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Pepsi Diamondjaxx close season with Hanford split
By BRETT KANE
PENdlETON — The Pepsi diamondjaxx
closed their season with a battle.
On Thursday, Pendleton’s 16u baseball
team split with their Hanford visitors. While
the diamondjaxx took the opener 4-2, Hanford
escaped with an 11-10 victory to end the day.
Game one was a low-scoring affair until
Pendleton’s Karson lani broke it open in the
bottom of the fourth inning with a two-rBi tri-
ple into center field that allowed Payton Lam-
bert and Blane Peal to cross home.
Troy Molnaa’s sacrifice fly in the top of the
sixth finally put Hanford on the board, but the
diamondjaxx responded with aiden Gunter’s
rBi-single in the following inning. Peal sent a
shallow ground ball to third base, giving lam-
bert the chance to score and keep Pendleton out
Hanford’s drew Johnson posted an rBi sin-
gle late in the final inning, but it wasn’t enough
to keep pace with the diamondjaxx.
Peal was not only key at the plate, but also
on the mound. He tallied eight strikeouts over
6⅔ innings, allowing just one hit and two runs.
Johnson benched seven Pendleton batters over
the full game.
The diamondjaxx were well on their way
to a doubleheader sweep, holding a 6-4 lead by
the fourth inning of the nightcap.
That soon fell apart by the top of the fifth.
Hanford rallied with five runs off sin-
gles from Tyler Poletski, Corey Foster, Garret
Chandler, and Korbin Harris. Kobe Fell, who
was sent in to finish the inning in relief, walked
the next batter to drive in yet another run, put-
ting Hanford up 10-6.
it was a lead that would last for just an
inning as Peal got Pendleton back on track with
a triple on a 1-2 pitch that scored two runs in
See Baseball, Page A8
face Halep in
Pendleton-born cage fighter Ricky Simon will fight UFC hall-of-famer Urijah Faber Saturday night
By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer
WiMBlEdON, England — Hours before
her Wimbledon semifinal, Serena Williams
spent some time deep in thought and arrived at
a couple of conclusions.
For one thing, she shouldn’t focus too much
on trying to raise her Grand Slam title total to
24, a number achieved by just one other player
in tennis history. and for another, she needs to
stay calm on the court.
With that in mind, Williams went out Thurs-
day and made it all look so easy, overwhelming
Barbora Strycova of the Czech republic 6-1,
6-2 in 59 minutes to once again put herself on
the verge of an eighth championship at the all
England Club and major No. 24 overall.
“it’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25. it’s
really just about going out there and giving my
best effort, no matter what. No matter what i
do, i will always have a great career,” said Wil-
liams, who at 37 is the oldest woman to reach a
Grand Slam final in the professional era. “Like,
i just kind of let it go this morning.”
On Saturday, she will take on No. 7-seeded
Simona Halep of romania, a 6-1, 6-3 winner
over No. 8 Elina Svitolina of ukraine under a
cloudy sky at Centre Court.
It’s the 11th final at the All England Club for
Williams, the first for Halep, whose only major
trophy came at the French Open last year.
They’ve played each other 10 previous
times, with Williams winning nine, including a
three-setter at the australian Open in January.
“i respect a lot what she has done and what
she’s doing,” said Halep, who, like Williams,
used to be ranked No. 1. “But now i feel stron-
ger, mentally, facing her. We will see what is
going to happen. it’s just a big challenge for
For anyone, really, when Williams is at her
And after an up-and-down first half of
the year, due in part to injury and illness,
she sure does appear to have lifted her level
Williams was limited to 12 matches in 2019
until last week. after a third-round loss at
roland Garros on June 1, she stayed in France
for medical treatment and finally felt pain-free
while preparing for Wimbledon.
“Well, if she will play like this in the final,”
said Strycova, 33, the oldest first-time Grand
Slam semifinalist in the modern era, “it’s going
to be very hard for Simona.”
after a three-set struggle against alison
Riske in the quarterfinals Tuesday, Williams
was dominant against Strycova, who was lim-
ited by a leg muscle problem that cropped up in
the very first game.
Strycova would repeatedly flex or shake her
legs between points or try to stretch in her side-
line chair by pulling her right foot onto her left
knee and rocking her leg.
Not an ideal situation. Especially when fac-
ing Williams if she’s this dialed-in.
Williams played cleanly, accumulating
nearly twice as many winners as unforced
errors, 28-10. She was at her usual court-cov-
ering best, which helped limit Strycova to 10
“i just need to ... relax and do what i can
do,” Williams said, referring again to her deep
thoughts from the morning.
Photo contributed by Amy Kaplan, File
In this March 23, 2018, file photo, Ricky Simon (right) is crowned the winner of the Legacy Fighting Alliance 36 event against
Vinicius Zani (left) at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif.
