Smit's Walk-A-Thon Leads To Mesa Loss

Smit's Walk-A-Thon Leads To Mesa Loss

Thursday Oct. 21, 2010
Posted: 8:15 a.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUEMesa Solar Sox Cubs
Kyle Smit had his worst outing as a member of the Cubs on Wednesday night, taking the loss as Scottsdale downed Mesa, 6-3.

Smit gave up two runs on two hits in 1 13 innings. He also walked four in what was his wildest outing since he walked four on April 29, 2009 while pitching for Great Lakes in the Midwest League. Smit had walked only four in 18 13 innings for Double-A Tennessee since coming over from the Dodgers in a July deadline deal.

Chris Carpenter also pitched, throwing 1 23 scoreless innings while striking out a pair.

Josh Vitters had a pair of hits, including a double, for the second consecutive day to push his batting average to .308. Ryan Flaherty was 0-for-4.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Veljko Paunovic: 'We conceded too many innocent mistakes' in New York

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Veljko Paunovic: 'We conceded too many innocent mistakes' in New York

Major League Soccer is very forgiving when it comes to the playoff race. Even now, with less than a month left in the season, every team is mathematically still alive.

However, the Chicago Fire are in last place in the league and are falling out of contact with the teams just above them in the standings. The Fire have 27 points and are five points behind the closest teams, Houston and Columbus, which have both won two games in a row.

With that in mind, coach Veljko Paunovic seems to have slightly changed his tone regarding the team and the season in general. After the 4-1 loss to New York City FC on Friday, Paunovic said the team “had a really bad game” defensively. He also talked about the Fire “coming back” next year, something he has previously avoided doing while keeping his focus squarely on the next game ahead.

Paunovic reiterated some of those thoughts in Monday’s conference call with media.

“Of course we are not happy with our defensive performance (in New York),” Paunovic said. “I think for us the maturity is still something we have to do. It’s our main task this year I think. I think in this game we conceded too many innocent mistakes and opportunities to our opponent who was very motivated.”

[SHOP: Get your own Fire home jersey here]

The Fire set a club-record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal earlier this season (411 minutes), but have given up 18 goals in the past eight MLS matches. The 18th goal the Fire allowed in MLS play came in the 14th match of the season. This is currently the worst defensive stretch, purely in goals allowed, of the season.

The rise in goals allowed has coincided with an improvement from the Fire’s attack. The Fire have scored in 10 straight matches, which is a notable accomplishment considering the team was shutout in four of its first 10 matches in 2016. Despite the offensive improvement, the defensive downturn is concerning for Paunovic.

“I think in some points of the season we were very strong,” Paunovic said of the Fire’s defense. “These last couple of games I’m not happy with the performance, but we are working on that to fix it.”

The Fire have five games left to “fix” these mistakes. The team is not realistically in the playoff race anymore and a tough pair of games are coming up. The Fire visit Seattle on Wednesday and will fly straight to Columbus for a game three days later. Both teams have won two straight and are surging towards the playoff race.

It won't be easy for the Fire to end the season with some positive results. Paunovic said part of his job is keeping the team motivated, but also said there is extra pressure that goes with being in last place in the standings.

“The team is fighting for not being last on the standings in the league,” Paunovic said. “That pressure sometimes is too big.

“We have to mature. Fortunately we had to commit too many mistakes to pay that price and I believe that the team is getting better, but we still have to work on that.”

Stevenson senior Justin Smith commits to Indiana

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Stevenson senior Justin Smith commits to Indiana

Stevenson senior and Mr. Basketball candidate Justin Smith ended his recruitment on Monday night by committing to Indiana on Twitter.

The 6-foot-6 Smith averaged 17 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on 52.2 percent shooting last season as the high-flying wing was a third-team CSN All-Area selection.

Regarded as the No. 105 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings, Smith is going to be one of the main players to watch in the area this season as he's already helped the Patriots win a state championship as a sophomore while producing big numbers as a junior.

Smith joins three-star point guard Al Durham in Indiana's recruiting Class of 2017.

Now that Smith has ended his recruitment, Evanston's Nojel Eastern and Thornton's Alonzo Verge are the two best uncommitted prospects in the area as all three players are major candidates to win Player of the Year honors.