CALUMET COLLEGE'S ERIC JOHNSON 3-1 ON FIRST DAY AT NATIONALS: Calumet College’s Eric Johnson (197 pounds), a Highland graduate, was 3-1 in the opening day at the NAIA National Championships.
Johnson won his first match 5-3, then was pinned in the round of 16. He then pinned Great Falls’ Dylan Lemery in 48 seconds and earned an 11-7 decision over Lindsey Wilson’s Jacob Bradford.
SSC ADVANCES TO REGION IV-A SEMIFINALS: Bryce Walker (E.C. Central) led four players in double figures with 20 points as South Suburban College defeated Wright 98-73 in Thursday's NJCAA Region IV playoff.
Kadeem Thornton added 18; Michael Harris (E.C. Central) had 16, and Michael Lee (T.F. South) scored 14.
The Bulldogs will face the Carl Sandburg-Black Hawk East winner at 4 p.m. Sunday in the semifinals.
HOBART'S LEATH COMMITS TO INDIANA NORTHWEST: Caitlin Leath (Hobart) has committed to Indiana Northwest. The 6-foot-1 center averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds as a senior.
DUNCAN LEADS VU ROUT: Brittany Duncan was 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs to lead Valparaiso to a 16-1, five-inning victory over UNC Wilmington on Friday at the Buccaneer Invitational in Charleston, S.C.
Kaitlyn Ranieri (Lake Central) was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored; Angie Doeffler was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and three runs scored, and Janelle Bouchard was 2-for-4 with a solo home run for the Crusaders (4-5). Taylor Weissenhofer (2-2) allowed two hits and had seven strikeouts.
SAMARDZIJA PITCHES 3 INNINGS IN CUBS' LOSS: Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija pitched out of enough trouble to get through three innings with the lead in Chicago's 6-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday.
Samardzija — a candidate to start opening day at Pittsburgh on April 1 — walked three, including two when he loaded the bases with none out in the second inning, was making his second spring start and became the first Cubs pitcher to get through three innings.
"Hopefully, I can just keep doing my work and see what happens," said Samardzija, a Valparaiso High School graduate. "Today the splitter was a little off, but I thought I got some good work in and they put some good at-bats out there. I got out of a couple jams, and that felt good, too."
MCILROY LEAVES; GUTHRIE LEADS: Luke Guthrie had the best round of the tournament. He is in the lead going into the weekend at the Honda Classic. And hardly anyone noticed.
Not on a day when defending champion Rory McIlroy walked off the course in the middle of his round. He told reporters he was "not in a good place mentally," and then released a statement saying his wisdom tooth was sore.
Tiger Woods was in danger of missing the cut, only to make a birdie and a tough par to barely make it.
And if that wasn't enough, Camilo Villegas went from first-to-worst. After opening with a 64, he was 13 shots worse Friday and became the first player in two years on the PGA Tour to go from leading to missing the cut.
MARTIN TO START UP FRONT AT PHOENIX: Mark Martin will be on the pole at Phoenix International Raceway for the second straight year after becoming the second-oldest pole-sitter in NASCAR history.
Martin went around PIR's mile oval at a speed of 138.075 mph on Friday to earn his 56th career pole a week after finishing third in the Daytona 500.
Martin turned 54 in January, leaving him a few months short beating Harry Gant as the oldest driver to win a Sprint Cup pole. Gant was 54 when he won his last pole at Bristol in 1994.
Around the horn
The Bears have placed a franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton. General Manager Phil Emery said the team will work with Melton to reach a multi-year agreement. The deadline for reaching a contract agreement is July 15. If an agreement isn't reached, Melton will play next season for $8.45 million. ... The Colts have given punter Pat McAfee the franchise tag, meaning he will be paid $2.977 million this season if he doesn't reach a long-term contract with the team. ... Paul George had 22 points and 10 rebounds; David West had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 93-8. ... Chris Sale struck out three over 2 1/3 scoreless innings in his spring training debut as the White Sox lost to the Cleveland Indians 9-7.