4-11-23 roundup: Pro basketball, baseball and soccer, High school baseball and softball, NASCAR

By Richard Walker

Based on how the Charlotte Hornets finished their 2022-23 schedule, many fans of the team will determine success or failure of this season based on what happens in the NBA Draft lottery on May 16.

That’s when the organization will have a 12.5 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick in the draft that is likely to be 7-foot-3 French phenom Victor Wembanyama.

Detroit, Houston and San Antonio have the best chances – all at 14.0 percent – followed by Charlotte, Portland (10.5), Orlando (9.0), Indiana (6.8), Washington (6.8), Utah (4.5) and Dallas (3.0).

It comes in a season in which Sacramento broke the longest NBA playoff drought at 17 years that dated to 2006.

But now that the Kings are in the postseason, Charlotte’s current playoff drought is the longest current streak in the league at seven seasons (since 2016).

In the meantime, uncertainty reigns surpreme with an organization whose owner Michael Jordan is reportedly selling his majority stake in the team and will remain a minority owner.

Should Jordan sell, what changes would be made?

And with the clock ticking on the time injured star point guard LaMelo Ball could choose to leave, there’s even more pressure on team management to turn things around.

At his Monday postseason news conference, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford offered a simple solution that would keep Ball – and perhaps keep fans more engaged.

“He badly wants to win,” Clifford said of Ball, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft who has been in two play-in tournaments but not in an official playoff game in his career. “When you’re at his level, there are certain expectations. You’re going to be compared to the other point guards his age that have had not incredible playoff success but have had some.
“So it’s important to his career.”

Clearly for Ball, getting healthy is a top priority; He missed 46 games due to ankle injuries this season and was wearing a walking boot on the right ankle he recently had surgically repaired during his postseason media availability session.

“I love it here,” Ball said on Monday. “I can’t really tell the future. We’ll just see how it goes and go from there.”

And Ball wasn’t the only injured key rotation player on the Hornets’ roster this season.

Starters Gordon Hayward (32 games), Terry Rozier (19 games) and P.J. Washington (9 games) all missed time with injuries or illness as did reserves Kelly Oubre Jr. (34 games), Dennis Smith Jr. (26 games) and rookie Mark Williams (17 games).

By season’s end, the organization’s starting lineup looked more like a G League roster than a NBA roster with Williams, fellow rookie Bryce McGowens, free agent signee Theo Maledon, midseason trade acquisition Svi Mykhailiuk and recent second round draft picks J.T. Thor and Nick Richards making up the starting lineups for the last few games.

Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak will have the ability to add pieces this offseason.

Not only does Charlotte have five draft picks – two in the first round – but they have a reported $39 million in salary cap space.

Could the team used some of that money to re-sign restricted free agent Miles Bridges?

Bridges, a 2018 Hornets’ first round selection, sat out the 2022-23 season after he was arrested on domestic violence charges last summer. He would later plead no contest to one felony count of injuring a child’s parent in exchange for three years of probation and no jail time and is likely to face an NBA suspension when or if he is signed to a NBA contract.

Clifford’s return to coaching the organization was bittersweet.

Hired for a second stint with the organization – he guided the Hornets to their last two playoff appearances during his five-year tenure from 2013 to 2018 – he become the franchise’s all-time winningest head coach while also posting the worst head coaching record (27-55) of his 9-year NBA head coaching career.

Hired after Golden State assistant coach Kenny Atkinson accepted and then declined the job last summer, Clifford’s future could be tied to Jordan’s potential sale of controlling interest to a group that would reportedly include current Hornets’ minority owner George Plotkin.

Yet, no matter who the owner may be, Clifford is excited about his future and the team’s future.

“Obviously, I hope nothing happens because I want to coach again next year,” Clifford said. “But I’ve also been around this league long enough to know to not ever be surprised by anything that happens. That’s pro sports.”

