SHOTime, All the time
Jackson K. and Wyatt B.
(Article written on 4/17, all statistics are not up to date)
The count is 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, runners on second and third. “Japan’s Babe Ruth” readies for the pitch. Cleveland’s pitcher, Josh Tomlin, throws the deuce at 74 miles per hour. Ohtani eyes the pitch and hacks at it with his Ichiro-like swing. The ball sails towards the right-center gap as Tomlin prays that the ball stays in the park. But Tomlin’s prayers were not answered. The Japanese rookie’s first at bat was a huge success. In his new home stadium, he found the bleachers on a three run home run.
Ever since the announcement came that Shohei was heading from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to the MLB, he has been the talk of the league. This two-way stud is an elite pitcher and hitter, the better being the latter. In his pitching debut, he struck out 6 batters in 6 innings while allowing 3 runs and picking up the win. That game did not live up to his hype. People were skeptical whether Ohtani could be the real deal.
But in his first start at Angel Stadium, he flirted with perfection. Ohtani was perfect through 6 ⅓ innings with 11 strikeouts, until he allowed a hit to Marcus Semien, the shortstop for the Oakland Athletics. He ended up finishing with 12 strikeouts in 7 innings allowing only 1 hit. The win brought up the thought again that Ohtani could be the next Babe Ruth.
Through April 17, Ohtani has hit .367 with 3 home runs, a triple, and 11 RBI’s. Not only that, but he boasts a 2.08 ERA with 2 wins and 12.46 K/9 in 2 starts. Although Anaheim’s bright star is off to a rocket-fast start, there is a possibility of a fluke. In 2015, the Los Angeles
Dodgers’ rookie center fielder, Joc Pederson, had an All-Star first half of the season. He hit 20 round-trippers before the mid-season break, but after, he only hit 6. Pederson has never returned to his original rookie flair since.
These Angel’s fans were worried if the rookie would even perform mediocrely because his Spring Training performance was subpar. Ohtani could not hit during the Spring, and his pitching was at the worst level of his career. Baseball fans, mainly Angels’ fans, worried if the Japanese legend would be an American bust, but he has proved everyone wrong.
There is a whole season ahead and a bright future for Shohei. If he can keep a consistent pace and stay evenly keeled for the whole 162 games to stay above water. Since he has a lot of hype, critics will jump at any chance to burn him down.
NFL First Round Mock Draft
By Saarang B.
(With help from Kabir C and Wyatt B)
The NFL draft is around the corner and many teams are waiting for it. Many teams are looking to improve their squad for next year, and the draft is one of the best ways to do that. Teams take turns picking top college football prospects to join their teams. There are many rounds of picks, and teams can trade their pick to someone else for cash, future picks, or players. Enough said, here are my predictions.
#1 Cleveland Browns
Sam Darnold QB, USC
The Browns are looking for a quarterback for the future and take Sam Darnold with the first pick.
#2 New York Giants
Saquon Barkley RB, Penn State
Saquon is a generational talent that the Giants can’t pass up.
#3 New York Jets(Via Colts)
Josh Rosen QB, UCLA
Rosen is a pocket passer with a high football IQ, and he will develop well in New York.
#4 Cleveland Browns(via Texans)
Bradley Chubb DE, North Carolina State
Chubb has quickness and style, and is a good fit for the Browns, but the Browns will take Barkley if he falls to them.
#5 Denver Broncos
Denzel Ward CB, Ohio State
The Broncos need to fill the hole left by trading Aqib Talib, doing that with the explosive Ward.
#6 Indianapolis Colts(via Jets)
Quenton Nelson G, Notre Dame
Nelson is taken by the Colts because he is an elite guard that is a nightmare for defensive lineman opposing him.
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Derwin James S, Florida State
The Bucs need a safety, and James is an explosive tackler that will light up the stat sheet.
#8 Chicago Bears
Tremaine Edmunds LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds is athletic and he and Leonard Floyd would be a formidable force off the edge.
#9 San Francisco 49’ers
Roquan Smith LB, Georgia
The 49’ers need a leader on the defensive side of the ball, and Roquan Smith will provide that and more.
#10 Oakland Raiders
Vita Vea DT, Washington
Vea is athletic, big, and he is a stopper that will improve Oakland’s vastly undermanned defensive line.
