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Memphis Redbirds pitcher Jake Woodford delivers for the St. Louis Cardinals AAA affiliate. Woodford will start Sunday’s Triple-A All-Star Game for the Pacific Coast League All-Stars against their International League counterparts. Teammate Rangel Ravelo was also named to the All-Star team as an infielder.

With the holiday weekend, we get a chance to catch up on some of our favorite athletes and check the wires on what they are doing. 

RILEY WATCH: Austin Riley, the former DeSoto Central standout baseball player now in his rookie season with the Atlanta Braves, continues to impact the Braves’ offense in the short time he has been with the MLB team.

Riley, who was acquired by Atlanta in the 2015 draft about the same time his Jaguars were winning the MHSAA 6A state championship, made his debut with the Braves on May 15. Since then, in 169 at bats prior to Wednesday’s play, Riley has hit 14 home runs and scored 32 runs on 45 hits. Riley has also driven in 37 runs while fashioning a .266 batting average.

BLAZE JORDAN TO ALL-AMERICAN GAME: A current DeSoto Central baseball standout, Blaze Jordan will be showcasing his skills in this year’s Under Armour All-American contest, which will be played at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The contest is July 22 at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on the MLB Network. Jordan was part of the DeSoto Central team that won this year’s MHSAA 6A state title.

WRIGHT STARS IN JUCO TRACK AND FIELD: A former standout athlete at Olive Branch High School made some news in the community college track and field ranks. Tavarius Wright, a sophomore at Butler Community College, Kansas, capped off his year with a NJCAA national indoor championship in the 60 meter dash at 6.61 seconds, a mark that is also a Butler school record. Outdoors, Wright won the 100 meter dash in a time of 10.12 seconds and anchored the 4x100 meter relay team that also took a national title at the meet held in Hobbs, New Mexico. Wright was named a first-team NJCAA All-American in the 100 meters.

CYPRIEN TO COACH FOR NIGERIA: Glynn Cyprien, the first head coach of Memphis Hustle who last year was an assistant coach on the Texas Tech basketball team that reached in the NCAA championship game, has been named an assistant for the Nigerian national team playing in the FIBA World Cup tournament in China. Cyprien will be one of the assistants under head coach Alex Nwora. The team is in the process of pairing down to a final 12-man roster that will leave for China on Aug. 18. Cyprien works under head coach Chris Beard at Texas Tech, which reached the finals before losing to national champion Virginia 85-77 in overtime at the Final Four held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

REDBIRDS ALL-STARS NAMED: Speaking of baseball, up the interstate in Memphis is where the St. Louis Cardinals’ AAA affiliate has been toiling on the diamond this summer. The Memphis Redbirds, off back-to-back PCL championships and last year’s Triple-A national title, have struggled this year for new manager Ben Johnson. Before Wednesday’s action, the Birds were mired at the bottom of the PCL’s American Northern Division with a 35-50 record, which put them 13 games behind front-running Iowa. Memphis did get two players placed on the PCL All-Star team for the Triple-A All-Star Game against counterparts from the International League. Starting pitcher Jake Woodford was elected to the team, and infielder Rangel Ravelo was selected to be included on the roster. Woodford was the top vote-getter among pitchers and will get the starting nod for PCL stars. The All-Star Game is Sunday at El Paso, Texas, beginning at 8 p.m. It will be aired on the MLB Network.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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