Accra Polytechnic has emerged as the overall winner of the 9th edition of the Ghana Polytechnic Sports Association (GHAPSA) Games held at the Takoradi Polytechnic after picking a total of 41 medals.The A-Poly team won a total 31 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze medals to become the team with the highest medal haul thereby picking the overall winners’ position.The host, Takoradi Polytechnic came second in the medal ranking by winning 12 gold, 24 silver and 6 bronze medals.The Cape Coast, Koforidua, Tamale, Ho, Kumasi, Sunyani, Wa and Bolga Polytechnics, followed in that order by placing third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively. The teams competed in disciplines such as Athletics, Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Handball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Badminton, Taekwondo and Chess.The Accra Polytechnic, the overall winners, won gold in events such as Handball Men and Women, Basketball Men and Women, Badminton Women, Tennis Men and Women, Chess, Table Tennis Men and Women and Women’s Football. The team also picked silver in the Badminton Men’s game. The A-Poly team’s Taekwondo squad also won a total of 11 medals including seven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal while the athletics team won a total of 19 medals.The athletics team won gold in 100m Men, 200m Women, 400m Women, 4x100m Men, 800m Men, 1,500m Men, 5,000 Men, 4x400m Men and Women, Shot Putt Men and Women, Long Jump and Tripple Jump Men’s events. The team also won bronze in both the 200m and 400m Men’s events.
Home plate umpire Mike DiMuro calls Chicago Cubs’ Nate Schierholtz out at home as Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin shows DiMuro the ball during the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) by Andrew SeligmanAP Sports WriterCHICAGO (AP) — The long wait is over, Pittsburgh. Your Pirates are finally headed back to the postseason.After a 21-year absence, the Pirates clinched at least a National League wild card Monday night when they beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 and the Washington Nationals lost to St. Louis.Now, they can turn their attention toward bigger goals, the kind that seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream through all those losing seasons. Starling Marte celebrates his home run off Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kevin Gregg during the ninth inning, Sept. 23, in Chicago. The home run gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)“Even though I didn’t lose for the last 20 years, they make you feel like you are. You feel like you lost those 20 years,” Andrew McCutchen said. “That’s all you hear. You hear it every single day — ‘When’s it going to change? You think this is the year?’ You get sick and tired of hearing that. It’s awesome that there won’t be any questions anymore. The question is, ‘Are we going to be able to go farther?’”It will be Pittsburgh’s first trip to the postseason since Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and Co. won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Bonds then left for San Francisco as a free agent, and the small-budget Pirates piled up 20 consecutive losing records — the longest streak in the four major professional sports.Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field, and the Pirates threw out a runner at the plate for the final out.Starling Marte, left, celebrates with teammates after the Pirates clinched a post season berth with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, Sept. 23, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)The Pirates sprayed each other with bubbly and beer and sparkling cider in the visitors’ clubhouse once St. Louis’ 4-3 win over the Nationals became final.The Cincinnati Reds also clinched at least a wild-card berth, when they beat the New York Mets 3-2 in 10 innings. The Pirates and Reds, both 90-67, trail St. Louis by two games in the NL Central with five to go.Pittsburgh players sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” They chanted “MVP! MVP!” while dousing McCutchen. They took pictures and manager Clint Hurdle had them gather for a group photo in the middle of the cramped visitors’ clubhouse.“The people of Pittsburgh have been waiting a long time,” said Neil Walker, who homered.The Pirates snapped a 1-all tie when Marte sent a drive off Kevin Gregg (2-6) with two outs in the ninth into the left field bleachers.In a fitting coincidence, they then preserved the victory on the final out in a play at the plate.McCutchen, the center fielder, picked up Ryan Sweeney’s bloop single after right fielder Marlon Byrd failed in trying to scoop up the ball and threw to first baseman Justin Morneau, positioned just in front of the pitcher’s mound. Morneau caught the throw on one hop and made the relay to catcher Russell Martin, who applied the tag on Nate Schierholtz trying to score from first base.Still on his knees, Martin held the ball over his head in jubilation. Then, he was embraced by closer Jason Grilli before heaving the ball toward deep left field as the Pirates celebrated near the mound. Grilli escaped with his 32nd save in 34 chances.