<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:04:40 -0400 Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:04:40 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Marlins Play Role of Spoiler in Win Over Nationals]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 22:26:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-485612968.jpg

The Miami Marlins played a rare meaningful game on Friday and beat the Washington Nationals by a final score of 4-3.

The Nationals are in desperate need of wins as the New York Mets continue to increase their lead in the division. After this loss, Washington's elimination number is down 29. Miami is out of contention, but will have a say in the division race. The Marlins have several more games with both Washington and New York.

Adam Conley wasn't stellar but he was good enough to pick up his second major league win. Conley gave up three runs on six hits in five innings while striking out six. The rookie now has a 4.96 E.R.A. and is a candidate to start 2016 in the rotation.

Miami's bullpen did a tremendous job of preserving the lead with four innings of one-hit ball. The pen combined to allow no runs and one walk while striking out a pair. Kyle Barraclough, Bryan Morris, Adam Dunn and A.J. Ramos all saw time on the mound. Ramos notched his 23rd save of the year in the ninth.

Martin Prado was a big reason for Miami's win as the third basemen had two hits and brought home two runs. Prado brought home both of those runs in the third inning when he sent his seventh home run of the season out of the park. The veteran has been hot lately and has his batting average up to .274.

Marcell Ozuna also homered in the game with his seventh blast of the season. Ozuna added his 19th double of the year as part of a two-hit day.

The Marlins will turn to Tom Koehler on Saturday as they look to take a second straight from the Nationals.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[IndyCar Racer Justin Wilson Remembered at Race]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 16:11:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/gettyimages-170552690-justin-wilson-dies.jpg

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Justin Wilson prior to the start of the NASCAR Xfinity race at Road America.

Wilson died Monday from a head injury sustained when he was struck by debris during an IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

Many drivers at Road America placed decals on their cars in memory of Wilson. The rear bumper of the No. 52 car driven by Joey Gase, an organ donation advocate, featured a large picture of Wilson and a testimonial from his brother and fellow racer, Stefan.

Justin Wilson's organs were donated.



Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Preseason Week Three Preview: Falcons at Dolphins]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:07:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-485189272.jpg

The Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons will battle in the third week of the preseason on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.

The Dolphins are 0-2 in the preseason thus far, but this is a meaningless number. When Miami's starters have been on the field, it has been strong on both sides of the ball.

The third game of the exhibition schedule is the one that features the most playing time from starters traditionally. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and most of the starters are expected to play the entire first half and possibly more.

Tannehill has enjoyed a fine preseason in his limited time on the field. The QB has led productive and consistent drives which has boosted optimism around the Dolphins. If Miami is going to end its long playoff drought, a terrific season from their QB will need to be at the forefront.

Working the entire first half should allow Tannehill and his receivers to find an even better rhythm heading into the regular season. When Tannehill exits, its possible some of the starting offense stays on the field to work with the backup QBs a little bit. Thus far, the backups have mostly thrown to second-team players.

Perhaps the biggest battle to watch is the one between Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas for the free safety job. Both players enter the contest with an opportunity to win the starting gig, and this one could ultimately decide the winner.

Saturday's game will be the first action at the recently renovated home field of the Dolphins and will start at 7:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Vin Scully Will Return ]]> Sun, 30 Aug 2015 00:18:51 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2015-08-28+at+7.49.21+PM.png

It happened in an instant, but it may just be the best news Dodgers fans have received in quite some time.

In between the top and bottom half of the second inning of the opening game between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, team owner Magic Johnson appeared on the jumbotron in a prepared video stating that he had an announcement for the fans.

Suddenly, Johnson's image gave way to ABC Late Night host Jimmy Kimmel who revealed cue cards that read, "Vin Scully will be back for at least one more season."

The crowd at Dodger Stadium immediately erupted as the Hall of Fame broadcaster was shown on the screen.

Scully, who turns 88 in November, has been calling Dodgers games since 1950 and next season will be his 67th with the team. Scully currently holds the longest streak of any broadcaster in all of sports to be with one team.

"I talked it over with my wife, Sandi, and my family and we've decided to do it again in 2016," Scully said. "There's no place like home and Dodger Stadium and we look forward to being a part of it with all our friends.

There was much speculation over the past few weeks as to whether or not Scully would return. Scully has taken a lesser role with the team in recent years, opting to not travel to the east coast and on most away games.

