NEW YORK (AP) — Mickey Callaway has been fired by the New York Mets after missing the playoffs in both his seasons as manager.

The move Thursday, which was widely expected, comes four days after New York wrapped up an 86-76 season that marked a nine-win improvement over his 2018 debut.

But a strong second half wasn’t enough to save the embattled Callaway, who had one year remaining on his contract. New York went 46-26 following the All-Star break and made an unlikely charge into the National League wild-card race, only to be eliminated during the final week.

The Mets become the seventh team seeking a new manager this offseason, joining the Angels, Cubs, Giants, Padres, Pirates and Royals.

The stadium was packed and the fans energetic to see nationally-known Southern Columbia and its four Big Ten recruits take on state-ranked Wyoming Area.

Wyoming Area didn’t get the outcome it desired — Southern Columbia won 42-0 — but in the long run it was better than the other option.

The Warriors could have stuck to playing their original opponent, Holy Redeemer, but wouldn’t have learned much. It would have been a name-the-score game much like last year when Wyoming Area was up 30-0 after nine minutes and settled for a 43-7 victory.

Southern Columbia offered the Warriors a chance to see weaknesses that wouldn’t have been exposed otherwise. They had to guard receiver Julian Fleming, the Ohio State recruit who moved to the top of the Class of 2020 in ESPN’s prospect rankings. They saw two backs — Michigan-bound Gaige Garcia and his younger brother Gavin — run with elite speed and power.

The Wyoming Area offense had to contend with a pair of linebackers headed to Big Ten programs. Seeing all that talent on tape is one thing; experiencing it live is another.

“You’re stressing all levels of the defense,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said after the loss. “You’re stressing the edges, you’re stressing the back end, you’re stressing the middle. They got all the weapons and extreme talent.

“I’m proud of what we did. We were competing to win, but given the circumstances I’m proud of the way we competed.”

Wyoming Area remains the favorite for the District 2 Class 3A title, but by no means is a championship is rubber-stamped. Lake-Lehman had a 10-point halftime lead vs. the Warriors before falling 35-30. Western Wayne’s only loss is to Valley View, and defending champion Scranton Prep has improved after a shaky start.

• WBA’s Corey Brown. Brown set two program records in a 45-24 victory over Wallenpaupack. He ran for 151 yards and three touchdowns, both records for the first-year Wolfpack.

• Tunkhannock’s Jack Chilson and Jake Frisco. The pitch-catch duo had a big night in a 33-25 loss to North Pocono. Chilson threw for a career-high 463 yards while Frisco caught 15 passes for 237 yards, both also career highs.

• Berwick’s Teagan Wilk. The East Carolina recruit scored via pass, run and interception return in a 42-7 victory over Crestwood.

The Eastern Conference playoffs were once the big prize until the PIAA mandated in 1994 that district playoffs were the only way to qualify for the state tournament.

Since then, the Eastern Conference has become the bridesmaid of the postseason. Its importance dwindled even more when the PIAA expanded to six classifications in 2016 and districts expanded their playoff fields. Now, the Eastern Conference no longer has semifinals and just four championship games in Class 5A/6A, Class 4A, Class 3A and Class A/2A. It also dumped the requirement that a team must have at least a .500 record to qualify. That’s how a two-win Holy Redeemer team played for the EC Class 3A championship in 2017.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported this week that the WPIAL is considering realigning divisions based on regions rather than strictly by classification for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The story cited reasons such as declining attendance, lost rivalries, extensive travel and non-competitive games.

This sounds a lot like when the WVC and Lackawanna Conference merged in 2000 to form the Northeast Pennsylvania Football Conference. The NEPFC was created to have teams in the same classifications in both conference play each other to level the field when it came to determining District 2 playoff qualifiers.

By the second year, cracks jeopardized the stability of the NEPFC and it was dissolved after the 2001 season.

Crestwood’s schedule was an example why the NEPFC was headed for extinction. The Comets played just three WVC schools — Coughlin, Pittston Area and Tunkhannock — and seven games against Lackawanna schools, including long road trips to Delaware Valley and Honesdale.

Southern Columbia running back Gaige Garcia will be heading to Michigan for football and wrestling, making younger brother Gavin the feature back next season. But there are two more Garcia brothers moving through the programs — one is in junior high and the other in elementary school.

Maddon agreed to a three-year deal to become the Los Angeles Angels’ manager on Wednesday, reuniting the World Series-winning former manager of the Chicago Cubs with the organization where he spent the first three decades of his baseball career.

“We are thrilled that Joe is coming back home and bringing an exciting brand of baseball to our fans,” general manager Billy Eppler said. “Every stop he has made throughout his managerial career, he has built a culture that is focused on winning while also allowing his players to thrive. We believe Joe will be a great asset for our club and look forward to him leading the team to another World Series championship.”

The Angels will formally introduce the 65-year-old Maddon at a news conference next week, but he already knows his way around Angel Stadium.

Maddon signed with the Angels as an undrafted catcher in 1975, and he spent the next 31 seasons working at almost every level of the organization as a player, coach and manager. He served as a big league assistant coach under five managers, and he had two stints as the Angels’ interim manager.

He was the Angels’ bench coach alongside manager Mike Scioscia during their championship season in 2002. He left to manage Tampa Bay in 2006 for nine mostly successful seasons, followed by a big-money move to Chicago to make history.

The three-time Manager of the Year left the Cubs by mutual consent last month after they missed the playoffs for the first time in his five-year tenure. He’ll still likely never have to buy a drink in Chicago again because of 2016, when he led the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.

