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Morning Sports for Sunday, April 27th

Morning Sports for Sunday, April 27th:

MTU Assistant Whitten Named LSSU Hockey Coach
Damon WhittenMichigan Tech Assistant hockey coach Damon Whitten was named today as head hockey coach at Lake Superior State University. Whitten had just completed his fourth season with the Huskies. Before joining the staff at Tech, he served as director of hockey operations at Michigan State. He played college hockey for the Spartans under coach Ron Mason, who founded the hockey program at LSSU. Whitten credited Mason for giving him a chance as a walk-on, and also thanked Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson for his guidance over the past three years. He takes over for Jim Roque, who was fired in March after nine seasons as the Lakers’ head coach. Whitten said he would consider keeping the Lakers’ current assistant coaches, but offered no guarantees.

MLB: Twins Blister Tigers
Anibal Sanchez was forced out of yesterday’s game in the third inning because of a blister… and the Twins took advantage of reliever Jose Ortega’s wildness to claim a 5-3 victory. In the fifth inning, Minnesota took advantage of five walks, a wild pitch, and a throwing error by catcher Bryan Holaday to score four runs off Ortega and Phil Coke on just one hit. The Tigers wrap up their series in Minnesota this afternoon. Justin Verlander will face Kyle Gibson. Hear the first pitch at 2:10 on AM 1400, WCCY.

The Brewers continued their hot start with a 5-3 victory over the Cubs… but it was a costly win. The first piece of bad luck came in the first inning… when Ryan Braun was swinging a weighted bat in the dugout, and accidentally hit shortstop Jean Segura in the face. Segura needed several stitches to close the wound… and will probably miss two or three games. The second piece of bad luck came later… when Braun had to leave the game with an intercostal strain. He’s considered day-to-day. Marco Estrada pitched into the eighth to earn the win, and Francisco Rodriguez earned his 11th save. The Brewers wrap up that home series against the Cubs this afternoon. Wily Peralta will start against Jason Hammel.

Finlandia Softball to Play for GSAC Tourney Title
The Finlandia University softball team will play for the Great South Athletic Conference tournament title in Georgia today. The Lions will face top-seeded Agnes Scott College… after losing to the Scotties 3-2 in the first game of the semifinal round yesterday. Miranda Brewer gave up just six hits in a hard-luck loss.

Alexis Lawley and Amanda Youker each homered for Finlandia. The Lions bounced back to beat Salem College 4-3 in their second semifinal match. Lawley’s RBI single in the top of the seventh was the game-winner.

Because of the loss to Agnes Scott in the first game yesterday, the Lions will need to beat the Scotties twice to take the title today. Agnes Scott could win the crown with a victory in either game.

Finlandia opened the tournament with two wins on Friday. In the first game, the Lions blanked Trinity Washington University 8-0. Brewer pitched a two-hitter, and struck out nine. Youker had two hits, and drove in two runs for Finlandia. The second game was closer… as the Lions edged Salem College 10-9. Finlandia opened a big lead by scoring six runs in the top of the sixth inning… only to see the Spirits respond with six runs of their own in the bottom of the inning… and two more in the bottom of the seventh. The tying run was on second base when Alyson Herman got Kaitlin Horner to ground out to end the game.

Finlandia’s Alexis Lawley was named the 2014 GSAC Softball Player of the Year on Friday. Lawley led the league in hitting with a .603 batting average. That’s second-best in the nation. Her .987 slugging percentage is seventh-best in the nation. Lawley also led the league in runs, home runs, total bases, and on-base percentage.

Red Wings Exit Playoffs
The Red Wings’ season ended Saturday, with a 4-2 loss to the Bruins in game five of their opening-round NHL playoff series. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 29 for Detroit, as he filled in for Jimmy Howard, who had the flu. The Bruins will face the Canadiens in the next round.

Former Lions Quarterback Morrall Dies
Legendary quarterback Earl Morrall passed away Friday. He was 79, and had been ill with Parkinson’s Disease for some time. Morrall led Muskegon High School to a state title in 1951… then quarterbacked Michigan State to a Big 10 title and a Rose Bowl win. He was drafted by the ‘49ers… dealt to the Steelers… then sent to the Lions in the infamous Bobby Layne trade. Morrall spent six seasons in Detroit… then moved on to the Giants… and the Colts. In the 1968 season, he took over for injured Baltimore quarterback Johnny Unitas, and led the Colts to a 13-1 record, and a berth in Super Bowl III. He was named the League’s Most Valuable Player. Two years later, Morrall again replaced an injured Unitas, as the Colts won Super Bowl V. In 1972, Morrall came off the bench for the Dolphins… replacing the injured Bob Griese to start 11 of the 17 games in Miami’s undefeated season. In the 1980s, he served as quarterbacks coach for the University of Miami… where he helped develop future NFL stars Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde.

Tech Track Breaks Four School Records
The Michigan Tech track and field teams set four new school records over the weekend. Sean Pengelly broke school record in the 10K on Friday at the Gina Relays at Hillsdale. He finished 20th in the race.

On Saturday at the Drake Alternative in Whitewater, Wisconsin, Jamie Dompier broke her own school record in the 200… finishing second in the race. Ashley Veale ran her first-ever 400 hurdles for the Huskies… and broke the school record by almost 2.5 seconds. Kyle Petermann broke his own record in the discus.

The Huskies will compete at the GLIAC championship meet in Ohio next weekend.

MTU Tennis Opens Conference Tourney Play
At the GLIAC tennis tournament, the Michigan Tech men’s team lost to top-seeded Northwood 5-2 Friday night… then edged Tiffin University 5-4 Saturday. The eighth-seeded Huskies will face sixth-seed Grand Valley for fifth place in the tournament this morning.

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