Obscure Sports Report (3/6/18)

Baltimore Blast will attempt to three-peat in the Major Arena Soccer League


It’s playoff time in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) as eight teams qualified for this year’s Ron Newman Cup.  The Baltimore Blast (17-5) will attempt to go for the three-peat and will begin with their divisional series against the Sycracuse Silver Knights (13-9).   In the other divisional series, the Milwakuee Wave (17-5) takes on the Cedar Rapids Rampage (11-11) for the Central Division title.  In the Southwest Division it will be a Mexican showdown between Monterrey Flash (20-2) and Sonora Soles (15-7).  The San Diego Sockers (19-3) and Tacoma Stars (11-11) will play for the Pacific Division crown.

The playoffs for the Isobel Cup are set in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) at the Buffalo Beauts (11-4) will host the Boston Pride (4-7-4) in one of the semifinal games on March 17th.  The top-seeded Metropolitan Riveters (12-3) will play the Connecticut Whale (3-10-2) in the other semifinal on March 18th.   The Cup final will be played the following weekend.

The Saskatchewan Rush (10-2) have clinched a playoff spot in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  A crowd of 14,057 watched as the Rush shutdown the Vancouver Stealth 16-10.  The Stealth jumped out to a 3-1 lead early but the Rush stormed back with a 9-1 run led by three goals from Robert Church and three assists form Mark Matthews.  Here are the current standings in the NLL:  Eastern Division – New England (5-4), Buffalo (6-5), Toronto (5-5), Georgia (5-6), Rochester (5-6).  Western Division – Saskatchewan (10-2), Colorado (7-3), Calgary (4-6), Vancouver (1-11).

The final four teams in the PRO Chess League will be played in San Francisco.  The world’s best chess players will travel to San Francisco to compete in a live championship organized by Chess.com and Twitch, the companies announced today. This epic event will be the culmination of Chess.com’s Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, a groundbreaking, season-long competition with the world’s top chess players representing international regions. The two-day event kicks off at 10 a.m. on April 7 at the Folsom Street Foundry and will also be live-broadcast exclusively on Chess.com’s Twitch channel (twitch.tv/chess).

Salina Liberty kicker Michael Pursley booted a 19-yard field goal with 1:27 left in the game gave the Liberty the lead and the defense held the Wichita Force on downs for a 17-15 win in the season opener of the Champions Indoor Football League.   In other games, Dallas edged the Texas Revolution 38-37 in overtime, the Omaha Beef routed the Texas Power 71-6.

Iowa Barnstormers’ QB Drew Powell was named the offensive player of the week in the Indoor Football League (IFL).  The Iowa Barnstormers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to put away the Green Bay Blizzard 41-20 during opening weekend of the 2018 season. Picking up where he left off at the end of the 2017 season, QB Drew Powell (6’3,220, Livingstone College) again showed why he is one of the most exciting players in the IFL. Against one of the top pass defenses from last season, Powell completed 20 of 26 passes for a league-high 208 yards and four touchdowns. After posting 13 rushing touchdowns in the last four games of 2017, Powell continued to show that he is a threat on the ground as he added 48 rushing yards as well. The Iowa Barnstormers enjoy a Week 2 bye before hosting the Arizona Rattlers on March 10.

Here are the top teams in each league according to Developmental Football USA:

  • National Developmental Football League:  Georgia Wolves
  • Coastal Football Alliance:  North Carolina Rebels
  • Premier Amateur Football Alliance:  Joplin Crusaders
  • Xtreme South Football League:  Panhandle Crusaders
  • Arizona Gridiron Football League:  Phoenix Phantoms
  • New Mexico Independent Football League:  New Mexico Titans
  • Gulf States Football League:  Louisiana Bayou Hurricanes
  • Independent American Football League:  Dalton Danger
  • Universal Football League:  Tri-County Steelers
  • Texas Football League:  Texas Xtreme
  • Amateur to Professional Developmental League:  Mississippi Dynasty
  • Tennessee Football Alliance:  Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs
  • United Football Federation of America:  Orlando Phantoms

Obscure Sports Report (1/31/18)

Yu Yangyi Leads The PRO Chess League


The reports are true.   The XFL is planning to make a return in 2020 with eight teams to play a 10-game schedule in the spring.  The original XFL appeared in 1999 only to last one season before folding.  The original league also had eight teams:  New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Chicago Enforcers, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Francisco Demons and Las Vegas Outlaws.   There is no word if the same teams will return in the XFL reboot.  XFL boss Vince McMahon is hoping to give fans a better quality of football.