Maddon replaces Brad Ausmus, who was fired after one season when the Angels finished 72-90, their worst record since 1999. Ausmus was abruptly dismissed shortly after Maddon became available, and most observers assumed Angels owner Arte Moreno had his eye on a reunion with Maddon, who was the Angels’ bench coach when Moreno bought the club in 2003.

The Angels also interviewed veteran managers John Farrell and Buck Showalter and Padres hitting coach Johnny Washington for the job, but Maddon was the choice. Maddon was expected to be a valued candidate for other managerial openings around the majors, but he was clearly eager for a reunion.

Maddon kept a home in Long Beach during his 14 seasons away from Anaheim, and he has fond feelings for the organization that gave him his start.

That organization is experiencing hard times: The Angels have endured four straight losing seasons for the first time since the 1970s, and they still haven’t won a playoff game with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on their roster, making just one three-game postseason appearance after winning the AL West in 2014.

The Angels also were rocked this month by revelations about the role of a team employee in procuring opioids for pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found dead in his hotel room July 1.

The problems didn’t deter Maddon from reuniting with the Angels, where he inherits a roster with Trout as its centerpiece. The probable three-time AL MVP is signed to a 12-year, $426.5 million contract that should keep him in Anaheim for the bulk of his career.

The Angels’ starting pitching was easily their biggest weakness in 2019, but the rotation will benefit next season from the return of Shohei Ohtani, the two-way star who spent this year solely as a designated hitter while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Eppler also will attempt to be active in the free agent market to supplement a roster finally starting to bear fruit from Eppler’s years of rehabilitating a barren farm system.

Maddon’s managerial career away from Anaheim began with two losing seasons in Tampa Bay, but has been impressive ever since. The Rays made a 31-game improvement and won the AL pennant in 2008, leading to the first of Maddon’s three Manager of the Year awards.

He had five 90-win teams in Tampa Bay and four more in Chicago, including the 103-win Cubs who went on to that historic World Series victory. Maddon has received praise for his combination of a charismatic, old-school baseball personality and a willingness to adapt to the new world of analytics and statistical decision-making.

Watchilla took advantage of a big break by scoring the tiebreaking goal Tuesday, Hannah Maxwell added a goal and an assist and Sem swept to its third straight Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 title by completing another unbeaten regular season with a 3-1 victory over stubborn Wyoming Area at Klassner Field.

“It’s just an amazing feeling to know you have not lost a game this whole season,” Watchilla, a freshman, said.

The defending PIAA Class A champion Blue Knights extended their league unbeaten streak to 41 consecutive games over four seasons, winning Division 1 championships with a 14-0 record in 2017, a 12-0-1 mark last year and this season’s 13-0 mark.

Sem last lost in WVC play in the second-to-last game of 2016 when Coughlin, now part of the Wilkes-Barre Area sports jointure, pulled out a 2-0 victory at Guthrie Field. The Blue Knights then won the last game of the 2016 regular season and have been unbeatable in league play since.

Wyoming Area, which finished the season at 11-1-1 while hoping for another battle with the Blue Knights in districts, was the only team to blemish Sem’s record during that stretch — as the teams played to a scoreless overtime tie in last year’s regular season finale.

After the ball bounced the opposite way off a Wyoming Area stick, Watchilla suddenly found the ball on hers deep in Wyoming Area territory. She made a quick cut and got off a quicker shot, slamming the go-ahead goal into the cage with 8:04 remaining in the game.

“It was kind of just in the moment,” Watchilla said of her shot. “You don’t have time to think. I just kind of shot. When you get in the circle, your main focus is shooting the ball.”

Her score helped shoot Sem’s home winning streak at Klassner Field to 29 consecutive games — including five straight wins in the District 2 Class A playoffs — and the Blue Knights will get a chance to continue that when they host a district quarterfinal game, likely as the tournament’s top seed, next week.

“Definitely a really big win for us,” Maxwell, a senior, said. “We needed that to prove we belong where we are, not just because we’re Sem. We really earned it today.”

After Lauren Parente got Wyoming Area jumping with the game’s first goal, the Warriors seemed to be carrying most of the momentum at the midway point of the first half.

But Maxwell scored off a penalty corner 13:04 from intermission, helping settle a Blue Knights team that appeared unnerved at times by Wyoming Area’s long, downfield passing.

“They’re a really strong grass team, and they definitely knew how to hit the ball to get it up the field,” Maxwell said. “We weren’t used to that. I think they did a very good job scouting us, we had a lot of man-to-man marks in the circle. It was hard for us to get close to the ball. It was very important to go into the second half at least tied 1-1. That was really big for us.”

With Wyoming Area swarming Sem’s shooters and continually storming into Sem’s end, Watchilla turned the tide with one quick shot.

“We’ve been waiting for her to do that all season,” Wyoming Seminary coach Karen Klassner said. “Being a freshman, she has taken a step back and let the more experienced players take over. We need her to take over.”

And when Maxwell fed fellow senior Alex Wesneski for another goal with 2:31 remaining, all the suspense was pretty much over.

“To go undefeated in Division 1, I think it’s a real accomplishment,” Klassner said. “We knew we’d be in for it tonight. We told the kids we had to play our best game of the season. We were on the sideline getting ready for our seven-a-side (a 7-on-7 overtime). Then when we scored, and scored again, we didn’t need our seven-a-side. We needed some people to step up tonight. And they did, in the second half.”

Dariane Jones scored on a penalty stroke just under three minutes into the game and the Lions joined Northwest at the top of the WVC Division 2 standings by winning the regular season series between the two while creating some suspense entering the final day of the regular season.

