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Florida Sports

The captain: Miami’s Udonis Haslem now an 18-year player

By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Udonis Haslem finally played, and made an immediate impact for the Miami Heat.
He scored twice, making both his shots.
He took a charge.
And then he got ejected.
Haslem can finally say that he has played in 18 NBA seasons — and it was a memorable, albeit brief, appearance. He got two technical fouls and was ejected with 10:19 remaining in the first half, less than three minutes after getting into a game for the first time all season.
He took offense to getting pulled down by Philadelphia’s Dwight Howard, then had words with the 76ers’ veteran as they went nose-to-nose. Haslem and Howard both got technicals, then Haslem got a second one and was sent off.
His final line: 2 for 2 from the field, four points, one rebound, two technicals, one ejection, in about 2 1/2 minutes.
Haslem, who turns 41 on June 9, became the oldest player to appear in a game for the Heat and the oldest to get on an NBA floor for any team this season. Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao, 38, was the oldest to play in the NBA so far in 2020-21; the next-oldest to play this season was Miami’s Andre Iguodala, 37.
Haslem got a layup with 2.3 seconds left in the quarter, putting Miami up 38-20 in the early going. It was his first basket at home since Nov. 12, 2019. His second basket was a baseline jumper early in the second quarter, and the ejection happened 48 seconds later.
At 40 years, 338 days, Haslem was 269 days older than Juwan Howard was when he made his final appearance with the Heat on April 17, 2013. Haslem has not said if he will consider retiring this summer; the Heat have told him that he would be welcomed back in his unique role — as a captain and behind-the-scenes leader who doesn’t play — if he’d like to remain on the active roster for at least another year.
“I just take it one day at a time, and we’ll figure it out,” Haslem said earlier this month. “The goal now is to win a championship. And then, you know, we’ll go from there. I can’t really think past today. I’ve been told just take it one day at a time and you know when I get to the summer, that’s when I think about that.”
His on-court role has diminished greatly in recent seasons. Thursday marked only his 15th appearance in the last three seasons, just his fifth in the past two seasons.
But the Heat continue signing him to contracts, mostly of the one-year variety — the one-year deal he signed for this season was his ninth contract with Miami in those 18 years — because they greatly value his leadership and voice in the locker room. Haslem is often referring to as a keeper of the culture that team president Pat Riley, managing general partner Micky Arison and coach Erik Spoelstra have instilled over the years.
“He is the bedrock,” Spoelstra said. He had been committed to getting Haslem into at least one game at some point before the season ends, and decided Thursday was the time.
Now that he’s officially an 18-year member of the Heat, and only the Heat, Haslem becomes the sixth name on the list of players who have spent that much time with one franchise. Dirk Nowitzki spent 21 years with Dallas, Kobe Bryant 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, Tim Duncan spent 19 with San Antonio, John Stockton spent 19 with Utah and Reggie Miller spent 18 with Indiana.
Before Thursday, Haslem last played for Miami on Aug. 14, 2020, during a game inside the restart bubble at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Thursday marked his first appearance in a game at Miami’s home arena since Feb. 22, 2020.
Haslem is one of only two players — Dwyane Wade being the other — to appear on all three of Miami’s NBA championship teams. Haslem is the only player to be with the Heat for all six of their Eastern Conference championships and is the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder.
In addition to holding the team rebounding record, Haslem — a Miami native who is a lock to have his No. 40 jersey retired one day by the franchise — ranks second behind only Wade on the Heat lists for games played and minutes played, plus is seventh on the team all-time scoring list.
Haslem was undrafted after his college career at Florida. He played professionally in France for one season before getting a tryout with the Heat in 2003, remaining with his hometown NBA club ever since.
A sign of his longevity: He’s had 150 teammates in Miami during his 18-year career.
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Florida Sports

Julien delivers game-winner in Mighty Mussels’ 6-5 win over Threshers

 

FORT MYERS – Minnesota Twins’ first round picks Aaron Sabato and Keoni Cavaco each reached base four times Wednesday, and Edouard Julien delivered the game-winning hit in a 6-5 Mighty Mussels’ victory over the Clearwater Threshers at Hammond Stadium.