However, Scully has always said that if he was healthy enough to call the games and felt like he was still effective, then he would continue to remain in the booth.

Scully's year-by-year announcement means he will return to the booth in 2016, and beyond will still be in question. More than likely, Scully will continue to call games in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Arizona for SportsNetLA.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Behind-the-Scenes Look at Sun Life Stadium Upgrades]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:22:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082715+sun+life+stadium+tour.jpg

The Miami Dolphins want football fans to know they can now watch the games in style. The first game at the new and improved Sun Life Stadium is set for Saturday.

From the inside to the outside, the president and CEO of the Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium took NBC 6 on a tour on Thursday.

There's a lot of new to see, in the exclusive areas, like the new Ford Field Club for those who spend thousands on their season sideline seats.

There are new eating areas for everyone, and there are new Aqua seats. There's a total count of 65,000 seats, which is 10,000 fewer than before.

The developer said that's to make things more intimate, but inside on game days, the sound will be intense.

"The way the field boards and roof are constructed, it's all designed to enhance and keep crowd noise in," explained the Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel.

The game boards are carrying over from last year. They will be replaced next season. Orange columns are the beginning of a canopy that will cover the whole stadium, except the field. The construction for that is already underway.

With the first preseason game set for this weekend, the renovations and additions continue promising fans a new experience while supporting the Miami Dolphins.

]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Drop Three of Four to Pirates]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:11:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-485449418.jpg

The Miami Marlins added another game to the loss column when they fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a final score of 2-1 on Thursday.

The Pirates ended up taking three of the four games in the series to drop Miami's record to 51-77 on the season. The Marlins have lost six of their last seven games and remain in danger of falling into last place.

For the second straight game, the Marlins struggled to get runners on base. Miami had six combined hits and none of them went for extra bases. Only two runners reached scoring position, and Miami left both of them on base.

Marcell Ozuna and Martin Prado were responsible for two-thirds of Miami's hits with a pair of knocks each. Ozuna has lifted his average to .250 and has been productive since returning from AAA New Orleans.

Christian Yelich sat this one out with a bruised knee and is considered day-to-day. With Yelich unavailable, Derek Dietrich was given the start in left field. Dietrich made the most of the opportunity by knocking in Miami's only run in the game.

Justin Nicolino pitched well but took the loss to fall to 2-2. Nicolino allowed two runs on six hits in his six innings of work. The rookie now has a 3.65 E.R.A this year, as he continues to audition for a job next season.

The Marlins will hit the road on Friday when they open a series in Washington against the Nationals. Adam Conley is scheduled to pitch for Miami in the series opener.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins to Consider Bringing in Fences]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:50:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-474015832.jpg

The Miami Marlins play in one of the most spacious stadiums in baseball and they may make some changes to the design this off-season.

Moving in fences is something that other teams have elected to do, and has been on the table for Miami in the past as well. In previous years, the Marlins decided to see more statistics before making moves. Several players over the years including Giancarlo Stanton have been outspoken about the dimensions.

"I reiterate that they need to be brought in, in years to come. And it's not just my opinion. It's everyone's opinion here. And everyone's opinion on visiting teams," Stanton said last year to the Miami Herald.

While Stanton could hit a ball out of any park, there is no denying that his power numbers would increase with smaller dimensions. Stanton has seen his fair share of fly balls land harmlessly into outfielder's gloves on the warning track. Those same balls could potentially be home runs in a slightly smaller park.

A factor that has prevented Miami from making this move in the past is the potential damage to the pitching staff. Fly balls off the bats of the opposition have stayed in the park, when in other places that may not be the case. With the walls brought in or shortened, there could be a dent put into the E.R.A of the staff.

"I think pitchers would like to see [the fences] moved back, and position players would like to see them moved in," team president David Samson said.

The Marlins will need to weigh the pros and cons of this decision before going forward with it. The change could have an impact on their free-agent aspirations, and could also be beneficial to a team that may finish in last place once again.

Miami will try and stay out of last place when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at pitcher friendly Marlins Park on Thursday evening.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Files Suit Against Bulls Star Derrick Rose]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:17:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-458331240.jpg

A woman has filed a lawsuit against Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, claiming he and two friends drugged and gang-raped her.

The unidentified woman, who says she dated Rose from 2011 to 2013, says she was drugged at a Beverly Hills home and later attacked at her apartment.