#11 Miami Dolphins
Minkah Fitzpatrick DB, Alabama
Fitzpatrick is known as “Mr. Pick 6” and can play safety and corner for a team that features T. J. McDonald as its best defensive back. He will be an instant starter and a force to recon with.
#12 Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen QB, Wyoming
How did Josh Allen get this low? Assuming the Bills won’t trade up to get him, or another quarterback of the future, Allen will develop in Buffalo, with athletic ability and a big arm worthy of the NFL. Allen shows flashes of Cam Newton skills with great playmaking ability.
#13 Washington Redskins
Mike Hughes CB, Central Florida
The Redskins have lost Kendall Fuller, and Bashaud Breeland is a free agent, so they are forced to consider rookie corners. Hughes needs development, but he has the right tools to be the alpha corner in Washington.
#14 Green Bay Packers
Marcus Davenport DE, Texas-San Antonio
The NFC North is full of elite quarterbacks, so the Packers take a pass rusher to attack them.
#15 Arizona Cardinals
Baker Mayfield QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield has great passing skills and he can elevate his game under the Cardinals new Offensive Coordinator, Mike McCoy.
#16 Baltimore Ravens
Calvin Ridley WR, Alabama
Ridley will boost a mediocre pass offence and relieve the pressure on Baltimore’s run game.
#17 San Diego Chargers
Orlando Brown OT, Oklahoma
Brown is a hard worker that will spend hours in the film room, constantly improving his mind. He can boost the Chargers offensive line and help protect Philip Rivers.
#18 Seattle Seahawks
Isaiah Wynn G, Georgia
With an offensive line as bad for Russell Wilson as McDonald’s cheeseburgers is bad for your health, Seattle takes Isaiah Wynn to provide some protection for their superstar QB.
#19 Dallas Cowboys
Da’Ron Payne DT, Alabama
Payne can stop the run efficiently, and shows some flashes as a pass rusher.
#20 Detroit Lions
Derrius Guice RB, LSU
The Lions improve their ghast running game with the selection of Guice.
#21 Cincinnati Bengals
Will Hernandez G, Texas-El Paso
Hernandez will strengthen the Bengals run blocking and he has good strength.
#22 Buffalo Bills
Rashaan Evans LB, Alabama
The Bills will take a good tackler to fill the hole left by Preston Brown.
#23 New England Patriots
Kolton Miller OT, UCLA
Offensive Tackle is one of New England’s biggest needs, although don’t be surprised if New England trades up to get McGlinchey.
#24 Carolina Panthers
Jaire Alexander CB, Louisville
Drafting Alexander fills one of Carolina’s big needs: cornerback. Although they need a wide receiver too, Alexander will play well beside James Bradberry.
#25 Tennessee Titans
Billy Price C, Ohio State
Despite his injury at the Combine, Price will make a difference at the center position in Tennessee.
#26 Atlanta Falcons
Taven Bryan DT, Florida
Bryan will fit coach Dan Quinn’s defense, being an upfield defensive tackle.
#27 New Orleans Saints
Hayden Hurst TE, South Carolina
Hurst can catch, block and run, which is something that every coach is looking for at tight end.
#28 Pittsburgh Steelers
Maurice Hurst DT, Michigan
Hurst had high impact seasons in the last couple years at Michigan, and he is an elite player that will fare well with the Steelers.
#29 Jacksonville Jaguars
Lamar Jackson QB, Louisville
Jackson was a great QB at Louisville, exhibiting great arm talent and elite knowledge of the game.
#30 Minnesota Vikings
Ronald Jones II RB, USC
RJII was very good at USC, being a power runner that took the pressure of Darnold and the passing game. You can look to him for easy yards and explosive runs, as well as great speed and a knack for breaking tackles.
#31 New England Patriots
Josh Jackson CB, Iowa
Jackson is one of the most athletic players in the draft, and has better hands than many wide receivers in college football.
#32 Philadelphia Eagles
Uchenna Nwosu OLB, USC
Nwosu is undersized, but he is a power pass rusher that has high football IQ and can get to the quarterback.
Craziest Soccer Trades in the 2018 Winter Transfer Window
By Eric M.
It has already been two months since the closing of the winter 2018 transfer window, but some of the deals done during that 31 day period were groundbreaking in the soccer world. Let me remind you of the best out of these deals. These are the Top 5 Biggest Trade Deals in the 2018 January Transfer Window.
