Sports briefs for July 28th-August 3rd

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GOLF

Curren earns spot in US amateur tourney 

Former USCB men’s golf standout Brad Curren claimed one of three spots up for grabs in the United States Amateur Championship recently at Oldfield Golf Club, finishing third in the 36-hole qualifying event with a two-day score of 3-under par.

Taking advantage of his local knowledge of the Sand Sharks’ home course, the four-year starter for USCB carded a 3-under-par 69 in the first round and followed it up with a steady even-par 72 to earn a berth in the U.S. Amateur, which will be played Aug. 15-21 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Incoming freshman Joshua Grenville-Wood (76-77) tied for 22nd, while USCB sophomore Riley Schank (77-77) was 26th. Former Sand Shark golfer Chandler Vilcheck (73-74) tied for 12th.

Curren, who graduated from USCB in April, joins a field of 312 golfers who will compete in 36 holes of stroke play on Aug. 15-16, with the top 64 advancing to match play. The first three days of match play will be televised on Fox Sports 1 before coverage shifts to Fox for the semifinals and championship match.

AUTO RACING  

Gus Dean
Gus Dean

Dean added to ARCA Racing Series schedule

On July 15, Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) announced that Dean, with sponsor GREE, the world’s largest manufacturer of specialized cooling and heating products, would compete in the July 22 Sioux Chief PowerPEX presented by Jive in the No. 78 GREE Cooling Products/Karl Chevrolet at Lucas Oil Raceway.

The event was Dean’s fourth career ARCA Racing Series start, with the Bluffton native looking for his second win of the season and third top-10 finish overall. In addition to Dean’s spectacular win at Talladega, the 21-year-old scored a seventh place finish in the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway in May.

“I’m really enjoying the ARCA Racing Series this season,” said Dean. “And it’s not just because of the win, it’s just the overall atmosphere. Everyone’s been great to work with and we’ve brought GREE into a racing series where they are seeing a return on their investment. As a team we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and everything else will (hopefully) fall into place.”

GREE was joined by its master distributor for the U.S. market, Tradewinds Climate Systems, as well as a number of their regional wholesalers, salespeople, and most importantly, fellow race fans. The company, which ranked 385th in Forbes’ Global 2000 possesses 18,000 active patents for products sold in 160 countries.

“GREE and Tradewinds is very excited to again be supporting Gus Dean, Mason Mitchell Motorsports and be a part of the ARCA Racing Series in our Lucas Oil Raceway debut,” commented Tradewinds Climate Systems president Dave Pearson. “Our experience at Talladega was unbelievable and we’re happy to be back for the first of two back-to-back races..”

SWIMMING

Faciszewski competes at U.S. Olympic Trials 

The Air Force’s Andrew Faciszewski was the final Falcon to compete at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials on July 2 at the CenturyLink Arena in Omaha, Neb. The rising senior from Bluffton placed 87th in the 1500 meter freestyle with a time of 16:07.37.

Faciszewski starred for the Bluffton High School swimming program throughout his prep career.

Air Force sent three swimmers to the Trials, who combined to compete in five events between June 27 and July 2.

Faciszewski will enter his senior year at the Air Force Academy later in the summer.

He ranks as one of the top returning swimmers for the Air Force Academy program.

BASEBALL

Pitching restriction policies set in motion

High school baseball rules now will require a pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown in a game.

The revised pitching policy in Rule 6-2-6 was one of six rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Each NFHS member state association will be required to develop its own pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown during a game to afford pitchers a required rest period between pitching appearances.

“We’re pleased that the rules committee worked in conjunction with the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to find an acceptable and reasonable modification to this rule in order to emphasis the risk that occurs when pitchers overuse their throwing arm,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball.

The Baseball Rules Committee also revised Rule 2-32-2 regarding sliding into home plate. The revised language states: “At home plate, it is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the plate in the baseline extended.” The committee altered this rule since the physical design of home plate makes it difficult for a runner to break momentum on a slide – as opposed to the other three elevated bases which are elevated.

The committee also revised Rule 3-3-1, which states the umpire has the ability to give three warnings to a coach or player before he or she is removed from the game.

