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Central's McAfee, Moyer pick colleges

Central Gwinnett seniors Heather McAfee and Caitlin Moyer have accepted offers to play fastpitch softball at the college level.

McAfee, a pitcher, has committed to Arkansas Tech. She is the daughter of Melissa and Tom McAfee.

Moyer, a catcher/first baseman, has made a commitment to Gordon College. She is the daughter of Gina and Dave Moyer.

Force announce 13 free-agent signings

The Georgia Force, preparing for a return to the Arena at Gwinnett Center for the 2008 season, announced the signings of 13 free agents on Monday.

The team signed defensive back Donnie Amadi, quarterback D. Alvin Bryant, defensive back Stephen Cason, wide receiver Chad Cone, quarterback Ben Dougherty, offensive lineman Aqua Etefia, offensive lineman Nick Jones, wide receiver Andy McCullough, offensive lineman Tucker Peterson, defensive back Brandon Register, defensive back Daryl Shaw, defensive lineman Elbert Shumake and wide receiver Kyle Smith.

Jones is a Georgia grad who started 13 games for the 2005 SEC champions.

Home-school team finishes third straight unbeaten regular season

The Georgia Force home-school football team defeated Christian Heritage 34-31 in triple overtime this past weekend to wrap up the team's third consecutive unbeaten regular season.

Down 24-17, the Force sent the game to overtime by driving the ball 64 yards in 13 seconds for a game-tying score in regulation. With three seconds left, Michael Francis passed to Daniel Casey for a 49-yard touchdown pass to get within a point. B.J. Ballard kicked the game-tying PAT with no time on the clock, then added a game-winning 42-yard field goal in the third overtime period.

Royals' McCann available for instruction

Kansas City Royals minor-leaguer Brad McCann, a Duluth grad, is giving private baseball hitting and fielding instruction this offseason at both the Windward Baseball Academy and at Chipper Jones' 10th Inning. McCann is the brother of Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann.

For more information, call Windward at 770-619-3303 or 10th Inning at 678-714-1000.

Brickhouse joins Reinhardt hoops staff

Norcross grad Bryce Brickhouse has been named an assistant basketball coach at Reinhardt College, where he will work for head coach Jeff Pourchier, a Brookwood grad. Brickhouse was an assistant the past two seasons at North Georgia.

North Gwinnett's Serres fourth at 7-AAAAA meet

An error on the original Region 7-AAAAA cross country meet results was fixed on Sunday, awarding the proper fourth-place finish to North Gwinnett's Laura Serres with a time of 18 minutes, 23 seconds. Collins Hill's Allyson McGinty, fifth in 18:24, was originally credited with fourth place.

Four runners tabbed runners of the week

Gwinnett Country cross country coaches named four runners as runners of the week.

On the boys side was Wesleyan's Christopher Duvall and Brookwood's Michael Sexton. Duvall won the Region 6-AA title with a time of 16 minutes, 20 seconds and Sexton was third at the Region 8-AAAAA meet with a time of 15:55.

Greater Atlanta Christian's Lauren Kestor and Peachtree Ridge's Heather Morris were named girls runners of the week. Kestor won the Region 6-AA title with a time of 20:03 and Morris placed seventh at the Region 7-AAAAA meet with a mark of 19:11.

national

Fired 2 years ago, Russell returns to Pirates as manager

PITTSBURGH - John Russell is a humble guy who spent much of his career in the minors. He lacks a marquee name or a big-time resume, and he was fired as a coach two years ago by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Is this really the best person that very same Pittsburgh team could find to become its new manager - someone the club's previous leadership let go?

Pirates president Frank Coonelly and general manager Neal Huntington insisted Monday that's exactly why they hired Russell, who has managed at every level of baseball except the majors.

Specifically, because he is the best man for a job many think is next to impossible: remaking the Pirates into consistent winners again even though they're coming off 15 consecutive losing seasons.

Hansbrough, Hibbert top voting for AP preseason All-America team

Tyler Hansbrough's junior year at North Carolina has begun much the same way his sophomore did, as the leading vote-getter on The Associated Press' preseason All-America team.

The 6-foot-9 forward was one vote shy of a unanimous pick Monday and was joined by senior center Roy Hibbert of Georgetown, senior guard Chris Lofton of Tennessee, senior guard Drew Neitzel of Michigan State and junior guard Darren Collison of UCLA.

The team was selected by the 72-member panel that votes in the weekly Top 25 poll.

Maddux returns to Padres with 1-year deal

SAN DIEGO - Greg Maddux will be back as the San Diego Padres' No. 3 starter next season after agreeing Monday to a $10 million, one-year contract.

Maddux's return appeared to be a foregone conclusion after he went 14-11 with a 4.14 ERA for San Diego, which fell one win short of its third straight playoff appearance.

- From staff, wire reports