(Note: This countdown does not include trades from last summer, so it will only contain trades made between January 1, 2018 at 12:00am – February 1, 2018 at 12:00am. Also, these trades are NOT in order of price for the player, but in how important this trade will be in the future IN MY OPINION. All prices are rounded to the nearest million.)
5.) Aymeric Laporte: Athletic Bilbao → Manchester City ≈ $79m
For the first trade of the countdown, French defender Aymeric Laporte was transferred from Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City. This trade barely beat the previous record fee for Manchester City set by Kevin De Bruyne when he moved to the club from Wolfsburg.
On Manchester City’s official website, Laporte commented, “I am very happy to be here. [Manchester] City are a club with a lot of ambition and they are one of the best teams in Europe”. With such a large fee and such an incredible future ahead of the 23 year old, this trade is a big deal.
4.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Borussia Dortmund → Arsenal ≈ $77m
At #4, Arsenal had to acquire a new striker after transferring Olivier Giroud to Chelsea as part of the 3-way deal for strikers between Chelsea, Arsenal, and Borussia Dortmund. The latter’s legendary Gabonese captain and African Player of the Year 2015 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the perfect candidate for them.
Being super quick, this player is a great addition to the squad, and will be able to attack alongside recent French signing Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon during the Summer 2017 transfer window. “I’m really happy to be here in this great team,” Aubameyang said on joining Arsenal.
3.) Virgil Van Dijk: Southampton → Liverpool ≈ $105m
This trade set a new world record in the soccer community. Virgil Van Dijk became the most expensive defender in soccer history, beating the previous record holder, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker, by almost $30 million.
The expensive Dutch national team player feels the need to work harder on this more prestigious and star-studded team. “Every day here is tough,” he described the club. “We work very hard, run a lot, and there is a big difference [from Southampton]. I need to step up my game.”
2.) Philippe Coutinho: Liverpool → FC Barcelona ≈ $198m
In second place, the second most expensive trade deal in soccer history occurred. Brazilian left-winger Philippe Coutinho moved from Liverpool to Barcelona. This trade was desperately needed for FCB after selling Neymar Jr. to Paris Saint-Germain for about $310 million, leaving them without an adequate left-midfielder/winger.
On moving to one of the best clubs in the world, the 25 year old stated, “I am very happy. It is a dream come true and I hope to meet all expectations on the field.”
Diego Costa: Chelsea → Atletico Madrid ≈ $79m
Cenk Tosun: Beşiktaş → Everton ≈ $37m
Lucas Moura: Paris Saint-Germain → Tottenham Hotspur ≈ $35m
Theo Walcott: Arsenal → Everton ≈ $28m
Olivier Giroud: Arsenal → Chelsea ≈ $25m
Michy Batshuayi: Chelsea → Borussia Dortmund – Loan
1.) Alexis Sanchez/Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Arsenal ↔ Manchester United – Player swap
In the final trade deal in this countdown, this player swap had been building up for a while before it occurred. Incredibly talented Alexis Sanchez, who is a hero at his home country Chile, seemed unhappy at Arsenal for the past 6 months. Finally, on January 22, Sanchez was traded to Manchester United for another talented player, Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
“I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world. I have spent three and a half wonderful years at Arsenal and I bring with me very positive memories of that great club and its fans,” Sanchez remarked on the official Manchester United website.
“I’m very happy that we could finish this deal and I’m very happy to be here. It’s a dream come true because I’ve always dreamed of playing for Arsenal. Now that I’m here, I’ll do my best for this club to create history,” Mkhitaryan commented on the official Arsenal website.
This trade is mindblowing because these players could have incredibly good futures at these new clubs. Also, both of these players are so skillful that it’s a surprise that there would be a swap deal, a rare form of trading, for such incredible talent. Because of that, I believe that this trade was the biggest trade deal in the January Transfer Window.
Villanova Claws their way to Victory against Michigan
By Kabir C. & Wyatt B.
Four seconds left staring at the clock, Donte DiVincenzo of Villanova dribbles the ball wasting time embracing the victory of a lifetime.
Lead by the amazing scoring of student— |— athlete, Donte DiVincenzo, the MVP of the tournament, Villanova beat Michigan 79-62. Villanova has moved on from the critics and won two championships in three years creating a new dynasty for the future. Many people counted out Nova in this year’s March Madness Bracket, but they proved that they have the most efficient scoring offense in the league. They definitely proved all the haters wrong. In 2015, Villanova took an early exit after NC state upset them in the second round. Jay Wright, the coach of the Villanova Wildcats, turned the future of the team around and created the most efficient offense and lockdown defense for years to come.
