiter said. "That's baseball. Sometimes the hits aren't there, and there days like today when you're hammering balls all over the yard. Days like today are a lot of fun, for sure."

Meanwhile, McRae was able to even his season record at 4-4 with six innings of work. He gave up three runs, all earned, through six on five hits, with six strikeouts and no walks. It was his first win since May 20 over Hickory and tied a season high in strikeouts he had reached in three previous games.

"He struggled a little bit early in the game, not getting ahead," Esposito said. "He fell behind early in the game, but made an adjustment, starting getting ahead of guys. Then he was able to compete and put the score where it was."

West Virginia will try for a five-game sweep of the Grasshoppers at 7:05 p.m. Monday. If the Power pulls it off, it will be the team's first five-game series sweep since taking all five from Delmarva on Sept. 1-5, 2011.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

Ramsey looks to turn around Poca football program http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629194 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629194 Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:57:55 -0400 By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - New Poca football coach Seth Ramsey knows all about the challenges he and the Dots face, but it's one he is looking forward to.

Ramsey was the defensive coordinator last year for Poca, which finished winless at 0-10. When former coach Teddy Stewart resigned, Ramsey, a Clay County graduate, was quick to throw his name in the hat to fill the vacancy.

Ramsey was officially approved as the new head coach for the Dots by the Putnam County Board of Education on June 22 and went right to work in trying to turn around a struggling program.

"I am really excited and to be working with the kids," Ramsey said. "We want to get things turned around. Poca has won six state titles in the past and the people of Poca know great football. It's all about getting it out of the kids."

Ramsey believes being a part of the program already as the defensive coordinator last season gave him an advantage in the process.

"I think that helped me with the job and the familiarity," Ramsey said. "It helps with the stability. They know what to expect from me. I have high expectaions and demands. I think I can motivate them.

"A lot of it has to do with accountability. I've got a good feel for the athletes we have in the program and the kids coming back. I know what their capabilities are. I have a good rapport with the student-athletes."

Ramsey knows the challenges of a losing culture that have plagued the Poca football program, which has only made the playoffs twice in more than a decade after Bob Lemley led the Dots to three consecutive state titles from 2001-2003.

"The big challenge is the mental aspect and them getting over the hump and believing in what they are doing," Ramsey said. "I need to get the kids to buy in and start to believe in themselves, their teammates, and coaches."

Ramsey believes in the process, and that the wins will eventually come.

"I don't put a huge emphasis on winning right away," Ramsey said. "I want them to control their preparation, behaviors, actions, and thoughts. From my perspective, it is all about the attention to detail.

"The kids want to win and see the results. I'm more process-oriented and not outcome-oriented. If they believe in and follow the process, then we will start to see the wins."

Ramsey has a vision with what he hopes to accomplish with the program.

"I have a vision in three-to-four years," Ramsey said. "We want to start building the JV program, and get the community involved and take a stake in what we are doing. This year we want to win a game here and there, and get the momentum going.

"In two years, we hope to be in the playoff bubble, and in three years, fighting for the playoffs year in and year out. We want to get back to Poca playing how they did in the past."

Ramsey's path to being a head coach for the first time has included several influences, including where he played high school football at Clay County under Ron Sirk, who led the Panthers program for 31 seasons.

"I had the honor and pleasure of playing for Ron Sirk," Ramsey said. "He knows so much about the game and was a big influence on my life and helped me tremendously."

In 2013, Ramsey served as the special teams coordinator at Buffalo under coach Mike Sawyer. In college he played baseball at West Virginia State University from 2005-2008 under longtime coach Cal Bailey.

"Mike is one of the better play callers around and is a great coach," Ramsey said. "Playing baseball for Cal Bailey and Sean Loyd played a big role in me going from a boy to a man. They were big mentors to me in how to interact with young men."

Ramsey has spent the three-week out-of-season coaching period trying to get his philosophies in place, but has been spending more time on the offensive side of the ball with a new coordinator while he continues to help lead the defense.

"Defensively a lot of things are already in place so we haven't spent as much time there as we have offensively," Ramsey said. "We are trying to get the kids acclimated to the new terminology and schemes on offense."

Ramsey indicated he has about 31 players participating in the summer period and the team has played in 7-on-7 events at Chapmanville and Nicholas County in the past two weeks.

The Dots' new coach likes what he sees so far.

"They are getting after it and that is great to see," Ramsey said. "They are staying on task and have competed well. We have made some improvements and seen some things we liked and didn't. It's still only June and we still have time to work on things."

Ex-Marshall baseball standout promoted by Nationals http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629197 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629197 Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:43:50 -0400


Former Marshall University baseball standout Isaac Ballou, a prospect in the Washington Nationals minor league system, was promoted to the double-A Harrisburg Senators on Sunday.

Ballou, an outfielder, batted .249 with three home runs, 25 runs batted in and 11 stolen bases in 70 games with the high-A Potomac Nationals this season. While at Marshall, Ballou was a 2013 All-Conference USA first team selection and owns school records for triples in a career, triples in a season, walks in a career and walks in a season. He also is second all-time in school history with 64 stolen bases in addition to being fourth all-time at MU in hits (211), at-bats (722) and runs scored (144).

Harrisburg is 33-41 this season and is nine games back of Eastern League division leader Altoona.

Herd gets two more football commitments http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629198 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629198 Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:41:00 -0400


CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall's football team picked up a pair of verbal commitments over the weekend, including one from one of Kentucky's top players.

Running back Quinton Baker of Paul Blazer High in Ashland, Ky., hinted on Twitter on Saturday night that he would pledge to the Thundering Herd. He eliminated the mystery on the social media site Sunday morning, reaffirming his verbal commitment.

Baker, at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, is a three-star prospect according to Rivals, 247Sports, ESPN and Scout. Rivals and 247Sports both list him as the fifth-best prospect in Kentucky. He's the 15th overall all-purpose back in 247Sports' eyes and 17th overall according to Rivals.

Baker's commitment was preceded Saturday by a verbal commitment from Point Pleasant star Cody Mitchell. The 6-2, 220-pound Mitchell is the younger brother of former Marshall football player Derek Mitchell and son of former WVU football player Darrell Mitchell. He played running back and safety last season for Point Pleasant, but is listed on the Rivals recruiting charts as a tight end and Scout's as a linebacker.

He's rated three stars by Scout and two stars by Rivals, which ranks him the No. 4 overall prospect in West Virginia. Verbal commitments are non-binding. Football players can sign letters of intent beginning Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.