Digest (June 24): Brigade keep AFL lead despite loss to Empire

From Sun staff and news services

The Albany Empire handed the Arena Football League -leading Brigade a 56-49 loss on Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore's regular-season home finale. The Brigade dropped to 7-3 with only their second loss in the past seven games. Baltimore leads the Empire and Philadelphia Soul , both 6-4, by a half game in the AFL with two games remaining in the regular season. It was the Brigade's first loss at home this season. Brigade wide receiver Brandon Collins finished with 10 receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Randy Hippeard was 24-for-41 passing for 292 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Quarterback Tommy Grady completed 14 of 20 passes for 199 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Empire. The Brigade will take on the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday followed by a game against the Washington Valor on July 7.

NHL

Capitals re-sign defenseman Carlson to 8-year, $64M deal

The Washington Capitals re-signed top defenseman John Carlson to an an eight-year, $64 million deal, the team announced Sunday. Carlson was the team's top free-agent priority after the 28-year-old had a career season with 15 goals and 53 assists and played a vital role in the Capitals winning theStanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. A cap hit of $8 million makes Carlson the second-highest-paid player on the team behind captain Alex Ovechkin . "John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL," general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. "Defensemen like John are a rare commodity in our league and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime." MacLellan met with Carlson's representative, Rick Curran, at the NHL draft in Dallas this weekend, and Washington cleared cap room Friday night by shipping veteran Brooks Orpik (and his $5.5 million cap hit) to the Colorado Avalanche as part of a deal that also included goaltender Philipp Grubauer . MacLellan said the sides were "really close" Friday night, but a deal wasn't in place Sunday morning as Curran started fielding calls from other interested teams at the start of the league's six-day "interview period" for pending unrestricted free agents. Had Carlson hit the open market July 1, he would have been the NHL's best blue-liner available, but Washington was the only team that could offer him the maximum term of eight years. Carlson's contract includes a $2 million signing bonus for both the 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons, protection for when the NHL could enter a lockout, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. Also, the deal has a modified no-trade clause in which Carlson can submit a 15-team no-trade list in the first four years and then a 10-team list in the last four years of the contract.

— Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post

Tennis

Kudla rises in rankings, has shot at Wimbledon spot

Though qualifier Denis Kudla, 25, fell to then-world No.1 Roger Federer , 7-6 (1), 7-5, on Saturday in the Gerry Weber Open semifinals in Halle, Germany, the alumnus of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park and Arlington, Va., resident boosted his chances of qualifying for his second straight Wimbledon in men's singles. After his performance at Halle, Kudla rose to No. 83 in the ATP rankings, which puts him in strong position for one of the remaining Wimbledon wild cards. On Saturday, Federer needed 12 aces and saved six of the seven break points he faced to end Kudla's 10-set winning streak in Halle. The American had three break points when he was leading 4-3 in the second set, but Federer fought back and finished the set with two aces. Kudla, 25, had saved 20 of 21 break points on his way to the semifinals at the grass-court tournament.

Et cetera

National Women's Soccer League: The Washington Spirit (2-8-4) fell, 1-0, to the Orlando Pride (6-3-4) in front of an announced 4,005 at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night. Orlando struck in the 11th minute when Alanna Kennedy intercepted a pass in the midfield and shot from just past midfield over the outstretched arms of Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.

Laurel Park : Flying Pheasant Farm's Barney Rebel surged to the lead in the final sixteenth and go on to a three-quarterlength victory in Sunday's featured ninth race. The $45,000 second-level optional claiming allowance was the 10th career win from 58 starts for 10-year-old Barney Rebel ($8.20), the 3-1 favorite who completed 11/16 miles in 1 minute, 41.46 seconds over a firm Dahlia turf course under jockey Horacio Karamanos for trainer Mary Eppler. Conquest See Ya was second, followed by Amigo and 21-1 pacesetter Corvus. Super C Racing Inc.'s Town Drunk ($6), favored at 2-1, started Sunday's card with 5½-length triumph, a $27,000 maiden claimer for 2-year-olds, running 5 furlongs in 59.13 seconds. In the fourth, a $33,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies, Emcee Stable, Matt Strzepka and Brian McKenzie's Margie is Livid ($7.60) was a front-running neck winner in 1:02.80 for 5½ furlongs. Kevin Gomez posted a riding triple aboard Here Comes Michael ($7) in the sixth race, Unlucky Hillary ($3.20) in the eighth and What a Run ($8.20) in the 10th. Laurel's winter-spring meet-leading rider picked up a pair of victories with Margie is Livid ($7.60) in the third and Warrior Rose ($7.60) in the fifth.

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