The Empire strikes back in Albany, New York to join the Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor in the dwindling Arena Football League.  Albany originally played as the Firebirds in the AFL from 1990-2000.  The Firebirds were very successful during their first time in the AFL winning six division titles and won the 1999 ArenaBowl title.   The Empire will begin play this season.


Sonora Forward Franck Tayou leads the Major Arena Soccer League with 47 goals.   Sonora is currently 10-6 and in second place behind Monterrey in the Southwest Division.  Monterrey remains the league’s only undefeated team at 15-0 and the first team to clinch a playoff spot.


The defending National Lacrosse League champs broke up a close game against the Vancouver Stealth to notch a 16-12 win last week.  The Swarm scored five goals in a span of 6:11 in the fourth quarter.  Georgia now improves to 3-3 and dropped the Stealth to 1-6.  Toronto and Saskatchewan continue to lead their divisions.


Amanda Leveille  (Buffalo Beauts) and Brittany Ott (Boston Pride) were named the National Women’s Hockey League’s players of the week because of their performances in goal when Buffalo played Boston.  The Beauts beat the Pride 1-0 after ten rounds of the shootout. Leveille got the win stopping all 25 shots she faced.  She is 7-4-0 with a 2.77 GAA and .911 save percentage.   Here are the current NWHL standings:

  1. Metropolitan Riveters (11-0-0)
  2. Buffalo Beauts (7-4-0)
  3. Boston Pride (2-6-3)
  4. Connecticut Whale (2-7-2)


The Estonia Horses (East), Stockhold Snowballs (Central), Minnesota Blizzard (Atlantic) and Chengdu Pandas (Pacific) are off to an early lead in their divisions.   Round 3 of the season is this week.   Yu Yangyi (Chengdu) is the leading player with 7.5 points and a rating of 2750.


Houston Rockets All-Star guard and tournament host Chris Paul will try to defend his doubles title with a new partner in the ninth State Farm® CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Go Bowling! Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN from Bowlero The Woodlands in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas.

Paul will be joined by several celebrities and PBA Tour stars who will compete in the multi-format event which benefits the Chris Paul Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth, education, health, sports and social responsibility.

In addition to Paul, who is the defending champion of the doubles event (with PBA partner Chris Barnes), other participating celebrities include former NFL All Pro and former Celebrity Invitational winner Terrell Owens, Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts, and Paul’s All-Star Rockets teammate James Harden.


The new semi-pro mixed-gender United Ultimate Disc League (UUL) plans to start play in April 2019 with eight teams and will be competition for the more-established American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The UUL will feature six-on-six competition (three men and three women per team) on a smaller field rather than the traditional seven-on-seven style and larger field used by the AUDL. The mixed-gender aspect of the league is a new and timely concept, as the AUDL recently faced a boycott by players due to its lack of female representation. The first-year teams are listed in a North Division with the Boston Whalers, New York Kraken, Philadelphia Pride and Washington Generals, and a South Division with the Carolina Cutlass (Raleigh, NC), Nashville Tristars, Atlanta Hounds and Florida Gulls (Jacksonville). The UUL season is short (three games per team) with each team playing the other teams in its division only once. The UUL will operate all teams and it plans to add four additional regional divisions of teams over the next few years.


Obscure Sports Report


The Baltimore Blast will battle Soles de Sonora in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) championship series.  Soles de Sonora punched their ticket with a thrilled 11-10 win over the San Diego Sockers in game two of the series.  The first game of the title series will be on Friday, April 7th in Baltimore, then the second game will take place in Hermosillo, Mexico on Sunday, April 9th.

The Blast will be gunning for their 8th championship trophy.  They won the title last season.  They are also 7-4 in championship finals.  Soles de Sonora are in their first final.

