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By Sonny Jones

Participation in the West Bladen boys’ soccer program is high these days. Second-year coach Kristen Parker has the Knights’ varsity squad off to a 3-0 start with a nonconference match scheduled Wednesday at home against North Brunswick.

When West Bladen visits Leland on Sept. 6 to play the Scorpions there will be two games. The Knights have added a junior varsity team, according to a revised scheduled issued by the school Monday. Parker had at least 30 players at the first official practice Aug. 1 and mentioned she had several freshmen among the group.

Now, those freshmen and some others who may not be ready to crack the varsity lineup will get some game action. It’s great to see for a program that hasn’t had a winning record since at least 2010, according to information on MaxPreps.com.

After playing at North Brunswick, the West Bladen JVs have two games each against Southeastern Athletic Conference foes Clinton, East Bladen and St. Pauls as well as two games against Lumberton.

East Bladen has had a junior varsity team at times in the past and, it appears, there are plans for a squad this season.

The more participation the better.

A tip of the hat to the East Bladen volleyball team for its 3-1 win Monday against previously unbeaten South Columbus. The Stallions had won the previous 12 meetings dating to 2013, according to MaxPreps.com. The Eagles open Southeastern play Thursday at undefeated Midway, which has won six straight matches against East Bladen.

Did you see where a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card with a 9.5 grade sold for a record $12.6 million? One card. It last sold in 1991 for $50,000. What inflation?


Rafael Nadal hasn’t played in the U.S. Open since he won the event in 2019. He’s back this year as the No. 2 and will open with a straight set win against Rinky Hijikata. Yes, it’s Rinky.

MONDAY’S PICK: Serena Williams begins what is expected to be her final U.S. Open with a straight set win against Danka Kovinic. The 23-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played much over the past year and may not make it to the second week of play in this tournament, so, enjoy her every stroke. RESULTS: Williams won 6-3, 6-3 to advance to a second-round match Wednesday night against No. 2-ranked Anett Kontaveit.


• TENNIS: U.S. Open, noon, ESPN

• IIHF WOMEN’S HOCKEY: United States vs. Canada, 2 p.m., NHLN

• PREMIER MEN’S SOCCER: Everton at Leeds United, 3 p.m., USA

• TENNIS: U.S. Open, 7 p.m., ESPN, ESPN2

• MLB: LA Dodgers at NY Mets, 7 p.m., TBS

• MLB: NY Yankees at LA Angels, 9:30 p.m., MLBN

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @FOSonnyJones.

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