Here’s the 2022-23 Charlotte Hornets schedule and results:

(27-55 record)
19 at San Antonio (W 129-102)
21 New Orleans (L 112-124)
23 at Atlanta (W 126-109)
26 at New York (L 131-134, OT)
28 at Orlando (L 93-113)
29 Golden State (W 120-113, OT)
31 Sacramento (L 108-115)
2 at Chicago (L 88-106)
4 at Memphis (L 99-130)
5 Brooklyn (L 94-98)
7 Washington (L 100-108)
9 Portland (L 95-105)
10 at Miami (L 112-117, OT)
12 at Miami (L 115-132)
14 at Orlando (W 112-105)
16 Indiana (L 113-125)
18 at Cleveland (L 122-132, 2 OT)
20 at Washington (L 102-106)
23 Philadelphia (W 107-101)
25 Minnesota (W 110-108)
28 at Boston (L 105-140)
2 Washington (W 117-116)
3 Milwaukee (L 96-105)
5 L.A. Clippers (L 117-119)
7 at Brooklyn (L 116-122)
9 New York (L 102-121)
11 at Philadelphia (L 113-131)
14 Detroit (L 134-141, OT)
16 Atlanta (L 106-125)
18 at Denver (L 115-119)
19 at Sacramento (W 125-119)
21 at L.A. Clippers (L 105-126)
23 at L.A. Lakers (W 134-130)
26 at Portland (L 113-124)
27 at Golden State (L 105-110)
29 Oklahoma City (W 121-113)
31 Brooklyn (L 106-123)
2 L.A. Lakers (L 115-121)
4 Memphis (L 107-131)
6 at Milwaukee (W 138-109)
8 at Indiana (L 111-116)
10 at Toronto (L 120-132)
12 at Toronto (L 114-124)
14 Boston (L 106-122)
16 Boston (L 118-130)
18 at Houston (W 122-117)
21 at Atlanta (W 122-118)
23 at Utah (L 102-120)
24 at Phoenix (L 97-128)
26 Chicago (W 111-96)
29 Miami (W 122-117)
31 at Milwaukee (L 115-124)
2 at Chicago (L 98-114)
3 at Detroit (L 112-118)
5 Orlando (L 113-119)
8 at Washington (L 104-118)
10 at Boston (L 116-127)
11 Denver (L 105-119)
13 Atlanta (W 144-138)
15 San Antonio (W 120-110)
24 at Minnesota (W 121-113)
25 Miami (W 108-103)
27 Detroit (W 117-106)
1 Phoenix (L 91-105)
3 Orlando (L 106-117)
5 at Brooklyn (L 86-102)
7 at New York (W 112-105)
9 at Detroit (W 113-103)
11 Utah (L 111-119)
12 Cleveland (L 114-118)
14 Cleveland (L 104-120)
17 Philadelphia (L 82-121)
20 Indiana (W 115-109)
23 at New Orleans (L 96-115)
24 at Dallas (W 117-109)
26 Dallas (W 110-104)
28 at Oklahoma City (W 137-134)
31 Chicago (L 91-121)
2 Toronto (L 108-128)
4 Toronto (L 100-120)
7 Houston (L 109-112)
9 at Cleveland (W 106-95)












High school baseball

-Easter holiday high school baseball tournament schedules/results:

Gaston County Baseball Tournament (at Sims Legion Park, Gastonia)
Host: East Gaston
(Monday, April 10 – first round)
North Gaston 10, Highland Tech 0 (5 innings)
South Point 15, Bessemer City 1 (5 innings)
Forestview 11, Ashbrook 6
East Gaston 2, Cramer 1 (9 innings)
(Tuesday, April 11 – consolation)
Highland Tech 10, Bessemer City 0 (5 innings): Aiden Faust and Liam Fulbright combined on a 3-hitter and Trey Costner (2 hits), Gavin Blackwood (1 hit, 2 RBIs) led Highland Tech’s offense.