After both teams traded runs early, Fort Myers (4-4) entered the bottom of the sixth trailing 5-4. Misael Urbina led off the inning with a single to center. Two batters later, Cavaco was hit by a pitch. Sabato then drew a walk to load the bases. Julien came up next, lining a two-run single off the glove of a diving Casey Martin and into center field.

The Mighty Mussels’ bullpen was the key to Wednesday’s win, combining for 6.2 innings of scoreless ball. Right-hander Osiris German was tasked with the final two innings, stranding the tying run in scoring position in both. After an error and wild pitch put the tying run on second in the ninth, Clearwater (4-4) first baseman DJ Stewart chopped a grounder to Cavaco at shortstop. Cavaco wielded a throw deep in the hole, gunning out Stewart, who dove head first into the bag to end the game.

Ryan Shreve and Anthony Escobar also gave Fort Myers spotless relief work. Shreve struck out five over 2.2 scoreless innings, while Escobar did not allow a hit across two frames.

Starter Regi Grace Jr. surrendered two home runs early, but the Fort Myers bats did their job to keep the score tight.

The Mussels rallied for three runs on six singles in the bottom of the first, as nine of the first 11 Fort Myers batters reached base. In a tie game in the third inning, Cavaco delivered a double off the wall in left center to give the Mussels a 4-3 lead.

With the series now tied, Fort Myers sends RHP Miguel Rodriguez (1-0, 0.00) to the mound at 7 p.m. on today. LHP Rafael Marcano (0-0, 0.00) gets the start for Clearwater. Mussels Pre-Game Live begins at 6:45 p.m. on the Mighty Mussels Baseball Network.

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Florida Sports

Reunion tour: College teammates getting back together in NFL

By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence was fielding calls, posing for pictures and still hugging everyone in sight when he realized the Jacksonville Jaguars were about to be back on the clock during the first round of the NFL draft.
The No. 1 overall pick paused the in-house festivities and turned up the sound on the big-screen television.
His phone buzzed a few minutes later.
“We’re picking Travis,” a text from Jacksonville’s brass read.
The spoiler alert created another celebration at Lawrence’s draft party in South Carolina.Lawrence and standout running back Travis Etienne were teammates again, reunited in the NFL after spending three years together in college.
“It just makes it special,” Lawrence said. “I’ve got someone to come with me from Clemson, and it’s just awesome.”
The Jaguars chose Etienne at No. 25, using their first two picks on college teammates for the first time since drafting UCLA tight end Marcedes Lewis (No. 28) and running back Maurice Jones-Drew (No. 60) in 2006.
Jacksonville’s latest reunion was one of several similar ones around the league.
Miami paired Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle with his college quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. Philadelphia got Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith and quarterback Jalen Hurts back together and added center Landon Dickerson a day later.
Cincinnati rejoined receiver Ja’Marr Chase with his quarterback at LSU, Joe Burrow. New England reconnected two pairs of college teammates: quarterback Mac Jones and defensive tackle Christian Barmore from Alabama; and defensive end Ronnie Perkins and running back Rhamondre Stevenson from Oklahoma.
Pittsburgh used fourth-round picks to reunite offensive tackle Dan Moore and linebacker Buddy Johnson from Texas A&M.
Coincidence? Probably not after a year in which evaluating and getting to know prospects was more challenging than ever.
The NFL prohibited scouts from traveling last season because of COVID-19 concerns. The league also banned testing, interviewing in person or giving medical exams to any draft-eligible player at any location except a school’s pro day or at an all-star game.
The NFL also eliminated private workouts, facility visits, dinners and film sessions with draft prospects.
So teams were forced to get creative — or possibly predictable — to scout college football’s top talent. After all, you can’t watch Lawrence without noticing Etienne. Same goes for Tagovailoa and Waddle, Burrow and Chase, and Hurts and Smith.
And talking to college coaches at length was a viable option for gaining information on players. So it would have been somewhat expected that NFL teams digging for details on one guy might find out tidbits on another, a teammate.
“Does it help? Certainly,” Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said. “There’s a lot of familiarity with each other, both in the pass game and the run game, so I think it does help.”
There’s little doubt that Jacksonville, Miami, Cincinnati and Philadelphia are all trying to recapture some of the chemistry and success their tandems (or trios) enjoyed in college. Alabama (2015, ’17, ’20), Clemson (’16, ’18) and LSU (’19) combined to win the past six national championships.
Having someone on your roster with insider knowledge helps, too. Bengals coach Zac Taylor went to Burrow and asked specifically about Chase before the draft.
“I don’t know that I needed a lot of convincing,” Taylor said. “I just said, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, what would be your excitement level if we added Ja’Marr Chase?’ And he said, ’10.’ That’s a pretty good answer.”
It shouldn’t have been a surprise to see the Patriots and Steelers go the teammate route in the draft. After all, two of the NFL’s most successful franchises have been doing the same for years.
Since selecting guard Logan Mankins (first round) and defensive back James Sanders (fourth) from Fresno State in 2005, New England and coach Bill Belichick have drafted college teammates 12 times in 16 years. He took three Florida players in 2010 and three Rutgers players in 2013.
This year, the Pats doubled up on teammates and loaded up on Alabama guys.
Jones and Barmore joined a roster that already included former Tide standouts Dont’a Hightower, Anfrenee Jennings and Damien Harris.
“Like a group coming back home,” Barmore said.
The Steelers drafted teammates for the fifth consecutive year. General manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin plucked two guys from Tennessee (2017), Virginia Tech (2018), Michigan (2019) and Maryland (2020) before turning to the Aggies.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Johnson, a linebacker with the Aggies. “If you look at the recent years, the Steelers have always picked some of the players from same teams that played together. So, for me to go play with Dan Moore, that’s my guy. … It’s all about having guys that you trust and the guys at the Steelers in the locker room are fired up about it. I’m ready to go to work.”
No one seems more excited about landing a teammate tandem than the Jaguars, who got two offensive stars and possibly the No. 1 QB prospect to come out of college in nearly a decade.
They surely can gleam plays from Clemson and shouldn’t have any problem getting those two on the same page from Day 1.
“It provides you with a sense of normalcy having Trevor here, just being with him the past three years,” Etienne said. “With or without Trevor, I’d be making plays; that’s kind of what I’m here to do. I’m just thankful that I have Trevor and we’re on the same team. We don’t have to fight against each other.”
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AP Sports Writers Dan Gelston, Will Graves, Kyle Hightower, Mitch Stacy and Steven Wine contributed.
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Florida Sports

