Local Sports

  • Bucs take lesson from King of Pop

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gathered for the start of their first training camp under Lovie Smith, a self-proclaimed fan of Michael Jackson’s music.

    The struggling franchise’s new coach inherited a team that went 4-12 and missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season in 2013.

    Six months later, Smith is drawing from the theme of one of the King of Pop’s big hits to set the tone for what he hopes will be a breakthrough year for the team.

  • Banned Blackmon back at it

    JACKSONVILLE — Justin Blackmon, of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been arrested in Oklahoma on a complaint of marijuana possession after already being suspended. 

    Blackmon, a former standout receiver at Oklahoma State, was arrested Wednesday evening in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond. Police said they noticed his sedan go around stopped traffic in an attempt to get into a turn lane.

  • Nibali wins Stage 18, closes in on Tour victory

    ARGELES-GAZOST, France — Vincenzo Nibali crushed everyone on the last mountain leg of the Tour de France on Thursday, all but ensuring he will be crowned champion when the race ends in Paris in three days.

    On the last big climb of Stage 18, the Italian broke out of the peloton, chased down breakaway riders, and rode solo in front for the last five miles uphill.

  • Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    MONTREAL — Tim Petrovic and Michael Putnam shared the first-round lead in the Canadian Open on Thursday, shooting 6-under 64 in sunny, breezy afternoon conditions at rain-softened Royal Montreal.

    The 47-year-old Petrovic was the last player to get in the field, grabbing a spot when Benjamin Alvarado withdrew Tuesday.

  • Resurgence continues as Rays blank Cards

    ST. LOUIS — Alex Cobb struck out 10 and drove in a run with his first major league hit, leading Tampa Bay to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night, the Rays’ seventh straight win.

    Cobb (6-6) blanked the Cardinals on five hits over seven innings. It was the fourth time he has thrown at least seven innings without an earned run this season. Cobb missed 50 games last season with a concussion after he was hit near the right ear by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer.

  • Smith confident Bucs can make quick turnaround

    TAMPA - Lovie Smith talks about making the Tampa Bay Buccaneers relevant again.

    And the third coach the struggling franchise has hired to try to end a playoff drought that’s grown to six seasons doesn’t think it will take nearly as long as last year’s 4-12 finish might suggest.

    Smith not only has a proven track record as an NFL head coach, but inherited a talented nucleus the club began accumulating under Raheem Morris and later Greg Schiano, who was fired after going 11-21 during a tumultuous two-year stint.

  • Inverness Seniors finish 0-2 at state softball

    The Inverness All-Stars Senior softball team went 0-2 on Saturday at the State Tournament in Plant City to wrap up a successful season.

    Inverness opened pool play with a 13-6 loss to South Putnam and then fell 11-0 to eventual state champion DeFuniak Springs.

    DeFuniak Springs hammered East Orange 9-2 Sunday in the state title game.

  • Inverness, Dunnellon fall in Section 7 title games

    It was a rough day for area Little League baseball teams Sunday at Clearwater, as the Inverness Junior squad and Dunnellon 11-12 Major team both lost out on chances to advance to their respective state tournaments.

    In Junior baseball action, Inverness lost 8-6 to Citrus Park.

  • Third time a charm for Neumann

    INVERNESS — The third time proved a charm for Herb Neumann Jr. The veteran Late Model champion from Inverness, who’s splitting his time with sprint cars this year, found the right formula for his No. 98 to notch his first Super Late Model win of the season in Saturday’s 50-lap headline feature at the Citrus County Speedway in Inverness.

  • Tampa Bay finishes off road sweep of Twins

    MINNEAPOLIS — James Loney had two hits and two RBIs and Chris Archer won consecutive decisions for the first time this season as the Tampa Bay Rays won their fifth straight with a 5-3 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

    Archer (6-5) pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on six hits while walking two and striking out four. Rookie Kirby Yates got two outs in the ninth for his first career save.