Thursday April 18th Local Sports

BALTIMORE (AP) — Cedric Mullins hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Baltimore Orioles a 4-2 victory over Minnesota and a three-game sweep of the Twins. Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Santander also went deep Wednesday for the Orioles, their fifth straight game with at least three home runs. Baltimore had a streak that long only twice before in franchise history, in 1996 and 1987. Pablo López allowed a leadoff homer to Henderson in the first but was outstanding after that. He exited after six innings and 87 pitches, having allowed a run and two hits with seven strikeouts.




INDIANAPOLIS — Former Iowa star Caitlin Clark says the chance to join the Indiana Fever was part of her decision to forgo an additional year at Iowa. The Fever made the two-time national player of the year the first pick in Monday’s WNBA Draft. Clark was introduced Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Clark feels Indianapolis is a perfect fit for her and goes beyond what she hopes to accomplish on the court.

Clark led the nation in scoring and assists this past season at Iowa and knows there will be an adjustment to the WNBA.

Clark has spearheaded record ratings and crowds at the collegiate level and accepts the pressure that comes with it.

Clark joins a young but talented Indiana roster that is hungry for success. The Fever have not made the playoffs since 2016.

Besides starting her pro career Clark also hopes to be named to the U-S team that will compete in the Olympics in Paris.

Indiana has their first exhibition game on May 3rd against the Dallas Wings in Texas. They open the season May 14th at Connecticut.




IOWA CITY — While Caitlin Clark is gone, the University of Iowa appears to have landed the nation’s third-best scorer from this past season. 5-9 guard Lucy Olsen, who played at Villanova, announced on social media that she is now an Iowa Hawkeye. Olsen averaged 23.3 points per game this past season, trailing Clark and Southern Cal’s Juju Watkins. Olsen was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press and won the Big East’s most improved player award and made the conference’s all-conference first team.



MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings continue with voluntary off-season workouts this week at team headquarters in the Twin Cities. One of the players in the weight room has been star tight end T-J Hockenson, who is recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered in a game last year on December 24th against Detroit. Hockenson, a former Hawkeye standout, says rehab has been going well on his surgically-repaired knee.

He says he continues to work hard to get the knee ready to play and would not put a timetable on when he would be ready to play in a game. The Chariton, Iowa product also says he isn’t sure of the solution, but he was not totally happy with the hit he took from Kerby Joseph, who went low to make the tackle, chopping at his knee, which caused the injury.

Hockenson says he doesn’t think there was intent to injure, but he would have preferred to have been tackled higher on his body. Hockenson says he isn’t sure what the solution is on low hits, as the league also doesn’t want hits around the head and neck.

Hockenson says things are on a great path on his road to recovery after his surgery.

Hockenson has started his seventh year in the league, but the most likely scenario seems to have Hockenson making his 2024 debut sometime after the opener.



DES MOINES — Drake football coach Todd Stepsis says the Bulldogs are using a new motto during spring drills. After going a combined 5-17 in 2021 and 2022 the Bulldogs used “be the change” as inspiration and they responded by going 8-0 in winning the Pioneer Football League title and advancing to the FCS playoffs. Their new motto is “raise the bar”.

Stepsis says with a team loaded with veterans he is confident the Bulldogs will be able to handle success.

Stepsis says a battle-scarred senior class is the strength of the team.

Stepsis feels that experience helped the Bulldogs excel in close games. Drake won six PFL games last season by a touchdown or less.

Drake’s spring game is Saturday.




ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild signed goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to a one-year, $2.5 million contract extension to bring back the veteran for his age-40 season. Fleury turns 40 on Nov. 28. He has had a prolific season in which he passed Patrick Roy for second place behind Martin Brodeur on the NHL’s all-time list in career goaltending wins. Brodeur with 691 is still 130 ahead of Fleury. The Wild also have goalie Filip Gustavsson under contract for two more seasons on a $3.75 million salary cap charge and top prospect Jesper Wallstedt still waiting in the wings.