Rose denied the woman's claims in a statement he released late Thursday.

"I am just focusing on staying healthy and getting ready for the season," he said. "I am not going to comment other than to say - I know the truth, and am confident I will be proven innocent.”

The lawsuit, which was first reported by TMZ Wednesday and made public Thursday, says the incident took place in August of 2013.

Rose’s spokesperson, Lisa Cohen, said on behalf of his legal team that the lawsuit is “nothing more than a desperate attempt to shake down a highly respected and successful athlete" and called the claims "outrageous."

"Two years have passed since Mr. Rose ended the consensual relationship with the plaintiff, and her claims are as meritless now as they were two years ago," she said. "We have complete confidence that the case will be dismissed and that Mr. Rose will be vindicated."

Cohen also claimed this is the third attorney the woman has hired in an attempt to sue Rose.

The Chicago Bulls released a statement on the issue Wednesday.

"We just learned about this matter and do not know all the facts,” the team said. “It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Rose’s agent could not immediately be reached for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Fall Behind Early in Loss to Pirates]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:59:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-485292008.jpg

The Miami Marlins gave up seven runs in the first two innings and it was all the Pittsburgh Pirates needed to win 7-2 on Wednesday.

Chris Narveson started for Miami and allowed all seven runs on eight hits. The veteran would settle in and give Miami 1.2 more innings, but the damage was already done. Narveson was making a spot start in place of Kendry Flores.

Erik Cordier and Scott McGough combined for 5.1 scoreless innings of relief to give Miami a chance. Not only did those efforts keep the Marlins in the game, but it saved the bullpen for the finale of the series. Pittsburgh only managed one hit against the pair of relievers while striking out six times.

Much like the Pirates, all the scoring for Miami came in the first two innings. Miami would score one run in each of the first two frames. The Marlins only had five total hits in the game, and were 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

Martin Prado hit a solo home run in the first inning to get Miami on the board. The blast was the sixth of the season for the veteran third baseman. J.T. Realmuto brought home his 38th run of the season in the second inning to add to Miami's tally.

Marcell Ozuna (18) and Miguel Rojas (4) each doubled, with the other two Miami hits going for singles. Ozuna had two hits and also scored while batting out of the fifth slot in the lineup.

Justin Nicolino will be on the mound for the Marlins when they wrap up the series with the Pirates on Thursday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald Indicted on Rape Charges]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:03:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/th-may-25-ray-mcdonald-mug.jpg

Former San Francisco 49’ers and Chicago Bears defensive end Ray McDonald was indicted on Wednesday on one count of rape and on one count of violating a restraining order by a Santa Clara County Grand Jury, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

McDonald, who was signed by the Bears in March and released by the team after new domestic violence allegations surfaced against him a few months later, was accused of raping an intoxicated woman at a party in December 2014. The incident caused the 49’ers to release him, with the team citing a series of poor decision-making as the reason for the decision.

McDonald’s former teammate Ahmad Brooks was also indicted for his role in an incident at the same party, the newspaper reported.

If convicted on the rape charge, McDonald faces a maximum of eight years in prison, with another year possible with the restraining order violation charges.

]]>
<![CDATA[Hand Nearly Goes Distance as Marlins Halt Skid]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:09:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-485212174.jpg

Brad Hand nearly gave the Miami Marlins their first complete game in over a year in their 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Hand went out for the eighth inning but was lifted after giving up two hits. The Marlins have not had a complete game since June 3rd, 2014. That is now a stretch of 190 games after Hand's near miss in this one.

While it was incomplete, Hand still posted a fantastic line for the day. The left-hander allowed two runs on nine hits in the eight frames. Hand struck out five and walked none which was a great sign for a pitcher who struggled with control earlier in his career. Hand is now 4-3 on the year while splitting time between the rotation and bullpen.

When Hand was lifted, manager Dan Jennings turned to A.J. Ramos. The closer was entering a save situation as the tying run was on deck. Ramos would give up a single of his own to load the bases. The closer would end up giving up a run on a ground out before earning his 22nd save of the season.

Adeiny Hechavarria had a great day with a double and a triple. Doubles were a common theme for Miami in the win as Martin Prado, Christian Yelich and Justin Bour also had two-base hits. Bour doubled twice while Yelich also singled in his return from the disabled list.

Dee Gordon swiped four bases to give him 45 steals on the year. The electrifying second baseman also had two hits and two runs scored. Gordon is now hitting .333 on the season.