Northwest will play at Berwick today and Lackawanna Trail will be at Nanticoke Area — where the Lions fell out of first three weeks ago by losing to the Trojanettes.

Lilly Rejrat earned the shutout by stopping all five shots against her as Trail beat the Rangers for the second time at Lackawanna Trail.

Cassidy Gray made 11 saves for Northwest, which won the middle game between the two teams at Edwards and Lewis Stadium.

Rachel Galasso scored the lone goal less than six minutes into the game and Amy Supey made it stand up with four saves as the Black Knights prepared for the upcoming District 2 Class A playoffs by pretty much locking down the No. 3 seed by upending the Wolfpack.

Jill Buchman and Gabby Cavenas each had hat tricks as the Cougars jumped on Delaware Valley and warmed up for the District 2 Class 3A playoffs by finishing the WVC season with a winning record.

Hazleton Area, which will be the No. 2 seed behind Wilkes-Barre in the district tournament, finished league play at 6-5-1 and, with two non-league games scheduled to close out this week, has a chance to improve on its 6-8-1 overall record by finishing .500 for the regular season.

Haylee Petroski scored twice for the Cougars, Kaitlyn Diehl scored the final goal after dishing out two assists and Buchman added two assists in the win.

Mackenzie Casey scored twice as the Trojanettes broke a scoreless tie with a second-half eruption and surged to victory.

Olivia Nice and Tiara Thomas both finished with a goal and an assist iin the victory and Alexus Nichols made five stops in goal to earn the shutout.

First half — 1. WA, Lauren Parente (Toni Minichello), 19:06; 2. SEM, Hannah Maxwell (Ella Barbacci), 13:04. Second half — 3. SEM, Emma Watchilla, 8:04; 4. SEM, Alex Wesneski (Maxwell), 2:31.

Shots — WA 10; SEM 12. Saves — WA 9 (Ellie Glatz); SEM 9 (Mia Magnotta). Penalty corners — WA 5; SEM 7.

Shots — NW 5; LT 12. Saves — NW 11 (Cassidy Gray); LT 5 (Lilly Rejrat). Penalty corners — NW 3; LT 5.

Shots — WB 4; LL 12. Saves — WB 11 (Briannah Lee); LL 4 (Amy Supey). Penalty corners — WB 2; LL 8.

First half — 1. HAZ, Haylee Petroski, 28:58; 2. HAZ, Gabby Cavenas (Jill Buchman), 24:25; 3. HAZ, Buchman, 16:22; 4. HAZ, Petroski (Cavenas), 11:05; 5. DV, Isabel Covert (Shannon Croll), 8:30; 6. HAZ, Buchman (Kaitlyn Diehl), 2:25. Second half — 7. HAZ, Buchman (Diehl), 23:42; 8. HAZ, Cavenas (Buchman), 22:28; 9. HAZ, Cavenas, 20:07; 10. HAZ, Kaitlyn Diehl (Mia Dremock), 7:07.

Shots — DV 3; HAZ 24. Saves — DV 15 (Juliana Laurado); HAZ 2 (Elaina Ashman). Penalty corners — DV 0; HAZ 9.

Second half — 1. NAN, Mackenzie Casey (Olivia Nice), 29:24; 2. NAN, Tiara Thomas (Casey), 23:01; 3. NAN, Casey (Thomas), 21:25; 4. NAN, Josette Park, 17:51; 5. NAN, Nice (Grace Reed), 17:45; 6. NAN, Gabby Eldridge, 5:06.

Shots — TUN 5; NAN 19. Saves — TUN 13 (Ella Larioni); NAN 5 (Alexus Nichols). Penalty corners — TUN 4; NAN 6.

The surprise wasn’t that Penn State beat a ranked team on the road on Saturday, but in how the Nittany Lions closed it out.

It wasn’t lost on anyone following the program that the Lions were able to burn through all three Iowa timeouts, pick up a first down on the ground and not give the Hawkeyes a shot at a winning drive. Because for several years running, it hadn’t happened.

“I think that’s the first time we’ve done that against that type of opponent in my six years since I’ve been here,” the Penn State coach said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “I think that is a critical, critical moment in our six years on the offensive side of the football.”

True freshman Noah Cain was the catalyst with an aggressive running style that saw him continue to churn through defenders — unfortunate Iowa safety Jack Koerner spent much of the fourth quarter hitting the turf after contact with him.

The final meaningful play of the game came on third-and-3 at the Penn State 32 with Cain initially colliding with guard Steven Gonzalez, but keeping low and his legs moving to fight through a tackle and gain 5.

That’s something the Lions struggled to do even with Saquon Barkley in the backfield. Critical losses to Ohio State and Michigan State the last two seasons can be traced back to an inability to grind out one more first down late in the fourth quarter to kill the clock.

So Franklin and the coaching staff sought to diversify the run game more this season, with one such wrinkle showing up against Iowa in a pitch play that seemed to throw off the Hawkeyes.

Penn State had a bit of success early in the game with the pitch, and it paid off on the winning drive. Quarterback Sean Clifford faked the toss to freeze a defensive end before darting ahead to convert a third-and-10.

Later, on second-and-goal, offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne got the look he wanted from the Iowa defense and signaled in a change to the offense to run the pitch again. Cain beat his man to the corner and crashed into the end zone.

“I think it makes it a little bit more difficult to defend, and it allows you in situational football to have some things in your back pocket that you can go to,” Franklin said. “And Ricky did a really good job of having answers. We’re able to look at their front, we’re able to make a call depending on what pressure they’re bringing or what front they’re showing. We got what we consider our best call into that look.”

