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Astros win first World Series championship in franchise history

Staff Contributor



LOS ANGELES | The Houston Astros, powered by a record-equaling home run by George Springer won the World Series for the first time on Wednesday with a 5-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deciding Game 7.

George Springer belted his fifth home run of the Series as the Astros roughed up Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish, who endured his second nightmare start of the Series.

He surrendered five runs in 1 2/3 innings as the Dodgers fell into a hole they wouldn’t climb out of.

A day after the Dodgers forced a decisive game seven, the Astros won their first Major League Baseball crown since their inception in 1962 – an especially emotional victory for Houston fans wearied by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

“That (Houston Strong) patch on our chest truly does mean a lot to us,” Springer said. “I’m so happy for our fans who endured a lot.

Added Astros manager A.J. Hinch: “Houston, we’re a championship city. This team loves playing in Houston and we’re going to love bringing this trophy back to Houston.

“We take great pride in being there for Houston,” Hinch said. “They responded by falling in love with this team.”

The Astros’ four-games-to-three triumph denied the Dodgers a seventh title and a first since their last appearance in the Fall Classic in 1988.

With everything on the line and Darvish once again ineffective, the Dodgers turned to left-handed pitching ace Clayton Kershaw in the third inning.

The three-time Cy Young award winner kept the Astros in check over four solid innings.

But the Dodgers, who led the major leagues with 104 regular-season wins, just couldn’t put runs on the board.

The Astros were already 3-0 up when Springer hit his fifth home run of the Series, a two-run blast to center field that made it 5-0 and chased Japan’s Darvish with two outs in the second.

Springer’s five homers tied the record held by Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley and boosted him to World Series Most Valuable Player honours.

Houston Astros fans after after beating LA Dodgers in Game 7 – TheSource

“This is for my teammates,” Springer said. “I wouldn’t be here without any of you guys.

“This is a dream come true,” he added. “It’s an honor. But it’s about the Houston Astros tonight and our fans. We’re coming home a champion, Houston.”

Springer’s homer pushed the Astros’ tally for the Series to 15, breaking the World Series record of 14 set by San Francisco Giants in 2002.

It was part of a three-run second that saw Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers drive in Houston’s third run with a groundout that plated Brian McCann, who was walked by Darvish to open in the frame.

Marwin Gonzalez followed McCann with a double and scored on Springer’s homer.

It was the end of another dismal World Series start for Darvish, who had lasted just 1 2/3 innings in a game three won by Houston.

McCullers lasted a bit longer – 2 1/3 innings – giving up three hits but no runs.

McCullers, at 24 the youngest pitcher to start a World Series game seven since 24-year-old John Lackey for the Angels in 2002, also hit four batters – the most ever in a World Series game.

Springer had led off the first inning with a double off Darvish.

Alex Bregman came up next and reached second on a throwing error by Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger that allowed Springer to score. Bregman scored on Jose Altuve’s ground out.

Darvish induced a ground out from Carlos Correa before a dramatic at-bat by Yuli Gurriel, who was again greeted by a rain of boos after his racially charged gesture directed at Japan’s Darvish in game three.

As the jeers echoed around the stadium, Gurriel tipped his helmet to Darvish, who needed 13 pitches to retire the Cuban.

Chris Taylor matched Springer’s lead-off double in the bottom of the first. But after Lance McCullers Jr. loaded the bases by hitting Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig he escaped by inducing an inning-ending groundout from Joc Pederson.

The Dodgers also left runners on base in the second, third and fifth before Andre Ethier’s single off Astros reliever Charlie Morton scored Pederson, who had singled to lead off the sixth.

The Astros claimed the title 12 years after being swept by the Chicago White Sox in their only prior World Series appearance.

“We were able to accomplish the dream,” said Houston shortstop Carlos Correa, adding his thoughts were with fans in Houston and his own storm ravaged native Puerto Rico.

“To be able to bring joy and happiness to their lives is special in this moment.”

Watch the final moment below…

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United Premier Soccer League Announces Springfield FC as Midwest Conference Expansion Team

Staff Contributor



The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) is excited to announce Springfield FC as a new member starting with the 2019 Spring Season.

Based in Springfield (Ill.), Springfield FC begins UPSL Pro Premier play in the Midwest Conference, and will host its home matches at SASA Complex (4600 11th Street, Springfield, IL 62703) in compliance with UPSL’s Minimum Standards.

United Premier Soccer League Commissioner Yan Skwara said, “We are pleased to welcome Springfield FC to the UPSL. We’ve experienced tremendous growth in the Midwest Conference in 2018, and the UPSL will continue to drive in quality Midwest clubs into 2019 and beyond. This will improve travel distances between all our Midwest clubs, which is important from a budget standpoint. Springfield FC is a club that will meet UPSL’s Minimum Standards. Owner Frank Rodriguez has maintained a healthy club with the ability to travel and win on the road, and now they’re ready to take the next step and become a member of the fast-growing Pro Development league in America. We wish Springfield FC every success going forward.”

