but it shows in the preseason competition for playing time.

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WASHINGTON -- When Anthony Rendon hit a three-run home run to put the Washington Nationals ahead, Dusty Baker couldnt contain his excitement. The veteran manager was so excited about Max Scherzer being in line for his 19th win that he celebrated in the dugout with the Cy Young Award candidate.Thanks to Rendon and his own in-game adjustments, Scherzer got that 19th win as the Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Tuesday night. Scherzer gets the chance at win No. 20 in his final start Sunday, something Baker was thinking about all along.He really cared about it, Scherzer said of Baker. You could just tell that he really wanted it. That just shows you how great our team is that when were down two runs in the sixth inning we find a way.Scherzer (19-7) shk off a leadoff home run by Jean Segura and third-inning doubles by Jake Lamb and Welington Castillo to get through six innings with just two runs allowed and six hits. He struck out 10 batters for the 13th time this season and 49th time in his career, reaching 277 strikeouts in 2016 to break his own Nationals record set last year.As pumped as Baker was about Scherzer strengthening his Cy Young Award case, the right-hander knew this was an important game, with the Los Angeles Dodgers chasing Washington for home-field advantage in their NL Division Series. The Nationals lead Los Angeles by two games with five to play, after the Dodgers lost 7-1 at San Diego.Thats what were playing for, said Scherzer, who mixed in his slider, curveball and changeup to strike out six consecutive batters at one point. I know the 19 wins, yada, yada, yada, but the most important thing is the team wins. I would love to have Game 5 here at Nationals Park facing the Dodgers. In a short series, home-field advantage matters.After Arizonas Matt Koch held the Nationals without a hit through five innings of his first major league start, Rendon hit his 19th home run of the season, depositing a fastball from Randall Delgado (4-2) into the visiting bullpen in left-center field. That set off Baker and Scherzers emotional celebration and earned Rendon a curtain call from the crowd of 24,297.It was pretty cl, said Rendon, whose home run was his 500th career hit. Its definitely humbling, t. It doesnt happen t often, so enjoy it.Rendon stepped up with power in the Nationals first game without all-star catcher Wilson Ramos, out for the rest of the season and playoffs after tearing the ACL in his right knee Monday. Backup catcher Jose Lobaton also contributed at the plate like Baker needs him to, and Rendon supplied the big hit at the start of what the manager referred to as hero time with so much at stake.With Ramos out, reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper still not ready to return from a thumb injury and Daniel Murphy out with a strained glute, Rendon is needed more than ever and he delivered.Hes a guy that can hit second, third, fourth, fifth depending on who we have out there, Baker said. Hes virtually unfazed by almost any situation. You cant tell when hes excited and that helps him at the plate.KOCH COMES THROUGHKoch impressed manager Chip Hale by being so aggressive and effective in his first start after five relief appearances. Lobatons single in the sixth ended the no-hit bid, but the 25-year-old probably wouldnt have been able to go much longer with a pitch limit around 75.The right-hander finished with 69 pitches, 47 for strikes.This was a guy who has already shown in the relief appearance that we gave him that hes not afraid and he goes right at guys, Hale said.TRAINERS RMDiamondbacks: Hale said RHP Rubby De La Rosa successfully had stem cell injections in his elbow. De La Rosa is trying the stem cell procedure in an attempt to avoid a second Tommy John surgery.Nationals: LHP Sammy Solis threw a perfect seventh inning in his first appearance since Aug. 15 after a stint on the DL with shoulder inflammation.UP NEXTLHP Gio Gonzalez (11-10, 4.51 ERA) starts the third of the four-game series for the Nationals against Diamondbacks RHP Shelby Miller (2-12, 6.47). tballgearshop.com/daryl-johnston-jersey/" target="_blank">Daryl Johnston Jersey .Y. -- Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone has drawn on his Syracuse connections once again by hiring Rob Mre to take over as receivers coach. tballgearshop.com/connor-mcgovern-jersey/" target="_blank">Connor McGovern Youth Jersey . U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield in Manhattan agreed that lawyers on both sides could make their formal requests by Nov. 8. A hearing is scheduled for a day earlier. 