Cramer 10, Ashbrook 0 (5 innings): Nate Brittain (4 innings, 11 strikeouts) and Dylan Jennings (1 inning, 1 strikeout) combined on a no-hitter and Hunter Dye (3 hits, 2 RBIs), Ty Detweiler (2 hits, 1 RBI), Griffin Little (2 hits, 1 RBI) and Noah Andrews (2 hits, 1 RBI) led Cramer’s offense.

(Tuesday, April 11 – semifinals)
North Gaston 11, South Point 10

East Gaston 10, Forestview 8

(Thursday, April 13 – consolations, final)
7th place- Bessemer City vs. Ashbrook, 11 a.m.
5th place- Highland Tech vs. Cramer, 1:30 p.m.
3rd place- South Point vs. Forestview, 4 p.m.
Final- North Gaston vs. East Gaston, 7 p.m.

Shelby Easter Tournament (at Shelby HS)
(Monday, April 10 – first round)
Kings Mountain 7, Brevard 2
South Caldwell 9, Shelby 0
(Tuesday, April 11)
Burns 6, Piedmont 0: Colby Putnam needed only 61 pitches throw a perfect game for Burns.

Crest 2, Bandys 1: Asher Smith (1-hitter, 13 strikeouts), Ryan Ropp (2 hits), Zack Rayfield (2 hits), Ethan Hayes (1 hit), Jude Stilwell (1 hit), Tyler Smart (1 hit) and Houston Cook (1 hit) led Crest.

(Wednesday, April 12-consolation)
Brevard vs. Shelby, 11 a.m.
Piedmont vs. Bandys, 1:30 p.m.
(Wednesday, April 12-semifinals)
Kings Mountain vs. South Caldwell, 4 p.m.
Burns vs. Crest, 7 p.m.
(Thursday, April 13)
7th place, 11 a.m.
5th place, 1:30 p.m.
3rd place, 4 p.m.
Final, 7 p.m.

Beach Diamond Invitational (at West Brunswick HS)
(Monday, April 10 – first round)
Pine Lake Prep 6, West Columbus 2
Cox Mill 14, Southwest Guilford 7
West Stanly 6, Cherryville 1
West Brunswick 8, Cornerstone Charter 3
(Tuesday, April 11 – second round)
Southwest Guilford def. West Columbus

Cherryville 15, Cornerstone Charter 1 (5 innings): Kanon Willis (2-hitter) led Cherryville.

Pine Lake Prep 6, Cox Mill 4

West Brunswick 2, West Stanly 1

(Wednesday, April 12 – final round)
7th place- West Columbus vs. Cornerstone Charter, 11 a.m.
5th place- Southwest Guilford vs. Cherryville, 1:30 p.m.
3rd place- Cox Mill vs. West Stanly, 4 p.m.
Final- Pine Lake Prep vs. West Brunswick, 6:30 p.m.

Catawba County Easter Tournament (at Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds)
(Monday, April 10 – first round)
Newton-Conover 12, Foard 8
St. Stephens 5, West Lincoln 1
Hickory 8, Hibriten 0
Alexander Central 15, Bunker Hill 5 (6 innings)
(Tuesday, April 11)
Foard 6, Hibriten 2

Bunker Hill 4, West Lincoln 3

St. Stephens vs. Newton-Conover

Alexander Central 14, Hickory 3 (5 innings)

(Wednesday, April 12)
Third place- SS-NC loser vs. Hickory, 4 p.m.
Final- SS-NC winner vs. Alexander Central, 6:30 p.m.

Myrtle Beach Invitational (at Ripken Complex)
(Tuesday, April 11)
Maury, Va. 2, East Lincoln 1

(Wednesday, April 12)
East Lincoln vs. Highland Regional, N.J., 9 p.m.
North Lincoln vs. Sumter, S.C., Wilson Hall, 6:30 p.m.
(Thursday, April 13)
North Lincoln vs. Leonardtown, Md., St. Mary’s Ryken, 8:30 a.m.
East Lincoln vs. Bowling Green, Ohio, 11 a.m.
(Friday, April 14)
North Lincoln vs. Bay Village, Ohio, 11 a.m.