Wesley So (St. Louis) led his team to the championship of the Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League this past Sunday as So won his first three games in the championship match to help his team build up a big lead over the Norway Gnomes and Magnus Carlsen.   So went into the championship weekend with the highest performance rating of anyone in the league and played nearly every week for his former hometown team.  Over 75,000 chess fans viewed the final online.

The Adrionack Thunder, Florida Everblades, Toledo Walleye and Colorado Eagles lead their respective division as the ECHL makes the final push toward the postseason.  Toledo leads the league with 100 points.  The Alaska Aces are currently 31-25-5 and still battling for a playoff spot to extend their existence.  Owners of the Aces have said they will fold the team after this season unless there are any buyers for the franchise.  Travel expenses have taken their toll on the teams finances.  The Aces have won three Kelly Cups.

Four teams are tied with the best record in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  The Georgia Swarm (8-4), Toronto Rock (8-5), Saskatchewan Rush (8-4) and Colorado Mammoths (8-6) are all tied at the top of the league.  Toronto handed Georgia their first loss at home in 2017 with a 12-11 overtime win.  An energetic crowd saw the first overtime game at Infinite Energy Arena.

The Central Basketball Association (CBA) opened their 2017 season as the Middle Tennessee Storm defeated the Bowling Green Hornets 119-90.  In other opening weekend games:  Indianapolis Blaze 90, Mississippi Eagles 87; Mississippi Eagles 96, Illinois Coal Miners 84; Fort Wayne Flite 101, Indianapolis Blaze 98.  The CBA is in their fifth season.  The eight-week season will conclude at the end of May.








Obscure Sports News


The Baltimore Blast return to the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) finals after edging out the Milwaukee Wave 2-1 in a series-deciding mini game.  The Blast won the first game of the series in Baltimore 8-7 in overtime on Saturday.   The Wave returned home and took control early with a 3-0 lead in the first quarter enroute to an 8-4 win to even the series.  In the mini game, Andrew Hoxie scored his fourth goal of the postseason to put the Blast up 1-0.  Milwaukee’s Marcio Leite scored late in the mini game to tie it up a 1-1.  Tony Donatelli scored the series winner with less than two minutes left.   The Blast will now await the winner between Soles de Sonora-San Diego.  Soles de Sonora leads the series 1-0.

The top three chess players in the world – Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana – have helped their teams to advance to PRO Chess League championship weekend.  The Norway Gnomes, Montreal ChessBrahs, St. Louis Arch Bishops, and Stockholm Snowballs this weekend.  The semifinal matches will be played on Saturday at 10 am PST and 1 am PST.  The finals will be played on Sunday at 10 am PST).

The Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) released their preseason top ten teams.  The defending champions, Oklahoma Thunder, have the top spot followed by – Nashville (TN) Storm, Memphis (TN) Blast, Georgia Crush, Missouri Valley Pitbulls, Marvel City Tigers, Crescent City Kings, Lee County Ticats, East Alabama Predators, and Georgia Knights.  The 2017 season kicks off on May 13th.

A new arena/indoor football league kicked off last weekend.  The National Arena League (NAL) with the defending champions of last year’s American Indoor Football (AIF) Columbus (GA) Lions facing the Jacksonville Sharks from the Arena Football League (AFL) in the first week of action.   The Sharks handed the Lions their first loss since 2015.  Quarterback tommy Grady finished with 19 completions for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Sharks.  Will Dukes had seven receptions for 56 yards and Mo Williams had six for 77 yards and two touchdowns.  In other games from the league:

  • High Country (NC) 62, Albany (GA) 29
  • Lehigh Valley (PA) 66, Dayton (OH) 25
  • Monterrey (Mexico) 55, Corpus Christi (TX) 12

Leonard Gates is the top ranked player in the American Darts Organization (ADO) with 398 points followed by Larry Butler who has 368 points.  Gates’ last tournament win was the Port City Open in February where he placed first in Mens 01 and Men’s Cricket events.   The ADO’s next tournament is the 31st Virginia Beach Classic this weekend.  Top prize is $37,580.