Donte DiVincenzo, backup for super star point guard, Jalen Brunson, was an average bench player. But when the tournament started, he caught fire. In the last game of the Tournament, Donte had the best game of his career. He hit 5 threes and scored 31 points with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. His Monster performance will now make people think twice about Villanova, knowing they might be the most likely to cut down the nets during March. Don’t sleep on the Wildcats, they’re back on the rise.
Blach sports teams make school history
by Jackson K.
The 2017-18 season 3 Blach sports teams made school history this year when all four teams, the Boy’s 7th and 8th grade volleyball & the Girl’s 7th and 8th grade soccer teams, all made the league finale. This is the first time in school history that we have achieved this feat.
For the 7th Boys grade volleyball team, only 3 players have played competitively beforehand and most haven’t touched a volleyball before the school year. This is the first year these athletes have collectively played volleyball together. They finished the regular season at 6-3, losing 2 of their first 3 games to Cupertino and Sunnyvale, last year’s finalists. The first game was against the reigning Champs, Cupertino, who they would eventually play in the finals. They got blown out 3 sets to none in their first game. They won their next game against Columbia but then lost to Sunnyvale in 5 sets. The Falcons would then cruise to the playoffs. In their first 2 games in the playoffs, they didn’t lose a set and were ready to face off against the Cupertino Bears in the finals. But the confident Falcons would be swept 3-0, but finished an unexpectedly great season.
The 8th grade Boys volleyball team cruised through the season only losing one game to Lawson. The Falcons won 3-0 in their first playoff game against Hyde and would face off against Miller in the finals to try for their second championship in a row. They would win an intense match that went to the fifth set and would seal their second finals victory.
The 7th grade Girls soccer team didn’t lose a game the entire season and only allowed only 1 goal. They breezed through the season and felt confident going into the playoffs. They would shutout the Cupertino bears 2-0 in the semis and reach the finals. The soccer studs scored 37 goals in 9 games before the championship, but couldn’t find the net against Sunnyvale in crunch time and lost 0-1. This team has a lot to hope for next year.
The 8th grade Girls soccer team, just like the 7th graders, were dominant all season, losing only 1 game to Graham, 0-1. I would say that defense was this team’s calling card, allowing only 3 goals in 9 games in the regular season. They won the semifinals by a score of 2-0 against our rivals, Egan. The championship ended in a draw after overtime. So the Falcons and Cupertino are 2018 co-champions.
Even though all four of our season 3 Blach sports teams made it to the season’s most important game, only one team finished out on top, one tied, and the 7th grade teams couldn’t pull off a first season victory. The 7th graders will be back next year and hopeful for a second chance while the 8th graders will walk away with a trophy.
(Side note: This article was written on 4/2, before season 4 ended. This information is not up to date.)
This season the sports teams are hopeful to do the same as the season three teams. With playoffs coming up, the 7th grade boys soccer team is currently in second place and only needs to win the semifinals to reach the championship. The 7th grade girls basketball team is also sitting in second place needing only to win one game to reach the finale. The 8th grade boys soccer team reached the playoffs, but is in 4th place. They need to outlast Egan and Cupertino to make it compete for the championship. Finally, the 8th grade girls team is tied for 1st and only needs to beat the 4th or 5th seed to advance to the last game of the season.
The Yankees Win!: Who have the Yankees added, and what makes them so unstoppable?
By: Wyatt B.
Aaron Judge wins the 2017 Home Run Derby in Miami. The rookie wowed the crowd when he hit a total of 47 home runs in the exciting event.
In the MLB, there are always new teams who come out of nowhere every single season. For example, the Houston Astros were one of the three worst teams in the MLB, but just last year their second baseman, Jose Altuve won American League MVP and Houston won the World Series. This year I predict that the Astros will not be back in the World Series, but will the Dodgers?
There have been many trades this offseason, so you should expect some new teams appearing in the 2018 Playoffs. I will start with the National League. First, the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals recently acquired Marcell Ozuna (Miami Marlins), a very young and talented outfielder, who made the All Star Game last year. St. Louis has a bright future because they are full of young talent, have a veteran catcher, Yadier Molina, and have three lock down pitchers.