Frank Rodriguez is General Manager and Head Coach of Springfield FC. A native of Honduras, Rodriguez, 35, is an Office Specialist with Illinois Healthcare and Family Services.

Springfield FC General Manager Frank Rodriguez said, “It was time to do it because we’ve been getting some great results lately and we’re ready to step up. Springfield is a great soccer community and I feel like we need a team like this to help promote the quality players because there’s a lot of talent here. The UPSL is a great league with an outstanding front office, and I want to help be a part of building something special.”

Springfield FC has had a successful run as a traveling amateur team since 2011, posting wins over a number of local college programs and even playing recent friendlies against St. Louis Maritsa FC (UPSL) and Joliet United FC (UPSL).

The club soon will announce upcoming tryouts and its game schedule.

About Springfield FC

Springfield FC is an American Soccer club currently based in Springfield, Ill., and a new member of the United Premier Soccer League. Springfield FC plays in the UPSL Pro Premier.

Founded in 2011, Springfield FC can participate in the qualifying rounds for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup through their affiliation and membership with the UPSL, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).

Direct: 217-502-0922
Twitter: @spfldfc

Springfield FC Defeated Joliet United FC (UPSL) 5-1 in their last game before joining the UPSL

United Premier Soccer League

The UPSL was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 170 teams in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. UPSL is the fastest growing Pro Development League in the USA, with 200-plus teams targeted for 2018 Fall Season. Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated, and is responsible for maintaining either UPSL Pro Premier Division or Championship Division minimum standards.

UPSL teams are all eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the leagues affiliation with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).

More information about UPSL can be found at or by following the league on Facebook ( and Twitter (@upslsoccer).

Contact UPSL:
Direct: 310-415-5691

Media Relations:
Dennis Pope
Direct: 951-675-3963

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Jr. Blues

Dallas Stars recall former Jr. Blues goaltender Mike McKenna from their top affiliate team in Texas

Eric Broughton



GK – Mike McKenna pictured with the AHL Texas Stars: a Dallas Stars affiliate team.

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Mike McKenna from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

McKenna, 34, has appeared in 12 games with Texas during the 2017-18 season, earning a 5-5-1 record with an .871 save percentage and a 3.51 goals against average. His five wins this season lead all Texas Stars netminders.

He started his career with the Springfield Jr. Blues for two seasons, and later spent time with Syracuse of the American Hockey League (AHL) during the 2016-17 regular season, posting a 14-15-10 record with a .905 save percentage and a 2.84 goals against average in 40 games played. During the Calder Cup Playoffs, he helped Syracuse reach the Calder Cup Final against Grand Rapids, posting a 13-9 record with a .911 SV% and a 2.68 GAA in 22 games. Over the course of his AHL career, he has appeared in 441 games, registering a 211-168-22 record with a .912 SV% and a 2.72 GAA with 26 shutouts. The netminder has logged a combined 22 NHL games with Tampa Bay, New Jersey, Columbus and Arizona, recording a 5-11-2 record with an .889 SV% and a 3.48 GAA.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound native of St. Louis, Mo. was signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 1, 2017. McKenna was originally selected by Nashville in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft.

Every year, the Springfield Jr. Blues have turned out Division-1 hockey players and since their inception have produced many NHL and professional players. Find their full schedule and get game tickets here:

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Justin Allgaier goes for Xfinity Series title with new crew chief

Eric Broughton



Justin Allgaier will have a new crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.

Veteran car chief Billy Wilburn will call the shots as Allgaier drives for his first career NASCAR title. Jason Burdett has been suspended for the final race because of an unattached brake cooling hose found during inspection after Phoenix.

Allgaier is one of four drivers competing for the Xfinity title. He’ll race against JR Motorsports teammates William Byron and Elliott Sadler and Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric.

Allgaier has two wins (Phoenix Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway), 10 top-5s and 17 top-10 finishes in 32 starts this season.

“I know that we have an extremely good race team and a lot of depth,” Allgaier said. “When you look at other teams that we run against, I think that would be an area that they probably struggle in. I know for us, we’re making the most of the situation that we’re dealt. I feel like for our race team, that’s when we’ve had the best finishes, best runs and really the most confidence going into a weekend. As much as I’m not looking forward to having Jason not there, I’m looking forward to the weekend because I know how strong this team is.”

XFINITY Series Championship 4 field set after Phoenix

Saturday’s Ticket Galaxy 400 at Phoenix Raceway set the XFINITY Series Championship 4 with William Byron, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier and Daniel Hemric. The four drivers will compete for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 18 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). See the NASCAR Full Story

Image courtesy of Justin Allgaier’s Official Facebook Page (HHP/Andrew Coppley)

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