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ABC News (CHICAGO) -- Sister Mary Jo Sobieck isn't on the Chicago White Sox roster, but it sure looks like they could use her.

The nun at Marian Catholic High School took the mound for the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the team's game Saturday against the Kansas City Royals.

Sobieck, who was celebrating her school’s “Night with the White Sox” at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, confidently strolled to the mound wearing a traditional habit and donning a white Marian Catholic High School jersey.

Sobieck, wearing No. 60, was so confident in her skills that she gave the fans and players a treat -- by doing an arm-bounce trick before the pitch.

And that's when the righty hurler fired off a perfect strike to the plate.

“That was awesome,” White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito, who was on the receiving end of the strike, told MLB.com after the game. “She had a whole routine. She had it planned out. I was just lucky to be back there. She threw a perfect pitch.”

The White Sox tweeted: "One of the most impressive first pitches of all time."

After leaving the mound and shaking Giolito's hand, Sobieck took in the cheers and pointed to the stands.

Her performance left people wondering whether she had previous experience with the sport.

“She was pretty good, actually,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria told MLB.com. "I'm like, 'Wait a minute.' He (Giolito) threw it back to her and she fielded it barehanded.

Sobie comes from a large athletic family, according to an article published in 2008 by The Times of Northwest Indiana. She played both volleyball and softball while attending The College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota after her graduation from Cathedral High School in 1987.

The White Sox -- who played the rest of the game without Sobieck -- lost to the Royals, 3-1.

After the game, Renteria joked about adding the nun to the team.

"I was like, 'OK, she looks like she can play a little bit,' so we started talking to her," he said. ""I think she said, 'I played center and short.'

"I said to her, 'Can you play for us?'" he continued. "She said, 'Sure.'"

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Saturday’s sports events:

INTERLEAGUE
Seattle 5, L.A. Dodgers 4, 10 Innings

AMERICAN LEAGUE
N.Y. Yankees 11, Toronto 6
Oakland 7, Houston 1
Baltimore 4, Cleveland 2
Kansas City 3, Chicago White Sox 1
Boston 5, Tampa Bay 2
Detroit 7, Minnesota 5
L.A. Angels 11, Texas 7

NATIONAL LEAGUE
N.Y. Mets 3, Philadelphia 1
Miami 7, Washington 5, 10 Innings
Pittsburgh 3, Chicago Cubs 1
Colorado 5, Atlanta 3, 10 Innings
Cincinnati 7, San Francisco 1
St. Louis 7, Milwaukee 2
San Diego 7, Arizona 6

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Chicago 115, Indiana 106

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON
Jacksonville 14, Minnesota 10
L.A. Rams 19, Oakland 15
Cincinnati 21, Dallas 13
Tampa Bay 30, Tennessee 14
Houston 16, San Francisco 13
Chicago 24, Denver 23
L.A. Chargers 24, Seattle 14

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Seattle 5, Los Angeles 0

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- An independent investigation into how Ohio State's national championship-winning head football coach Urban Meyer handled domestic violence accusations against a staff member will be completed Sunday, the school said Friday.

The school's Board of Trustees appointed an independent group to investigate how Meyer, one of the highest-paid coaches in college football, treated allegations of abuse by the wife of former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith. Courtney Smith, now Zach's ex-wife, told Stadium on Aug. 1 that she believed Meyer was aware of a 2015 claim of abuse against her then-husband.

Courtney Smith said she spoke to Meyer's wife, Shelley; showed her pictures of bruises allegedly from the abuse; and told Shelley to speak to her husband.

Meyer was placed on administrative leave just hours after her interview was released.

The coach said at Big Ten Media Day on July 24 that he was unaware of the 2015 domestic violence incidence by Smith, only to later apologize in a statement following his placement on leave and say, "My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions."

The independent investigation will wrap up its findings on Sunday, and then prepare a report to be delivered to the Board of Trustees sometime next week, Ohio State said in its statement Friday.

"As required by law, public notice of the meeting will be released at least 24 hours in advance," the school said. "Following deliberations with the board, and appropriate time for consideration, President Michael V. Drake will announce his decision."

