It was championship weekend in the world of obscure sports as three sports leagues played their title games. Let’s take a look at the results:
Arena Football League (AFL)
The Philadelphia Soul repeated as ArenaBowl champions with a thrilling 44-40 win over the Tampa Bay Storm. The Soul rallied in the second half, scoring 30 points, after trailing the Storm 20-14 at halftime. Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh started the second half with a 40-yard touchdown throw to Darius Reynolds to lead 21-20. That play got the Soul’s momentum moving in the right direction. They led 28-27 at the end of the third quarter, and then shut down a Tampa Bay drive at the beginning of the fourth. A Radaubaugh throw to Darius Prince on a short fourth-and-goal put the Soul ahead for good.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL)
The San Francisco FlameThrowers stunned the ultimate disc world this weekend as they knocked off the Madison Radicals in the semifinal game and then upset the Toronto Rush 30-29 to win their first title. With 3:12 left, San Francisco received the disc, leading 29-28. They maintained possession of the disc for nearly two minutes. San Francisco worked the disc forward, backward, side to side, and forward again. With just 1:21 on the clock, Cassidy Rasmussen threw the score to Marcelo Sanchez. Toronto got a goal with 38 seconds remaining to keep within reach. The Rush pinned San Francisco in its own end zone but couldn’t come up with a block. The FlameThrowers were able to run out the clock to secure the 30-29 victory.
Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL)
The Oklahoma Thunder repeated as Gridiron Bowl champions with a convincing 51-12 win over the Chattanooga Eagles on Saturday in Memphis. (Note: There is no posting of the game report from this game on any of the league’s or team’s social media sites. Only the final score.)
Here are some of the sports news you won’t see on ESPN….
It’s the final four weekend in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The Madison Radicals (13-2), San Francisco FlameThrowers (11-4), Dallas Roughnecks (13-3) and Toronto Rush (13-2) meet in Montreal this weekend to play for the title. Dallas won the title last season. Madison is seeking their first championship. Toronto last won the title in 2013. San Francisco is the newcomer to the Championship Weekend.
The Philadelphia Soul (14-1) will face the Tampa Bay Storm (11-4) in ArenaBowl XXX in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Arena Football League (AFL) title game will end the league’s 30th season. The Soul is looking to repeat as AFL champions while the Storm will be looking for their sixth ArenaBowl title.
The Oklahoma Thunder (10-0) and Chattanooga Eagles (9-1) will meet in Gridiron Bowl 8 for the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) crown on Saturday in Memphis. This is the fourth appearance for the Thunder who won the title last year. Chattanooga is making their first trip to the Gridiron Bowl.
For the first time in franchise history, the Ohio Machine claimed the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) title last weekend. Peter Baum scored two goals and added two assists. He scored twice in a two-minute span in the third quarter which fueled Ohio’s comeback from a 10-6 deficit. Ohio defeated the Denver Outlaws 17-12 at the Ford Center in Dallas in front of 7,543 fans.
The Big3 Basketball League (BIG3) will end the season this weekend in Las Vegas with the final four. The Power (4-4), Ghostballers (4-4), Triology (8-0) and 3-Headed Monsters (6-2) advanced to the championship weekend after winning their playoff games last weekend in Seattle. Rashard Lewis was awarded the league’s MVP. Stephen Jackson was dubbed the Best Trash Talker.
The Los Angeles Sparks moved to the top of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) power rankings this week. They won a double-overtime thriller over Chicago as four Sparks had double-doubles in the game. They play four of their final five games at home.
Puerto Rico FC has taken advantage of the fresh start provided by the arrival of the NorthAmerican Soccer League’s (NASL) Fall Season. After a tough first half of the year, the Caribbean side is thriving at the top of the table after a pair of strong results on the road in Week 4 of the Fall Season. The club’s next opponent will be Spring Season Champion Miami FC, which enters the weekend riding a three-game winning streak. The top-of-the-table clash will get underway at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium on Saturday night.
On day two of the 2017 TOTAL Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships, the United States had its final two athletes go home. Bjorn Seguin took on Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in men’s singles and lost, 21-10, 21-15. Zwiebler started game one by scoring the first four points of the match and never trailed. Game two was close early, Zwiebler led 8-7, before rattling off five straight to propel himself to the victory. In men’s doubles action, Mathew Fogarty partnered with Nicholas Bonkowsky of Trinidad and Tobago as they took on Kah Ming Chooi and Juan Shen Low of Malaysia. Fogarty and Bonkowsky scored the first point of the match, but that was the highlight for the duo. The Malaysians won game one 21-2, followed by a 21-4 win in game two.
The Scrap Yard Dawgs claimed their first Cowles Cup in franchise history with a 5-2 win over the USSSA Pride in the winner-take-all contest of the final series in the 2017 NationalProfessional Fastpitch (NPF) Championship held at Tiger Park on the LSU campus.
