Joe's Morning Sports-Thursday, April 8, 2021

No one needed to see the colorful blooms at Augusta National to realize this will be a much different Masters than the last one.  The greens looked yellow.  The Masters that was held in November because of the pandemic is a distant memory.  Excitement for the first major of the year was mixed with trepidation because of the conditions.  The course is usually not this tough until the weekend.  The wild card is what the weather brings.  But it figures to be far different from when Dustin Johnson won last time at 20-under par.  The event is in progress.

Tiger Woods was going more than 80 mph, nearly twice the posted speed limit, on a downhill stretch of road when he lost control of an SUV outside Los Angeles.  That's the conclusion of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which announced the findings of its investigation yesterday.  The Feb. 23 wreck left the golf superstar seriously injured.  Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed the crash solely on excessive speed and Woods’ loss of control behind the wheel.  Authorities say Woods was driving 84-87 mph in an area that had a speed limit of 45.

Kevin Durant returned from a 23-game absence to spark Brooklyn’s most explosive half of the season, finishing with 17 points and perfect shooting in the Nets’ 139-111 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans.  Durant came off the bench with about 7 ½ minutes left in the second quarter.  By the time the period ended the Nets had 79 points and a 20-point halftime lead.  Brooklyn was a sizzling 14-18 in its 43-point quarter.  Kyrie Irving scored 24 points in the Nets’ ninth straight home win.

José Ramírez’s second two-run homer of the game snapped a tie in the eighth inning and sent the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals yesterday after Cy Young winner Shane Bieber struck out twelve.  Ramírez’s one-out shot off Greg Holland gave the Indians their first home win in 2021 after they were shut out Monday.  Earlier, Ramirez connected for a two-run homer in the sixth.  Bieber allowed just three hits in 6 1/3 innings.  He's struck out at least eight batters in 14 straight starts.  Salvador Perez homered for the Royals.  KC drops to 3-2 on the season.

The Lincoln Journal Star has updated their high school soccer rankings.  In the boys rankings, Omaha South remains first in Class ‘A’.  In Class ‘B’, Omaha Skutt is once again first, Columbus Scotus moves up from ninth to eighth, and Schuyler enters the rankings at number ten.  In the girls rankings, Lincoln Southwest is the new number one in Class ‘A’.  In Class ‘B’, Omaha Skutt stays at number one and Columbus Scotus slips from seventh to eighth.

Checking out the local schedule for today, in high school sports, the Norfolk High baseball team competes in the Grand Island triangular.  They play Kearney at 3:00 and Grand Island at 5:00.  Elsewhere, the Norfolk High track & field squads take part in the Grand Island Invitational at 2:30, the Norfolk High boys soccer team hosts Lincoln High at 6:30, the Norfolk Catholic/Lutheran High Northeast girls & boys soccer squads are at Columbus Scotus simultaneously at 5:00, the Norfolk Catholic boys golf team along with Hartington Cedar Catholic participates in Stanton’s triangular at 4:00, the Norfolk High girls tennis squad visits Hastings in a 4:00 dual, and the Northeast Hawks softball team’s home doubleheader with Ellsworth Community College of Iowa today has been postponed.  

The Norfolk Catholic boys golf team gets their season underway today when they compete in the Stanton triangular with Hartington Cedar Catholic involved at 4:00.  The Knights have nine golfers out this year and return varsity experience in Jacob Cerny, Aden Dominisse, Ethan Schwichtenberg, and Austin Meikle.  Last season was cancelled due to COVID-19.  They have three seniors, two juniors, three sophomore, and one freshman on the roster.  Norfolk Catholic’s remaining schedule has them competing in invitationals hosted by Summerland, Boone Central, Lutheran High Northeast, Columbus Lakeview, and Battle Creek.  The Knights host a dual with Plainview on April 19th, the Mid State Conference Meet on April 24th, and their own invite on May 10th at Norfolk Country Club.

This week’s Hausmann Physical Therapy Star Athlete of the Week goes to Chloe Hanel of the Clarkson/Leigh girls track & field team.  At last Monday’s David City Aquinas Invitational, she placed first in the 100 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles, and was part of the winning 4X100 meter relay team.  Hanel also was second in the High Jump.  That was coming off a four gold medal showing at the Osceola Invite eight days ago where she won the 100 & 300 Hurdles, the High Jump, and was part of the winning 4X100 Meter Relay.  Hanel was nominated by Coach Briana Wietfeld.  Congratulations to Chloe Hanel of the Clarkson/Leigh girls track & field team, she is this week’s Hausmann Physical Therapy Star Athlete of the Week.

Local Scores:  Ellsworth CC, IA 10-16 NECC 0-4 (SB DH); NECC at Iowa Central CC (W&M Socc.-Ppd. Thunderstorms).

Hausmann Physical Therapy Star Athlete of the Week:  Chloe Hanel of the Clarkson/Leigh track & field team.

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INTERLEAGUE

Final    Oakland    4    L.A. Dodgers    3    

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AMERICAN LEAGUE

Final    Minnesota    3    Detroit    2    

Final    Boston    9    Tampa Bay    2    

Final    Cleveland    4    Kansas City    2    

Final    Texas    2    Toronto    1    

Final    Seattle    8    Chicago White Sox    4    

Final    Baltimore    4    N.Y. Yankees    3    

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

Final    Atlanta    7    Washington    6    

Final    Cincinnati    11    Pittsburgh    4    

Final    Milwaukee    4    Chicago Cubs    2    

Final    Atlanta    2    Washington    0    

Final    St. Louis    7    Miami    0    

Final    San Francisco    3    San Diego    2    

Final    Philadelphia    8    N.Y. Mets    2    

Final    Colorado    8    Arizona    0    

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NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Final    Washington    131    Orlando    116    

Final    Indiana    141    Minnesota    137    

Final    Boston    101    New York    99    

Final    Brooklyn    139    New Orleans    111    

Final    Charlotte    113    Oklahoma City    102    

Final    Memphis    131    Atlanta    113    

Final    Houston    102    Dallas    93    

Final    Denver    106    San Antonio    96    

Final OT    Phoenix    117    Utah    113    

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NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Final    Edmonton    4    Ottawa    2    

Final    Toronto    3    Montreal    2    

Final    St. Louis    3    Vegas    1    

Final    Los Angeles    4    Arizona    3    

Final    Minnesota    8    Colorado    3   

In other news

The Nebraska men's basketball program added another former top-100 recruit with high major experience with the addition of C.J. Wilcher who will join the Huskers for the 2021-22 campaign. 

In the 85th-minute Naomi Pedroza (Hastings, Neb.) found the back of the net to give the Northeast Community College women’s soccer team a 2-1 edge over Iowa Lakes Community College on Tuesday at the Veterans Memorial Field in Norfolk.