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Local Sports

  • The middling south

    Now that Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are the first team since the NFC South was established in 2002 to repeat as division champs, they see little reason why they shouldn’t win it again.

    After all, not a single team in the division finished above .500 last season.

    Going 7-8-1 was good enough for the Panthers to finish ahead of Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, and it’s not clear whether any of the teams are much better.

  • Davis gives Orioles win over Rays

    BALTIMORE — Chris Davis homered on a 3-0 pitch from Matt Andriese leading off the 11th inning, and the Baltimore Orioles snapped a six-game losing streak with a 7-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

    It was the second homer of the game for Davis, who has 38 for the season.

  • In-state opener

    ORLANDO  — One byproduct of UCF’s national star rising over the past five seasons is that expectations have gone up along with it.

    For the first time in several years the Knights will open a season unsure of just how far they can go.

    Coach George O’Leary said there are always unknowns with any team entering a season. But he said likes how this group has come together heading into tonight’s opener against FIU.

  • Sports Briefs

    Hurricane golfers grab win in Inverness

    The Crystal River and Dunellon boys golf teams traveled to the Inverness Golf and Country Club to take on Citrus Tuesday where the Hurricanes emerged as victors with a total of 181 — the Pirates finished four strokes back (185) and the Tigers totaled a 224.

  • Arencibia, Smyly carry Rays past struggling Orioles

    BALTIMORE — J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in six runs to back an impressive pitching performance by Drew Smyly, and the Tampa Bay Rays breezed past the free-falling Baltimore Orioles 11-2 Tuesday night.

  • Captain Comeback

    GAINESVILLE — The team captain is now the comeback kid.

    Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison, who injured his left knee in January and needed two surgeries to repair the damage, will play and start Saturday night’s season opener against New Mexico State.

    Coach Jim McElwain said Monday that “it’s unbelievable what he’s done.”

  • Leopards sweep ’Canes

    C.J. Risak

    Correspondent

    INVERNESS — Two teams both planning to be prominent players in the just-starting District 5A-7 volleyball race clashed at Citrus Tuesday. The difference between them: After a somewhat sluggish start by both sides, one was able to get on track.

    That was Brooksville-Hernando.

  • Rays back Archer with 3 HRs

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer pitched six shutout innings, and the Tampa Bay Rays hit three home runs in a 6-3 victory over the fading Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

    Asdrubal Cabrera and Evan Longoria connected off Wei-Yin Chen (8-7), and Tim Beckham added a solo shot against Brad Brach. Logan Forsythe had three hits for the Rays, coming within a home run of the cycle.

  • Friday Night Rewind: Trio open with victories

    Editor’s Note: This high school football package will normally run in Sunday’s edition, but was pushed back this week due to the Seven Rivers rainout on Friday night and not playing until Saturday.

    Dunnellon maintained its upper hand over Crystal River, while Lecanto and Seven Rivers Christian got off to winning starts on a rainy weekend of season debuts in area prep football.

  • Minding the net

    C.J. Risak

    Correspondent

    For Abby Epstein, volleyball was a family legacy.

    “My mom (Colleen Epstein) used to coach volleyball at Lecanto,” the Crystal River middle hitter said. “I used to go to the gym with her. So ever since then I’ve been interested in it.”