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AROUND THE HORN

West Branch extends unbeaten mark

BELOIT — West Branch’s boys tennis team ran its record to 7-0 with a 5-0 win over United on Tuesday.

West Branch hosts Alliance today.

United is 2-2.

FIRST SINGLES: J.D. Brain (WB) def. Keaton Widlicka, 6-0, 6-4

SECOND SINGLES: Justin Cederbloom (WB) def. Kade Blake, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3

THIRD SINGLES: Noah Johnson (WB) def. Bryce McKenzie, 6-1, 6-2

FIRST DOUBLES: Jeff Legros-Seth Ayers (WB) def. Dylan Thompson-Abby Hruby, 6-4, 6-2

SECOND DOUBLES: Sky Tran-Nate Legros (WB) def. Albert Berenguer-Matthew Logan, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.

Tirico to host NBC coverage from outdoor set

Mike Tirico won’t be anchoring NBC’s primetime coverage of the Tokyo Olympics from the usual confines of a studio inside the International Broadcast Center. Instead, he will have a more picturesque location.

NBC announced Tuesday that Tirico will host from an outdoor location in downtown Tokyo. The set will be on a fifth-floor deck with a panoramic view of the city skyline and highlighted by the Rainbow Bridge. It marks the first time in NBC’s 16 Olympics broadcasts that the primetime show will be broadcast from outdoors.

Tirico said he saw the location during a visit in 2019 and was excited about the possibilities.

“It’s a spectacular background of truly one of the great cities in the world. And given the time difference of 13 hours (from New York), it will be 9 a.m., so you will really get a city coming awake and coming alive,” he said. “It gets us more of a sense of being a part of an Olympics in one of the biggest cities in the world as opposed to just being in the broadcast center with a very nice set for night after night of coverage.”

Tirico — who took over as primetime host at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games — is familiar with hosting from an outdoor set. He anchored daytime coverage on Copacabana Beach at the 2016 Rio Games.

Between primetime and primetime plus shows, Tirico will average six hours a day as the host from July 23 until Aug. 8. He could also host coverage from other locations or venues throughout the city depending on COVID-19 protocols.

The outdoor set will also be used by the “Today” show, which will be going on when it’s night time in Tokyo. The space will also be enhanced with virtual graphics and a variety of monitors.

The Tokyo Games will be NBC’s 10th Summer Games and 16th Olympics overall. In many ways, the network is coming full circle since its first Olympics broadcast was in Tokyo in 1964.

Pirates chase Snell in 1st inning

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jacob Stallings had three hits and three RBIs, and the Pittsburgh Pirates chased Blake Snell in the first inning of an 8-4 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

The game lasted 4 hours, 7 minutes, and included 17 walks, seven hit batters and 27 runners left on base.

Stallings hit a two-run double off the top of the left-field fence in the first inning, then added an RBI single in the second. That helped the Pirates take a 5-3 lead en route to their third win in four games.

San Diego had its four-game winning streak end as Snell retired just two of the eight batters he faced. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner had his worst outing in three starts since being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in an offseason trade. He has pitched a total of 10 1/3 innings.

Pirates starter Chad Kuhl had a career-high seven walks in 3 2/3 innings. He was charged with four runs, three earned, and has 15 walks in 10 2/3 innings over three starts this season. Chris Stratton (1-0), the fifth of seven Pittsburgh pitchers, worked a scoreless seventh inning and was credited with the win.

Erik Gonzalez had three of Pittsburgh’s 12 hits.

The Padres’ Trent Grisham led off the game with a homer to right-center. He has connected in three straight games.

After San Diego went ahead 2-0, Snell lasted 38 mostly ineffective pitches. Stallings scored on a double by Gonzalez to deep center field that made it 3-2.

The Padres tied it in the second when Grisham scored on a wild pitch by Kuhl. Pittsburgh went ahead for good in the bottom half against Nabil Crismatt (0-1) when Bryan Reynolds hit an RBI single and scored on Stallings’ base hit.

Crismatt helped save the Padres bullpen by pitching five innings, allowing four runs.

Pittsburgh pitchers issued 13 walks. The Padres, though, stranded at least two runners on base in six innings.

Chang receives racist tweets

CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians first baseman Yu Chang shared some racist tweets he received after making a costly error in Monday night’s game in Chicago.

Chang, who is Taiwanese, posted some of the anti-Asian tweets on his Twitter account Tuesday while asking for tolerance. One of the messages referred to the shape of his eyes and another referred to the coronavirus.

“Exercise your freedom of speech in a right way, I accept all comments, positive or negative but DEFINITELY NOT RACIST ONES,” Chang wrote. “Thank you all and love you all.”

He included the hashtag StopAsianHate.

Soon after his posting, Chang received an outpouring of positive responses and support from Indians fans and others across social media.

The 23-year-old who came up as a middle infielder in Cleveland’s organization is playing first base for the first time this season. The Indians signed him as a free agent in 2013.

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