Rookie Kasey Cooper charged the offense with three RBI, the bulk coming on a two-run home run in the sixth inning that gave the Scrap Yard Dawgs (35-19) the lead for good. Monica Abbott pitched her second complete game of the afternoon, limiting the Pride to two runs off four hits while striking out 11. It was Abbott’s two-hit, 14-strikeout performance earlier in the day that forced the decisive third game. Abbott was named MVP of the NPF Championship series. The Tennessee alum and Scrap Yard Dawgs ace limited foes to 15 hits and struck out 56 over 29 innings in the tournament. The Pride (43-11), who received a leadoff homer from Megan Wiggins for an early lead, reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the third after Kirsti Merritt delivered a two-out RBI single to score Sierra Romero who reached on a fielding error. Angel Bunner relieved starting pitcher Kelsey Nunley in the fourth inning and retired the side in her first two innings of work, but yielded the go-ahead homer to Cooper in the sixth inning. The Scrap Yard Dawgs gave Abbott additional breathing room in the top of the seventh. Meagan May Whitley led off with a solo shot that landed in the left field berm and Cooper later drew a bases loaded walk to force home a run that stretched the lead to 5-2. Abbott finished the game off in style with consecutive strikeouts of Romero and pinch hitter Gionna DiSalvatore to close out the seventh inning. Kayla Winkfield led the way with two hits and five others contributed one apiece as the Scrap Yard Dawgs totaled seven in the contest.
The 2017 American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) championship weekend in Montreal is set with the four teams who clinched their division titles last weekend.
West Division: San Francisco FlameThrowers 33, Los Angeles Aviators 22
The FlameThrowers clinched a bid in their first AUDL Championship Weekend with a win over the Los Angeles Aviators. Joel Schlacht lead the FlameThrowers with eight goals and four assists. The FlameThrowers fell short in the Division Finals last season when they lost to the Seattle Cascades.
East Division: Toronto Rush 29, DC Breeze 26
The Rush once again held off the Breeze in the East to advance to their 5th straight AUDL Championship Weekend. Mark Lloyd lead the Rush with three goals and four assists and two blocks. The Rush edged the Breeze 23-21 in overtime last season.
Midwest Division: Madison Radicals 27, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 22
The Radicals and Thunderbirds are no strangers in the postseason as the Radicals won their third straight meeting to advance to their 5th straight AUDL Championship Weekend. Peter Graffy had four goals and four blocks in the game.
South Division: Dallas Roughnecks 27, Raleigh Flyers 24
The Roughnecks earned a repeat trip to the AUDL Championship Weekend with their win over the Flyers. The Roughnecks will be looking to repeat as AUDL champions.
The semifinals games will be played on Saturday, August 26th with Madison facing San Francisco. Dallas will play Toronto in the other semifinal.
I apologize for the lack of detail in the game reports as the league website and Facebook sites do not do a good job with that. The league needs to do a better.
The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds are used to playing these kinds of games in the playoffs. In 2015, they edged Chicago 24-23 in overtime and last season they beat Minnesota 20-18 in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) playoffs.
On Saturday, they overcame a five goal deficit on the road to once again hand the Minnesota Wind Chill an early exit in the playoffs.
The Thunderbirds won 26-25 to advance to the Midwest Division final this weekend at Madison.
Minnesota had the crowd and the lead on their side for much of the game in what was the first playoff home game in the franchise’s five-year history. The Wind Chill took a decisive 4-0 lead from the get go thanks to their tenacious defensive play, and steady offensive execution. The highlight of the first half came with with seven seconds remaining in the second quarter. Minnesota defender Dylan DeClerck burst on a Pittsburgh pass for a layout block, and then continued his energy into the momentum for the bookends score and the 15-11 Wind Chill lead.
But Pittsburgh continued to hang tough throughout the contest. Despite trailing 18-13 midway through the third quarter, the Thunderbirds offense continued to find their rhythm while the defense dug deep to produce opportunities late in the game.
Following a Minnesota goal that put the score at 23-19, the Thunderbirds went on a 6-0 run during the fourth quarter to take the decisive lead. Max Thorne contributed on three scores during the rally, and finished the game with a team-high four assists and seven goals.
There will be a full slate of playoff action this weekend:
Friday, August 11
Montreal at DC
Saturday, August 12
Dallas at Raleigh
Pittsburgh at Madison
Los Angeles at San Jose
Sunday, August 13
Montreal/DC winner at Toronto
Los Angeles/San Jose winner at San Francisco
(Pittsburgh-Minnesota game story from AUDL website)
The Dallas Roughnecks avenged their two losses to the Jacksonville Cannons in the regular season with a 22-12 in the South Division playoff. Jimmy Mickle led the Roughnecks with five assists as the entire team completed 96 percent of their combined 304 passes in the game. They also held Jacksonville to a season-low 12 goals. The Roughnecks will move on to play the Raleigh Flyers on August 12th in the Division Final.