Tony Causby Classic (at Patton)
(Monday, April 10)
R-S Central 10, West Caldwell 0
Lincoln Charter 5, Maiden 4
Draughn 10, East Burke 1
Patton 6, Freedom 1
(Tuesday, April 11)
Maiden 10, West Caldwell 0 (5 innings)

East Burke vs. Freedom, 2 p.m.

R-S Central 4, Lincoln Charter 3 (11 innings)

Draughn vs. Patton, 7:30 p.m.

(Wednesday, April 12)
3rd day games









High school softball

-This week’s games:

South Point HS tournament
(Monday, April 10)
Cramer 8, Cherryville 6
Kings Mountain 10, Cherryville 0
Cramer 8, Kings Mountain 3
West Lincoln 3, Forestview 2
West Lincoln 14, South Point 2 (4 innings)
Forestview 15, South Point 0 (4 innings)
(Tuesday, April 11)
5th place game – Cherryville 10, South Point 3

3rd place game – Kings Mountain 7, Forestview 3

Final – Cramer 8, West Lincoln 0

Hibriten HS tournament
(Tuesday, April 11)
St. Stephens 6, Burns 5: Sayge Strange (13 strikeouts), Peyton Cook (2 hits, double, 3 RBIs) and Hunter Morgan (2 hits, 1 RBI) led Burns.

West Caldwell 6, Burns 5: Sayge Strange (14 strikeouts), Laylah Haynes (3 hits, 3 stolen bases, 2 RBIs), Chloe Hull (2 hits) and Esynce Howze (3 hits, double, 1 RBI) led Burns.

(Wednesday, April 12)
Burns vs. Hibriten, 12:10 p.m.

(Wednesday, April 12)
Crest at Mooresville











Pro soccer

Here is Charlotte FC’s full 2023 schedule:

(1-4-2 record)
Feb. 25 New England Revolution (L 0-1)
March 4 at St. Louis City SC (L 1-3)
March 11 Atlanta United FC (L 0-3)
March 18 at Orlando City SC (W 2-1)
March 25 New York Red Bulls (T 1-1)
April 1 at Toronto FC (T 2-2)
April 8 at Real Salt Lake (L 1-3)
April 15 Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
April 22 Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
April 29 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
May 6 New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
May 13 at Atlanta United FC, 7:30 p.m.
May 17 Chicago Fire FC, 7:30 p.m.
May 20 Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.
May 27 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.
May 31 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 0.m.
June 3 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
June 10 Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m.
June 21 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
June 24 CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
July 5 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
July 8 FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
July 15 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 20 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 L.A. FC, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Nashville SC, 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 at FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 Inter Miami CF, TBD












Pro basketball

The NBA play-in tournament games:

(Tuesday, April 11)
Game 1- East No. 8 Atlanta at East No. 7 Miami – Atlanta 116-105
Game 2- West No. 8 Minnesota at West No. 7 L.A. Lakers – L.A. Lakers 108-102 (OT)

(Wednesday, April 12)
Game 3- East No. 10 Chicago at East No. 9 Toronto, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4- West No. 10 Oklahoma City at West No. 9 New Orleans, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

(Friday, April 14)
Winner Game 3 at East No. 7 Miami, 7 p.m. (TNT)
Winner Game 4 at West No. 8 Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

The first round NBA playoffs schedule opening games:

(Saturday, April 15)
East No. 6 Boston at East No. 3 Philadelphia, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
East No. 7 at East No. 2 Boston, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
East No. 5 New York at East No. 4 Cleveland, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
West No. 6 Golden State at West No. 3 Sacramento, 8:30 p.m. (ABC)

(Sunday, April 16 – times and network TBD)
East No. 8 at East No. 1 Milwaukee, 5;30 p.m. (TNT)
West No. 8 at West No. 1 Denver, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
West No. 7 L.A. Lakers at West No. 2 Memphis, 3 p.m. (ABC)
West No. 5 L.A. Clippers at West No. 4 Phoenix, 8 p.m. (TNT)







Pro baseball

Jacksonville 9, Charlotte 5: Knights first baseman Zach Remillard had a career day with two home runs and four RBIs as Charlotte dropped the opener of the 6-game homestand against the Jumbo Shrimp. The second game is Wednesday at 6:35 p.m.