Leigh Perkins, who took Orvis beyond fly fishing, dies at 93

By WILSON RING
Associated Press
The man who transformed the Vermont-based Orvis company from a niche fly-fishing supply company into a global retailer of outdoor supplies, apparel and protector of the environment has died. Leigh H. Perkins was 93.
The Sunderland-based Orvis company says Perkins died May 7 in Monticello, Florida. The cause of death was not released.
An online tribute published on the company’s website said Perkins was a lifelong outdoorsman who hunted or fished more than 250 days a year into his 90s who had a reverence for nature and conservation.
The company says that Perkins began donating 5% of pre-tax profits to conserving fish and wildlife.
While Orvis is based in Sunderland, not far from the headwaters of the Batten Kill — one of the most famous trout streams in the state — the company’s reach goes across the world.
“He followed that fly rod to all corners of the world and he made connections and relationships to both places and people across the globe,” Simon Perkins, Leigh Perkins’ grandson and the current president of Orvis, said Tuesday.
Simon Perkins is the third generation of his family to lead the company.
Christopher Saunders, a project coordinator for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, who describes himself as a passionate fly fisherman, said the legacy of Leigh Perkins is considerable for both the sport of fly fishing and Vermont.
Saunders said Vermont was a cradle of the fly fishing industry, but over the years the focus of the world moved west. Perkins made sure fly fishing in Vermont remained prominent.
“To this day people still make pilgrimages to go to Orvis and fly fish on the Batten Kill river and surrounding areas,” Saunders said.
“He obviously was committed to more than the bottom line,” Saunders said. “There was a lot of focus on education.”
In 1966, Perkins began what the company describes as the world’s first fly-fishing schools, first in Vermont and then elsewhere. Saunders said those schools helped introduce thousands of anglers to fly fishing.
Perkins was born in Cleveland in 1927, but went to college in western Massachusetts. His mother imbued him with a love of the outdoors and hunting and fishing.
Orvis, founded in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis, was a niche business with 20 employees and $500,000 in annual sales when Perkins bought it in 1965. Over the next 27 years, Perkins transformed it into a retail and mail-order business with sales that topped $90 million.
Since then, the company estimates it’s grown fourfold.
Perkins is survived by his wife Anne, four children, a number of stepchildren, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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Florida Sports