Chris Narveson will take the ball on Wednesday as he makes a spot start. Kendry Flores was originally slated to make this start, but has since gone on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Boxer Preparing for Las Vegas Fight]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:28:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082515+trevor+bryan.jpg

Boxing's heavyweight division has been dominated by Ukrainian Vladimir Klitschko for the better part of 10 years now.

Just before his latest title defense in New York City, Klitschko decided to train at the Lucky Street Gym in Hollywood, Florida. That happens to be the same place where another up and coming heavyweight is spending his days preparing his assault on the sport. 

Trevor Bryan is an Albany, New York, transplant living in South Florida for over four years now, a move he made while looking for ideal training conditions.

The beaches make it easy to get his swimming in and the humidity makes it easy to keep the gym at a toasty 100 degrees. 

"If you can't get in shape in here, you can't get in shape anywhere," shouted Bryan as he was getting ready to jump rope in the ring. 

Bryan's dedication to boxing did not come naturally.

"I was young and arrogant back in the day. I didn't make any sense. I would say, 'Nah, I don't want to do boxing. I'll fight in the streets.'"

He later realized just how much he enjoyed it after a few serious workouts, "I had played basketball, football, baseball, soccer, and I had never been that tired. I lived around the corner and I physically couldn't walk home. From then on, I was in the gym every day."

He's now known as "The Dream" and is an undefeated 15-0 in the 226-pound division.

On Aug. 28, he'll face his toughest challenge yet in only his second Las Vegas fight. 35-year-old veteran Derric Rossy will be waiting, with his 30-9 record along with 14 knockouts.

Still, if there is one thing Trevor doesn't lack, it's motivation and confidence. 

"We've seen a couple of his fights and yes, he's a decent fighter. He calls himself a gatekeeper, but we don't need to worry about that. We only need to worry about what The Dream is going to do," said Bryan while going on to list the members of his team including head trainer Stacy McKinley.

"After I win this fight, they're going to say that Trevor Bryan needs to be mentioned every time we speak of heavyweights. I want to be an international figure, the people's champ, the true people's champ."



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Place Louis Delmas on Injured Reserve]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 18:22:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-460113516.jpg

The Miami Dolphins placed Louis Delmas on the injured reserve list on Tuesday which officially ends his season.

Delmas suffered a torn right ACL last week, and this was move was a foregone conclusion. The injury was the second tear for Delmas in the last year. With free agency coming up for the safety, it is likely that Delmas has played his last game with Miami.

When Delmas tore his ACL during Week 14 in 2014, his status for this season was in question, After a relatively quick recovery, Delmas appeared to be ready to be a major factor in Miami's defense. The 28-year old participated in the June mini-camp, and was available for preseason action.

With Delmas gone, Miami will use the rest of its preseason to find a new starting safety. Walt Aikens appears to be the main beneficiary of the injury, with a pair of preseason games left on the schedule. Michael Thomas is also competing the gig after spending time as a starter last year when Delmas' season started slow.

Delmas began his career with the Detroit Lions and spent five seasons in the Motor City. When Delmas hit the free agent market, Miami swooped in fast and grabbed the safety on a one-year deal. Delmas was productive considering his modest $3.5 million salary, and Miami signed him to another one-year deal this off-season.

Thus far in the preseason, Miami is 0-2 but has seen solid play on both sides of the ball from its first team. In the latter half of the exhibition season, the Dolphins are likely to give more playing time to their starters.

Miami continues the preseason on Saturday at home against the Atlanta Falcons.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ESPN Pulls Former Red Sox Star From Air After Posts Compare Muslims Extremists to Nazis]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:50:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/138886369.jpg

ESPN has pulled Curt Schilling from the air after the former Red Sox and Phillies star posted a photo comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis on his social media accounts.

The photos, posted Tuesday, were deleted and Schilling apologized. ESPN announced that the company has removed Schilling as a broadcaster for the Little League World Series "pending further consideration.”

"Curt's tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company's perspective," ESPN said in a statement.

Schilling issued an apology on Twitter, saying he understands his suspension and that the situation is "100% my fault." 

 

 He has also apologized to some online commenters individually.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Files New Argument in Tom Brady Appeal]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 06:47:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tom-brady-patriots-nfl.jpg

The NFL filed a new argument Monday in the Tom Brady appeal.