“Officials now have the opportunity to provide a tiered warning system for coaches or players,” Hopkins said. “It provides the coaches or players with a teachable moment to change their unsportsmanlike behavior in order to stay in the game.”

A new article 6 was added to Rule 8-3 to provide a rules reference for an existing ruling in the Baseball Case Book. The new article reads: “When a plate umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pickoff play, if an out is not made at the end of the catcher’s initial throw, the ball shall be dead and all runners shall return to the bases occupied at the time of the interference.”

The rules committee also approved an addition to Rule 8-4-2, which states that any runner is out when he is physically assisted by a coach. This rule change supports a revision in Rule 3-2-2 Penalty, which states that the runner shall be called out immediately when he is physically assisted by a coach.

According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, there are 486,567 boys participating in baseball at 15,899 schools across the country, and 1,203 girls playing the sport in 260 schools.

SOFTBALL

Softball rules changes focus on uniforms, equipment, etc.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Softball Rules Committee approved four additions to Rule 3 regarding uniforms, equipment and substitutions at its June 13-15 meeting in Indianapolis.

These changes approved by the committee, along with one in Rule 1, were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 3-2-15 states that all equipment shall be inspected by the umpire, and is to be placed outside the dugout/bench prior to the start of the game. The rules committee agreed that placing all equipment in one location at one time is a more efficient method to conduct this inspection.

“The committee believes that expediting the inspection of all equipment will make the process more efficient and done in a timely fashion,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and staff liaison for softball.

In Rule 3-2-1, the committee added inclement weather as an exception to the uniform rule for state associations.

The Softball Rules Committee also approved new language to Rule 3-2-7 to reinforce the solid color undergarments requirements.

“We felt it was important to standardize the colors of the undergarments not only to reinforce the solid color requirements similar to other NFHS sport rules, but also because it can be a distraction and create a possible safety concern,” Searcy said.

In Rule 3-6-7, which states that players and substitutes shall not enter the contest unreported, the penalty was revised to state that the head coach is restricted to the dugout/bench for the remainder of the game only for a second violation.

The committee also revised Rule 1-5-2c by eliminating the description of the taper’s surface. This change brings the NFHS in line with other rules codes concerning the surface of the taper.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE SOCCER 

Clemson announces 2016 schedule

The Clemson University women’s soccer team’s 2016 schedule features 18 matches (10 at home and eight on the road) against nine 2015 NCAA Tournament participants.

Six of those nine teams won at least one match in the national tournament, two reached the quarterfinals and Duke was the national runner-up.

Beaufort Academy graduate Miranda Weslake is a redshirt sophomore for the Clemson University women’s soccer team.

“This is a schedule that is going to challenge our team, and which has a couple of really good tests in non-conference play,” said Clemson Coach Eddie Radwanski. “We will see a few teams that haven’t been on our schedule before, and it will be great preparation for the conference season.”

The Tigers, who finished tied for second in the ACC last season, open the regular season on the road against Auburn on Friday, Aug. 19, before returning to Clemson for their first match at Historic Riggs Field on Sunday, Aug. 21, against Georgia.

Weslake played in 19 games for the Tigers during the 2015 season, making five starts. She scored her first career goal in a 5-1 win over Wofford.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL 

Bobcats getting ready for upcoming season 

The Bluffton High School football program is busy preparing for the 2016 season.

The Bobcats will open the season versus Screven County (Ga.) in the Erk Russell Classic at Georgia Southern University (GSU) on Friday. Aug. 20. Kickoff for the Bluffton-Screven County football game is set for 4 p.m.

Several familiar foes fill the Bluffton High School football program’s 2016 schedule.

Following its season-opener against the out-of-state opponent from neighboring Georgia, Bluffton will host May River for its first home game in the 2016 season.

The Bobcats will take the field for games at home in four consecutive outings after the season-opener at Georgia Southern University. Bluffton’s 2016 schedule includes additional home games versus longtime in-state rivals Beaufort High, New Hampstead, Hilton Head, Battery Creek and Ridgeland.

The Bobcats have additional away games scheduled versus Whale Branch, May River and Wade Hampton.

The Bobcats are under the direction of veteran head coach Ken Cribb.