Auto racing

The 2023 NASCAR schedule (with winners in parentheses):

Feb 5 Clash at The Coliseum, Los Angeles CA (Martin Truex, Jr.)
Feb 16 Duel No. 1, Daytona Beach FL (Joey Logano)
Feb 16 Duel No. 2, Daytona Beach FL (Aric Almirola)
Feb 19 Daytona 500, Daytona Beach FL (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.)
Feb 26 NASCAR Cup Series at California, Fontana CA (Kyle Busch)
Mar 5 NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV (William Byron)
Mar 12 NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix, Avondale AZ (William Byron-2)
Mar 19 NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta, Hampton GA (Joey Logano-2)
Mar 26 NASCAR Cup Series at Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX (Tyler Reddick)
Apr 2 NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond, Richmond VA (Kyle Larson)
Apr 9 NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol, Bristol TN (Christopher Bell)
Apr 16 NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, Martinsville VA, 3 p.m. on FS1
Apr 23 NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega, Lincoln AL, 3 p.m. on FOX
Apr 30 NASCAR Cup Series at Dover, Dover DE, 2 p.m. on FS1
May 7 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas, Kansas City KS, 3 p.m. on FS1
May 14 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington, Darlington SC, 3 p.m. on FS1
May 21 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open Race, North Wilkesboro NC, 6 p.m. on FS1
May 21 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, North Wilkesboro NC, 8 p.m. on FS1
May 28 NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, Concord NC, 6 p.m. at FOX
Jun 4 NASCAR Cup Series at World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison IL, 3:30 p.m. on FS1
Jun 11 NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma, Sonoma CA, 3:30 p.m. on FOX
Jun 25 NASCAR Cup Series at Nashville, Lebanon TN, 7 p.m. on NBC
Jul 2 NASCAR Cup Series at Chicago, Chicago IL, 5:30 p.m. on NBC
Jul 9 NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta, Hampton GA, 7 p.m. on USA
Jul 16 NASCAR Cup Series at New Hampshire, Loudon NH, 2:30 p.m. on USA
Jul 23 NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono, Long Pond PA, 2:30 p.m. on USA
Jul 30 NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond, Richmond VA, 3 p.m. on USA
Aug 6 NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan, Brooklyn MI, 2:30 p.m. on USA
Aug 13 NASCAR Cup Series at Indianapolis Road Course, Speedway IN, 2:30 p.m. on NBC
Aug 20 NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen, Watkins Glen NY, 3 p.m. on USA
Aug 26 NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona, Daytona Beach FL, 7 p.m. on NBC

(Cup Playoffs)
Sep 3 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington, Darlington SC, 6 p.m. on USA
Sep 10 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas, Kansas City KS, 3 p.m. on USA
Sep 16 NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol, Bristol TN, 7:30 p.m. on USA
Sep 24 NASCAR Cup Series at Texas, Fort Worth TX, 3:30 p.m. on USA
Oct 1 NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega, Lincoln AL, 2 p.m. on NBC
Oct 8 NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, Concord NC, 2 p.m. on NBC
Oct 15 NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV, 2:30 p.m. on NBC
Oct 22 NASCAR Cup Series at Miami, Homestead FL, 2:30 p.m. on NBC
Oct 29 NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, Martinsville, 2 p.m. on NBC
Nov 5 NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix, Avondale AZ, 3 p.m. on NBC