The letter, sent to Judge Richard Berman, questions the NFL Player's Association presentation during a hearing last week in which the NFLPA submitted a list of 19 examples of rulings in which a court vacated an arbitration award.

The NFLPA suggested those cases set legal precedent for the judge to throw out the NFL's decision to suspend Tom Brady for four games in response to his alleged role in Deflategate.

The NFL says those cases are not similar to the Tom Brady case.

Another hearing is set for next week in Brady's appeal. 



Photo Credit: WHDH]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Remain Tied For Last With 4th Straight Loss]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 22:47:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-485143850.jpg

The Miami Marlins lost a fourth consecutive game when they fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday at Marlins Park.

Tom Koehler gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings of work while walking four. It was a great effort for Koehler, but a lack of run support led to him being tagged with a loss. Koehler is now 8-12 on the season despite a solid 3.98 E.R.A.

Brian Ellington and Erik Cordier were each charged with a run while pitching in relief. Cordier ended up retiring no hitters as he was ejected from the game. The home plate umpire threw Cordier out after a series of inside pitches to Pittsburgh hitters including a hit batsmen. To their credit, the Pirates did not retaliate at any point.

Bryan Morris had a poor outing in the ninth when he walked four hitters while only retiring two. Morris allowed a run along the way.

The Marlins struggled to get their offense going as they only tallied one extra base hit out of their seven total hits. Marcell Ozuna contributed that knock with his 17th double of the season.

Miami's first run scored in the seventh inning and was brought home by J.T. Realmuto. The run batted in was the 36th of the year for Miami's rookie catcher. Realmuto has quickly become a key cog in Miami's everyday lineup. The Marlins would add a run on in the bottom of the ninth on a groundout.

As has been the theme all year long, the Marlins struggled with runners in scoring position. As a team, they were 0-5 with RISP and left six men on base.

The four-game series will continue on Tuesday when Brad Hand takes the mound for the Marlins.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Olympic Gymnastics Coach Suspected of Molestation]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 19:55:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-149434037.jpg

An Olympic gymnastics coach was arrested early Monday morning in Indianapolis on suspicion of child molestation, a spokeswoman for an Indiana prosecutor's office told NBC News.

Marvin Sharp has not formally been charged, said Marion County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Peg McLeish, adding that her office is sharing its investigation with federal authorities.

NBC affiliate WTHR reported that the investigation began with a complaint from a female gymnast at Sharp's Gymnastics Academy, and that USA Gymnastics is cooperating with the investigation. On Sunday evening, detectives searching for child pornography removed computers and other electronic devices from Sharp's home, the station reported.



Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Water Polo Player From Miami On Verge of Olympic History]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 19:52:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082415+ashleigh+johnson.jpg

Ashleigh Johnson stands out in the pool because of her athletic talent, but also her background.

Johnson is the only black player on the U.S. Women’s National Water Polo team. She’s also the only player not from California.

"I didn't even really wonder why there weren't any more black people on the team,” Johnson said. “That's just how it's always been.”

Johnson grew up on a five-acre farm property in the Redland, surrounded by jackfruit, avocado and tamarind trees, raised by her Jamaican-born single mom, Donna Johnson.

"It is mentioned a lot,” Donna Johnson said about her daughter’s ethnicity. “A lot of people ask her about it, so she is very conscious of it, but i don't think it affects the way she sees herself.”

Ashleigh says she’s never faced any outward prejudice or even heard opponents make comments about how she’s different. "I'm sure they think it, but they don't say it, and they definitely don't say it after the game, because we beat them," Johnson said with a big smile.

Johnson is only 20 years old, but she’s quite comfortable breaking barriers. This month, she was named “Goalkeeper of the Tournament” when Team USA won Gold at the Water Polo World Championships in Russia. She was also named MVP of the Gold-medal game.

That performance has her on the verge of becoming the first ever black player on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Water Polo team.

"I'm actually very conscious of the fact that I could be a role model for young black girls and I can be someone (they) could look to as an example,” Johnson said.

“When someone of her ethnicity comes in and has that success, it puts her in a great position of influence,” said Adam Krikorian, Head Coach of the U.S. Women’s National Water Polo Team. “You wouldn’t want anyone else out there as a spokesperson.”