“Twenty-one years since we popped Champagne in a Pirates clubhouse — and we’re acting like it’s been a long time,” Hurdle said. “The hard work, the fun. I’m just proud of each and every man in here, the fans they represent, ownership, general manager, president … the scouts, players. This has been a group effort for a long time.”The Pirates’ last trip to the playoffs ended with Atlanta’s Sid Bream sliding home with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1992 NL championship series.The Cubs tied it in the eighth off Mark Melancon (3-2).Marte’s 12th homer set off loud boos for Gregg (2-6), who was almost released last week after going on a rant to reporters when he thought he had lost the closer’s job to Pedro Strop.Walker homered against Jeff Samardzija in the first to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead, and Charlie Morton pitched three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings before the Cubs tied it against Melancon.Brian Bogusevic led off the eighth with a single, his second hit, and moved up on a groundout by Darwin Barney. Then, after a wild pitch, he scored the tying run on a single by pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy.That spoiled a terrific start for Morton, who struck out five and walked one.Samardzija was almost as good, allowing one run and five hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked four after going 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA in his previous four starts.He pitched seven solid innings against Milwaukee last week but got into a disagreement with third base coach David Bell over defensive positioning in the dugout.Samardzija’s only blemish in this one came when Walker drove a 1-1 pitch out to left-center with one out in the first.With the long ball, Walker matched a career high of 14 set last season. He has four homers in the past five games.Samardzija settled down after that but got little support as the Cubs lost for the 10th time in 13 games. It was also the second straight day an opponent celebrated at Wrigley Field.Atlanta clinched the NL East on Sunday, and this time, it was the Pirates’ turn to party.“That’s what we need to do,” Samardzija said. “I think we’re getting there, but we need to get some things ironed out.”The Pirates finally have it figured out. Now, they’re playoff-bound.NOTES: Hurdle said he hasn’t set his rotation for the final series against Cincinnati, beyond A.J. Burnett starting on Friday. He would not say if struggling All-Star Jeff Locke will make his scheduled start on Saturday. The left-hander got roughed up by the Reds in Sunday’s loss and is 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA since the All-Star break. “We are just having those conversations,” Hurdle said when asked about Locke’s status. … Martin was in the Pirates’ lineup after leaving Sunday’s game with soreness in his left knee, an issue he’s been dealing with since late July. Martin said he was feeling better and that the Pirates would “have to fight to try to get me out of the lineup.” … RHP Gerrit Cole (9-7, 3.23 ERA) starts Tuesday for Pittsburgh, with LHP Chris Rusin (2-5, 3.52) going for Chicago.
Falcons vs. Steelers, Oct. 7 — Steelers must start fast, Conner must be a focal point (Mike Pelaia’s preview)
The 1-3 Falcons come to Heinz Field on Sunday, Oct. 7, to face the surprisingly bad 1-2-1 Steelers. It’s a game that both teams need to have. The loser will be facing a massive uphill climb the rest of the season just in order to sniff the playoffs.It will be a game that features two high-powered offenses against two very susceptible defenses. Who will come out on top?Here are the keys to the game.The Steelers Need To Start FastThe Black and Gold have been bad at home this year and in the playoffs last year. They haven’t scored a first quarter point at home since last December, they’ve been down a combined 35-0 at home in the first quarter so far this year and they have failed to convert a single opening drive first down in any game in 2018.That cannot continue this week. If this team wants to be successful, they need to begin that success early and then sustain it throughout. This continued need to play catch-up is killing them and it will again if it happens vs. the Falcons. With an offense as high-powered as this one, it’s mind-boggling to see what’s occurring early in games. It’s also completely unacceptable. Randy Fichtner better get a game plan in order from the opening whistle if he doesn’t want to hear screams from above after this game. The Steelers don’t need to score on their opening drive, but they need to move the football and they need to be up by the end of the first quarter.James Conner Needs To Be A Focal PointThere’s news this week that Le’Veon Bell is returning during the bye week. I’ll believe it when I see it. Honestly, I hope he does, if not sooner. This team needs him right now. As far as I’m concerned, he won the face-off with Steelers management. They need him more than he needs them. Don’t think so? Think about this—Bell is potentially this team’s best defender, in that he keeps the Black and Gold defense off the field. Would you rather see Bell running the ball or this defense on the field?Until his return though, James Conner needs to be that guy. That goes along with starting early. The team cannot afford to get down early and abandon the run. They need to pound the ball early, get Conner some breakaway plays and he needs to carry it 20 times, or more. He needs to do what Bell does, keep this defense off the field; it’s the only chance for success they have.When Ben Roethlisberger has to throw it as many times as he has, this team does not have success, traditionally. I know the Falcons have a susceptible defense but the Steelers must control the clock through Conner in order to come out with a victory. If they choose to play the fast, uptempo game, as if they were the Golden State Warriors, they’ll end up on the losing end of a shootout.The Secondary MUST Step UpWho in a Black and Gold uniform is going to stop Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley? Both Jones and Ridley average over 17 yards per catch. Ridley already has six touchdowns to go along with it. In other words, they take the top right off the defense.You know what’s not good? The Steelers defense loves to let opposing offenses take the top off. See Artie Burns or Coty Sensabaugh. Joe Haden is the only cornerback that I trust and I’m not sure even he can cover Jones.They have to find a way to keep these receivers in front of them at all costs, they may even be better off holding the receivers vs. giving up the big plays. Yeah, that’s where I am with this group right now. They are terrible and until they prove otherwise, consistently, I’ll continue to think so.The Front Seven Need To Provide HelpThe secondary is awful, no question about it, but the front seven aren’t really doing their jobs this season, either. After the Cleveland week, where has TJ Watt been? How about Cam Heyward or Stephon Tuitt? Bud Dupree has played above my expectations but beyond that, nobody is doing much of anything.When you have the secondary the Steelers have, the front seven need to make up for it. They aren’t doing it so far. They must pressure Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ QB who has only thrown two picks this season; and if Devonta Freeman plays on Sunday, they best find a way to contain him, too.Either way, I think this defense is giving up over 30 points this week.