The Canadian Press
Lucas Giolito, Max Fried and Jack Flaherty were teammates nine years ago at Harvard-Westlake, a prestigious prep school in Los Angeles. On Thursday, all three will be opening-day starting pitchers in the major leagues. And they didn’t even win a California state title the year they all played together. “If you point at a particular high school and ask: What is the probability that three baseball players graduating this year will wind up pitching for MLB teams, and get selected to be this year’s starters on opening day? The probability is less than one in a billion,” said James E. Corter, professor of statistics and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “But if you assume that there are maybe 10,000 high schools in the U.S., and elsewhere in the hemisphere that field baseball teams who play at a level that might get them noticed and recruited, the odds that it could happen somewhere, with some high school, rise considerably,” Corter said. “So now we’re talking more like one in 100,000. Still, pretty unusual.” Giolito becomes the first White Sox right-hander to make consecutive opening-day starts since Jaime Navarro in 1997 and ’98 when Chicago opens under new manager Tony La Russa at the Los Angeles Angels, and Flaherty will start his second opener in a row when the St. Louis Cardinals are at the Cincinnati Reds. Fried takes the mound in an opener for the first time when Atlanta plays at Philadelphia. “It’s pretty cool when you know 10% of the league is starting opening day from the same high school,” Giolito said. “We’ve been working together for a long time, pumping each other up. It’s pretty weird and wild. I don’t think that’s ever happened before in any professional sport where you’ve got three guys from the same high school all competing on the big stage.” Flaherty was 6-1 with a 1.77 ERA and a save as a sophomore for the Wolverines and Fried was 8-2 with a 2.02 ERA as a senior. Giolito got hurt early his senior season and finished 2-1 with a 0.84 ERA. Harvard-Westlake’s baseball team went 24-5-1 in 2012 and lost to Valencia 3-1 in the second round of the playoffs. One year later, Flaherty pitched a six-hitter and had an RBI single to beat Marino 1-0 in the 2013 California Interscholastic Federation championship game at Dodger Stadium. “The most fun was getting to go to bed the night before and knowing that I had somebody really good going to the mound the next day. There wasn’t a whole lot of sleepless nights during that that period of our program’s history,” said Matt LaCour, Harvard-Westlake’s baseball coach from 2002-15 and now one of its athletic directors. “It was pretty easy to tell by the time they got into their junior, senior years that they were all going to be the type of high-profile, highly sought-after draft picks that they became. I guess with Jack it was a little bit different than the other two. We weren’t quite sure if he was going to be an offensive player or a defensive player when it came to pro baseball.” Fried first attended Montclair Prep in Van Nuys, then transferred after his school eliminated baseball and other extracurricular activities. Flaherty was entering his sophomore year in 2011-12, considering himself a shortstop, and Giolito was starting his senior season. By 2012, Giolito had reached 100 mph in a winter league game and was projected as a possible No. 1 pick before spraining the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, which led to Tommy John surgery that Sept. 13. “I knew they were going to be successful based on the talent, the work ethic. Did I think that all three of them would be starting opening day? No, I couldn’t imagine that,” said pitching coach Ethan Katz, then with Harvard-Westlake and now starting his first season with the White Sox. Flaherty viewed the others as potential opening-day starters but not himself — because he didn’t foresee his future on the mound. “We definitely knew that Lucas and Max we’re going to start on opening day together at some point, and I think I was the third one that was kind of added to that,” he said. “Those guys have been studs in the last couple of years. It’s fun to be surrounded by guys of that calibre and have relationships with them.” Confidence was not lacking: the trio viewed themselves as future big leaguers. “That’s something that we talked about all the time. We’re going to motivate each other. We’re all going to get to the big leagues. We’re all going to be mainstays in the big leagues,” Giolito said. “For us, that was stuff that we had to talk about because if you set those goals high and you’ve got guys in your corner to motivate you to get there, then they’re much more reachable than if you’re just kind of on your own and hoping and wishing.” And, indeed, all three became first-round draft picks. Fried was selected seventh by San Diego in 2012 and Giolito 16th, while Flaherty was taken 34th by St. Louis in 2014. And all three were bonus babies, with Fried signing for $3 million, Giolito $2,925,000 and Flaherty $2 million Giolito, a 26-year-old right-hander, became an All-Star in 2019. He was 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA last year and is 31-29 in four seasons. Fried, a 27-year-old lefty, went 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA last year, improving to 26-11 in four seasons. He won a Gold Glove and finished fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting. Flaherty, a 25-year-old right-hander, was 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA, leaving his record at 23-22 in four years. During offseasons, Fried and Flaherty still work out at Harvard-Westlake. “I’m really happy and really excited for those guys,” Fried said. “They’ve worked extremely hard to be able to put themselves in that position. To kind of share that and be able to be pitching at the same day as those guys is pretty cool.” ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Ronald Blum, The Associated Press
Rafael Nadal rallies from set down to advance in Barcelona
Top seed Rafael Nadal rallied from a set back to beat Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday in the second round at the Barcelona Open in Spain.