There was just one player necessary for the coaches to honor on defense for the 17-12 win. Robert Windsor was that good.

The senior defensive tackle had six tackles (2.5 for loss), 1.5 sacks and was credited with two hurries, though he impacted the Hawkeyes and quarterback Nate Stanley even more than the numbers show.

Most importantly, his hit on Stanley in the fourth quarter forced a poor throw that was intercepted by Lackawanna College alum Jaquan Brisker, setting up the Lions’ winning touchdown.

“He’s earned this. He really has,” Franklin said. “He’s earned the respect of his teammates and coaches, and obviously he’s gotten better every single year, and this last year he’s really put it all together. I think he’s got a chance to have a huge impact for us on Saturday. We’re going to need him to have a huge impact on us on Saturday. I think one of their strengths is their offensive line, so we’re going to need our defensive line to play really well.”

On offense, Cain and center Michal Menet got the nod. Cain turned in his second straight 100-yard rushing game, with the bulk of his yards coming in the fourth quarter, when he scored that decisive touchdown and even ran out the clock on Iowa on the next possession, a rare sight for Penn State.

Menet was a big reason for Cain’s late success, and several late runs went behind him and Gonzalez.

Senior punter Blake Gillikin may have been overlooked for his role in the win, but he was the easy pick for the coaches on special teams. Gillikin landed five punts inside the 20 and hamstrung Iowa all night long, forcing the Hawkeyes to an average drive start of their own 17.

Lake-Lehman’s Nick Eury was recognized for his work on the scout team as one of the coaches’ developmental players of the week.

Yes, Franklin did hear back from the Big Ten on the head-scratching reversal of a Pat Freiermuth touchdown, a call that ultimately cost the Lions four points in a narrow win.

“I mean, I did, but it’s not appropriate to talk about here in this setting,” Franklin said. “If they want to say something, they’ll say something. I’m not going to speak on behalf of the Big Ten.”

The Big Ten did not, in fact, issue any kind of statement about the play on Tuesday. An attempt was made during the game to have a pool reporter ask the head replay official for clarification, but an interview was not granted. The Big Ten’s only response at the time was that the overturn was “a judgment call.”

After being slightly ahead in the coaches poll compared to the AP all season, Penn State checks in at No. 7 in both polls this week, after a three-spot jump in the AP.

The Lions passed two SEC squads that suffered their first loss on Saturday in Georgia and Florida. They had also been behind one-loss Notre Dame in the AP poll, but going on the road and beating a ranked team moved Penn State ahead of the Fighting Irish.

Saturday’s opponent, Michigan, is at No. 16 in both polls, and there are six Big Ten teams ranked in total. This is also the first time since 1904 that the conference has four teams at 6-0 (No. 4 Ohio State, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Penn State, No. 20 Minnesota).

The first College Football Playoff rankings are still three weeks away, set to be released on Nov. 5.

The Scranton native and former Penn Stater was announced as the starting quarterback of the New York Guardians of the XFL.

“I’m very excited to be able to compete again at an extremely high level,” McGloin told PennLive. “The opportunity to learn from Coach (Kevin) Gilbride and his staff is an incredible chance for me to become a better player and a better quarterback.”

His NFL career, which began when he was signed as an undrafted spanned five seasons. He played in 13 games, all for the Oakland Raiders, completing 161 of 277 passes for 1,868 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

McGloin was with the Philadelphia Eagles through training camp in 2017 and briefly reunited with former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien with the Houston Texans later that season. He was in camp with the Kansas City Chiefs last fall.

He joined the Nittany Lions in 2008 as a walk-on after an all-star career at West Scranton High School. He split time as a starter with Rob Bolden in 2010 and 2011 before taking over full time toward the end of 2011 and all of 2012.

McGloin led a team hobbled by NCAA sanctions handed down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal to an improbable 8-4 record. He finished the season 513-of-894 for 3,271 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

For his career at Penn State, McGloin threw for 6,390 yards and 46 touchdowns against 19 interceptions and broke multiple school records.

The eight-team XFL will begin a 10-game schedule on Feb. 8, 2020. Games will be played on Saturday and Sundays and be carried on ABC, ESPN and the Fox networks.

McGloin wasn’t the only Penn Stater to end up with a job in the XFL on Tuesday. Wide Receiver DeAndre Thompkins was selected in the fourth round – 32nd overall – by the DC Defenders.

In between, though, a girl who had only a small role in either ceremony played the biggest part in guaranteeing both celebrations went smoothly.

Junior Milana Straub scored three goals within an eight minute stretch of the first half Monday, giving the Northwest Rangers a Senior Night to remember and helping Rangers coach Ashley Lawson pin down her 100th career victory as a field hockey head coach with a 10-0 tagging of Tunkhannock at Northwest’s Lewis and Miller Stadium.

“Unbelievable,” Lawson said of her career milestone. “I can’t believe it fell on Senior Night. I haven’t counted, but this group of seniors have to have about half of the (100) wins. It’s kind of perfect it was on a night to honor them that I got it.”

Rangers senior and their all-time leading scorer Sydney Franchella started the scoring, naturally, and also finished with a hat trick and that first goal came off an assist from fellow senior Ariana Walker — who wound up with four assists and a goal to take away with her flowers.

“It means a lot to us — to all of us,” Walker said. “We’re especially happy to have a 100th win for our coach. She’s an amazing teacher. She’s super-proud of us for how far we’ve come.”