It's unclear what those penalties could include.

Offensive coordinator Ryan Day has served as head coach while Meyer is on leave.

Zach Smith was fired by Ohio State in July after he was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass during a dispute with Courtney Smith. He pleaded not guilty. The charge was just the latest in a number of domestic incidents involving the couple. Zach Smith was arrested in 2009 for allegedly abusing Courtney Smith while she was pregnant, but she ultimately decided not to press charges, Stadium's Brett McMurphy reported. The Columbus Dispatch reported that police responded to the couple's home for the 2015 incident, but no charges were filed.

Julia Leveridge, Courtney Smith's lawyer, told Good Morning America on Aug. 13 that her client had spoken to investigators and was "thankful for the support she has received during this time."

Meyer has won three national championships as a head coach, including two at the University of Florida and one at Ohio State. He will make $7.6 million in 2018.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Friday’s sports events:

INTERLEAGUE
L.A. Dodgers 11, Seattle 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE
N.Y. Yankees 7, Toronto 5, 7 Innings
Cleveland 2, Baltimore 1
Boston 7, Tampa Bay 3
Texas 6, L.A. Angels 4
Chicago White Sox 9, Kansas City 3
Minnesota 5, Detroit 4
Oakland 4, Houston 3, 10 Innings

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Philadelphia 4, N.Y. Mets 2
Washington 8, Miami 2
Chicago Cubs 1, Pittsburgh 0
Cincinnati 2, San Francisco 1, 11 Innings
Colorado 11, Atlanta 5
St. Louis 5, Milwaukee 2
Arizona 9, San Diego 4

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Washington 69, L.A. Sparks 67
Connecticut 96, Minnesota 79
Dallas 107, Las Vegas 102
Seattle 85, N.Y. Liberty 77
Phoenix 104, Atlanta 95

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON
Kansas City 28, Atlanta 14
N.Y. Giants 30, Detroit 17
Carolina 27, Miami 20
Buffalo 19, Cleveland 17
Arizona 20, New Orleans 15

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Final  Tampa Bay  3,  N-Y Yankees 1
Final  Texas  8,  L-A Angels  6
Final  Minnesota  15,  Detroit  8
Final  Kansas City  6,  Toronto  2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Final  N-Y Mets  24,  Philadelphia  4
Final  Chi Cubs  1,  Pittsburgh  0
Final  Washington  5,  St. Louis  4
Final  Colorado  5,  Atlanta  3
Final  Philadelphia  9,  N-Y Mets  6
Final  Arizona  5,  San Diego 1

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iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- A freshman set to begin his college athletic career at Penn State next week has been shot dead in his home city of Philadelphia.

Kristian Marche, a track and field athlete, was shot in the head on his own street Monday night, according to Philadelphia police.

Marche, 18, was found in a back driveway and taken to a hospital where he died, authorities said.

"There is no suspect description at this time," police said Thursday.

"We believe this was targeted. We have no reason to believe that this was a random act," Philadelphia Police Lt. Norman Davenport told ABC Philadelphia station WPVI-TV. "There was nothing in Kristian's past that would suggest that this crime should have occurred. That's why we're making this appeal because this case needs to be solved."

Marche was an incoming Penn State freshman on a partial scholarship with the track and field program, a Penn State Athletics spokesman told ABC News.

He was set to start classes next Monday.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragedy; another young person taken from his loved ones far too early," Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Kristian’s family and friends; we will do what we can to support them and our track and field students and staff during this very difficult time."

Jackson Duncan, whose nonprofit helps inner-city high school athletes, told WPVI that his student Marche “did his SATs, went to school, got good grades. He took care of his teammates. The kid did everything right.”

He added: "For him to end like this; it's heartbreaking.”

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ABC News(COLLEGE PARK, Md.) -- The parents of the college football player who died after a grueling practice are calling for the firing of the head coach.

Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old offensive lineman for the University of Maryland's Terrapins football team, collapsed during an outdoor workout on May 29. The scholar-athlete died on June 13 from complications related to extreme exhaustion and heatstroke, school officials said.

