Local Sports Headlines: September 13, 2023

Indiana University and University of Louisville cancel final two games of their Three Game Football Series
The Indiana Hoosiers and the Louisville Cardinals are in the process of canceling the final two games of their three-game football series, according to a report by the Bloomington Herald-Times. Indiana and Louisville originally scheduled a three-game series back in 2015, which is set to begin this season on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., the home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. The series was then set to move to campus sites for the second and third games of the series. In the second contest, Indiana was slated to travel to take on Louisville at L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium in Louisville, Ky., on Sept. 7, 2024. The third and final game of the series was set to be contested at Indiana’s Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind., on Sept. 6, 2025.

The two schools agreed to scrap the game in 2025. The amendment was electronically signed by Indiana’s Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, Dwayne Pinkney, but was not signed by the athletic director of either school at the time of our request last month. As a result of the cancellation, the document indicates that “…neither party shall have any obligation to the other Party”, which includes “financial obligations” stipulated in the original contract. A breach of agreement or failure to appear in the original contract was $1 million per game. In a separate report on Monday, the Bloomington Herald-Times stated that a source at Indiana indicated the game in 2024 will be canceled as well. Should the 2024 game not be canceled mutually, Indiana will owe Louisville a $1.3 million cancellation fee because the notice came less than two years before the date of the scheduled game, per the terms of the original contract. Indiana and Louisville have met twice on the gridiron in their history. The Hoosiers won both games, 41-28 in 1985 and 21-0 in 1986, and both were played in Bloomington.

Former Indiana University standout Grace Berger & Indiana Fever Teammate Aliyah Boston earn Associated Press Rookie Honors
Indiana Fever Crnter Aliyah Boston was named the 2023 Associated Press Rookie of the Year; it was announced Tuesday. Fever Guard and former Indiana University star Grace Berger joined Boston as well earning AP All-Rookie Team recognition. The 2023 AP All-Rookie Team was comprised of Boston, Berger, Dorka Juhasz (MIN), Diamond Miller (MIN), Jordan Horston (SEA), and Haley Jones (ATL).

Boston ended the regular season as the first rookie in WNBA history to lead the league in field goal percentage, shooting 57.8 percent (233-of-403) from the floor through the first 40 games of her career. The WNBA All-Star led all 2023 rookies in scoring (14.4 ppg), rebounds (8.4 rpg), steals (1.3 spg), blocked shots (1.3 bpg) and minutes played (31.2 mpg) per game. Boston finished second in WNBA history for most rebounds in a rookie season with 335 rebounds, while finishing third all-time for field goals made as a rookie with 233. Boston also set franchise records for most blocks (50) in a rookie season. In addition, Boston also ended the season second in franchise history for points scored in a rookie season (578) and steals in a rookie season (53).

Berger earned All-Rookie recognition after averaging 4.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 14.6 minutes per contest in 36 games played. Among rookies, Berger led all players in 3-point field goal percentage shooting 47.1 percent (16-of-34) and was sixth in assists per game. Berger also shot 84.0 percent from the free throw line and scored at least 10 points in five games this season.

Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Indianapolis in 2024
If you’ve never seen or heard of the Harlem Globetrotters, you may just want to mark your calendar for 2024 because they’re coming to the Circle City. The Harlem Globetrotters are much more than just a basketball team, they’re the world’s team touring over 400+ cities in over 25 countries. Hammer, Bulldog and TNT are just a selection of the players you’ll see showing off their athleticism on the court.

Officials said the game will be against the Globetrotter’s main “relentless” rivals, the Washington Generals. The Indianapolis games will be on Jan. 14, 2024, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis. Anyone planning on attending the event can expect dribbling, spinning, slamming and dunking with a combination of “trick shots” to really get in-game engagement from the fans. Details on pre-sale tickets are available on the Gainbridge Fieldhouse website. They go on sale on Sept. 25 at 10 a.m.