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Galatasaray said in a statement on its website Monday that Mancini signed a three-year contract and will be paid 3.5 million euros for the upcoming season, with his salary upped to 4. tballgearshop.com/amari-cper-jersey/" target="_blank">Amari Cper Cowboys Jersey . - After leading the Saints to a fourth playoff appearance in five seasons, Drew Brees expressed confidence in the direction of his team and, perhaps more importantly, showed a willingness to listen to contract proposals if the team needs his help getting under the NFLs salary cap. (STATS) -- Championship Saturday 2015. It still lives in the thoughts of the Saint Francis ftball coaches and players.They played for the Northeast Conference championship at Duquesne on the final day of the regular season last November.Boasting a winning record for the first time since 1992, they surely started getting ahead of themselves when they built a 14-0 lead through one quarter.It was all Duquesne from there, with SFU suffering a 30-20 loss that still stings today.Its still in my heart. I cant get rid of that feeling, All-America safety and kick returner Lorenzo Jerome said.With the success that came, coach Chris Villarial said, thats a hard pill to swallow.The NEC figures to be competitive again, with 2013 and 14 champ Sacred Heart expected to get back into the championship mix. Duquesne is the preseason favorite.Saint Francis isnt quite the upstart anymore. With an experienced team returning from the breakthrough season -- and heartache -- Jerome points out, We know how to win this year.Duquesne is equally as experienced, though, and committed to playing physical defense. The Dukes nearly upset CAA Ftball power William & Mary in their first-ever FCS playoff game, falling 52-49 on the road.This years goal, star quarterback Dillon Buechel said, Just take it to the next level. Get back to that point and try to do some damage in the playoffs this year. … Guys on this team love to compete.Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2016 Northeast Conference race and STATS predicted order of finish:1. Duquesne2. Sacred Heart3. Saint Francis4. Bryant5. Robert Morris6. Central Connecticut State7. Wagner---=TEAM CAPSULES=1. DUQUESNE DUKES=LOCATION: PittsburghSTADIUM: Arthur J. Rney Athletic FieldCOACH: Jerry Schmitt (68-51 in 11 seasons at Duquesne; 93-69 overall)LAST SEASON: 8-4 overall, 5-1 NEC (1st)STARTERS RETURNING: 13 (7 offense/6 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Rafiq Douglas, RB; Chris King, WR; Dan Buchholz, OLONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Dillon Buechel, QB, Sr. (228-for-401, 2,871 yards, 24 TDs, 8 INTs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Christian Kuntz, LB, Sr. (72 TT, 26 TFL, 11 sacks, 4 INTs, 6 PBU, 6 QBH, 1 FR, 2 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: P.J. Fulmore, RB, So.; Wayne Capers, WR, Sr.; Reggie McKnight, WR, Sr.; Nehari Crawford, WR/KR, So.; Dave Thomas, WR, Sr.; Larson Graham, OL, Sr.; Ben Huss, OL, JR.; Jake Radziukinas, DL, Sr.; Nathan Stone, LB, Jr.; Gary Wten, LB, Sr. (Penn State transfer); Abner Roberts, DB, Jr.; Malik Shegog, DB, Jr.; Austin Crimmins, PK/P, Sr.OUTLK: The defending NEC champion Dukes talent level remains high despite the unexpected loss of star running back Douglas, who nearly rushed for 1,000 yards as a sophomore. The strong-armed Buechel, who threw for 423 yards and six touchdowns against William & Mary in the Dukes first-ever FCS playoff game, is a fourth-year starter who was named the NECs preseason quarterback. He gets back Capers (51 receptions, nine TDs) and developing sophomore Crawford to keep the offense moving the ball. The Dukes are replacing three starters on the offensive line in addition to dropping in the new starting running back, Fulmore. The defense helped force 26 turnovers (which led to a plus-13 turnover margin) and seeks to remain opportunistic. It has an exceptional linebackers corps led by Kuntz, the 2015 NEC defensive player of the year. A bulls-eye is squarely on the Dukes backs.SCHEDULE:Sept. 1, at Youngstown StateSept. 