In other playoff games:
Montreal will play at DC on Friday, August 11th with the winner playing at Toronto on August 13th. In the Midwest, Pittsburgh will travel to Minnesota on August 4th with the winner moving on to play at Madison on August 12th. San Jose and Los Angeles will play on August 12th then play San Francisco the following day for the division title.
The four division winners will advance to Championship Weekend IV in Montreal on August 26-27.
Here are the updated power rankings of the teams left in the playoffs:
The 2017 regular season of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) wrapped up this weekend and here are the final standings:
Toronto Rush (13-1)*
DC Breeze (10-4)*
Montreal Royal (9-5)*
New York Empire (6-8)
Philadelphia Phoenix (4-10)
Ottawa Outlaws (2-12)
Madison Radicals (12-2)*
Minnesota Wind Chill (11-3)*
Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (9-5)*
Indianapolis Alley Cats (5-9)
Chicago Wildfire (3-11)
Detroit Mechanix (1-13)
Raleigh Flyers (13-1)*
Dallas Roughnecks (11-3)*
Jacksonville Cannons (10-4)*
Atlanta Hustle (5-9)
Austin Sol (4-10)
Nashville Nightwatch (0-14)
San Francisco Flamethrowers (10-4)*
Los Angeles Aviators (9-5)*
San Jose Spiders (8-6)*
Seattle Cascades (7-7)
San Diego Growlers (7-7)
Vancouver Riptide (1-13)
This weekend’s divisional playoffs will be Montreal at DC, Pittsburgh at Minnesota, Jacksonville at Dallas and San Jose at Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh edged Minnesota in the divisional round last year with a thrilling 20-18 win. The Thunderbirds have won in this round the past two seasons but have failed to advance past the divisional final.
Toronto and Madison have qualified for their fifth straight postseason.
Montreal will host the AUDL championship weekend August 26-27.
The Obscure Sports Page is a weekly report of sports leagues in the United States that are unique or get little coverage from the sports media.
American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The league will get national exposure on ELEVEN Sports Network on Sunday, July 9th for the A7FL Championship Game. The league’s third championship game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park. NJ Paterson U, NJ Savage, PA Immortalz, NJ BIC, NJ Chiefs, Baltimore Kings, Baltimore Gators and PA Dynasty will begin the playoffs this weekend.
American Flag Football League (AFFL) – The league’s inaugural “test” game will be played on Tuesday, June 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California. The game will feature Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett. The league has advertised to be a modern version of flag football and will feature several technical innovations to the game.
American Hockey League (AHL) – Martin Frk scored the winning goal with 7:19 left in regulation to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch. This is the Griffins’ second Calder Cup title in five years.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league’s “Cross Coast Challenge” concluded last weekend with a high scoring game in Toronto. The Rush overcame an early three goal deficit for a 33-27 win over San Francisco. After trailing 16-15 at halftime, the Rush went on a 5-1 run to start the second half and never looked back. The current division leaders are: South-Raleigh (10-1), East-Toronto (8-3), Midwest-Minnesota (8-1) and West-San Francisco (7-3)
Arena Football League (AFL) – Philadelphia Soul running back, Mykel Benson, became the fifth player to rush for 100 touchdowns in league history. He joined the elite group on his second touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay. The Soul remain undefeated and on top of the league at 9-0 followed by Tampa Bay (7-2), Cleveland (3-7), Baltimore (2-6) and Washington (1-7).
Arena Pro Football (APF) – The Richmond Roughriders won the championship over the Florida Tarpons 74-61. On the game’s final play, Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace rolled to his left looking for a receiver. Two Roughrider defenders closed in on Wallace as he hurried the pass which was intercepted by linebacker Malique Johnson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game and give the Roughriders the title. Richmond (8-0) completed an undefeated season. Although the Roughriders claimed the first title in the APF, it will be their last in the league as it is set to merge with the CAN-AM Indoor Football League to form the American Arena League but Roughriders’ owner isn’t sure about following the rest of the league into the merger. Owner Gregg Fornario is considering other options including the National Arena League (NAL) and Indoor Football League (IFL).
Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The inaugural season of the 3-on-3 basketball league tips off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center. The league was created by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. The league will feature eight teams with former NBA players.
Champions Indoor Football League (CIF) – The Omaha Beef will face the Texas Revolution on Friday for the CIF title. Omaha defeated the Sioux City Bandits 55-45 and Texas got past the Amarillo Venom 77-71 in the semifinals.
Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) – Here are the current Top 10 rankings in the GDFL:
North Mississippi Road Warriors
River City Pythons
Indoor Football League (IFL) – Nebraska Danger quarterback Drew Powell was named the league’s offensive player of the week after leading his team to a 59-44 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks. Powell completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 71 yards. Sioux Falls Storm defensive back Rashard Smith was the defensive player of the week as he helped his team end the Iowa Barnstormers’ 11-game winning streak returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Storm a 21-point lead with less than five minutes left.
Major League Futsal (MLF) – Diablos Ensenda MX leads the Men’s Pro Division with 18 points. The Women’s Pro Division is led by Alianza F.C. with 3 points. Futsal is the official version indoor soccer which played without dasher boards.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Davey Emala and Will Manny combined for eight goals in Boston’s 16-9 win over the Outlaws in Denver on Saturday night. The win avenged Boston’s loss to Denver two weeks ago. Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game after stopping 20 of the 29 shots against him. He made eight saves and did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter. The teams were within a goal of each other at the end of the first quarter and within two goals after the second quarter, but Boston pulled away by outscoring Denver by a 7-2 margin in the second half. The loss drops Denver into a first place tie with the Ohio Machine (5-2).
Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – Boston (3-0), Rochester (3-0), Austin (3-0) and Los Angeles (3-0) continue to lead their respective divisions early in the season. Austin’s Monroe Augustine leads the Individual Quaffle Stats with 12 goals and nine assists. This weekend’s matches will feature Boston hosting Ottawa and Phoenix at San Francisco.
National Arena League (NAL) – The playoffs are set for this weekend’s league semifinal games. The Columbus Lions (9-3) will travel to play the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) while the Jacksonville Sharks (11-1) will host the Monterrey Steel (7-4). The Steel upset the Sharks in the final regular season game last weekend 44-37.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Here are the current standings for the league:
USSSA Pride (8-2)
Scrap Yard Dawgs (7-5)
Chicago Bandits (9-7)
Texas Charge (7-6)
Akron Racers (5-7)
Beijing Eagles (0-9)
North American Soccer League (NASL) – Week 14 of the NASL Spring Season comes with another stern test of Miami FC’s title-winning credentials. Miami faces the New York Cosmos, who sit seven points behind along with the San Francisco Deltas in the table, on Saturday night. A win at Riccardo Silva Stadium would move Miami closer to gaining the Spring Championship. A loss, of course, would bring the rest of the pack a little closer. The Deltas head north to take on FC Edmonton and the club has yet to lose on the road in league play. The other Saturday night kickoff gets underway in Cary as North Carolina FC squares off with Indy Eleven. On Sunday, Jacksonville Armada FC hosts Puerto Rico FC as both sides look to rebound from conceding four goals apiece a weekend ago.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The North Carolina Charge are still on top of the league with 21 points. The Charge will play Boston this weekend. Boston is in 9th place in the standings.
Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – The Cape Fear Heroes had little trouble with the Cap City Bulls in the first round of the league playoffs. The Heroes ran away with the game 63-14. Unfortunately, there appears to be no information about the next round this weekend.
United Soccer League (USL) – Trevin Caesar had a hat trick and a highlight-reel assist to lead Sacramento Republic FC to a 6-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday night.
Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) – In the second round of the playoffs:
St. Louis Slam 69, Madison Blaze 8
Orlando Anarchy 57, Cincinnati Sizzle 6
Arkansas Wildcats 36, Austin Outlaws 6
Southern Oregon Lady Renegades 46, Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz 6
Toledo Reign 22, Maine Mayhem 7
Boston Renegades 27, DC Divas 24
Chicago Force 45, Pittsburgh Passion 0
Dallas Elite 53, Minnesota Vixen 0
Montreal Blitz 49, New York Sharks 27
Tampa Bay Inferno 35, Carolina Phoenix 26
San Diego Surge 35, Central California War Angels 34
Mile High Blaze 28, Sin City Trojans 14
This week’s schedule for the third round:
Chicago at Boston
San Diego at Dallas
Tampa Bay at Montreal
Mile High at St. Louis
Orlando at Toledo
Arkansas at S. Oregon
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Glory Johnson recorded her fourth 20-point game of the season to help the Wings get their second consecutive win over the Stars, 81-78. Johnson ended the day recording her sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Throughout the game, the Wings found themselves down by as much as 14, then were lifted back up when Skylar Diggins-Smith drove it up the lane late in the fourth quarter sinking a layup and a chance to make the 3-point play, when a foul was also called on San Antonio’s Erica deSouza. At the line, Diggins-Smith completed the play to give the Wings a one point lead over the Stars 79-78. The team sealed the win, when Karima Christmas-Kelly was sent to the foul line and sunk one to put the Wings up 81-78. Three Wings players recorded double figures for the day. Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly scored 16 points, with Diggins-Smith leading the team in assists dishing out six.