So are the Rangers, who moved a step closer to solidifying their second straight WVC Division 2 title, which they can solidify by winning at second-place Lackawanna Trail in a 4:15 p.m. game today.

And so was Straub, who seemed every bit as inspired by the magnitude of the moment as her senior teammates.

“She was very excited about this game,” Lawson said. “She was, I think, wanting to do it for the seniors.”

So little more than nine minutes after Franchella struck the first blow, Straub gave Northwest some breathing room by rocketing home a goal. Then she did it again, and again.

Her personal scoring spree — a hat trick that she wrapped up off the second assist from Walker — built Northwest’s lead to 4-0 and put the game on brink of the sportsmanship rule. Then Lauren Okuniewski triggered the running clock by giving the Rangers a 5-0 lead with 8:01 to play in the opening half.

“It means everything to us,” Straub said. “We care about each other so much. We all really come out and work so hard, we all work together. These (senior) girls are like my family. Everything we do is for each other.”

Those Senior Night ceremonies are planned to honor graduating team members in their final regular season home game, but Northwest has at least one more game at Lewis and Miller left.

Because of an earlier postponement, the Rangers will face Benton in a non-league game at home Thursday, and they’re battling Holy Redeemer while trying to hold onto the No. 4 seed and a home game for the eight-team District 2 Class A quarterfinals next week.

Northwest is 12-1 at the top of the WVC Division 2 standings and holds a one-game lead over 11-2 Lackawanna Trail as the two square off for their third and final regular season meeting today after splitting the first two games of their season series.

”I think we are all really proud,” Walker said. “We’re all looking forward to going to Lackawanna Trail.”

Her career achievement started during her two years coaching Benton, and after serving as a Northwest assistant for four years, she’s spent the last seven turning the Rangers into a regular District 2 playoff participant. Northwest rewarded her milestone with flowers, and a banner signed by the entire current Rangers team.

“It’s going on the wall. We’re just happy that it will be in the house somewhere,” Lawson said. “I knew I was close, I had 88 (wins) at the beginning of the season. These seniors have won so much. I got it on their night, we can celebrate together.

Belle Coleman scored twice in the first half and the Lions improved to 11-2 in league play and set up a showdown with Northwest today at Trail in the hunt for the WVC Division 2 title.

Trail is a game behind 12-1 Northwest in the championship race and both have one league game remaining after today.

Abby Fahey and Cat Litwin scored insurance goals in the second half for the Lions and Bella Jagoe registered an assist on Coleman’s second goal.

First half — 1. NW, Sydney Franchella (Ariana Walker), 28:44; 2. NW, Milana Straub, 19:36; 3. NW, Straub, 15:55; 4. NW, Straub (Walker), 12:02; 5. NW, Lauren Okuniewski (Irelyn Kishbaugh), 8:01; 6. NW, Morgan Gregory (Kishbaugh), 5:16; 7. NW, Franchella (Walker), 1:23. Second half — 8. NW, Walker (Franchella), 27:31; 9. NW, Lillie Spencer, 15:42; 10. NW, Franchella (Walker), 1:41.

Shots — TUN 2; NW 17. Saves — TUN 7 (Iesha Hartman); NW 2 (Cassidy Gray). Penalty corners — TUN 6; NW 9.

First half — 1. LT, Belle Coleman, 23:01; 2. LT, Coleman (Bella Jagoe), 5:21. Second half — 3. LT, Abby Fahey, 23:25; 4. LT, Cat Litwin, 19:17.

Shots — BER 7; LT 10. Saves — BER 6 (Jackie Nevel); LT 7 (Lilly Rejrat). Penalty corners — BER 3; LT 6.

Annie Bagnall scored her 150th career goal for Holy Redeemer, but it wasn’t enough as the Royals fell to Lake-Lehman in a Wyoming Valley Conference girls soccer game, 3-1, on Monday.

The Black Knights jumped out to a quick lead with a goal from Chloe Weaver just over seven minutes into the game. Madison Brdaric added another goal for Lake-Lehman before the end of the first half, giving the Black Knights a 2-0 lead at the break.

Keera Naugle kept building the Black Knights’ lead, scoring less than five minutes into the second half.

Bagnall started the Royals comeback attempt with just under 25 minutes left, but her goal was all the Royals could muster up.

Halle Kranson, Christina Kosco and Caitlin McDonough each scored for Wyoming Area. McDonough also had two assists.

The Cougars comeback was thwarted by a potent Wyoming Valley West offense that scored four goals in the second half.

After Jessica Shaver scored twice in the first half, Hailey Kaschak of Hazleton answered with two goals to open the second half.

Kennadi Josefowicz, Veronica Warunek, Grace Bakewell and Shaver each scored after to seal the victory for the Spartans.

Lake-Lehman then put a ball in their own net, giving the Blue Knights some room. Goals from Luke Johns and Jared Weisenberger gave Wyoming Seminary more insurance than they needed.

Berry had a game-high four points on a hat trick and an assist. Tanner Nilon also had four points on two goals and two assists. David Sikora was the other goal scorer, and Saquon Portee had an assist.

Landon Serbin scored all three goals for the Spartans. Marcos Lacuesta, Luke Vest and Ian Rachford each had assists.

Dallas was lead by Lyndsey Hornlein, who had three digs. Sam Michael had five kills and three aces, and Emma Berger had 11 assists.

Abby Lapinski led the way for Holy Redeemer with six kills, 17 assists and four service points. Sierra Hines added four kills.

