Sports Shorts for March 9

Queen’s Grant baseball looks strong entering first ‘home’ game

The Queen’s Grant baseball team kicked off the 2012 season with a 4-1 win over Monroe’s Central Academy of Technology & Arts on March 1 and a 14-3 victory over Carmel Christian (Va.) on March 2.

Even after falling to Lake Norman Charter, 5-4, on March 6, there is a sense among the team that Queen’s Grant is ready for a breakout season. In the loss, the Stallions twice came from behind to take the lead and scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 4-3 advantage, only to allow two runs in the bottom of the inning and fall one run short.

But Queen’s Grant has reason for optimism, as it was scheduled to play the first home game in school history on Feb. 8 against Victory Christian.

The Stallions, who have played all their games on the road over the last two seasons, were slated to take to the Mint Hill Athletic Association Fields on Brief Road this week.

“We have been waiting (to have a home field) for three years and are blessed that Mint Hill will be allowing us to call their facilities our home,” Stallions coach Dan Kerr said.

He also was excited about his team’s record so far.

“It’s always good to get the first win out of the way, especially when it’s in the opener, but to start 2-0 makes it that much better,” Kerr said. “This is probably the best all-around team we’ve had in our brief history, and I have very high hopes for the club this spring.”

So far, Kerr said the offense as a whole has not been as good as he had hoped, but he added that he’s extremely pleased with his seniors. In particular, J.P. Ketcham is batting.600 with two doubles, five RBIs and three stolen bases. Steven Booksh is batting .556 with four RBIs, and David McGoldrick is hitting .500 with a double and three RBIs and earned the win on the mound in the season opener.

Overall, the Stallions are looking to build on their best season a year ago, when they finished 9-9.

Former Butler wrestler Rinaldi

to compete on Ultimate Fighter Live

Jordan Rinaldi, a 24-year-old Butler High graduate, will compete on FX’s nationally televised mixed martial arts competition “Ultimate Fighter Live.”

Rinaldi finished second at the 4A Western Regionals in 2004 while wrestling for the Bulldog, but has since become a professional mixed martial arts fighter.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship-sponsored event kicks off Friday, March 9 and features 32 light heavyweight hopefuls from the United States, Brazil, England and Ireland. The overall winner receives $100,000 and a professional UFC contract.

The Ultimate Fighter competition has produced several UFC stars, including Rashad Evans, Forest Griffin and Nate Diaz.

The 14th Ultimate Fighter competition is being filmed live in Las Vegas and will air on FX until a champion is crowned on June 1.

Rinaldi, who closed out his amateur mixed martial arts career with a 5-1 record, is undefeated as a pro with five victories, four coming by submission.

Covenant Day soccer strikes first

Covenant kicked off the 2012 season by blanking Concord First Assembly, 3-0, on March 6.

The Lions got two goals from senior Anna Melton and one from Emily Hicks. Goalkeeper Nancy Pendleton recorded the shutout.

Bulldogs open season 2-0

The Butler softball team is off to a good start, winning each of its first two games for first-year head coach Barry Eberhardt: a 9-0 blanking of Mallard Creek on Feb. 28 and a 4-3 win over Olympic on March 2.

Shannan Mas has pitched both games and posted a 0.54 ERA while allowing just one earned run in 13 innings, striking out 16 batters.

Caroline Barnette has paced the offense, hitting .400 and driving in four runs. Brianna Capristo has three RBIs and Kayla Brookshire has two.

The Bulldogs visit Myers Park on Friday, March 9.

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