Report: Tebow-Meyer reunion on verge of becoming official

By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer are apparently getting back together, this time in the NFL.
The former Florida star and 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is expected to team up with his college coach by signing a one-year contract to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL Network reported Monday.
The league-owned network said the deal “could be official in the next week or so.”
The 33-year-old Tebow would be returning to the NFL after four years (2016-19) in the New York Mets’ organization and he’d be playing for Meyer for the first time since his senior year in 2009.
This reunion would come with a twist, though.
Tebow would be joining the Jaguars as a tight end. He switched positions after retiring from baseball in February. He worked out for Jacksonville a week later.
Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke are seemingly waiting until after this weekend’s rookie minicamp to get the deal done.
Tebow, who grew up in Jacksonville, could fill a huge hole with his hometown team. The Jaguars decided not to pick up a team option in veteran Tyler Eifert’s contract and traded oft-injured 2019 draft pick Josh Oliver to Baltimore. They signed run-blocking specialist Chris Manhertz in free agency, brought back James O’Shaughnessy and drafted Ohio State’s Luke Farrell in the fifth round.
Those were considered minor moves after Meyer vowed to completely revamp the position group. Tebow, at the very least, would provide a splash.
“That will be interesting to see how that contributes to us on offense,” Jaguars co-owner Tony Khan said recently. “Obviously Urban knows Tim really well, and Tim’s got a great history of winning. Urban really believes he can help us, and I think it makes a lot of sense. And it’s a position where we need to get better.”
But how much can a guy on the wrong side of 30 who’s never played the position bring to the team? Tebow’s value could mean as much off the field as on it.
Meyer has said repeatedly that signing players who already know his methodology would be helpful in Year 1. Tebow would become the sixth guy on Jacksonville’s roster who previously played for Meyer, joining Farrell, running back Carlos Hyde, guard Andrew Norwell, defensive end Lerentee McCray and defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton.
Tebow played quarterback for Meyer between 2006 and 2009, helping the Gators win two national championships while becoming one of the most recognizable — and polarizing — athletes in college sports.
He was a first-round draft pick by Denver in 2010, but his long windup led to a short NFL career. He spent time with the Broncos, the New York Jets, New England and Philadelphia. His last NFL game came with the Jets in 2012.
They cut him in April 2013, three months after then-Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell famously said he wouldn’t sign Tebow “even if he’s released.”
Tebow has received rock-star media coverage at every NFL stop and might get as much attention in Jacksonville as franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the top pick in the 2021 draft.
Tebow won a playoff game with Denver in 2012, but never developed into a consistent NFL starter. He declined several suggested moves to tight end — he even asked Meyer for guidance — and then ended up switching sports and joining the Mets.
“When he was a quarterback in the NFL, that was a big topic,” Meyer said at the end of the draft. “I was so busy I couldn’t give him the time. ‘What do you think? What do you think?” And I didn’t know. I was too busy to even think it through.
“I know playing a position in the NFL without (experience), that’s a long shot. This was years ago.”
But when Tebow asked about an NFL comeback in February, Meyer invited him to the facility for a workout. Meyer made it clear he didn’t feel like he owed Tebow anything, either.
“I have one job and that is to win games with the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Meyer said. “If Tim Tebow or Travis Etienne can help us win, then that’s my job to get them ready to go play.”
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Florida Sports