The Trojans were led by Abby Cullen who had eight kills, three blocks and three digs. Reilly Miller added 17 assists, three blocks and three digs.

Kortney McEwen scored the game-winner and the only goal of the game. Madisyn Granoski had an assist on the goal. Katelyn Campbell earned the shutout for Misericordia.

First Half — 1. LL, Chloe Weaver, 32:33; 2. LL, Madison Brdaric, 14:16. Second Half — 3. LL, Keera Naugle, 35:25; 4. HR, Annie Bagnall (Avery Cole), 24:19.

Shots — HR 12; LL 22. Saves — HR 19 (Marie Lombardi); LL 11 (Emma Stroud). Corners — HR 3; LL 4.

First Half — 1. WA, Halle Kranson (Caitlin McDonough), 28:46; 2. WA, Christina Kosco (McDonough), 24:30; 3. WA, McDonough, 7:05. Second Half — 4. Genevieve Nalepa (Talli Ormes), 3:32.

Shots — NAN 5; WA 17. Saves — NAN 14 (Caleah Moran); WA 4 (Olivia Allen/Sydney Kruszka). Corners — NAN 4; WA 5.

First Half — 1. WVW, Jessica Shaver, 33:07; 2. WVW, Shaver (Aubrey Boyd), 9:32. Second Half — 3. HAZ, Hailey Kaschak, 33:10; 4. HAZ, Kaschak, 31:31; 5. WVW, Kennadi Josefowicz, 27:25; 6. WVW, Shaver (Josefowicz), 18:29; 7. WVW, Veronica Warunek (Julianna Murray), 13:24; 8. WVW, Grace Bakewell (Josefowicz/Saunjere Hightower), 2:31.

First Half — 1. WS, Reggie Grayek, 37:51. Second Half — 2. LL Own Goal, 23:47; 3. WS, Luke Johns, 15:06; 4. WS, Jared Weisenberger (Owen Rowlands), 1:05.

First Half — 1. WB, Tanner Nilon (Kevin Pala), 38:30; 2. WB, La’Jean Berry (Nilon), 23:23; 3. WB, Nilon (Berry), 20:05. Second Half — 4. WB, Berry (Nilon), 27:02; 5. WB, Berry (Saquon Portee), 16:25; 6. WB, David Sikora, 13:55.

Shots — BER 5; WB 21. Saves — BER 15 (Jack Dacier); WB 5 (Joel Vazquez/Nick Wartella). Corners — BER 0; WB 12.

NEW YORK (AP) — Gerrit Cole walked into a conference room after one of his first spring training workouts with the Houston Astros in February 2018 and was met by about 10 people.

“There was charts, video, matching charts,” Cole recalled. “It was all new then, but it’s pretty straightforward to me now.”

Cole transformed into perhaps the best pitcher in the major leagues after that one-hour presentation, increasing the usage of his four-seam fastball and curveball, pretty much dropping his two-seam sinker and attacking the top of the strike zone far more frequently.

With the Astros and Yankees tied at one game apiece in the AL Championship Series, Cole is 18-0 in his last 24 starts heading into his matchup Tuesday night against New York ace Luis Severino.

“It’s a blast. This is the big stage,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “It’s rowdy from the first pitch on. It will bring some adrenaline out of you.”

Houston may be known for oil, but this October it’s been Cole country. He is pitching his way into a postseason elite that includes Christy Mathewson, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Madison Bumgarner.

Taken first overall by Pittsburgh in the 2011 amateur draft, Cole was 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in five major league seasons when he was dealt to Houston in January 2018 for right-handers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin. Since that spring training meeting, his regular season record is 35-10.

Pitching coach Brent Strom did most of the talking during the discussion, joined by bullpen coach Josh Miller, minor league pitching coordinator Doug White, manager of major league advance information Tom Koch-Weser and Brandon Taubman, senior director of research and development and a former Ernst & Young derivative valuation expert.

“I just hadn’t dove into that whole realm much before. So I guess that was most surprising, that you could even like forecast what a pitch would project to be like against the rest of the league,” Cole said.

Hinch considers the presentation a trade secret, not surprising for an organization whose analytics team employed former NASA biomathematician Sig Mejdal, now with Baltimore.

“The preparation behind the scenes for what goes into the meetings and the communication with our players is unmatched in my time in the game,” said Hinch, in pro baseball for about a quarter-century. “Selling them is about providing them as much information as you can in an environment that’s a two-way street and applying it onto the field, which is what the player is in charge of. So that’s about as much detail as I’m going to give you about our meetings because it’s something that we consider very important to the development of our players.”

Cole threw just over 8% of his pitches in the upper third of the strike zone during his last season with the Pirates and another 11.5% wide of the upper third or above, according the Brooks Baseball. This year he threw nearly 13% in the upper third plus 21% high and wide.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone marvels at Cole’s “ability to really pitch at the top of the strike zone with his high-end fastball and really command it up there. Throw it at the top or expand just enough to get swings. And then a couple of electric breaking balls.”

Cole has a 1.66 ERA since that loss to the Chicago White Sox, when Jake Marisnak bounced into a 5-4-3 triple play. He reached double-digit strikeouts in 23 of 35 starts this year, including his last 11, and fanned at least one batter in 73 consecutive innings from Aug. 1 to Game 5 of the Division Series, the longest streak since 1961 by 33 innings.

He leaves a breeze at the plate: He induced 33 swings and misses in Game 2 against the Rays, the most in a postseason game since MLB started tracking the stat in 2008. In beating Tampa Bay in Games 2 and 5, he allowed one run and six hits in 15 2/3 innings, striking out 25 and walking three.

