11:00: The U.S. holds on for the 3-2 victory, in a game that was much closer than it should've been. The Americans outshot Martinique 21-13 and had a 62-38 advantage in time of possession. Next up: winless Nicaragua.
10:50: Martinique appeared to tie this thing back up, but it wasn't meant to be. Sebastien Cretinoir got called offsides, and the score will remain 3-2. Quite a shift in the stadium atmosphere.
10:40: Justin Morris comes through again, putting the U.S. up 3-2. And what a shot, off a high cross that he pounces on in midair and fits past Kevin Olimpa.
10:37: Now we're tied again. Brad Guzan makes a sliding stop on a cross off a fast break, but Martinique's Kevin Parsemain taps the ball over his head. Guzan falls backward and grasps in vain, unable to prevent the fading shot from drifting in.
10:35: Gentle touch, Alejandro Bedoya. On a perfectly placed cross from Justin Morrow, Bedoya again overshoots, sending the ball back into the crowd.
10:34: Martinique's second corner kick of the day (the U.S. has 10) ends uneventfully, as Gyasi Zardes heads the ball up the field. Through thick and thin, the U.S. defense has been able to stop Martinique's attack once it gets set up. …Full Story
9:06 p.m.: We're underway. Martinique kicks off.
9:04 p.m.: US Goalkeeper Brad Guzan reads a statement against derogratory chants before the game begins, he receives applause from fans.
8:55: p.m.: The teams take to the field for national anthems and handshakes. The United States and Martinique will kick off the second game of this doubleheader from Group B of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the coming minutes
8:50 p.m.: Starting lineups - US: Guzan, Hedges, Gonzalez, Morrow, Lichhaj, Zrdes, Acosta, Roldan, Morris, Agudelo, Arriola
Martinique: Olimpa, Cretinoir, Delem, Jean-Baptiste, Vitulin, Herelle, Audel, Zaire, Abaul, Parsemain, Arquin
Former USF star Dom Dwyer is on the bench today for the US on his return to Tampa, while former Rowdies loanee Justin Morrow earns his second ever international cap.Full Story
8:30 p.m.: What does this result mean for the United States? They'll likely have to win both of their remaining game sto top the group, but have a good chance of putting up a better goal difference than Panama if they can record some more comfortable victories. Of course, with drama in Group A over French Guiana allegedly fielding an ineligible player it's unclear who may await in the next round.
8:28 p.m.: FINAL: Panama 2-1 Nicaragua. Ffor two minutes early in the second half, Nicaragua looked to be approaching their first ever Gold Cup victory, but goals from Torres and Diaz within the next 10 minutes ensured Panama's victory.
8:24 p.m.: Three minutes of time is all that remains.
8:20 p.m.: After bursting runs down the left, Nicaragua wins a free kick just a couple of feet from the corner of the box. Copete's powerful free kick is right at Calderon, but too powerful for him to hold on to. The ball bounces out to Marlon Lopez, whose deflected shot loops up and onto the roof of the net.
Douglas R. Clifford | Times
Former Gaither standout Drew Doty hit a home run for his first professional hit
Former Gaither standout Drew Doty has had an eventful few weeks. Doty, who was the Times Hillsborough Player of the Year in 2009, made his professional debut on June 26 for the Lancaster (Penn.) Barnstormers of the Atlantic League. On June 27, in his second at bat, Doty recorded his first major league hit, a home run.
Hi stint on the Barnstormers' roster was supposed to be only a few days, but as of Monday he is still on the team. He is hitting .150 in 40 at bats as an outfielder/designated hitter.
After graduating from Gaither, Doty played at St. Petersburg College, Santa Fe College and the University of Tampa. He was undrafted out of high school and college. He signed with the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League in 2015 but tore his labrum before the season started.
Doty worked in a grocery store in Millersville, Pa. before getting the call to fill in for Lancaster.Full Story
MONICA HERNDON | Times
Fort Lauderdale Archbishop McCarthy was forced to forfeit all regular season games and fined by the FHSAA.
Fort Lauderdale Archbishop McCarthy's baseball team has been hit hard by the Florida High School Athletic Association, according to a story in the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. The team was forced to forfeit all 22 regular season wins and pay a fine of $15,947 for using three ineligible players. However, those players were not used in postseason games, which means the state title the Mavericks won over Jesuit in the Class 6A final in June will stand.
Archbishop McCarthy, which has won seven of the past eight Class 6A championships, has also been placed on probation. The Mavericks were 29-2 overall and were named the top team in the nation by Maxpreps.
