Baseball enters the last week of the opening month, and perhaps the game's best player shined. The Washington Nationals Bryce Harper lit the National League East on fire, on the way to what might be his second MVP in three seasons. The Nationals marched through Georgia and Queens with a 6-0 record, establishing themselves as the team to beat in the East. Harper led the Nats batting 11-20, with 7 of those 11 hits for extra bases (4 2B, 3 HR). He also scored 10 of his teams 33 runs over the six game span. The Nationals ended the week with the best record in baseball, and it might be time that Bryce is mentioned as the top of MLB elite. For the second time in blog history, he is a worthy Sportsman of the Week!
It was the initial week of Stanley Cup Playoff action, and with eight hotly contested series, the action was plentiful. Seemingly more than any other sport, playoff wins on the road seem more plentiful despite rabid crowds. One way to win on the road is to not allow any goals. And that's exactly what Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators did. Two games, 59 shots on goal, clean slate. And this wasn't against just any team, but the number one seed Chicago Blackhawks, who many had penciled in as a Stanley Cup favorite. Rinne continued his success into Monday with an overtime win with just two goals. The Blackhawks may have played their last game at home in the 2016-17 season, and if they have, there will be bad memories of being stonewalled by the Finnish superstar goalie Rinne.
Look no further than the biggest golf event on the calendar every year. The Masters. A tradition. I won't say it's like no other, because there are a lot of good sports traditions. But what a finish. With a pack of 10-12 golfers within striking distance to start on Sunday, two distanced themselves from the pack for a matchup down the last five holes (plus one playoff) in which each had a chance to win with a good putt. But it was Sergio Garcia who came out on top. Trailing by 1 with 2 to play, he took advantage of sloppy Rose putting to tie it going to 17. Then after a couple of make-able missed putts on the 72nd hole of the tournament, it was the 73rd where Sergio nailed it. Hitting a birdie when Rose faded. Garcia played each of the four rounds under par; five rounds counting the playoff as a round. Both golfers left it all on the course, and it was the fans that won by seeing the Spaniard win his first major in 74 tries. On the 73rd hole. Sergio Garcia is our Sportsman of the Week!
March Madness winds down, with an impressive new champion against the odds. The South Carolina Lady Gamecocks marched right through the brackets for their first title in school history. Despite Connecticut being the prohibitive favorite to win their fifth straight title (and seventh in ten years), it was South Carolina who took home the hardware. Led by star big woman A'ja Wilson, whose play on the offensive end and on the boards was the Final Four's most outstanding player. In the National semifinal, Wilson was held to 13 points, but tallied an astounding 19 rebounds (including 8 offensive) and 3 blocks in a win against a red hot Stanford team. In the National final, she led the Lady Cocks with 23 points, hauling in 10 boards with 4 blocks. The 6'5" junior will lead the Cocks in attempted repeat next year, and is our Sportswoman of the Week!