Krikorian first heard about Ashleigh when she was in 7th grade. He was coaching at UCLA at the time, and his assistant coach was doing a water polo camp in Florida. “She called and said, ‘there’s this kid, she’s going to be the next great goalie.’” Krikorian recalls.

The coach was right. But Johnson’s path to becoming a world-class Water Polo player was almost accidental.

She discovered the sport when her mom took them to a pool behind their elementary school in Cutler Ridge for swimming lessons. There was a coach there, Carroll Vaughan of the Miami Riptides, who happened to be an accomplished Water Polo player. She used water polo as a reward for doing well in swimming.

Ashleigh never liked swimming. But she was so good at it, there was pressure to compete. As a Sophomore at Ransom Everglades, Johnson won a State Championship in the 50-meter freestyle.

"I actually made a deal with my swimming coach that if I won that year, then I wouldn't have to continue swimming,” Johnson said. “And I won, so I didn't have to do it anymore!”

Donna Johnson had never even heard of water polo when her five kids started playing it. So you can imagine her surprise at the prospect of her middle child competing in the Olympic Games in Rio.

"No, that never crossed my mind,” Donna Johnson laughed. "It was just to have something for them to do and keep them busy. It’s not something I sought."

In Miami, not exactly a water polo hot-bed, Ashleigh says people ask a lot of questions when they find out she plays the sport.

“What is water polo? How do you get the horse in the water, that’s a really common joke," she said.

But perhaps water polo will be on South Florida’s radar next summer. The U.S. Women’s team won Gold in London in 2012, and chances are good that Ashleigh will be in goal when the team tries to win again in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Qualifying for the Olympics is next March. Ashleigh is currently taking a year off from college at Princeton to compete with the national team and make her improbable Olympic journey a reality.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 08:12:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/topSports-AP_815986155748.jpg Click to see dramatic game action photos from professional football, hockey, basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pearl Harbor Vet Throws 1st Pitch]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:46:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/WW+II+Veterans+1st+Pitch.jpg

The oldest survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor threw the ceremonial first pitch Sunday before the San Diego Padres game at Petco Park.

Raymond Chavez, 103, who served on the U.S. Navy coastal minesweeper USS Condor, was joined by Jack Paris, who served on the U.S. Navy battleship USS Colorado and was on it in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered to end World War II.

Chavez threw his pitch to reliever Kevin Quackenbush while Paris threw his to coach Dave Roberts. The crowd of more than 30,000 gave both men a standing ovation for their effort and to thank them for their service.

The Padres have a longstanding tradition of honoring the Military at home games on Sundays.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Padres 10-3, hampering their attempt to sweep their third series this season and second in a row.

]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins' Stanton Wants Changes to Roster]]> Sun, 23 Aug 2015 11:34:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-478366538.jpg

Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton would like to see his team make changes to its roster, according to a report by the Miami Herald.

Stanton is currently on the disabled list due to a broken hamate bone, and has seen the Marlins spiral in the standings. Even with Stanton in action, Miami was struggling to stay competitive. Once this season became a lost campaign, the Marlins unloaded several players without adding any impactful players back.

This off-season could be a critical one for the Marlins as Stanton watches to see if the team tries to improve. The All-Star has an opt-out in his 13-year contract following the 2020 season, and not improving next year could begin a domino effect going forward.

Stanton is not looking for one change, or anything minor. The outfielder wants to see significant improvement. His team is currently only one game ahead of the last place Philadelphia Phillies, and is teetering on having the worst record in baseball.

“We need a lot of changes,” Stanton said.

Those changes will need to come both via free agency and the trade route. Miami doesn't have many valuable assets in the minor leagues to trade which could handcuff the front office. It could result in the Marlins trading a MLB ready player such as Marcell Ozuna in order to improve elsewhere.

Adding an ace-type pitcher to the rotation is something that would be a big boost to Miami's competitive chances. The issue at hand however is the expense of doing so. David Price, Jordan Zimmermann and Johnny Cueto are all set to hit the free agent market. It is unlikely that the Marlins will be able to afford their services however.

Miami will try to avoid falling into a tie for the worst record in MLB when they face the Phillies on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Move Closer to Basement in Loss]]> Sun, 23 Aug 2015 10:48:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484904372.jpg

The Miami Marlins lost a second consecutive game to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday by a final score of 4-2.

With the loss, Miami only has a one-game advantage over Philadelphia in the National League East. The Marlins' 50-73 record is also one of the worst overall in Major League Baseball. That is a mark which the Phillies currently hold.