U.S. wins Walker Cup, beating GB&I 14-12 at Seminole

JUNO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Austin Eckroat and Pierceson Coody got the United States off to a fast start, and Cole Hammer and Stewart Hagestad finished off Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup.
Ricky Castillo won again, too, and the Americans took five of the 10 afternoon singles matches and tied another Sunday at Seminole Golf Club for a 14-12 victory.
The Americans won for the third straight time to take a 38-9-1 lead in the biennial event first played in 1922.
Nathaniel Crosby, the son of late crooner Bing Crosby, became the first
U.S. captain with back-to-back victories since Buddy Marucci in 2007 and 2009.
“It was such an evenly matched contest and our guys were really fired up,” Crosby said. “I’ve been blessed to be part of their lives here for a few years and itís been so great.”
Eckroat overwhelmed Mark Power 7 and 6 in the opening match, and Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick 3 and 1 in the second. Castillo topped John Murphy 2 and 1 to become the sixth U.S. player and seventh overall to go 4-0.
“It’s incredible,” the Florida sophomore said. “I mean, this is the pinnacle of amateur golf, and to be a part of this team and be a part of a winning Walker Cup team is pretty special, especially going 4-0. I couldn’t be more excited right now.”
Hammer beat Ben Schmidt 4 and 3 in the second-to-last match, and Hagestad put the Americans over the top when he was 4 up with four to play in a 4-and-2 victory over Ben Jones.
Hammer was 3-0-1 in his second Ryder Cup. The Texas junior earned the clinching 13th point.
“It means the world. I had no idea that my match was going to be the clinching point, but it is really special,” Hammer said. “It’s so much more than just the 10 guys playing, too. Everyone at the USGA and R&A, and our team leaders, sacrificed so much for us to be successful this week. I owe them a huge thank you, and I just love my teammates.”
Quade Cummins gave the U.S. a half-point, winning the 18th with a par to pull even with Barclay Brown.
British Amateur champion Long, Matty Lamb, Angus Flanagan and Jack Dyer won matches for GB&I. Long beat John Pak 1 up, Lamb topped Davis Thompson 2 up, Flanagan beat William Mouw 1 up, and Dyer edged U.S. Amateur champion Tyler Strafaci 1 up.
Long played Sunday afternoon after missing the first three sessions because of a stomach virus that affected both teams and their captains. Strafaci sat out Saturday.
“It was quite tough sitting in bed most of the week. I just wanted to play one match,” Long said. “Come out this afternoon, just give it my best shot.”
GB&I took 2 1/2 of the four points in the morning foursomes to pull within a half-point.
Power and Murphy beat Coody and Pak 1 up, Lamb and Dyer routed Hagestad and Strafaci 6 and 5, and Flanagan and Schmidt halved with Hammer and Thompson. Ricky Castillo and Mouw topped Fitzpatrick and Brown 1 up.
GB&I last won on American soil in 2001 at Ocean Forest in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
“It’s been a great weekend of golf,” GB&I captain Stuart Wilson said. “It’s the Walker Cup after all. The guys have come out fighting and tried to acquit themselves as best they can. But hats off to the USA Team and Nathaniel for pulling the victory off.”
The 2023 event is set for the Old Course at St. Andrews.

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Florida Sports

Mussels suffer first loss 3-1 in Bradenton

BRADENTON – The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels managed just two hits Thursday night, dropping their first game of the season 3-1 to the Bradenton Marauders at LECOM Park.

The Mighty Mussels (2-1) got runners into scoring position in each of the final three innings, but were only able to push across one run.

Marauders (1-2) starter Santiago Florez set the tone with four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while fanning seven. Bradenton reliever Nick Garcia (1-0) went three innings while allowing only one run of relief before Steven Jennings earned a two-inning save.

The Marauders got the scoring going in the third on a solo home run from Eli Wilson. Two batters later, Fort Myers starter Sean Mooney (0-1) was pulled from the game due to injury. Mooney had been perfect aside from the homer, striking out five of the nine batters he faced.

Bradenton tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth on a wild pitch and an error to extend the lead to 3-0.

The Mussels bats showed signs of life in the seventh when Edouard Julien banged a triple off the center field fence. The next batter was Max Smith, who flied out to deep center to score Julien and cut the deficit to 3-1.

Even though Fort Myers couldn’t muster any more runs, they got outstanding relief work from Osiris German and Denny Bentley. German fanned five Marauders over 2.1 innings of hitless relief. Bentley struck out a pair of hitters in a scoreless eighth.

The Mussels and Marauders will meet again at 6:05 p.m. today. LHP Brent Headrick will make the start for Fort Myers, opposed by RHP Domingo Gonzalez of Bradenton.