Cole’s winning streak is the longest by a pitcher in a year since Rube Marquard began 19-0 for the 1912 New York Giants, winning 18 of 19 starts and getting a victory and save in three relief appearances. Those 19 straight winning decisions matched the record set by the Giants’ Tim Keefe in 1888.

Times were different: Marquard had 16 complete games during that stretch. Cole has two during seven big league seasons, the last a one-hitter at Arizona on May 4 last year. Marquard was nicknamed the $11,000 Peach and $11,000 Beauty, a reference to the price the Giants paid Indianapolis for the right-hander in 1908.

Cole put himself in position for a $200 million-plus contract as a free agent this offseason. Perhaps with the Yankees, the team he rooted for growing up?

New York drafted him 28th overall in 2008 but Cole chose to attend UCLA. At times he wondered what his career would have been like in pinstripes, especially when Pittsburgh was considering trades.

“I don’t want to be dishonest and tell you that it didn’t cross my mind. Obviously I got drafted by them, so I thought about it then,” he said. “And all the rumors going around, it’s kind of hard to control what you hear. But as of late it’s just been not a thought at all.”

PHILADELPHIA — The best thing that happened for the Philadelphia Eagles over the weekend took place in a different game between two other teams.

After Kirk Cousins torched Philadelphia’s depleted secondary and the Minnesota Vikings rolled to a 38-20 victory Sunday, the New York Jets knocked off the Dallas Cowboys.

That sets up a first-place showdown between the Eagles (3-3) and the reeling Cowboys (3-3) in Dallas on Sunday Night Football.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson confidently declared in his weekly radio interview Monday morning that his team was going to win the game. He later declined to call it a guarantee.

“No, because again, that shows confidence in our football team and I promise you (Cowboys coach) Jason Garrett is going to say the same thing with his team that they are going to win the football game, as well,” Pederson said. “I’m not going to stand up here and go on record and say: ‘We’re going to go down there and try to win a game. Man, hopefully we can go win this one.’ It just doesn’t show confidence and I want to show confidence in our players. We have a ton of confidence in them. We are going to put a good week of preparation in and go play.”

Throwing the ball to rookie running back Miles Sanders has been the only way for the offense to get big gains since wide receiver DeSean Jackson was injured in Week 2. Sanders had a 32-yard TD catch and a 45-yard reception that set up a score against Minnesota. He already has five catches of 30-plus yards and is third on the team with 219 yards receiving.

The secondary is struggling. Rasul Douglas was beat by Stefon Diggs on touchdown passes of 62 and 51 yards. Diggs blew past Douglas on one and safety Malcolm Jenkins blew his assignment to help on the other. Sidney Jones had costly penalties and poor coverage. The Eagles are missing starters Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills and Avonte Maddox and key backup Cre’Von LeBlanc. Darby and Mills might return this week, though Mills hasn’t played since last October.

Rookie left tackle Andre Dillard played 72% of the snaps after Jason Peters was injured and had some ups and downs against three-time Pro Bowl end Everson Griffen.

Wide receiver Mack Hollins has played 109 snaps over the past three games and has only one catch on five targets. He dropped what should’ve been a 21-yard TD pass in the second quarter against the Vikings. Kicker Jake Elliott threw an interception on a fake field goal on the next play.

Peters (knee) and linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) left the game in Minnesota and Pederson said both are getting second opinions on their injuries. Pederson added both are day-to-day.

4 — The Eagles only had four hits on Cousins and one sack, giving him plenty of time to sit back and pick apart the undermanned secondary. Getting pressure on the quarterback has been a problem for the defense all season — except for 10 sacks against the Jets and Luke Falk last week. They have four sacks in the five other games.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan linebacker Josh Uche recalls being excited when he saw the second half of this season’s schedule.

The 16th-ranked Wolverines (5-1, 3-1 Big Ten) kick off a tough closing stretch of games at No. 7 Penn State (6-0, 3-0) on Saturday night.

They host No. 8 Notre Dame next week in the Big House under the lights and close the regular season against rival and fourth-ranked Ohio State at home.

“It’s big time now,” Uche said Monday. “Prime-time television. We have a chance to be legendary.

The Nittany Lions are favored to win by more than a touchdown, perhaps in part because Jim Harbaugh is 1-6 against ranked teams on the road over five seasons as Michigan’s coach.

Michigan was embarrassed the last time it had a chance to beat a Top 25 team away from home, giving up five straight touchdowns before losing to Wisconsin 35-14 last month. Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor ran for 203 yards and two touchdowns, finding huge holes behind a line that was pushing the Wolverines around.

“You guys were saying we can’t stop the run and we’re soft,” Uche told reporters. “We kind of framed that in our minds and that’s given us a lot of motivation to work hard. That underdog mentality has given us a new flame.”

Besides ranked opponents remaining on the schedule, Michigan also has matchups looming against rival and upset-minded Michigan State at home along with road games against Maryland and Indiana.

The Wolverines don’t have room for error as they chase their first Big Ten title since 2004, which would end the school’s longest conference championship drought.

“Every game from now on is important for us to do what we want to do this season,” linebacker Khaleke Hudson said.

Michigan’s defense has played at a relatively high level, other than against Wisconsin. And it has been very stingy since playing the Badgers, giving up just 111 yards rushing against Rutgers, Iowa and Illinois over the last three games.

The offense, meanwhile, hasn’t figured out how to move the ball and score consistently well. The unit is also failing miserably at taking care of the football.

Michigan ranks 10th in the Big Ten in red zone offense and is slightly worse on third-down conversions.

