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BASEBALL

Texas HS players charged after killing baby chickens

BENBROOK, Texas | Police say two Texas high school baseball players accused of sacrificing chickens in a bid to improve their games have been charged with cruelty to livestock animals.

Benbrook Police Sgt. John Van Ness said Wednesday the case has been turned over to a Tarrant County juvenile court, where a decision will be made on whether to prosecute.

Police in the Fort Worth suburb say the 15- and 16-year-old “engaged in acts that caused the death of two baby chickens” - and superstition about a slump in baseball performance could have played a part.

TENNIS

Federer into semifinals; Sharapova reaches final

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. | Roger Federer advanced to the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open when Gilles Simon retired with a stiff neck Thursday after losing the first three games.

Federer’s opponent Friday will be No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who defeated No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Federer beat Nadal for the Key Biscayne title early in their rivalry in 2005, and they haven’t played each other in the United States since.

Maria Sharapova overcame a slow start by winning 11 consecutive games to reach the women’s final, beating Andrea Petkovic, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Wichita St. overwhelms Tide to cap run to NIT title

NEW YORK | The only shocker about the end to Wichita State’s season was the location.

J.T. Durley and Graham Hatch scored 12 points each to lead a balanced offense, and the Shockers overwhelmed top-seeded Alabama 66-57 on Thursday night to win the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden.

Hatch was 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, including back-to-back baskets in the closing minutes, as Wichita State (29-8) finished up a remarkable postseason run in style.

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