U.S. STEEL WILL KEEP NAME ON RAILCATS' STADIUM: U.S. Steel Corp. and the RailCats announced that their partnership to keep the Gary steel manufacturer's name on the stadium will continue for another 10 years.
U.S. Steel first put its name on the stadium when the park opened in 2003, the second year of the independent league baseball team. Tabbed U.S. Steel Yard, the company was eager to maintain the relationship when the original deal expired at the end of the 2012 American Association, said Al Spajer, manager of employee relations for U.S. Steel.
"We've been here from Day 1, arm and arm with the RailCats, so just as happy as they are to have us, we're happy to have them," Spajer said. "I'm not going to say it was a no-brainer, but it was destined to happen, so we're very happy to support the RailCats in years 11 to 20."
RailCats general manager Kevin Spudic said that the Gary Baseball Foundation that was created with the original contract in 2005 would not receive funds under this contract. He added that this agreement includes community outreach projects that would partner the RailCats and U.S. Steel.
Also on Wednesday, Salvi Sports Enterprises LLC, the company that owns and operates the RailCats, named Pete Laven as its president. Laven, most recently the general manager of the Arkansas Travelers, a Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, will oversee all three teams owned by Pat Salvi and Salvi Sports. !~ Hillary Smith
For more on the RailCats, go to nwi.com/sports.
SOX FALL TO ARIZONA: Ryan Court hit a tiebreaking two-run single against Dylan Axelrod in the eighth inning to lift the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 4-2 victory over the White Sox.
Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy allowed a home run to Jordan Danks, who continued his torrid pace with two hits.
LUNSFORD NAMED NEW LAKE STATION COACH: Rich Lunsford was influenced greatly by his high school football coach, Kirk Kennedy. The 1998 Lowell grad knew what he wanted to do with his life playing for Kennedy's Red Devils.
That dream came true Wednesday night when Lunsford was approved by the Lake Station administration to become the Eagles' coach.
Lunsford replaces Mike Hepp, who was 29-63 in nine years at Lake Station in two coaching tenures. Hepp's contract was not renewed after a 2-8 campaign last fall.
"(Kennedy) has a great influence on me in regards to football and life," Lunsford said. "He was a great motivator who talked about hard work and responsibility. That's what I want to bring to Lake Station." !~ Steve Hanlon
For more on Lake Station football, go to nwi.com/sports.
IIAA HONORS FOUR LOCALS: Four locals recently received District 1 honors by the Indiana Interscholastic Administration Association.
Merrillville assistant athletic director Amy Beckham was named High School Athletic Administrator of the Year; Merrillvile Pierce's Jeff Fairbairn was recognized as the Middle School/Junior High Athletic Administrator of the Year; LaPorte's Ron "Froggy" Ludwig received the Distinguished Service Award, and LaPorte athletic director Ed Gilliland received the Charles F. Mass Distinguished Service Award.
DUCKS RALLY PAST HAWKS: Ryan Getzlaf set up Bobby Ryan's tying goal and Teemu Selanne's tiebreaker 1:04 apart late in the third period, and the Anaheim Ducks rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night in a meeting of the NHL's top two teams.
Jonas Hiller stopped 22 shots, and Peter Holland and Sheldon Souray scored as the Ducks extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games in dramatic fashion.
Anaheim (22-3-4) pulled within three points of Chicago atop the overall NHL standings by dealing the Blackhawks just their third regulation loss of the season.
Nick Leddy scored a power-play goal and captain Jonathan Toews scored an early short-handed goal for the Blackhawks (24-3-3), who lost in regulation after entering the third period with a lead for the first time in 19 games this season.
JAMES MADISON ADVANCES IN NCAA TOURNAMENT: A.J. Davis, who stepped in as a starter because James Madison's leading scorer was suspended for a half, led the way with 20 points as the Dukes beat LIU Brooklyn 68-55 In the First Four.
The Dukes (21-14) advance to meet top-seeded Indiana (27-6) on Friday night.
LA SALLE OUTSHOOTS BOISE: Tyrone Garland led La Salle's guard-driven offense with 22 points, and the Explorers wrapped up the NCAA tournament's First Four by getting the better of an old-fashioned shootout, beating Boise State 80-71.
The 13th-seeded Explorers (22-9) play fourth-seeded Kansas State on Friday.
Ramon Galloway, one of the Atlantic 10's top scorers, added 21 points in a fast-paced offense that did pretty much whatever it wanted.
Thirteenth-seeded Boise State (21-11) got its first at-large bid and was looking for the first NCAA tournament win in its history.
INDIANA STATE LOSES IN NIT: Devyn Marble scored 24 points; Aaron White added 11 with 13 rebounds, and Iowa cruised past Indiana State 68-52 in the opening round of the NIT.
Justin Gant had 16 points to lead Indiana State (18-15), which was playing in the NIT for the first time since 1978.
Around the horn
The Bears signed defensive end Turk McBride to a one-year contract on Wednesday. The 6-foot-2, 278-pound McBride has appeared in 66 games with 24 starts over six seasons. ... NFL owners have passed a player safety rule barring ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make contact with a defender in the open field. The tuck rule, one of the most criticized rules in pro football, was eliminated. Now, if a quarterback loses control of the ball before he has fully protected it after opting not to throw, it is a fumble.