Fumbling has been the biggest problem under first-year coordinator Josh Gattis, a former Penn State assistant. The team ranks among the worst in college football with nine lost fumbles and 13 turnovers.

“Our defense has their identity,” tight end Nick Eubanks said. “Our offense is getting our identity. We found a groove of it. We believe it’s coming together.”

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott believes the third-ranked Tigers are on the right track to get back to playing aggressive, dominant football — something the team had to be reminded of the past couple of weeks.

Elliott said Monday the Tigers (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had slipped into a funk after the season’s first month and needed reminding how they had won two of the past three national championships. Clemson’s players got the message, pounding Florida State 45-14 on Saturday.

“Overall, we wanted to let these guys know who we are, what’s made us successful,” said Elliott, who shares coordinator duties with receivers coach Jeff Scott.

Still, Clemson dropped in the national rankings again after a victory. The Tigers, who started the year at No. 1, fell to No. 2 behind Alabama after their close call in a 21-20 win at North Carolina on Sept. 28. Clemson was passed by LSU this week, despite rolling over the Seminoles.

Swinney said the win against Florida State was his team’s best overall showing of the year and that it’s essential to carry the dominant play against the Seminoles into its matchup at Louisville (4-2, 2-1) on Saturday. He said the Tigers aren’t worried about their poll position, only about being in the right spot at the end of the year when the College Football Playoff participants are picked.

Clemson got strong showings from its best players, which Swinney said is a sign his team is on the winning path.

Trevor Lawrence threw three touchdown passes and Travis Etienne ran for 127 yards and caught a scoring pass.

A mid-season slump is natural, senior right tackle Tremayne Anchrum said, after nearly two months of grinding away at practice and school — particularly for a team that has won a program record 21 straight games.

“It’s usually after the monotony of the day-by-day (routine), it can really take a toll on you,” Anchrum said.

He credited coaches with laying a solid foundation of focusing solely on the next opponent, not on what Clemson’s already accomplished or the challenges down the road.

“That’s when they emphasize, ‘Hey, you’ve got to find your motivation today. You’ve got to find your edge today. What’s going to make you be great,’” he said.

Clemson expects a different Louisville than it saw last year in the Tigers’ 77-16 blowout. Elliott said there was a sense when the teams met in 2018 that “you could tell something was going on with the coaching staff. Now, they’re playing hard.”

The Cardinals fired Bobby Petrino eight days after the Clemson debacle last November and brought in Scott Satterfield when the season ended. Louisville held on to defeat then-19th-ranked Wake Forest 62-59 this past Saturday, its first win over a ranked opponent since 2016.

“The one thing we wanted to do was play hard this year,” Satterfield said. “We’ve been able to do that.”

Elliott, also Clemson’s running backs coach, understands how complacency can set in, especially for a team that hadn’t lost since the 2017 playoffs.

“When you’ve had success, it’s easy to say sometimes, ‘OK, it’s just going to happen,’” he said. “That’s why it’s a good reminder.”

Anchrum thinks the Florida State win will propel Clemson forward the rest of the season. There was a feeling at Thursday’s practice that any problems from the North Carolina win were in the past. “Once we hit that new week, we were refreshed, we were ready to go, we had a new edge and everybody was just ready to get back on the field, regardless of what happened,” he said.

The Dallas sophomore finished one stroke off the lead at Monday’s East Regional Tournament at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood to tie for second place and qualify for the PIAA Championships for the second straight season.

Paczewski is one of three golfers from the Wyoming Valley Conference to qualify for the state tournament, which will be held at Heritage Hills Golf Club in York on Oct. 21 through 23. Joining the Mountaineer in the event are a pair of two-time state qualifiers in Lake-Lehman’s Bobby Lugiano in Class 2A and Hanover Area’s Kyleen McCance, also in Class 2A. Last year, the WVC qualified five for the final high school tournament of the season, with three of the four returning state qualifiers reaching the stage once again.

Lugiano tied for ninth to reach the state tournament for the second straight season, while McCance finished in fourth place to qualify for states once again.

Paczewski shot 4-under with five birdies, his only flaw coming on his 16th hole of the afternoon when recorded his only bogey. He shot a 2-under on the front nine to go with a 2-under on the back nine as he tied with Spring Grove’s Karl Fisk for second place. The two were one stroke behind Conestoga junior Morgan Lofland.

Paczewski’s teammate Brett Ostroski carded 77 finishing one shot away from making the playoff for the final berth to the state tournament.

Lugiano, a senior who finished second at the district tournament two weeks ago, shot a 78 during his round to finish eight strokes ahead of D2 champion and 2018 state qualifier Jeremy Callahan from Wyoming Seminary. Holy Redeemer’s Martin Cryan finished two strokes away from the cut line with a score of 83.

McCance, a sophomore, ended her round two shots away from the winner, Paige Richter from Camp Hill, and Chloe Sipe from Elk Lake. McCance was six strokes better than Sipe at districts. McCance’s shot of the day was a birdie on the par-4 No. 6 hole.

In Class 3A girls, Hazleton Area’s Isabelle Ritz and Grace Babinchak, who both tied for the District 2 title and had to settle the score on a playoff, both missed the cut from advancing to states.

Also from District 2, Scranton Prep’s Thomas Lynch won the Class 2A boys tournament carding a 73, while teammate MJ Stivala tied for sixth to qualify for the state tournament. Their teammate Brett Strong finished one shot away from the cut, taking 14th place. Lynch and Stivah finished fourth and second at districts, respectively.

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