This was a tough defeat for the Marlins as they held the lead for almost the entire night. With a 2-0 lead following the third inning, Miami appeared to be cruising to its second win in the series. That wouldn't be the case however as the Phillies plated four runs in the final two innings of play.

Justin Nicolino started the game for Miami and contributed 7.2 innings of two-run ball. Both of those runs came home in the eighth inning with one being a home run. The rookie struck out four and allowed five hits in one of his finest performances thus far.

In the ninth, Miami gave the ball to closer A.J. Ramos as it looked to keep the score tied at two. Ramos floundered however and allowed two runs while only retiring one hitter. The loss was tagged to Ramos who fell to 1-4 this year.

Miami's two early runs were brought home by Derek Dietrich. The 26-year old continues to find playing time at a variety of positions, and was in left field for this one. Dietrich has been Miami's biggest offensive contributor in recent weeks, and could find himself with a starting job in 2016.

Another rookie will get the ball on Sunday when Adam Conley tries to help the Marlins split the four-game series.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tannehill Solid in Dolphins Loss to Panthers]]> Sun, 23 Aug 2015 10:15:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484903648.jpg

Ryan Tannehill looked ready for the season in a 31-30 loss for the Miami Dolphins on Saturday against the Carolina Panthers.

The final score is meaningless and so is Miami's 0-2 record thus far in the preseason. Staying healthy and getting game ready is all that matters over these next couple of weeks. The Dolphins have to be happy with what they saw from their starting quarterback in week two.

Tannehill threw for 102 yards and was 12 for 15 on his pass attempts. This follows a solid performance in the first preseason game of the year. The QB completed one touchdown pass and had a rating of 117.2 in the game.

After Tannehill's day was over in the second quarter, the Dolphins turned to a trio of backups. The most successful of the three was Matt Moore who is expected to serve as Tannehill's primary backup. Moore was 6-11 for 55 yards and a TD pass of his own. Moore threw one pass that resulted in an interception as well.

On the ground, LaMichael James gave Miami a solid 45 yards on his nine carries. Meanwhile, Damien Williams did the most with his opportunities when he took one into the end zone. Williams had 14 yards on four carries in addition to that TD run.

With Louis Delmas expected to miss the entire season, all eyes were on Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens. The two are trying to win the starting job that Delmas previously held, and they were equal on this day. Both players had four tackles, and this position battle could take the entire preseason to iron out.

Miami's preseason will continue next Saturday when it hosts the Atlanta Falcons at 7:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Preseason Week Two Preview: Dolphins at Panthers]]> Sat, 22 Aug 2015 11:53:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-483902802.jpg

The Miami Dolphins will take on the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night in their second preseason game of the year.

Coming off a loss in the first week, Miami will focus on improving aspects of its game that led to the defeat. While the result does not matter in the preseason, correcting mistakes is critical. The Dolphins saw some good moments in their loss to the Chicago Bears last week, but they mostly came early.

One thing Miami struggled with in the loss to Chicago was the penalty flag. The Dolphins were even called for holding twice during their best drive of the game. Those penalties can end up making the difference between a win and a loss down the road.

In this one, Miami is likely to going to give starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill some more work. Tannehill was an impressive 6-7 in the first game and was then given the rest of the night off. The QB should see action for at least the entire first quarter in this one.

Tannehill's remarkable drive culminated with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jarvis Landry. The WR should see increased playing time as well as he tries to find a good rhythm with Tannehill.

The Dolphins will be without the services of starting safety Louis Delmas who was carted off the field earlier this week with a torn ACL. Delmas will likely miss the entire season, and it should leave to increased exposure for Michael Thomas.

Like most early preaseason games, this contest will help head coach Joe Philbin make important roster decisions. Miami needs to figure out who will play behind its starters, and time is quickly dwindling down.

Saturday's game is set to kick off at 7:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Drop Lopsided Game to Phillies]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:07:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484792430.jpg

The Miami Marlins are only two games ahead of last place after falling to the Philadelphia Phillies by a final score of 7-1 on Friday.

The Phillies currently have the worst record in Major League Baseball, while Miami has the third worst. With two games left in the weekend series, it is possible that the Marlins could find themselves in the basement soon. Miami has a 50-72 record overall on the year, but is a respectable 29-31 at home.