The FHSAA investigation began in February after it was tipped off about three players who received impermissable benefits. Here are details about the story.Full Story
Jon Halapio started every game of the 2011 and 2012 seasons at right guard for the Florida Gators and was named a team captain for 2013, appearing in 10 games.
Jon Halapio, St. Petersburg Catholic High School grad and current New York Giants offensive lineman, is returning to his former high school to host a free, one-day, non-contact youth football program for 8-12 year-old children on Saturday.
"I'm so excited to be hosting my first football camp this weekend, in my hometown of St. Petersburg," Halapio said in a news release. "Football has played an integral role in virtually every stage of my life. Few environments can teach a child major life skills — like leadership, teamwork, patience, fortitude, and character — like the game of football.
"For me, that age range (8-12 years old) is such an impressionable window for young kids and if we can just use football to reach and connect with them about these valuable life lessons, then that's certainly a scenario where everybody wins — the kids, the families, the schools, and the community as a whole. In the end, that's really the goal of my program." …Full Story
Tampa Bay Times
Wiregrass Ranch's Jordan Miner catches a pass against Wharton
Wiregrass Ranch defensive back Jordan Miner said Thursday that he was committing to Penn State.
Miner made his announcement on Spectrum Sports. He chose the Nitany Lions over Florida, Maryland, Oregon and Tennessee.
A four-star recruit, Miner is ranked among the top 50 players in the state. He had 29 offers before whittling his list down to a top five.
Last year, Miner had 38 tackles, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal. He led the Bulls to a playoff appearance as a district runnerup.
Penn State currently has two players on the roster from the Tampa Bay area -- receiver Cody Hodgens (Robinson) and defensive back Amani Oruwariye (Gaither). Full Story
As one of the top recruits in college basketball, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox gets showered with plenty of attention. Most of it is good, but some of it is not so good, as this story points out: http://www.dailycommercial.com/sports/20170702/top-high-school-recruits-feel-backlash-after-picking-school.
Knox, a 6-foot-9 forward, was recruited by all of the top schools in the country and narrowed his list down to Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Missouri and Florida State. He chose Kentucky, which didn’t sit well with some fans from other schools.
His twitter page was full of positive comments, but there were others who were downright nasty. “Hope you tear your ACL,’’ said one commenter. “What a joke! Another corrupt player to a corrupt program???,’’ said another.
Guess that’s just the way it is in the age of social media.Full Story
Special to the Times
Former Countryside standout Melanie Margalis is on the US National Team
A pair of Countryside swimming standouts, past and present, will represent the U.S. National Team at the FINA World Championships July 14-30 in Budapest.
Melanie Margalis, who graduated from Countryside in 2010, won the 200 IM in 2 minutes, 9.57 seconds at the U.S. National Championships. Her time ranks as the third-fastest in the world this year.
Margalis won a gold medal in the 4x200 meter relay at the Rio Olympics after swimming a leg in the preliminaries. She also took fourth in the 200 IM in Rio.
This week, she secured a spot on the U.S. 4x200 relay thanks to her third-place finish in the 200 free at the national meet.
Margalis swam for the Cougars from 2006-09 and won the state title in the 200-yard IM three times, including a state-record time of one minute, 57.07 seconds in '09, a mark that still stands. She went on to swim for the University of Georgia.
Robert Finke, a rising senior at Countryside, made the team after taking second in the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:01.31 at the national meet.
The field in the 1500 was wide open with no Olympians or national team members in the finals. True Sweester, a sophomore at Stanford, won in 14:59.73. …Full Story
The Tampa Bay area has become a prime destination for college softball recruiters, especially underclassmen and middle schoolers.
That talent was on display this week at the Colorado Fireworks Tournament in Denver. The Tampa Mustangs had a pair of 14U teams that advanced to the championship game of their power pool.
In the all-Tampa final, the Mustangs-TJ beat the Mustangs-Hennigar 8-5. The game was televised on ESPN 3.
Jenna Lord, an incoming freshman at Sunlake, hit three homers in the title game, including a three-run shot in the first inning. Admiral Farragut sophomore Krystina Hartley hit a solo homer for the Mustangs-Hennigar.
The two teams were the only ones from the bay area selected for the 48-team field in that age bracket. The players will all be freshmen and sophomores this year. Full Story
Eve Edelheit, Times
Former Plant star Kyle Tucker is playing the Futures Game
The bay area will be well represented at the Futures All-Star Game, scheduled July 9 at Miami’s Marlins Park as part of Major League Baseball’s all-star festivities.
Former Plant standout Kyle Tucker and former Lakewood star Bo Bichette were selected Thursday for the U.S. team.