Omaha Storm Chasers beat Indianapolis Indians in Tuesday afternoon matchup
The Omaha Storm Chasers used four eighth-inning doubles three with two outs to post five runs in the frame and defeat the Indianapolis Indians, 10-6, on Tuesday afternoon at Werner Park. With the game tied 5-5, the Storm Chasers (63-71, 25-37) opened the eighth inning with back-to-back walks against Travis MacGregor (L, 1-2). Pinch hitter John Rave entered the game and doubled on a line drive with one out to drive in two and give Omaha the lead. Two batters later, Samad Taylor began a stretch of three consecutive one-run doubles to tack on insurance runs.

Nick Gonzales opened the top of the ninth against Walter Pennington (W, 7-2) with his 12th Triple-A home run of the season and his fourth dinger in his last eight games. Gonzales was one of four Indians batters with two hits in the contest, joining major league rehabber Henry Davis, Canaan Smith-Njigba and Matt Gorski. The Indians (63-74, 30-33) began the scoring in the top of the second on Gorski’s first career Triple-A home run and never stopped, scoring in four consecutive frames and six of nine. Smith-Njigba, Grant Koch and Ryan Vilade each doubled in the third, fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to hold a two-run lead for Indianapolis even as Omaha got on the board. With Indy leading 4-2, the Storm Chasers tied the game on a two-run double by CJ Alexander in the sixth. Gorski then countered with his own one-run double in the seventh. Omaha tied the game again on a Bubba Thompson RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Together, the teams totaled 21 hits, 12 of which were doubles. Omaha added six stolen bases, which is the most surrendered by the Indians in a road game in Victory Field history. The Indians and Storm Chasers continue their six-game series tonight at 7:35pm at Werner Park. RHP Max Castillo (5-6, 4.71) will take the mound for Omaha while Indianapolis has yet to name a starter.

Evansville Otters Minor League Baseball Team advances to the Frontier League Championship Series
The Evansville Otters needed two come-from-behind wins to secure the Frontier League Divisional Series and advance to the Championship Series. Now, they’ll look to clinch their first Frontier League title since 2016 and third overall. Up next is a trip to Canada. That means a 20-hour bus ride as Evansville prepares to take on the Capitales de Québec for the championship.

But it was an eventful past week to get to this point. Game 1 of the FLDS at Bosse Field went to the bottom of the ninth inning when Kona Quiggle stepped to the plate. With a 1-0 count, trailing by a run and a runner on first, he saw a pitch he liked and sent it sky-high to right field. Ball game. Evansville beat the Gateway Grizzlies 4-3. After falling in Game 2, Evansville then won Game 3 on Sunday because of a seven-run outburst in the fifth inning in Sauget, Illinois. The Grizzlies got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but pitcher Jake Polancic got the save and the Otters clinched their first playoff series since winning the Frontier League title in 2016. The Otters previously beat the Schaumburg Boomers 4-3 in a one-game Wild Card before facing Gateway.

The first two games of the best-of-five series will be in Québec with it getting started last night and this evening while Bosse Field will host Game 3 on Friday and, if necessary, Games 4 and 5 on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased on the Otters’ website and the games will be broadcast on FloSports and the Otters’ YouTube. The Capitales clinched their series against the New Jersey Jackals with a 15-run showing. There’s been plenty of roster turnover since Evansville and Québec played in late May.

Indiana University Swimming and Diving kicks off 2023-24 season this month
After its men’s and women’s team each achieved top-seven finishes nationally last season, Indiana swimming and diving’s 2023-24 campaign kicks off Sept. 29.  IU’s schedule includes five meets in the fall – including its Sept. 29 Cream and Crimson intrasquad exhibition – and three more regular season competitions in the spring prior to championship season. The season culminates in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in late March. The women will perform first from March 20-23 in Athens, Georgia, before the men compete at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis March 27-30. 

The men’s meet is the first of two important events taking place in Indianapolis during the 2024 Olympic year. 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials are scheduled for June 15-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium. IU’s men are coming off a fourth-place team finish at the 2023 national meet and their fifth Big Ten team title. The women earned a program-record seventh place finish at their NCAA Championships and took second at the conference meet. Indiana won’t have to travel far for the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships either. The women are slated to compete Feb. 21-24 in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the men will follow in Columbus, Ohio, a week later. 

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