University of Maryland athletic director Damon Evans told reporters at a press conference Tuesday that preliminary findings indicate McNair didn't receive appropriate medical care, best practices were not followed and mistakes were made by the athletic training staff. University of Maryland president Wallace Loh said the school accepts "legal and moral responsibility" for the mistakes.

Loh said an external sports medicine and athletic training expert is conducting a "comprehensive review" of the circumstances in McNair's death, as well as of the policies and protocols followed by the school's certified athletic trainers in preventing, recognizing, and treating heat-related illness. The full report, which will be made public, is expected to be completed by mid-September, according to Loh.

Rick Court, the strength and conditioning coach, was placed on leave Aug. 12 and turned in a letter of resignation a day later. Wes Robinson, the head football trainer, and Steve Nordwall, director of athletic training, were placed on administrative leave Aug. 10.

DJ Durkin, the head football coach, was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 11 as the school investigates McNair's death and allegations of abuse and disparagement in the program, ESPN reported.

Durkin, Robinson and Nordwall did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

For their part, McNair's parents said Durkin should be fired immediately.

"He shouldn't be able to work with anybody else's kids," his father, Martin McNair, said in an interview Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America" with co-anchor Michael Strahan. "I'm giving my child to you, keep them safe, and they did anything but that, so of course he should be fired."

The grieving parents were shocked when they first got the call that their son was in the hospital. He was a four-star recruit from McDonough School's class of 2017 in Owings Mills, Maryland.

"This was the first time he's been in the hospital since he was born. Never missed a practice, worked hard every day at all games, never missed a game," Martin McNair said. "So initially, it was kind of hard to understand or wrap my mind around."

"Jordan was the type of person that he would give his all, he would give his best because someone asked him to do something. He wouldn't have stopped," his mother, Tonya Wilson, said.

The parents' lawyer, Hassan Murphy, said "there's no doubt" there was a "toxic culture" within the school's football program.

"The toxic culture is what led to them to push Jordan beyond what his body could tolerate. It pushed them to look at him as being exhausted and out of shape, to curse at him as he was literally failing. That’s toxic," Hassan said on "GMA" Thursday morning.

In their son's honor, McNair's parents have set up the Jordan McNair Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to "promote awareness, educate, and advocate for parents and student-athletes about heat-related illness at the youth, high school, and collegiate levels."

"This particular injury isn’t something that just happened to Jordan; it happens all the time," Martin McNair said. "This is our opportunity to speak for all the parents that haven’t had access to a forum such as this."

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Don Juan Moore/Getty ImagesBY: Chris Herring and Dimitrije Ćurčić

(NEW YORK) -- Of all the shocking NBA free-agency moves this summer, Isaiah Thomas’s deal with Denver — for just one year, at the minimum salary for a veteran player — might have been the most telling, in terms of where the league is heading.

This time last year, Thomas — one of the NBA’s most underpaid players even then, at just over $6 million — was saying openly that the Celtics “know they’ve got to bring the Brink’s truck out,” a reference to the nine-figure max contract he felt he deserved. And on some level, it would have been difficult to argue with him. At 28 years old, the diminutive point guard was coming off a banner season in which he finished fifth in MVP voting while averaging almost 29 points per game (on one of the league’s best true shooting percentages) and led the Celtics to the East’s best record.

It’s no secret that much of the market collapse for Thomas’s services stemmed from questions about the torn labrum in his hip, which cost him months of rehab time before he ever suited up for the Cavs, then required surgery in March (while he was playing for the Lakers). But it also appears that the ever-changing NBA flipped its script entirely just before Thomas could cash in on a deal that scorers of his caliber generally get. The about-face highlights the fear teams have about committing big money to someone as short as Thomas, given the challenges his height creates in yet another league where an increasing number of players are roughly the same size.

Point guards and centers were closer in height last year than they’ve ever been, separated by an average of just 8.3 inches — down 21 percent from the 10.5 inches or so that stood between them during the mid-to-late 1990s, according to data from Basketball-Reference.com.