Tucker was the fifth overall selection by the Astros in the 2015 amateur draft. After hitting .288 with four home runs and 43 RBIs in 48 games for Advanced Class A Bouie Creek, Tucker was promoted to Corpus Christi in the Class AA Texas League. In 25 games at Corpus Christi, Tucker is hitting .257 with six homers and 17 RBIs.
Bichette, selected in the second round (66th overall) by Toronto in last year’s amateur draft, plays for the Lansing Lugnuts and leads the Class A Midwest League in hitting (.402 average), slugging percentage (.638) and is second in RBIs (47).
The Futures Game, which features the top U.S. and international minor league players, starts at 4 p.m. and will be televised on the MLB Network.
Tampa Bay Times
Former Lakewood standout Bo Bichette
Bo Bichette's rapid ascension up the Toronto Blue Jays’ organizational ladder is due in large part to his hitting ability.
The former Lakewood High standout, who was selected in the second round (66th overall) by Toronto in last year’s amateur draft, started the season as the Blue Jays’ fifth-best prospect and one of the top 100 overall according to Baseball America.
A promotion, as well as a rise in the rankings, could come for Bichette considering the numbers he is putting up for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Class A Midwest League.
Bichette leads the league in hitting (.398 average), slugging percentage (.622) and is second in RBIs (46). Last week, he went 7-for-8 in a doubleheader to raise his batting average to .400.
Bichette has impressive baseball bloodlines. His father is former major leaguer Dante Bichette and his brother, Dante Bichette Jr., is in the Yankees’ organization.
Last year, Bichette was named the Florida Dairy Farmer’s Mr. Baseball and was the Gatorade state player of the year after hitting .569 with 13 home runs. …Full Story
Even though former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox left the USA Basketball U19 tryouts due to a hamstring injury, he still made quite an impression on coach John Calipari.
"There were times I just shook my head and said, ‘Wow,'" Calipari said Monday during an SEC basketball teleconference.
Calipari was coaching Knox at the tryouts, and he'll coach Knox this season, too, at Kentucky, where Knox might be Calipari's latest one-and-done Wildcat. Calipari said Knox was one of the best three or four players auditioning for the national team, but his health wasn't worth risking.
"It's not worth it," Calipari said.
The injury deprives Calipari and Knox of three extra weeks to work together, as Calipari will with Wildcats PJ Washington and Hamidou Dialloo. Regardless, Calipari has high expectations for Knox this season.
"The three or four days I spent with Kevin were great," Calipari said. "He's going to be terrific. He is really good."Full Story
Cloe Poisson, Hartford Courant
North Florida's Dallas Moore playing against UConn this season.
Dallas Moore could make history. The 6-foot-1 guard has a chance to become the first player from North Florida selected in the NBA draft. The former Boca Ciega standout also could be the first bay area player drafted since John Henson (Sickles/North Carolina) was taken in the first round in 2012.
Moore, however, will not be glued to the television. In fact, Moore said he will most likely be working out at Eckerd College during the draft.
The guard, who has already graduated, is not projected to go in the NBA’s two-round draft. He will most likely will have to sign as a free agent and play well in the summer league and training camp to make a roster.
“I won't be nervous,” Moore said. “I’m not too concerned about getting drafted. If it happens it happens that's just a blessing from God. Summer league is the goal so as long as that happens I'm excited because it's another opportunity for me to showcase my talents.”
Throughout his basketball career, Moore had to prove his worth. He was an unheralded college prospect who was overlooked and ultimately discarded by most big-time Division I college programs. …Full Story
Loren Elliott, Times staff photographer
Kevin Knox at McDonald's All-American Game.
For the past two years, Kevin Knox led USA Basketball’s junior national teams to world titles.
The opportunity for a third was cut short Wednesday after Knox tweaked his hamstring during tryouts for the U19 team.
Knox, a former Tampa Catholic standout who is entering his freshman season at Kentucky, was encouraged by Wildcats coach John Calipari to return to Lexington to heal.
“Kevin Knox is going to be fine with some rest, but he and I talked and thought it was in his best interest not to push it,” Calipari said on his Twitter account. “He’s too important to our season to push it and aggravate it more.
“My suggestion was that he go back to Lexington to rest it and focus on class, which he is. But he was great this week at USA Basketball’s training camp. Proud of him.”
Knox, a 6-foot-9 forward, stood out in tryouts. He was a finalist and one of the favorites to make the team.
If he made it, Knox would have played in Egypt, the fourth continent in his basketball travels over the past two years. He won world titles in Argentina (2015) and Spain (2016). Full Story