News Columns & Blogs

Commentary: Local tennis pro to play in first slam

Tennis pro Ryan Harrison, who trains at the IMG Academy, is set to play in the first grand slam tournament this year.

Harrison qualified for the Australian Open’s main draw and was recently featured in ESPN the Magazine’s “Stars Next Door” section, which offers brief snippets on who the magazine feels will begin to breakthrough in 2011.

The Australian Open’s main draw begins Jan. 17.

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The Manatee County Hockey Club’s Golden Manatees returned to the ice following a near month break for the holidays Friday.

And they did so in winning fashion, destroying Berkeley 10-3 at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex.

The club received a five-assist game from Thayer Allen with hat tricks coming from Luke Bafia and Steven Vincent.

The victory improves Manatee’s record to 9-4-0, and inched closer to second place in the Central Division standings.

Manatee remains one point behind Plant for third position, but just two points shy of Bloomingdale, which lost this past week.

The Golden Manatees next play division-leading Newsome Blue in Brandon on Friday.

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Anna Maria Elementary is the host site for the Dolphin Dash 5K and 1-mile race slated for Saturday morning.

Registration is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. with the 5K set to begin at 8 a.m. and the 1-mile race to follow at 9 a.m.

Parking for the On a Shoestring/Bradenton Runners Club Racing Series meet is at St. Bernards Church in Holmes Beach.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Becky at 383-9675.

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Recently, Little League International put a moratorium on using composite bats in all baseball divisions.

That means Little League is banning bats constructed with composite material in its barrel, according to a news release.

“The moratorium is not the result of Little League changing its bat standards, or influenced by any relationships with bat manufacturers,” said the vice president of operations at Little League International, Patrick W. Wilson, in the news release. “Rather, it became evident through scientific research, that some composite-barreled bats exceeded the current standard after a breaking-in process. Until that research was in hand there was no data to support an earlier decision. With that said, there are no other moratoriums contemplated at this moment.”

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The Florida State Golf Association is conducting Rules of Golf workshops around the state from Jan. 11-March 30.

And while there are no Manatee County locations, there are ones in Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.

Visit The Golf Coast blog on for more on costs, sites and other information.

Jason Dill, sports reporter can be reached at 745-7017 or via e-mail at