The Brewers are in the same division as the Cardinals, but I believe that they have the better team. Skill wise, the Brewers are more advanced. They just traded for Lorenzo Cain (Royals), who won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals. Milwaukee has more young talent than the Cardinals with Eric Thames, Christian Yelich, Jonathan Villar, and Keon Broxton. These players will be the faces of the Brewers in only one more year.
The last team that will have an enormous impact on the league is the New York Yankees. Before I even start talking about the Yankees, I just need to point out that they are overpowered. The Yankees have Aaron Judge, and he hit 52 home runs last year and won the homerun derby. He had the second most home runs in the MLB last year, second to Giancarlo Stanton, who was just acquired by the Yankees this offseason. Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 home runs last year with the Miami Marlins. When these two were signed by the Yankees, the whole league got scared, and realized that the New York Yankees were baseball’s new super team.
My 2018 MLB Playoff Predictions:
National League: The Dodgers, Brewers, and Nationals will win their divisions. For the NL Wild Card game, the Cardinals will play the Cubs. American League: The Indians, Yankees, and Astros will win their divisions. For the AL Wild Card game, the Red Sox will play the Twins.
National League (second round): The Cubs will beat the Cardinals, but then lose to the Dodgers, and the Brewers will beat the Nationals.
American League (second round): The Red Sox will beat the Twins, but then lose to the Yankees, and the Astros will beat the Indians.
In the third round of the playoffs: The Brewers will outplay the Dodgers in seven games, and the Yankees will beat the Astros in six
2018 World Series: the New York Yankees and their newest member, Giancarlo Stanton, will trounce the Brewers in five games to claim their trophy.
World Cup prediction
The Fifa World Cup 2018 in Russia will begin on June 14th.
The Fifa World Cup 2018 in Russia is coming this summer, and there has already been lots of drama in the qualifiers. Lionel Messi scored a hat trick against Ecuador to send them to the tournament in the last qualifier, and several teams surprisingly did not qualify for the World Cup including Chile, the Netherlands, Italy, and of course, the United States of America.
Who will win this tournament? There are still lots of very good teams like 2010 winner Spain, the 5-time winner Brazil, young and talented France, and the 2014 winner, Germany. Here is my prediction for who will win the 2018 World Cup.
GROUP A: Uruguay #1, Egypt #2, Russia #3, Saudi Arabia #4
GROUP B: Spain #1, Portugal #2, Iran #3, Morocco #4
GROUP C: France #1, Peru #2, Denmark #3, Australia #4
GROUP D: Argentina #1, Croatia #2, Iceland #3, Nigeria #4
GROUP E: Brazil #1, Switzerland #2, Costa Rica #3, Serbia #4
GROUP F: Germany #1, Mexico #2, Sweden #3, Korea Republic #4
GROUP G: Belgium #1, England #2, Tunisia #3, Panama #4
GROUP H: Poland #1, Colombia #2, Senegal #3, Japan #4
By the end of the group stages, the teams remaining will be Uruguay, Egypt, Spain, Portugal, France, Peru, Argentina, Croatia, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Belgium, England, Poland, and Colombia. Here are my predictions for the Round of 16.
Portugal over Uruguay
France over Croatia
Brazil over Mexico
Colombia over Belgium
Spain over Egypt
Argentina over Peru
Germany over Switzerland
England over Poland
After the Round of 16, the teams remaining will be Portugal, France, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Germany, and England. Next up are the quarterfinals.
France over Portugal
Brazil over Colombia
Argentina over Spain
Germany over England
Those were my quarterfinals predictions. Only four teams are left: France, Brazil, Argentina, and Germany. The semi finals are next.
France over Brazil
Germany over Argentina
In the finals, I think that France will face Germany. France, young and bold, against Germany, strong and motivated, will be an extremely entertaining matchup.
Also, Brazil will play Argentina in the 3rd place game, one in which I think that Brazil will reign. For the finals, though, I believe that France will win the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
France has so many incredible talented players including defenders Samuel Umtiti and Raphaël Varane, midfielders Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Antoine Griezmann, and attackers Dimitri Payet, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, and Alexandre Lacazette. With such a strong and young team, if they win this tournament, it will surely not be their last.
Antoine Griezmann does the “Hotline Bling” after scoring against Germany in the Euro 2016.