10, BucknellSept. 17, DaytonSept. 24, Kennesaw StateOct. 1, at JacksonvilleOct. 15, Robert Morris*Oct. 22, at Saint Francis*Oct. 29, Bryant*Nov. 5, at Wagner*Nov. 12, Sacred Heat*Nov. 19, at Central Connecticut State** -- NEC game---=2. SACRED HEART PIONEERS=LOCATION: Fairfield, ConnecticutSTADIUM: Campus FieldCOACH: Mark Nofri (27-20 in four seasons at Sacred Heart)LAST SEASON: 6-5 overall, 3-3 NEC (Tie/3rd)STARTERS RETURNING: 13 (7 offense/6 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Tyler Dube, WR; Connor Caveney, DL; Kellen Sperduto, LBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: RJ Noel, QB, R-Sr. (182-for-325, 2,431 yards, 19 TDs, 9 INTs; 130 carries, 247 yards, 6 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: James Rentz, LB, Sr. (54 TT, 13 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 QBH, 1 FR, 2 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Ose Imeokparia, RB, Sr.; Nate Chavious, RB/KR, Sr.; Moses Webb, WR/DB, R-Sr.; Andrew ONeill, WR, Jr.; Dhameer Bradley, WR, Jr. (UConn transfer); Sean Merrill, OL, Sr.; Sean Peters, OL, Sr.; Ryan Cottrell, DL, Sr.; Dylan Ackerson, DL, Jr.; Kevin Barry, LB, Sr.; Tim Johnson, CB, Sr.; Alec Finelli, S, Jr.; Alec Finney, PK/P, Sr.OUTLK: The Pioneers have plenty of motivated upperclassmen who won NEC titles in 2013 and 14. Among them is QB Noel, who has won All-NEC first-team honors for three straight years but wasnt the preseason pick by the conference coaches (it was Duquesnes Dillon Buechel). It seems impossible for the Pioneers to replace leading receiver Dube, but they first want to run the ball with Imeokparia and Chavious. Fourth-year starters Rentz and Cottrell lead a defense which has big hitters. The focus has been on improving the pass defense as the Pioneers allowed over 238 passing yards per game last season. Sacred Hearts non-conference schedule isnt taxing -- it opens with three Pioneer Ftball League opponents -- so the Pioneers should get off to a solid start in 2016.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, at StetsonSept. 10, ValparaisoSept. 17, MaristSept. 24, at Stony BrkOct. 1, at Wagner*Oct. 15, at CornellOct. 22, Robert Morris*Oct. 29, Saint Francis*Nov. 5, at Central Connecticut State*Nov. 12, at Duquesne*Nov. 19, Bryant** -- NEC game---=3. SAINT FRANCIS (PA.) RED FLASH=LOCATION: Loretto, PennsylvaniaSTADIUM: DeGol FieldCOACH: Chris Villarrial (24-41 in six seasons at Saint Francis)LAST SEASON: 6-4 overall, 4-2 NEC (2nd)STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (6 offense/8 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Khairi Dickson, RB; Terell Smith, WR; DaQuan Minter, CBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Marcus Bagley, RB, Sr.ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Lorenzo Jerome, FS/RS, Sr.OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Zack Drayer, QB, Sr.; Kam Lewis, WR, So.; Cyrus Holder, WR, Fr.; Sam Freireich, LT, Sr.; Christian Eubanks, LG, So.; Jimmy Marks, C, Sr.; Louie Gartner, DE, So.; Wesley Nagaseu, NT, Sr.; Erik Walker, LB, Sr.; Solomon Leaeno, LB, Sr.; Malik Duncan, CB, Jr.; Delondo Boyd, SS, Jr.; Lance Geesey, PK, Sr.OUTLK: Coming of their first winning season since 1992 and their best one on the FCS level, the Red Flash could very well win their first NEC title this year. Their matchup with Duquesne is at DeGol Field. Villarrial likes to play a lot of players, so the depth will pay off. Jerome will keep the secondary at a high level and the defense has a disruptive force in NT Nagaseu. On offense, QB Drayer (152-for-250, 1,977 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs) is highly experienced, and the Red Flash return their starting offensive line, anchored by Marks. The loss of All-NEC RB Dickson is tempered by the return of Bagley, a bruiser who was the conferences 2014 offensive rkie of the year. The Red Flash also have dominant special teams, although standout Geesey is coming off hip surgery. Like preseason favorite Duquesne, the Red Flash had a conference-high six selections on the NEC preseason team.