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SPORTS DIGEST: What’s going on locally

Runners fall at home

New Mexico fought to the end in a close matchup against the Amarillo Bombers last Saturday night at Santa Ana Star Center, but fell short, 10-7.

More than three weeks had passed since the Runners (4-4) played their last game, a 9-3 loss at Wichita on Jan. 12.

Cleveland High senior Gabe Legendre finished with two goals on seven touches in just over 90 seconds of playing time.

“It’s not the minutes I play, It’s about helping my team win,” Legendre said in the postgame press conference.

The Runners were back in action Feb. 8 to host the Colorado Inferno FC. Their next game isn’t until March 1, when the Wichita Wings visit for a 3 p.m. contest. The Runners won three of their first four home games.

 

Hattis now a Sun Devil

Arizona State University’s thin offensive line has received some help and much-needed depth.

In an Instagram post on Jan. 30, Stanford offensive lineman Henry Hattis confirmed he was making a rare intra-conference move and transferring to Arizona State.

The 6-6, 297-pounder mostly played guard for the Cardinal and started six games last year before suffering an injury.

Hattis was a multi-sport star at Cleveland High School, as was his older sister, Sara — and her collegiate athletic career also ended at ASU, after a start at the University of Texas, where she played volleyball and basketball. He was recruited by ASU out of high school but ultimately landed at Stanford; as a graduate transfer, he’ll be immediately eligible in Tempe and should be in the mix to start right away. (Sara Hattis was enrolled at the prestigious Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication while at ASU.)

Ironically, former Sun Devils defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales, the brother-in-law for former Rio Rancho High School football coach David Howes, left ASU to become the new head coach at the University of New Mexico — and he no doubt had interest in landing Hattis for a season.

 

Two Rio Rancho umps get world series assignments

Each year, the holiday season becomes just a bit more special for 90 dedicated Little League volunteers who receive their official notifications with their official umpire assignments for the Little League World Series tournaments.

Volunteer umpires are one of the most important aspects in the success of local Little League programs around the world and play a pivotal role in the experience of all of our players throughout the Little League International Tournament.

The selection process to become a World Series umpire is lengthy and rigorous. In order to be eligible to volunteer in a Little League World Series event, an umpire must first have competed in a regional tournament event. After that experience is completed, the process for selection to work a World Series begins with an application submitted by each volunteer umpire through the Umpire Registry. Once received, the District Administrator may also provide comments to the regional office for review. Little League’s nine regional offices then consider all nominated umpires before selecting those who most closely meet the selection criteria.

Individuals who meet those qualifications are then screened annually by Little League International and regional staffs for selection to umpire in a Little League World Series tournament.

An individual can be selected for a World Series assignment once every four years, but being chosen to work the Little League Baseball World Series is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

For the fifth consecutive year, Little League International will support all volunteer umpires at the seven World Series events with a travel stipend to help offset the costs for the men and women to attend their events.

The two local umps are Walt Gross, who will work the Little League Softball World Series (location TBD), and Ron Thompson, assigned to the Senior League Softball World Series in Lower Sussex, Del.

 

Globetrotters return to Star Center March 7

On the heels of setting six new Guinness World Records titles, making them the team that holds the most records on the globe and celebrating World Trick Shot Day with the first-ever “Skydiving Trick Shot,” the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their all-new “Pushing the Limits” World Tour to Santa Ana Star Center on Saturday, March 7, at 4.

It’ll be the ‘Trotters seventh appearance at the Star Center, dating back to 2006 and a visit in 2019.

This year, the show is upping the ante and creating brand new experiences and even bigger memories for Globetrotter fans. Plus, the team has added incredible international ball handling phenomenon Lucky Jiang to the roster; he’ll  show his world-class, signature basketball moves.

Watch for more in future issues of the Observer.

 

UFC fans are excited

“UFC Fight Night” is at Santa Ana Star Center Saturday (Feb. 15) night.

Headliners are Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz, with 12 other fights — among them Albuquerqueans John Dodson and Lando Vannata.

It’s the second-ever UFC card to be staged in New Mexico.

The action starts at 6 and will be streamed on ESPN+.

Tickets run from $80-$155 and are available at UFC.com/Ticketmaster.

 

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