…………………………………………..If the Steelers are unable to put up over 35 points this week, they will not win this game. I have no trust in this defense right now and the scary thing is, I’m losing faith in the offense that has so much talent.That all said, I think you’ll see the offense get Conner involved more this week. Antonio Brown is going to show up in full force this week and put together his best game of the season, to date and the defense will come up with a big play or two when it counts.The Steelers will save their season with a 38-33 victory to the delight of the hometown faithful. MIKE PELAIACOURIER STEELERS CENTRAL
LAS VEGAS (AP) — There was LeBron James, still somewhat of a startling sight in purple and gold. And there were Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, still very much the champions of basketball for now and the foreseeable future. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after a play against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Playing each other Wednesday night in a game that meant nothing — except for those looking for a glimpse into the future of the NBA.Basketball’s biggest stars on stage in a city full of stars. An exhibition game, yes, but that didn’t stop fans from packing T-Mobile Arena on the Strip, where in a few years there almost surely will be a team they can call their own.And maybe the best thing? Anyone in the arena with a betting account could pull out their phone and bet a few dollars during the game.The gambling stigma is gone, thanks largely to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s progressive attitude and a Supreme Court decision that allowed sports betting in other states. The Vegas Golden Knights showed in their inaugural season that professional sports not only work in Sin City — it seems to be a perfect fit.And nothing fits the city better than the NBA. The fans love it in Las Vegas, and so do the players.“There’s a different energy here when you come, whether you’re from here or you’re just visiting,” Curry said. “We enjoy coming to play, it’s always fun.”Fun was a key word on a night when Lonzo Ball played for the first time with James and the Warriors looked to sharpen their focus with just one more game before the regular season begins. The score mattered mostly only to bettors (the Lakers covered as four-point underdogs), but the effort — at least in the first half — seemed a bit more regular season than it did preseason.Still, if there’s a budding rivalry between the California teams now that James has come out west, he wasn’t letting on.“What’s the rivalry?” he said when asked after the morning shootaround.Indeed, there hasn’t been a rivalry in recent years as the Warriors dominated the NBA and the Lakers struggled getting used to life without Kobe Bryant. The arrival of James will surely change that at some point, though for now just seeing the best player of his era in a Lakers uniform seems special enough.“It’s pretty cool for Lakers fans, and West Coast fans, to see LeBron out here on the west side,” Durant said.Even cooler for Lakers fans was watching James with a behind-the-back pass to Ball, or a lob for a dunk to former Warrior JaVale McGee. The Lakers may be one more big acquisition away from really starting a rivalry with Golden State, but the sight of James already making his teammates better had to make them believe good times are coming in Los Angeles.Even as James is becoming more comfortable in the purple and gold, though, he always been has comfortable in Las Vegas. He played in the city in AAU tournaments while growing up, spends a few weeks most summers in training camp here with USA Basketball, and is a fan of the NBA’s Las Vegas summer league.It didn’t hurt when fans started chanting “MVP, MVP” during the first half and gave him a standing ovation when he hit a 30-footer at the buzzer to give the Lakers a halftime lead before posing for the crowd. James, who didn’t play in the Lakers’ last exhibition game, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a dominating half.“It just feels like the NBA is always flowing through Las Vegas, feels almost like our second home base,” Durant said. “Basketball around here has been really booming since I’ve been in the league.”That showed during halftime when Magic Johnson, who heads basketball operations for the Lakers, was given a key to the city by Mayor Carolyn Goodman. Johnson talked about coming to Las Vegas for 40 years and his love for the city.“I hope one day Las Vegas gets an NBA team,” he told the crowd.Just when that day will be is anyone’s guess, though the head of giant casino operator MGM Resorts said last year he hoped to get a team on the Strip within five years. The company bought a WNBA team as part of its plan to land the NBA, with the Aces playing at the smaller Mandalay Bay arena.For now, though, the NBA was here for just a day. James bowed out after playing 17 minutes in the first half, and the second half was more about getting court time for the reserves than it was determining which team was best.A meaningless game, yes.Look closer, though, and the future of the NBA comes a little more into focus.___W.G. Ramirez contributed to this story in Las Vegas.___Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at email@example.com or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg