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Around & About / News and notes

California, Japan reach bracket finals

Hagen Danner homered and struck out 12, and Huntington Beach, Calif., spoiled the Pennsylvania party at the Little League World Series with a 2-0 victory over the hometown heroes from Clinton County on Thursday night in South Williamsport, Pa..

California will face Billings, Mont., in the U.S. final Saturday. Montana beat California 1-0 in seven innings Wednesday night. Pennsylvania was eliminated.

Danner was the biggest reason why with a stellar night on the mound being leaving in the sixth because of Little League's pitch-count rules. The 12-year-old ace got out of a fifth-inning jam with one out and a runner on third with a grounder and flyout.

Japan moved on as well, to the international final Saturday against Mexico, with a 9-6 victory over Maracay, Venezuela.


Patrick officially with NASCAR full-time

With the not-so-subtle shape of a stock car under cover just in front of her and spotlights glaring in her face, Danica Patrick feigned drama for an announcement everyone already knew was coming.

"For breaking news that will shock the world ," she said facetiously on Thursday.

Peeling the lid off the worst-kept secret in auto racing, Patrick ended months of skirting questions about her future by officially declaring her plans to leave IndyCar in 2012 to race a full Nationwide season for JR Motorsports and a part-time Sprint Cup schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing.

One of the most marketable stars in auto racing, Patrick had been rumored to be headed to NASCAR even before she ran her first stock race, the ARCA series event at Daytona in 2010. Even while racing limited Nationwide schedules the past two years for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team, Patrick had deflected talk of her leaving IndyCar for the fenders of NASCAR.

That all changed, at least officially, when she signed a contract with chairman Bob Parsons in front of TV cameras and a few dozen cheering company employees on Thursday.

Patrick will run most of her races in the lower-tier Nationwide Series with only a handful of Sprint Cup races, but her switch to NASCAR should be a big boost to a sport that's been hurt by a sagging economy and a dip in popularity from its heyday just a few years back.


NBA, union to meet next week

David Stern wants progress in the NBA's collective bargaining talks by Labor Day. He may get his wish.

Officials from the league and players' association will meet again next week, people with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press on Thursday. It will be only the second session involving leaders from both sides since the lockout started July 1.

Next week's session will include top negotiators for both sides: Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, and union executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher of the Lakers.


Miami awaiting ineligibility decisions

Miami's internal investigation has determined some football players, including quarterback Jacory Harris, are believed to have committed NCAA violations by associating with booster Nevin Shapiro and have been declared ineligible, said a person with knowledge of the process.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because no one is authorized to discuss the ongoing investigations by the university and the NCAA. The person did not divulge how many current players have been linked to Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi scheme architect who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for bilking $930 million from investors.

Simply being declared ineligible now does not necessarily mean a player would miss any time this season. The Miami Herald, citing an unnamed source, reported that eight players were ineligible.


GBUSBC Kickoff champs crowned

A trio of bowlers earned some hardware Thursday night at The Greater Buffalo USBC Kickoff Tournament at Transit Lanes.

No. 7 seed Kevin Iwaniak beat professional Jack Jurek, 242-216, to earn a spot in the final, where he defeated No. 5-seed Mike Zarcone, 225-200, for the crown. Tammy Burgstahler, the No. 8 seed, beat second-seeded Carrie Racsumberger, 205-181, in the final. Burgstahler beat the Nos. 1 and 4 seeds en route to the final. Tony Spencer captured the handicap division title with 225-180 win over Tamara Applewhite.

From News Staff and wire service reports