Sports

Volunteers get a kick out of helping Special Olympics

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Brennen Pickens arrived at the Ursuline Academy softball field unsure about playing in the kickball game. He considered watching from the sidelines.

With the guidance of Ursuline alumnae Paige Salthouse and other volunteers, he soon was at the plate kicking the ball and running to first base to loud cheers. Later, after he ran to third, Salthouse praised the 7-year-old. "Good job. You're fast," she said.

Brennen's enthusiasm at the game Aug. 4 was encouraged by the volunteers with Special Olympics Missouri who organized the game.

Players from Catholic schools in St. Louis living their dream

Brian Howard pitches during a recent game for the Vermont Lake Monsters in baseball's minor leagues. Earlier this year his 12 strikeouts tied the single-game College World Series high.

Players from Catholic schools in the archdiocese were well represented at the Major League Baseball draft in June. The draft lasted three days, with 40 rounds and 1,215 selections, and three players from St. Louis Catholic schools were drafted.

Jake Burger was drafted 11th overall in the first round of the 2017 Major League draft by the Chicago White Sox. He was undrafted after attending Christian Brothers College High School and chose to attend Missouri State University, where he was a three-time All-American. This year, he hit .328 with 22 home runs and 65 RBIs.

Street soccer goalie to play for U.S. in Homeless World Cup

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Cliff Byrd concentrated on the soccer ball before a shot came full-force to the corner of the net. He dove with his arms extended, reaching the ball with his fingertips and deflecting it into the corner of the small street soccer field.

The goalie grimaced as he fell on the rubber surface, but he sprung right up, pleased about making the stop during the drill.

Chaminade wrestler pushes hard even in the off-season

Danny Conley recently made history for the Chaminade wrestling team, winning the program’s first state championship. Conley won the 220-pound Class 4 state championship.

After making history at Chaminade College Preparatory School, Danny Conley began preparations for the next high school wrestling season as soon as the last one ended in February.

The off-season is no time to rest in his quest for improvement, which comes as no surprise to Chaminade coach Todd Schumacher.

"To be the best at what you do in life or work or whatever, you always have to think about what more you can do," Schumacher said. "Danny's a guy who's always thinking about what else he can do to get better."

Sports camp: What’s fun got to do with it? (Everything)

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Jeff Gaona played basketball for De Smet Jesuit High School, St. Louis University and Bellarmine University. A challenge, for sure, but nothing compared with what he faced June 22 in the St. Paul Gym in Fenton.

Gaona was encircled by about 35 mostly pint-sized players at the parish's basketball camp, each determined to take the ball from him. They succeeded in the comic-relief effort twice, and as a loser, Gaona had to do 10 push-ups each time to the chants of his victors.

Patience pays dividends for doubles team from Priory

Now that they've won a state championship in doubles, several nicknames apply — Dynamic Duo, Double Trouble, Twin Tormenters, Terrific Twosome.

Call them what you want, St. Louis Priory School's Victor Djavaherian and Patrick Milburn are splendid on the tennis court, picking up the Class 1 state title in doubles with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Nathan Turtledove and Garrett Kincaid of Pembroke Hill. The seniors also helped Priory's team finish second in Class 1, edged out by Pembroke Hill 5-2.

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