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, at MontanaSept. 10, at TowsonSept. 17, at ColumbiaSept. 24, at AlbanyOct. 1, MaloneOct. 8, at Robert Morris*Oct. 15, Bryant*Oct. 22, Duquesne*Oct. 29, at Sacred Heart*Nov. 12, Central Connecticut State*Nov. 19, at Wagner** -- NEC game---=4. BRYANT BULLDOGS=LOCATION: Smithfield, Rhode IslandSTADIUM: Bulldog StadiumCOACH: Marty Fine (75-55 in 12 seasons at Bryant; 90-60 overall)LAST SEASON: 5-6 overall, 3-3 NEC (Tie/3rd)STARTERS RETURNING: 9 (5 offfense/ 4 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Ricardo McCray, RB; Chad Ward, WR; Abe MBodj, OLONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Dalton Easton, QB, Sr.dddddddddddd (205-for-374, 2,601 yards, 22 TDs, 13 INTs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Patrick Kenney, LB, Sr. (85 TT, 8.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 QBH, 2 FR, 1 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Ryan Black, RB, Sr.; Alfred Dorbor, RB, Fr.; Hunter Taute, FB, Jr.; Taylor Barthelette, WR, Sr.; Matt Sewall, WR, Jr.; Keenan Thompson, WR, Sr.; Tyler Cardoze, OL, Sr.; George Smith, OL, Sr.; Dillon Guthro, DE, R-So.; Joe Mendez, DE, So.; Kevin Lazo, DL, So.; Marquise Watson, DL/LB, Sr.; Robert Brown, LB, Fr.; Thomas Costigan, LB, So.; Charles Wingate, DB, Sr.; Charles Keenan, FS, Sr.; Brandon Owens, SS, Sr.; Patrick Champagnie, DB, Jr.OUTLK: Still seeking their first NEC title, the Bulldogs were picked first in the conferences preseason poll last year and it seemed to weigh on them while they slumped to a mediocre season. With only nine returning starters, they will need young players to fill key roles. Easton is coming off a season in which he led the NEC in passing yards and yards per game, but he wont have running back Ricardo McCray, the 2015 NEC offensive player of the year, around to keep defenses more honest. The Bulldogs should be solid defensively as they return three of their top four tacklers in LBs Kenney and Watson and FS Keenan, while Wingate made the NEC preseason team. The Bulldogs will make a Sept. 10 visit to Montana State -- the programs first-ever trip west of the Mississippi River.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, MerrimackSept. 10, at Montana StateSept. 17, BrownSept. 24, Central Connecticut State*Oct. 1, MaineOct. 15, at Saint Francis*Oct. 22, Wagner*Oct. 29, at Duquesne*Nov. 5, Robert Morris*Nov. 12, at Coastal CarolinaNov. 19, at Sacred Heart** -- NEC game---=5. ROBERT MORRIS COLONIALS=LOCATION: Mn Township, PennsylvaniaSTADIUM: Joe Walton StadiumCOACH: John Banaszak (5-17 in two seasons at Robert Morris)LAST SEASON: 4-7 overall, 2-4 NEC (6th)STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (7 offense/7 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Forrest Mason, DE; Mike Stojkovic, ILB; Jake Tkach, ILBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Kyle Buss, WR, R-So. (50 receptions, 742 yards, 2 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Marcelis Branch, CB, R-Sr. (63 TT, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 BK)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Matt Barr, QB, So.; Rameses Owens, RB, Jr.; Cole Blake, RB, Jr.; Warren Robinson, WR/PR, So.; Nic Lamica, TE, R-Jr.; Blake Chambliss, OL, R-Jr.; Ryan Lewis, DE, Sr.; Austin Trgovcich, DE, R-Sr.; Zack Zamiska, DT, R-Jr.; Jimmy Masson, OLB, Sr.; Gerald Ferguson, OLB, Jr.; Drew Allen, CB, Jr.; Ryan Richards Jr., SS, Jr.; Andy Smigiera, WS, Sr.OUTLK: As expected, Banaszak is turning the Colonials into a hard-nosed team. They were among the best in the FCS against the pass last season and their 34 sacks were impressive. With Branch and Smigiera back to anchor the secondary, the Colonials expect similar success this year. But the offense needs improvement after it averaged only 14 points per game. It has a new crdinator in Mike Miller, who began his career with the Colonials under former coach Joe Walton and has 13 years of NFL experience. Barr figures to cut down on interceptions as a sophomore and has a terrific go-to target in Buss, the 2015 NEC offensive rkie of the year. They have to shore up the offensive line, which lost three starters. A healthier Owens (125 carries, 456 yards, 4 TDs) alongside Blake bsts the run game.SCHEDULE:Sept. 1, Alderson-BroaddusSept. 