Cody Kurek hit a third-inning grand slam to lift Hickory past Middle Atlantic champion Marlton, NJ., 4-3, on Friday night in the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen.
"I just saw that pitch come in right there and I just put a good swing on it and fortunately it went out," Kurek said.
Kurek also pitched all six innings for the win, giving up four hits, walking four and striking out 10. "I felt really good. Ten strikeouts is probably the most I've ever had before, and it felt good to pitch a complete game on opening night," Kurek said.
Kurek's grand slam erased a 1-0 deficit after Marlton took the lead in the top of the inning on back-to-back doubles. Marlton scored its other two runs in the fourth on two walks and a single from Jackson Edelman. Kurek retired the next seven batters to secure the win. Hickory's next game is Sunday at 10 a.m. at Nationals Field against Southeast champion Atlantic Beach, Fla. Maryland state champion, Bel Air will play Saturday at 3 p.m. at Cal Sr.'s Yard against Southwest champion Florence, Ala.
"This is everything, it's everything for our team, we've prepared, we've practiced, the team's been together for six years," Hickory manager David Miller said. "We knew the competition was strong and we've prepared ourself against strong competition to basically compete up here and we feel like we can compete up here."
— Defending champion Team Mexico was absent from the Opening Ceremonies because they were held up by weather delays that closed Reagan National Airport on Thursday. Babe Ruth vice president and commissioner Robert Faherty confirmed the problem, saying, "It was completely out of our hands."
— Japan won all four skills challenge events: the turn-two infield drill, golden spikes race, outfield relay and home run derby. Kairi Matsumara won the derby over three other semifinalists: Ronny Polanco of the Dominican Republican; Minsung Cho of the Republic of Korea; and Renzo Gonzalez of Puerto Rico. Hitters were awarded one point for a ball that reached the outfield; three for a ball off the wall and five for a home run and were given three minutes with a timeout. Matsumara beat Polanco, 140-136, while Cho bested Gonzalez, 142-124, in the other semifinal. Matsumara defeated Cho in the final, 128-111, giving Japan its first derby champ in its 10-year team history.
"Of course I feel great to be a champion for the first time ever as a member of Team Japan," Matsumara said through translator Ty Date. "Also, as a team captain of Team Japan, I'm pretty happy about winning the whole thing, the individual skills competition, as a whole group of the Team Japan so we can have a team cohesive going forward for the whole tournament."
Steve Davis out as co-host on 105.7 FM
Steve Davis is out as co-host of the "Norris & Davis" morning show on WJZ-FM (105.7 The Fan), the veteran sportscaster confirmed Friday. Davis, who has been on Baltimore and Washington TV and radio since 1994, joined 105.7 in 2010 after being laid off by WBAL radio in what management there characterized as a cost-cutting move. He had been on WBAL for five years as host of "Sportsline with Steve Davis," a popular talk show. The 1988 Boston College graduate came to Baltimore to cover sports for WBFF (Fox 45) from KOIN-TV in Portland, Ore. He joined WBAL radio in 2004. In another change at 105.7, Jerry Coleman said he will be on the air 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays starting Monday as part of a new lineup.
— David Zurawik
Former Terp Faust to play pro basketball in Israel
Former Maryland guard Nick Faust (City) has joined Ironi Nahariya of the Israeli Basketball Premier League, Eurobasket reported. Faust, 23, graduated this spring from Long Beach State, where he averaged 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals in 35 games his senior season.
Major League Lacrosse: Despite losing to the Lizards, 18-12, on Thursday night in New York, the Chesapeake Bayhawks (8-5) can clinch one of four playoff berths tonight if the Boston Cannons (6-6), Denver Outlaws (7-6) and Rochester Rattlers (6-6) all lose. The Bayhawks also can guarantee a postseason spot by beating the host Charlotte Hounds (7-5) next Saturday night in the regular-season finale. Chesapeake trails the first-place Lizards (8-4) by a half-game and leads the Ohio Machine (7-5) and Hounds by a half-game. Lizards midfielder Dave Lawson was suspended by MLL for one game Friday for his unsportsmanlike conduct personal foul during Thursday night's game.
Major League Soccer: With time running out before the transfer and trade window closes, D.C. United acquired Nigerian forward Kennedy Igboananike from the Chicago Fire for targeted allocation money and a 2019 third-round draft pick. In two seasons, Igboananike, 27, has 11 goals and four assists in 49 league appearances (38 starts). This year, after scoring four times in his first eight matches, he has gone scoreless in 10 straight for the league-worst Fire. United (5-8-7) has the second-fewest goals in MLS, ahead of only Chicago.
NFL: The Washington Redskins activated inside linebacker Perry Riley Jr. off the physically unable to perform list on Friday, and he participated in his first practice of the offseason. Riley missed the final five weeks of the regular season because of a broken right foot, and he suffered a setback during the offseason that sidelined him for practices and minicamp. The seven-year veteran began the 2015 season as a starter, but played just nine games because of injuries.
—Master Tesfatsion, The Washington Post
Laurel Park: Riding for the third day at Laurel Park since returning from injury, jockey Sheldon Russell earned his first victory of the summer meet aboard Charles L. Biggs' Two Charley's in the first race Friday. Russell, 28, had been out since tearing his labrum and fracturing his shoulder in two places in a training accident in November before returning last Saturday at Laurel. He picked up his first win back with Moss Code on Thursday at Delaware Park. A six-time meet riding champion at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course and Maryland's leading rider in 2011, Russell kept Two Charley's in the clear on the outside in midpack before rallying down the center of the stretch to edge past even-money favorite The Great Ronaldo late and win by a length in 59.75seconds for 5furlongs over a fast main track.
— Cutting back to 5 1/2 furlongs off a narrow loss last out going one mile, Michael J. Harrison's Just Jack emerged from a tight pack on the outside and wore down stubborn long shot Miner's Quest to win the eighth race. The 3-year-old Maryland-bred, a full brother to stakes winner Talk Show Man, ran the distance in 1 minute, 4.73 seconds over a Bowl Game Turf Course rated good for his second win over older horses this year.
— Richard F. Blue Jr.'s Grandiflora outran Jrock and Made Bail down the stretch with a steady drive on the far outside to end an 11-race losing streak in the third race, a $45,000 optional claiming allowance for turf sprinters 3 and up. With meet-leading rider Feargal Lynch aboard for trainer Ann Merryman, Grandiflora ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.47. It was the first win for the 5-year-old gelding since his allowance victory May 7, 2015, at Pimlico.
— There will be carryovers in the 20-cent Rainbow 6, 50-cent Late Pick 5 and $1 Super Hi-5 wagers for today's nine-race program. … Jockey Victor Carrasco visited the winner's circle twice on Friday, with Feisty Valentina ($24) in the fifth race and Just Jack ($5.20) in the eighth … Jockey Jevian Toledo won his 500th career race Friday when he guided Tango Delta ($21) to victory in the seventh race.
Minor league baseball: The Bowie Baysox will open their 2017 season on the road, then play their first home game April 13 at 6:35 p.m. against the Harrisburg Senators.
Sun staff and news services contributed to this article.