Sports Briefs

Posted Feb. 14, 2012, at 7:36 p.m.

Sanders, Wood post MMA victories in Lewiston card

LEWISTON, Maine — Ryan Sanders of Veazie remained undefeated in his professional mixed martial arts career Saturday night with a victory during the Fight Night 1 card held before a crowd of 3,100 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Sanders improved his record to 3-0 with a first-round victory over veteran Dan “The Ghost” Keefe in the co-main event.

Two other fighters competing out of Young’s MMA gym in Brewer participated in amateur bouts. Ray “All Business” Wood of Bucksport earned a first-round technical knockout victory over Ashan Abdulla while Zackary Adams of Bangor lost in the first round to Jason Libby.

Keefe, 7 feet 3 inches, had the early advantage over Sanders in their welterweight (170-pound) bout, but Sanders then locked an arm bar against his opponent from the bottom position and forced Keefe to tap out at 4:40 of the five-minute first round.

Abdulla, a late replacement to face Wood after three other potential opponents bowed out due to injury, twice had the former Bucksport High School wrestler in a choke hold, only to have Wood free himself both times. He followed that second escape with an attack on Abdulla that prompted the bout to be halted at 2:29 of the first round of their 155-pound bout.

Wood is now 4-0 and currently is ranked fourth among New England featherweights (145 pounds). Abdulla fell to 3-3.

Adams fell victim to a quick knockdown punch from Libby in his MMA debut, with Libby then going on the attack to close out the victory in the opening round of their 155-pound bout. Libby is now 3-1.

Flynn, O’Neill, Diamond semifinalists for Brown Award

University of Maine senior center Brian Flynn, senior defenseman Will O’Neill and junior right wing Joey Diamond are among 21 semifinalists for the Walter Brown Award given to the top American-born college hockey player in New England.

Flynn and O’Neill are the co-captains of the 17-9-3 Black Bears.

Flynn, a native of Lynnfield, Mass., is the nation’s sixth-leading scorer with 40 points on 14 goals and 26 assists in 29 games. He is also sixth in points per game (1.38) and ninth in assists per game (0.90). He three game-winning goals, including two in overtime, and seven game-winning assists.

O’Neill, a native of Salem, Mass., has one goal and 24 assists in 29 games and his 0.86 points per game rank him seventh among Division I defensemen.

Diamond has 18 goals and 13 assists in 26 games. His 0.69 goals per game rank him fifth in the nation. He has one game-winning goal and five game-winning assists.

UMaine women host Play4Kay game

In conjunction with Wednsday’s 7 p.m. game against Hartford at Alfond Arena, the UMaine women’s basketball team is holding a Play4Kay fundraising event.

Black Bears head coach Richard Barron has pledged to have his head shaved at center court after the game if UMaine fans donate $10,000 to the Kay Yow Foundation, which supports breast cancer research.

UMaine was well short of its goal as of Tuesday evening, but donations will be accepted at the game. Also, those wishing to support the effort can make pledges on the Play4Kay website via the link on the GoBlackBears.com website.

Orioles VP: Team no longer interested in Ramirez

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles are no longer interested in free agent slugger Manny Ramirez.

Dan Duquette, the Orioles vice president of baseball operations, told The Associated Press on Tuesday, “I don’t know that Manny Ramirez is a fit for our club right now.”

The 39-year-old Ramirez retired last season rather than serve a suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. He was suspended for 100 games, but the ban was trimmed to 50 games because he sat out nearly all of the 2011 season. The suspension would start with the first game he is eligible to play after signing with a club.

A week ago, Duquette said he had conducted exploratory talks with Ramirez’s agent. But Duquette also acknowledged that signing Ramirez would not come without risk.

“We’re still considering the composition of this club and some of the challenges of integrating a player like Manny into our ball club and market,” Duquette said at the time.

On Tuesday, it was evident that Duquette didn’t want Manny being Manny in Baltimore.

“It just doesn’t look like it’s a fit right now,” he said.

Ramirez has 555 career home runs, 1,831 RBIs and a .312 lifetime average. He’s also a 12-time All-Star.

Woods to play Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Tiger Woods is returning to the Honda Classic for the first time since he was an amateur.

Woods announced on his website Tuesday that he would play the Match Play Championship next week in Arizona, followed by the Honda Classic and the Cadillac Championship at Doral.

The Honda Classic is March 1-4 at PGA National.

It’s the second time this year Woods has added a tournament not typically on his schedule. He played the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last week for the first time in 10 years, closing with a 75 to plummet from contention.

Woods played the Honda Classic in 1993 as a 17-year-old, when it was held at Weston Hills. He had rounds of 72-78 and missed the cut.

Royals exercise option on Yost for next season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals have exercised their option on manager Ned Yost to keep him with the club through the 2013 season.

The team announced the move Tuesday, six days before pitchers and catchers are due to report to the Royals’ spring training home in Surprise, Ariz.

Yost was hired in May 2010 to replace Trey Hillman. He signed a two-year extension that July that included a club option for next season.

Yost is just 126-163 since taking over the Royals, but he’s been credited with helping bring along one of the youngest rosters in baseball. A youthful team led by Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas is expected to begin contending in the AL Central for the first time in years.

Yost last fall shook up his coaching staff, parting with pitching coach Bob McClure and bench coach John Gibbons. He replaced McClure with former Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland, who will be asked to develop a young rotation that was long on talent but short on results as the Royals finished 24 games out of first place in the AL Central.

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