10, at DaytonSept. 17, at Youngstown StateSept. 24, MaloneOct. 1, at LibertyOct. 8, Saint Francis*Oct. 15, at Duquesne*Oct. 22, at Sacred Heart*Oct. 29, Central Connecticut State*Nov. 5, at Bryant*Nov. 12, Wagner** -- NEC game---=6. CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE BLUE DEVILS=LOCATION: New Britain, ConnecticutSTADIUM: Arute FieldCOACH: Pete Rossomando (7-16 in two seasons at Central Connecticut State; 49-29 overall)LAST SEASON: 4-7 overall, 3-3 NEC (Tie/3rd)STARTERS RETURNING: 16 (7 offense/9 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Tavion Pauldo, QB; Tyler Hurd, OL; Jevon Elmore, CBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Cameron Nash, RB/KR, Jr. (118 carries, 676 yards, 3 TDs; 18 receptions, 218 yards, 1 TD)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Asia Bolling, DE/OLB, Sr. (64 TT, 14.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Jake Dolegala, QB, So.; Brenden Lytton, RB, Sr.; Dan Hebert, WR, Sr.; Joey Fields, WR, Jr.; Alex Jamele, WR, So.; K.J. Smith, TE, So.; Chris Tinkham, DL, So.; Randall LaGuerre, LB, Jr.; Keir Minor, OLB, Sr.; Seth Manzanares, OLB, Jr.; Najae Brown, S, Jr.; Jarrod Cann, S, Jr.; Tymir Hinton, S, So.OUTLK: The two-deep was filled with underclassmen last season, so theres cause for optimism at CCSU. The mobile Pauldo shared time at quarterback as a freshman, but hes no longer in the program, leaving Dolegala to run the offense full-time. The Blue Devils like the ball in the hand of the versatile Nash, although the run game also is getting back Lytton, who was expected to be the starter last year but was injured in preseason camp. All-America CB Elmore, who racked up 18 passes defended, was lost to academics, which means Brown must steady the secondary. Bolling and LB LaGuerre are the defensive standouts. Improvement is vital because the Blue Devils have a tough non-conference schedule which includes James Madison, Coastal Carolina and Penn.SCHEDULE:Sept. 2, LafayetteSept. 10, at James MadisonSept. 17, Bowie StateSept. 24, at Bryant*Oct. 8, at PennOct. 15, Wagner*Oct. 22, at Coastal CarolinaOct. 29, at Robert Morris*Nov. 5, Sacred Heart*Nov. 12, at Saint Francis*Nov. 19, Duquesne** -- NEC game---=7. WAGNER SEAHAWKS=LOCATION: Staten Island, New YorkSTADIUM: Wagner College StadiumCOACH: Jason Houghtaling (1-10 in one season at Wagner)LAST SEASON: 1-10 overall, 1-5 NEC (7th)STARTERS RETURNING: 8 (5 offense/3 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Otis Wright, RB/KR; Stephon Font-Tmer, LB; Greg Hilliard, LBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Ryan Owens, TE, Grad (29 receptions, 353 yards, 1 TD)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Najee Harris, OLB, Sr. (58 TT, 10 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 4 PBU, 3 QBH, 1 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Alex Thomson, QB, Jr.; A.J. Long, QB, Jr.; Matthias McKinnon, RB, Sr.; Denzell Knight, RB, Jr.; Andre Yevchinecz, WR/PR, Sr.; Brandon Peoples, WR, Sr.; Matt Diaz, OL, Sr.; Jordan Baskerville, DE. Jr.; Randall May, LB, Jr.; Tim Hayes, CB, Sr.; Sterling Lowry, CB, So.; Kemani Howard, FS, Jr.; Bryan Rafano, P, Sr.OUTLK: The transition from former coach Walt Hameline to Houghtaling wasnt smth last season as the Seawhawks dropped off from a 7-4 record and share of the NEC title in 2014. They werent the usual ball-control team and the defense struggled up the middle. Houghtaling thinks they have to play harder, but it shows in the preseason competition for playing time. Thomson (90-for-175, 1,085 yards, 8 TDs, 6 INTs) is the incumbent at quarterback, but hes been pushed by Long, a transfer from Syracuse. New offensive crdinator Rich Santangello will rely on fifth-year TE Owens for leadership as well as production. The defense seeks improvement after ranking at the bottom of the NEC. Harris is asked to lead a turnaround. With four of the first games at home, the Seahawks can envision a stronger start this season.SCHEDULE:Sept. 1, St. AnselmSept. 10, Concordia (Mich.)Sept. 24, at Boston CollegeOct. 1, Sacred Heart*Oct. 8, ColumbiaOct. 15, at Central Connecticut State*Oct. 22, at Bryant*Oct. 29, at MassachusettsNov. 5, Duquesne*Nov. 12, at Robert Morris*Nov. 19, Saint Francis** -- NEC game ' ' '

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