Joe's Morning Sports-Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The American League Division Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros is all square.  The Rays beat the Astros 4-1 last night to even the series at two games apiece.  Ryan Yarbrough and five other pitchers combined on a six-hitter to beat Houston playoff veteran Justin Verlander, who was chased early.  The best of five series shifts back to Houston for the decisive fifth game on Thursday.

The NBA has postponed today's scheduled media sessions in Shanghai for the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, and it remains unclear if the teams will play in China this week as scheduled.  The teams were practicing in Shanghai today, where at least two other NBA events in advance of the start of the China games were called off as part of the ongoing rift that started after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet last week that showed support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.  The league says, "Given the fluidity of the situation, today's media availability has been postponed."  An NBA Cares event that was to benefit Special Olympics was called off, as was a "fan night" celebration which was to be highlighted by the league announcing plans to refurbish some outdoor courts in Shanghai.  And workers in multiple spots around the city were tearing down large outdoor promotional advertisements for Thursday's Lakers-Nets game.  The teams are also supposed to play Saturday in Shenzhen.

The Nebraska football teams’ class of 2020 secondary is going to have a distinct geographical flavor to it.  The Huskers are making some serious hay in Florida and continued that trend yesterday when defensive back Ronald Delancy III announced his verbal commitment to the program according to the Lincoln Journal Star.  Delancy III is a standout at Miami Northwestern and flipped to Nebraska after verbally committing to Louisville last February.  He took an official visit to Lincoln for Nebraska's game against Ohio State late last month and decommitted from the ACC program shortly thereafter.  Delancy III is the 13th known commitment for Nebraska in the 2020 class and the third to join the class since the regular season started, following Henry Gray and inside linebacker Rodney Groce.

The Omaha World Herald & Lincoln Journal Star have updated their high school softball rankings.  In the Omaha World Herald, Papillion La Vista remains first in the ‘Nebraska Top 10’ & Class ‘A’ while Wayne moves up from ninth to eighth.  In Class ‘B’, Omaha Skutt stays at number one and Wayne jumps from sixth to fifth.  In Class ‘C’, Fairbury is once again first and West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic remains third.  In the Lincoln Journal Star, Papillion La Vista remains first in Class ‘A’ while Omaha Skutt stays at number one and Wayne stays at number six in Class ‘B’.  In Class ‘C’, Fairbury is once again first and West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic remains second.

The Norfolk High softball team is 21-12 on the season after a 1-2 performance at the Heartland Athletic Conference Tournament last Friday.  They rallied past Grand Island 10-8 in their opening game before falling to sixth ranked Lincoln Southwest 12-0 and seventh ranked Lincoln North Star 7-6.  This season, the Lady Panthers have beaten Grand Island three times, Lincoln Southeast twice, Malcolm, Lincoln North Star, Lincoln Northeast twice, Fremont, South Sioux City, Columbus twice, Kearney twice, Lincoln High twice, Lincoln East twice, and Lincoln Pius X twice.  Norfolk’s 21 wins is the most since the 2006 season when they finished 24-17.  The Lady Panthers, who have outscored their opponents 223-141, return to action today at 11:00 when they meet Grand Island in the A-4 District Tournament at Gretna.

The Northeast Hawks volleyball team is 14-11 on the season after a 3-2 week.  On Wednesday they beat Hawkeye of Iowa 3-1 and then split four matches at the Central Community College Tournament in Columbus last Friday & Saturday.  The Hawks lost to Butler of Kansas 3-1 and Cowley of Kansas 3-0 on Friday before beating Bismarck State of North Dakota and Kansas City-Kansas on Saturday in 3-1 scores.  This season, Northeast has beaten Cloud County of Kansas, Central of Columbus twice, Lake Region State of North Dakota, Williston State of North Dakota, Iowa Lakes, Southeastern of Iowa, Ellsworth of Iowa, Neosho of Kansas, Waubonsee of Illinois, Kirkwood of Iowa, Hawkeye of Iowa, Bismarck State of North Dakota, and Kansas City-Kansas.  The Hawks return to action this week when they visit 20th ranked in Division II 20-6 North Iowa Area Community College tonight at 7:00 and seventh ranked in Division I 18-5 Iowa Western on Friday. 

Local Schedule:  Nfk High vs. Grand Island at Gretna (A-4 SB Dist. Tourn.-11:00); NECC at North Iowa Area CC at Mason City, IA (VB-7:00).

Local Scores:  Kearney 25-28-25 Nfk High 21-26-19 (VB); LHNE 25-25 Shelby/Rising City 19-16; LHNE 25-22-25 Clarkson/Leigh 19-25-17 (Clarkson/Leigh VB Tri.); Kearney 9 Nfk High 0 (B. Tenn. Dual); Iowa Central CC 5 NECC 0 (M. Socc.); Iowa Central CC 3 NECC 1 (W. Socc.).

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In other news

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