Basketball-Reference.com

Those shifts affect Thomas in two meaningful ways. First, the Tacoma, Washington, native — who, at just 5-foot-9, is the shortest player in the NBA — isn’t even close to the average size for a point guard of 6 feet, 2.5 inches. Which brings up the second issue: As such an outlier, the undersized Thomas becomes an even bigger liability on defense when his team is forced to switch on screens at that end of the floor — something that’s become far more common in the past five years alone. The median number of switches leaguewide has more than doubled over that span, from 4.3 per 100 possessions in 2013-14 to 9.1 switches per 100 possessions this past season, according to Second Spectrum.

“To even have a chance against a team like Golden State, you have to make a point of not being put into rotations,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told me in May. “They’ll kill you that way.”

Certain teams are better equipped to play that kind of defense than others — the Rockets and Warriors, widely considered the league’s best teams, led the NBA in switch frequency — but the process doesn’t always work as well when Thomas is in the midst of it. The Celtics were 5 percent more efficient defensively in switch scenarios when Thomas was off the floor than on in 2016-17, according to Second Spectrum. And while Thomas’s departure coincided with a slew of other changes in Boston prior to last season, the team’s jump to from No. 12 to No. 1 in defensive efficiency after dealing Thomas supports the notion that a merely solid defensive team can become great on that side of the ball once it removes its weakest link.

With teams vying to become switchier in an increasingly versatile league (and some clubs perhaps having pushed the envelope too far on that front), it raises the dilemma of how to integrate Thomas into a defensive gameplan without torpedoing it altogether.


Even on offense, where Thomas is undoubtedly a boon, his greatest strengths are ones accentuated by a particular style of play. With Boston, he made use of direct-dribble handoffs more than anyone — a play that worked well alongside screen-setter Al Horford in part because coach Brad Stevens was committed to building an offense in which Thomas could thrive. The plays didn’t work as well in Cleveland, where the Cavs ran them about half as often and with less efficiency. (The same was true during his stint with the Lakers, according to Second Spectrum.)

Taken together, this suggests that Thomas — like most players but perhaps unlike most stars — needs a specific ecosystem around him in order for him to thrive, or for him to be the max-level talent he believes himself to be. He could be that player in Boston, where the Celtics had good defenders and players that could not only screen but also space the floor for him. The likelihood of that being true on a team with far less talent seems remote.

Thomas’s new situation in Denver splits the middle from that standpoint. He will be in an up-tempo system with an abundance of talented players, including Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and FiveThirtyEight favorite Gary Harris, among others. Thomas has also played previously for coach Michael Malone, the first NBA head man to coax 20 points per game out of him. But there’s a catch: The Nuggets, like last year’s Cavs, play almost no D, meaning Thomas won’t be able to expect much help on that end as he works to rebuild his value as a sixth man.

Again, the tactical constraints of Thomas’s size are far from the only question marks surrounding him. The health of his hip is key, obviously. The Cleveland situation — a particular challenge because of the win-now pressure created by LeBron James’s pending free agency — was disastrous for Thomas: The team’s awful defense made him a bad fit, and his penchant for taking shots at either teammates or coaches became problematic. His difficulties were compounded by the seesaw nature of the free-agent money that’s changed hands in recent years.

When Thomas began talking about being paid handsomely, it was during the summer of a massive salary-cap increase, when players like Evan Turner, Bismack Biyombo and Nicolas Batum — who’ve never been All-Stars — got $70 million, $72 million and $120 million, respectively. Mistakes from 2016 are still being felt by certain teams, and it doesn’t help that some are keeping the books clear ahead of next year, when several stars are expected to hit the market. So, much of this boils down to Thomas’s free agency coming at the worst time.

“You can always play the what-if game, but man, I’ve been F’ed over so many times,” Thomas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, while acknowledging that potential suitors were undoubtedly concerned about the health of his hip. “But of course I think about [the money]. I’m human.”