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Florida Sports

Magic, AdventHealth teaming up for fan vaccination event

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic are offering the coronavirus vaccine to as many as 2,300 Central Florida residents next week, becoming the latest NBA team to host such an event.
The Magic partnered with AdventHealth and city officials to arrange the May 13 event at Amway Center, the team’s home arena. The Moderna vaccine will be available, free of charge, to anyone 18 or older.
State officials say more than 2.2 million Florida residents have tested positive for COVID-19, including about 135,000 from Orange County — which includes Orlando. City officials note that having the event at Amway Center could encourage vulnerable citizens to get the vaccine.
“Having the vaccine in this historically Black community will surely save the lives of many,” Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill said.
Magic coach Steve Clifford recently missed several games after testing positive for the coronavirus, though said he felt no symptoms at any time because he had received the vaccine.
“Because Iíve been vaccinated, I really had no discomfort,” Clifford said. “I didn’t have any symptoms at all, so it was very uneventful, thankfully. And from what I’ve been told, the biggest part is I’ve been vaccinated so my body was ready.”
Those who register for the vaccine event will be scheduled to receive their second vaccine on June 10, also at Amway Center. Several other NBA teams have offered the vaccine to fans or used their arenas to host vaccination events in concert with local government and health officials.
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Florida Sports

Mussels show their might in 13-4 barrage over Bradenton

 

BRADENTON, Fla. – The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels scored nine runs in the first two innings Wednesday and cruised to a 13-4 win over the Bradenton Marauders at LECOM Park.

Mussels (2-0) right-hander Hunter McMahon (1-0) went 4.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing only two hits while striking out six to earn the win.

With one out in the top of the first, Fort Myers shortstop Keoni Cavaco pulled a double to left before the next two batters walked to load the bases. Catcher Kyle Schmidt then drew a free pass against Bradenton (0-2) starter Eddy Yean to give the Mussels a 1-0 lead. The next batter was Max Smith, who cranked a grand slam over the wall in center field to make it 5-0.

After Bradenton got two back in the bottom of the first on an Endy Rodriguez homer and Will Matthiessen double, Fort Myers battled right back in the second. After three more walks, Smith was plunked with a pitch to make it 6-2, ending Yean’s day. After a wild pitch made it 7-2, Yunior Severino lined a single up the middle to plate two and cap the inning at 9-2.

The Mighty Mussels extended the lead in the fifth on an RBI single from Cavaco, and capped their big day in the sixth on a solo home run from Will Holland.

For the second straight day, Fort Myers showed their patience. After drawing nine walks on Opening Night, the Mussels drew 11 free passes on Wednesday. The team has reached base at a .413 clip to begin the season.

Sean Mooney will make his season debut for the Mussels tonight, opposed by Domingo Gonzalez of the Marauders. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m., with Mussels Pre-Game Live hitting the air at 5:50 p.m.

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Florida Sports

AP source: Jaguars fire 4 execs who spent 66 years with team

By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired four longtime scouting executives, including two who had been with the team more than two decades, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The person said the Jaguars parted with Chris Driggers, Andy Dengler, Mark Ellenz and Paul Roell following the NFL draft. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the moves were not publicly announced.
Driggers, Dengler, Ellenz and Roell had been with the Jags a combined 66 seasons. Each of them was either hired or promoted by former general manager Dave Caldwell, who was fired in November.
The team removed all four fired execs from its website Wednesday.
Driggers was the team’s director of pro personnel since 2015. He had been one of six staff members who joined the franchise in 1994, shortly after its inception.
Dengler was the team’s assistant director of player personnel since 2013. He first joined the Jags as a regional scout in 1998.
Ellenz was the team’s director of college scouting since 2016. He joined the Jaguars as a regional scout in 2013. He started his NFL career as an assistant training camp coordinator with New Orleans in 1998.
Roell was the team’s assistant director of college scouting since 2013. He joined the Jags that year after serving seven seasons as a regional scout with Minnesota. Roell started his NFL career as an area scout for Indianapolis in 1991.
The changes were somewhat expected under new coach Urban Meyer, who is revamping every aspect of the floundering franchise.
Meyer expanded the team’s coaching staff, its strength and conditioning program, and its nutrition and training programs. He also is pushing to get a new football facility built; Jacksonville’s current offices, meeting rooms and training rooms are housed in the bowels of the team’s aging stadium.
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