Tuesday March 21st Local Sports

IOWA CITY — Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Monday as the team prepares to begin spring drills Wednesday. The Hawkeyes lose five starters on offense, three on defense and must find a new punter. Ferentz says the good thing about graduation is that it creates new opportunities for the returning players as they says goodbye to those who graduated. The players have 15 spring practices to show their stuff. “One thing about football, our opportunities to practice football, to be in helmets is so limited. So, be it in the spring and then certainly preseason — those opportunities are very limited. Each and every workout is important, each and every practice, the meetings that we have that go along with it, as well as our strength and conditioning work that continues is very important to the players. And I think they understand that,” Ferentz says. Ferentz says the lines return experience, but they’ll need to find players to complement them. He says they are very young and inexperienced on the perimeter from the receivers to the defensive backs. “I’d throw the quarterback situation right in there with it… we will have a new quarterback, I”m not sure who that’s going to be right now.” Receiver Matt Vandeberg won a redshirt year after being injured last year, but has been sidelined again with another foot injury and will miss the spring practices. Ferentz says it wasn’t a matter of him trying to come back too early. “He really had a chance to play in the bowl game, that thing was well healed when he got back in January. That’s just one of those things that happens occasionally and there’s not much we can do about it,” according to Ferentz. The Hawkeyes announced they will hold an open practice for the fifth year in a row at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines on April 7th. Ferentz says they are excited to go back to central Iowa and says it’s a small way to says thank you to the fans who come from the area to Iowa City in the fall. He says they also decided to move the spring game to Friday night as something the fans might like. Iowa is coming off an 8-5 season where they lost their fifth straight bowl game. They open the 2017 football season September 2nd hosting Wyoming.



ROCK ISLAND, ILLIOIS — Former Mason City High and NIACC pitcher Lexy Pederson has been named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Pitcher of the Week. The junior playing for Augustana College of Rock Island Illinois earned the honors after posting a 5-0 record with an ERA of 0.42 in five starts last week. Pederson fired four shutouts, striking out a total of 20 batters in 33 innings of work, while holding opponents to a .159 batting average. Pederson for the season is 8-3 with a 1.20 ERA, with four complete games, three shutouts and 39 strikeouts.

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) – Max Kepler singled in three at-bats Monday, two days after a scary-looking hand injury as the Minnesota Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2. The right fielder was cut on his right little finger Saturday when Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval inadvertently stepped on him while Kepler was diving back to the bag. Kepler grounded out to first and lined a center-field single off Francisco Liriano. He also struck out against J.P. Howell. Kepler hit .235 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs over 113 games last year during his rookie season. Also, opening day starter Ervin Santana will throw in the bullpen Tuesday following his return from the World Baseball Classic, and will start Friday against Baltimore. Outfielder Robbie Grossman is expected to miss five to seven days with a groin injury.



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves will play two preseason games in China in October. The league said Monday the games will be in Shenzhen on Oct. 5 and Shanghai on Oct. 8 as part of the NBA’s Global Games China series. The Warriors are an excellent draw and should help the league in its effort to further grow the game in China, where basketball already enjoys great popularity. The Timberwolves feature young, marketable stars in Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, a group that has made summer trips to China. The team also has the NBA’s first Chinese minority owner. Shanghai sports marketing executive Lizhang Jiang joined Wolves owner Glen Taylor’s ownership group last summer.

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