If there’s a bright side, or at least a glass-half-full equation, it’s that Thomas can still redeem himself. He is, or at least can be, a supremely gifted scorer. Yes, he gets his shots blocked often, but Thomas has learned how to use angles as leverage, and he displays bursts of quickness to outsmart defenders. Prior to his truncated 2017-18, he was driving to the basket more than almost anyone, and he connected on a high percentage of his shots around the rim. He’s still proven to be automatic from the line. And in the past, Thomas has shown he can catch fire from deep.

As he’s done so many times before, Thomas, famously the last player picked in the 2011 draft, will have to overcome the odds. He may not even need the absolute perfect fit to begin building his value again. Instead, Thomas may just need the ever-shifting NBA to sit still just long enough for him to find a new normal.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:
 
INTERLEAGUE

 Final  Boston       2  Philadelphia   1
 Final  Baltimore    6  N-Y Mets       3
 Final  Cleveland    8  Cincinnati     1
 Final  Arizona      6  Texas          4
 Final  Minnesota    5  Pittsburgh     2
 Final  Colorado     5  Houston        1
 Final  L-A Angels   7  San Diego      3
   
AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  N-Y Yankees     4  Tampa Bay     1
 Final  Chi White Sox   6  Detroit       3
 Final  Toronto         6  Kansas City   5
 Final  Oakland         3  Seattle       2
  
NATIONAL LEAGUE
 Final  Milwaukee       7  Chi Cubs      0
 Final  Atlanta        10  Miami         6
 Final  St. Louis       6  Washington    4
 Final  San Francisco   2  L-A Dodgers   1

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The University of Maryland said it accepts "legal and moral responsibility" for mistakes made in treating a 19-year-old player who collapsed during a practice in May and died two weeks later.

Jordan McNair died June 13 from complications related to extreme exhaustion and heatstroke after a May 29 workout, ESPN reported. McNair's body temperature, according to medical reports, was 106 when he was admitted to the hospital.

University President Wallace D. Loh said at a press conference on Tuesday that he and Athletic Director Damon Evans had met with McNair's parents and apologized for mistakes made by the football team's training staff. McNair didn't receive appropriate medical attention and best practices weren't followed, Loh added.

"No Maryland student-athlete will ever be in a situation where his or her life will be at risk, especially when that risk is foreseeable," Loh said.

Rick Court, the strength and conditioning coach, had been placed on leave Aug. 12 and turned in a letter of resignation on Aug. 13. Wes Robinson, the head football trainer, and Steve Nordwall, director of athletic training, were placed on administrative leave Aug. 10, according to ESPN.

Court, who posted his resignation letter on Twitter, "contributed to an environment based on fear and intimidation, including throwing objects and small weights in the direction of players," sources told ESPN.

DJ Durkin, the head football coach, was placed on administrative leave Aug. 11, after ESPN reported "allegations of abuse and disparagement in the program" that included "belittling, humiliation and embarrassment of players" and "extreme verbal abuse" and a player who said "he was forced to overeat or eat to the point of vomiting."

"You can motivate people and push them to the limit," Loh said, "without bullying and intimidating behavior."

An attorney representing McNair's parents said in a statement to ABC News: "While Marty and Tonya will never get another day with Jordan, Dr. Loh's words were meaningful to them and give them some comfort that he will put the university on the path to change the culture of the program so that no Terrapin family will have to endure the heartache and grief they feel."

The school has retained an expert team of sports medical and training personnel to review McNair's case as well as university policies, and a public report is expected to be released mid-September that includes findings from external investigators, ESPN reported. The football team also said it's added safeguards such as having more water breaks during practices.

Evans said Tuesday that he had "not witnessed any behavior as was described in the media, but it is important that we investigate all these allegations."

Evans, after serving as the school's interim athletic director, officially took over July 2. He joined Maryland in December 2014 as a top aide to then-athletic director, Kevin Anderson. Evans played football at Georgia, where he later served as athletic director until a July 2010 DUI arrest.

"We need to evaluate that culture, make sure the environment is safe," Evans told reporters on Tuesday. "I'm the one that can lead us through these difficult times."

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