Making his first big league start, Kendry Flores did not fare well for the Marlins. Flores served up five runs on seven hits in his five innings on the mound. The right-hander is now 1-2 to go with a 4.97 E.R.A after spending time in the bullpen.

Erik Cordier and Kyle Barraclough both appeared out of the pen for Miami. The two relievers combined to allow a pair of runs in four innings of work. Cordier and Barraclough are being auditioned for possible roles in the 2016 pen.

Miami had only one run but it did compile eight hits. The lone score came courtesy of Derek Dietrich's ninth home run of the season. Dietrich entered the game in place of Cole Gillespie when the latter was forced to exit with a sore wrist.

Dee Gordon tripled for the eighth time this season as part of a two-hit day. Gordon is now hitting .338 this season.

Another rookie will get the ball on Saturday when the Marlins turn to Justin Nicolino for a start against Philadelphia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: Swiss Cliff Jumper Laso Schaller's Epic Plunge]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:16:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/schaller.jpg

Famed jumper Laso Schaller made headlines for setting "a new cliff-jump world record" when dramatic video of him plunging nearly 200 feet into a pool of water was released on Aug. 18.

But a technicality will keep the Swiss 27-year-old out of the official record books — the feat is too dangerous for Guinness.

During the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Schaller completed a 192.9-foot jump into a 26-foot-deep pool of water. Red Bull, which sponsors the event, said he set a record.

Guinness World Records no longer monitors that category “due to the obvious dangers involved and the inadvisability of sanctioning such a record,” a spokesperson said.

Though Guinness doesn't track cliff-jumping anymore, they do keep a record of who has the most Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series titles. Four-time winner Gary Hunt is the current record holder.

Red Bull, which sponsors the event, has not yet responded for comment.

Even with Schaller’s experience, there was a lot of extra preparation needed to make the jump.

His team built a platform that extended out from the top of the waterfall to clear a rock wall for the jump, according to a blog post from Red Bull. The team also explored the pool using scuba gear and placed six aerating tanks in his projected landing area to "soften" the water.

Schaller, a canyon guide and athlete by trade, regularly participates in high-dive shows, which involve jumping roughly 80 feet, 20 times in a day.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Women's World Cup Hero to Pen Book]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 09:57:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Carli+Lloyd+golden+Ball+Womens+World+Cup.jpg

World Cup soccer star Carli Lloyd, whose three goals in the 2015 final led the U.S. to a 5-2 victory over Japan, has a book deal.

The 33-year-old Lloyd is working on a memoir that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will release in fall 2016. The publisher announced Thursday that the book, currently untitled, will cover her rise from nearly quitting soccer in 2003 and her emphasis on physical and mental strength. An edition for young readers also is planned.

Earlier this summer, the midfielder and Olympic gold medalist scored six goals in seven women's World Cup matches, including a hat trick against Japan.

In a statement released through Houghton Mifflin, Lloyd says she looks forward to sharing her thoughts on a "long journey, sometimes rewarding, sometimes challenging, but worth every moment."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bats Stay Hot in Marlins Win]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:59:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484656632.jpg

The Miami Marlins continued to swing their bats well in a 9-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday at Marlins Park.

In the last three games, Miami has scored 25 combined runs and has come winners twice. This was the fourth win in five tries for the Marlins overall. The recent surge has helped Miami extend their lead over last place Philadelphia to three games.

The story hasn't been as good for Miami's pitching staff recently as it has combined to allow 21 runs in the same three games. The runs have come against both the starting rotation and the bullpen, with a myriad of arms mixed in.

Miami scored four runs in each of the first two innings with two home runs being featured in the second inning alone. Martin Prado blasted his fifth of the season, while Marcell Ozuna hit his sixth out of the park. Ozuna's home run almost literally left the park in left field, and it was the first for him since returning from the minor leagues.

After the explosive first two frames, Miami stayed off the board until the eighth when Ichiro Suzuki scored following a triple. The three-base hit was the sixth such hit for Suzuki in 2015 and was part of a two-hit day for the veteran.

Two-hit days were common for the Marlins in the win as Dee Gordon, Justin Bour, Ozuna and Adeiny Hechavarria all completed the feat as well. Ozuna and Hechavarria were clutch by picking up runs batted in with two outs as well.

The Marlins will hand the ball to Kendry Flores on Friday as they go for their second win in a row over the Phillies.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>