Nadal lost serve in the opening game of the match and wasn’t able to break Ivashka’s serve throughout the first set. He won just 70.6 percent of points on his first serve, was broken twice and had two double faults in an uncharacteristically poor showing on service in the opening set.
By the second set, he had righted his serve, winning 86.7 percent of points on his first serve in the second set and 83.3 percent in the third. He didn’t face a break point in either set.
In other action, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, No. 3 Andrey Rublev of Russia, No. 4 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 6 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada were among those advancing.
No. 9 Fabio Fognini of Italy defaulted for verbal abuse. He was losing 6-0, 4-4 to Zapata Miralles of Spain when the line judge reported him for swearing after a foot fault. He had been warned earlier in the match
Top seed and home-country favorite Novak Djokovic needed just 68 minutes to top South Korean Soon-woo Kwon 6-1, 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals in Belgrade, Serbia.
Djokovic capitalized on five of his eight service break opportunities in the win. In the next round, he’ll meet fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, the eighth seed, who needed three sets to oust Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Also advancing was the No. 2 seed, Matteo Berrettini, who defeated fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Filip Krajinovic beat Nikola Milojevic 6-1, 6-1 in an all-Serb match.
(Field Level Media)
Ice hockey-Women’s world championships cancelled due to COVID-19
(Reuters) -The women’s ice hockey world championships set to be played in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia have been cancelled because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Canada, Hockey Canada said on Wednesday.
The announcement came one day before the 10 teams were to arrive to begin their quarantine ahead of the May 6-16 tournament.
“This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin,” said International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel in a statement.
“We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place. In the end, we must accept the decision of the government.”
The IIHF and Hockey Canada were informed by the Nova Scotia provincial government on Wednesday that the 10-country tournament could not go ahead due to safety concerns associated with COVID-19.
Still the news came as a shock after Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer had 24 hours earlier given the event the thumbs- up.
“At five o’clock this morning we were full go and at 7:30 am we were not,” explained Hockey Canada chief executive officer Tom Renney. “That is the way the world is right now and there is only so much we can control.
“At the end of the day there is a bigger game than the one we play here and quite honestly it is about the safety of the general public.”
The cancellation was another blow for the women’s game that has endured a number of recent setbacks, including the folding of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
It was also the second consecutive year the Nova Scotia world championships have been stopped by COVID-19.
“Definitely, a little bit of disbelief, a little shock, a lot of emotion,” said Canadian coach Gina Kingsbury, who pulled some players off the ice to deliver the bad news. “This is a group that has been through a lot this past year and two years so they are definitely familiar with disappointing news.”
Both the IIHF and Hockey Canada indicated they plan to play the world championships this year, possibly this summer, in Canada.
“Our intention, and that of the IIHF, is to reconnect with this event as a world championship in 2021 in Canada,” said Renney. “That’s our number one objective. We have every desire to hold this event in Canada.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)
Nick Foligno hopes to make Leafs debut Thursday vs. Jets
Former Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is eyeing Thursday as his potential debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he said on an NHL.com podcast.
The Maple Leafs acquired the left wing on April 11 in a three-team trade with Columbus and the San Jose Sharks, with each team retaining a portion of Foligno’s salary so he can join the North Division leaders for their Stanley Cup pursuit. Toronto visits the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Because he moved from the U.S. to Canada, Foligno was required to quarantine for seven days before joining his new team for practices and games, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
“Seven days of just nothing, and then you jump right into it, it would be nice to probably have a practice, but I rather just that — let’s go,” Foligno said on “The Chirp with Darren Millard.” “I’m here to play for them and get this thing rolling, so I probably prefer just to jump right into it and get going.”
If the Leafs put Foligno in their lineup Thursday at Winnipeg, he’ll get to play against his former Columbus teammate, Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Foligno played eight-plus seasons for the Blue Jackets and his first five NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators. In 950 career games, he has tallied 203 goals and 279 assists.
The Maple Leafs sent their 2021 first-round pick and 2022 fourth-rounder to Columbus and their 2021 fourth-rounder to San Jose in order to add Foligno to their stacked group of forwards, which includes NHL goal-scoring leader Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Mitch Marner.
Foligno’s father, Mike Foligno, was an NHL veteran who played parts of four seasons for the Leafs
(Field Level Media)
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