Digest for 02-13-14


Wildcats drop out of first place

HOT SPRINGS — Watson Chapel suffered its second straight 5A-South loss to drop into second place in the conference on Wednesday night.

Hot Springs defeated Chapel, 49-43, to jump the Wildcats and move a top the conference standings.

Ben Marcus led Chapel (16-5, 8-2) with 20 points.

Hot Springs avenged a January loss to Chapel in Pine Bluff — its only conference loss — and improved to 12-7 and 7-1 in the 5A-South.

UAM’s McGee to be honored by TD club

MONTICELLO — Arkansas-Monticello freshman kicker Jamie McGee will be among 12 collegiate student athletes representing an Arkansas college or university to be recognized on Thursday night at the annual Little Rock Touchdown Club Awards Banquet, featuring guest speaker Lou Holtz.

McGee has been selected by the LRTDC as UAM’s most valuable player for the 2013 season. The 11 other football playing colleges and universities in the state will also have a representative recognized. In addition, the club will also recognize its special awards winners, including the Cliff Harris Award, the Dan Hampton Award, the Willie Road Award and the Paul Eels Award.

In addition to the college awards presented, the club will also recognize the player and coach of the year for each Arkansas high school classification.

The banquet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Little Rock.


Alcohol available for sale at 2014 UA games

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas will have alcohol available for sale in portions of Razorback Stadium beginning with the 2014 football season.

The Razorbacks announced the decision Wednesday, revealing that Sodexo, Inc., the concessionaire for the program, will sell beer and wine in the east indoor club, south indoor club and indoor dining area of the south outdoor club.

The ability to sell alcohol is still pending approval of a license. But it would make Arkansas the eighth Southeastern Conference school making alcohol available in club areas for an on-campus sporting event.

Sodexo, Inc., has applied for an alcohol license with the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC). It also has submitted applications for Bud Walton Arena and Baum Stadium, but Arkansas said there are no current plans to sell alcohol at those venues.

All beer and wine sales and consumption are restricted to the designated indoor club areas. Those who purchase alcohol in the indoor dining area of the south outdoor club will not be permitted to consume it in the outdoor seating section.

SEC policy does not permit alcohol sales or consumption in outdoor seating sections or other public areas.

Report: Phillies, Burnett agree to one-year deal

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Cole Hamels won’t be ready for the start of the season, but the Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly added an arm to their rotation.

According to multiple reports, the Phillies and right-hander A.J. Burnett have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

The Little Rock native went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA in 30 starts last season with the Pirates. He also led the National League with 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

In 375 career games (370 starts) with the Marlins, Blue Jays, Yankees and Pirates, Burnett is 147-132 with a 3.99 ERA. He won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

Burnett joins Hamels, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick in the Philly rotation.


Rams name Williams defensive coordinator

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams named Gregg Williams defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Williams, who replaces Tim Walton, spent the 2013 season with the Tennessee Titans, where he served as a senior assistant/defense. The Titans made great strides defensively last season, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in total defense.

Walton was fired at the end of the season. His defense gave up 364 points last season, 13th in the NFL. It ranked 19th against the pass and ninth against the run.

Williams and head coach Jeff Fisher have previous experience working together as Williams was on Fisher’s staff for six seasons with the Titans/Oilers, including four as defensive coordinator.

Williams was the defensive coordinator in New Orleans from 2009-11. He was suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in Bountygate.

Berkman, Oswalt to retire as Astros on April 5

HOUSTON — Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt will sign one-day contracts and retire as Astros on April 5.

The team will celebrate the outstanding careers of Berkman and Oswalt with a special pregame ceremony prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The ceremony will include retirement gifts and several of Berkman and Oswalt’s former teammates and family members, the team said in a statement on Wednesday.

Berkman spent 12 of his 15 seasons in an Astros uniform. The six-time All-Star and Texas native finished his career with 366 home runs and 1,234 RBI in 1,879 games with the Astros, Yankees, Cardinals and Rangers.

Oswalt broke into the majors with the Astros in 2001, racking up a 14-3 record with a 2.73 ERA. He stayed with Houston until 2010, when he was traded midseason to the Philadelphia Phillies.

He accumulated a career record of 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA in 365 games (341 starts). The three-time All-Star led the National League with 20 wins in 2004 and led the majors with a 2.98 ERA in 2006.

Grizzlies beat Magic, lose Gasol

ORLANDO, Fla. — Zach Randolph scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to an 86-81 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Courtney Lee added 17 points while Tayshaun Prince and Nick Calathes finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively, for the Grizzlies, winners in three of their last four games.

Nikola Vucevic had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Tobias Harris finished with 13 points and seven boards for the Magic, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol left in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury.

Gasol, who missed 23 games earlier this season after injuring the same knee, banged knees with Magic guard Jameer Nelson and fell to the ground in obvious pain. He eventually limped off the court and to the locker room.


UNC-Duke postponed by snow

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Wednesday’s game between No. 8 Duke and rival North Carolina has been postponed due to a severe winter storm in the Chapel Hill area.

The game will be made up on Thursday, Feb. 20 at a yet-to-be determined time.

Broncos give Elway three-year extension

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos have rewarded executive vice president of football operations John Elway with a three-year contract extension.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the new deal will carry the Hall of Fame quarterback through the 2017 season. He was also given the added title of general manager.

Elway, who took the Broncos to a pair of Super Bowl titles in his final two years as a player, became the head of football operations in January 2011 and this year built a Broncos team that reached the Super Bowl for the first time since he was under center after the 1998 season.

Since Elway took over in the front office, the Broncos are one of just five teams to make the postseason in each of the last three years. The club has the third-most wins in that span and has captured a trio of AFC West titles.