By BRETT KANE
aCraMENTO, Calif. — ricky
Simon has had a busy week.
When he’s not training with his
head, conditioning, or boxing coach,
there’s a good chance he’s talking to the
press and signing posters, for a good
The Pendleton-born mixed martial
artist enters the arena on Saturday in
Sacramento, Calif., to compete in the
uFC Fight Night 155. He’s slated to face
urijah Faber, who will be coming out of
retirement to compete in his hometown
The two are on a five-fight main card
that will air on ESPN+, and the signifi-
cance of the upcoming bout hasn’t been
lost on Simon.
“as far as the placement on the bill
goes, it’s the biggest it’s been for me so
far,” said Simon, 26. “i’m actually on
the poster this time. depending on how
many people come out, it could be big.
There’s going to be some (Faber) fan
hostility. i’ve fought in front of sold-out
crowds in the Staples Center last august
and in australia in February. i’m get-
ting used to the big crowds. i love the
although his skills in the cage have
sent him all over the globe, Simon’s
roots are in Eastern Oregon. He spent
the first four years of his life in Pendle-
ton before he and his family moved to
“i still have family in Pendleton,”
Simon said. “i drive through every sum-
mer to see my grandma, aunt, and uncle.
We’ll stop and get coffee, and catch up.
it’s something i’ve always done.”
it was in Vancouver that his love
of wrestling and MMa began to take
“My dad was always watching
fights,” Simon recalled. “I’ve always
been a big fan. My parents bought box-
ing gloves for my (three) brothers and
i. They had us solve our problems with
those. We fought each other all the time.
We were raised in a tough family. Now
that i think about it, it’s not surprising
that i ended up with this career.”
Simon started wrestling in elemen-
tary school and stuck with the sport all
throughout high school. after graduat-
ing from union High in 2010, he sought
to continue his wrestling career at Clark
College in Vancouver, but it was a goal
that never came to be.
“I went to (Clark) just to figure out
what the hell i was going to do,” Simon
Simon soon got a second chance,
however, when he happened upon the
Gladiator gym in a local Vancouver
“it was a full-on MMa gym with
a cage,” he said. “it was pretty unique.
We’d be in there sweating and train-
ing while people shopped at Nordstrom
across from us.”
From there, Simon began his amateur
MMa career, which lasted from 2011
until 2014. in that three-year span, he
“There’s no blueprint in fighting,” he
said. “You’re just fighting in a regional
circuit. you’re not getting paid a lot,
and you’re paying to fight. You have to
scratch and claw your way in. Once you
do, it’s very rewarding.”
a chance to turn pro with the uFC
soon followed. For the past year and
a half, Simon has been signed with
the California-based iridium Sports
agency, which helps him secure gigs
like his upcoming fight against Faber.
“When the uFC calls you, you have
four to eight weeks to get ready for the
fight,” Simon said. “I train three to four
times a day, six days a week. it’s MMa
— you gotta have all of your bases
Cage fighting isn’t the most glamor-
ous sport, but it’s been kind to Simon
so far. He currently holds a 15-1 pro
record. His lone loss came via submis-
sion against anderson dos Santos at the
Titan Fighting Championship 37 in 2016.
Outside the cage
although he’s since left wrestling
behind for something more extreme,
Simon still makes it a priority in his life.
He’s coached teams at Vancouver’s Cov-
ington Middle School for nine years, and
at Heritage High School for two.
“i love it,” he said. “i’m in the same
community i grew up in. Wrestling
had a big impact on my life. it’s been a
passion of mine.”
His opponent isn’t the reason his Sat-
urday night fight is significant — it’ll
also be his first as a married man.
On June 28, Simon wed his longtime
girlfriend Jade, 24, in a ceremony held
See UFC, Page A8
All-Star Game television rating sets record low
NEW yOrK (aP) — Baseball’s all-Star Game
had a record low television rating.
The american league’s 4-3 win over the
National league on Tuesday night in Cleveland
had a 5.0 rating on Fox, according to Nielsen Media
research. The game was seen by an average of 5.93
million households and 8.14 million viewers.
That is down from the previous record low rat-
ing of 5.2 and 8.69 million viewers for the al’s 8-6,
10-inning victory last year.
The Home run derby drew a combined 6.2 mil-
lion viewers and a 4.54 rating in metered markets
on ESPN and ESPN2 on Monday night, up from
5.97 million viewers and a 4.39 rating last year.
The rating is the percentage of television house-
holds tuned to a broadcast.
American League pitch-
er Shane Bieber, of the
Cleveland Indians, holds
the MVP trophy the MLB
baseball All-Star Game
on Tuesday in Cleveland.
The American League
defeated the National
AP Photo/Tony Dejak