March Sports Highlights
Japan wins World Baseball Classic
Japan won the World Baseball Classic for the third time by taking down defending champions USA by a 3-2.
The game ended when Los Angeles Angels teammate Shohei Ohtani battled Mike Trout. Pitching for Japan, Ohtani struck out Trout with a slider after pounding the strike zone with 100 mph fastballs.
Ohtani was the first MLB player selected for the All-Star Game as a hitter and pitcher in 2021. Trout, a three-time AL MVP, signed a 12-year extension in 2019 with the Angels worth $426.5 million.
The next World Baseball Classic is scheduled for 2026, and Ohtani challenged Japan to continue its success, which began in 2006 and 2009, winning the first two World Baseball Classics.
Knicks Hall of Fame center Willis Reed dies at age 80
Willis Reed, who spent his entire 10-year NBA career with the New York Knicks, passed away on March 23 at 80. He was instrumental in the team's only two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973.
A dominant physical force, Reed won Rookie of the Year in 1965 and NBA MVP in 1970. His most memorable moment was playing in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals after missing Game 6 with a severe thigh injury. He won Finals MVP for the series and again in 1973. Reed is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and retired with averages of 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
Cowboys Release Running Back Ezekiel Elliott
After a seven-year run with the Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott needs to find a new team after the Cowboys released him on March 15.
Elliott rushed for 876 yards and averaged 3.8 yards per carry, a far cry from his nearly 1300-yard average rushing season over his first six years. Tony Pollard became the featured back for the Cowboys last season, rushing for 1007 yards. Pollard was designated the franchise tag of $10 million.
Elliott has shown interest in playing for the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, or Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets have yet to show interest in signing Elliott, and there is no word whether the Bengals or the defending NFC champions Eagles have any interest in the 27-year-old running back.
Sam Burns wins WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
In the final WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Sam Burns faced Cameron Young in a surprising final match. Number one seed Scottie Sheffler and number three seed Rory McIlroy were ousted in the semifinals, with McIlroy defeating Sheffler in the consolation match.
Burns dominated play over Young, recording eight birdies over the final ten holes to win 6-and-5. The result was the most lopsided in the tournament. The victory was the fifth for Burns on the PGA Tour, while Young finished second for the sixth time in the last year and a half.
Young advanced to the finals by defeating McIlroy on the first extra hole after falling behind by 2 with just three holes to play. Burns came back against Sheffler in extra holes.