Dane Opel was selected in the 41st round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Washington Nationals. That was the same year the Nats took Stephen Strasburg with the top pick overall. But instead of making the jump from high school to professional baseball, the Edwardsville, Ill. native took his talents to the University of Missouri. Opel took a different kind of leap this past weekend in a series against Texas A&M, one that had an amazing outcome.
During the third inning of a game the Tigers would eventually lose to the Aggies 6-5 in College Station on Saturday, the senior right fielder robbed Troy Stein of a home run in a most impressive fashion. Stein's deep drive to the right-center gap appeared headed for the Mizzou bullpen. But that's when Opel left his feet, stretched out his right glove hand and made a dazzling catch. The defender's momentum carried him nearly all the way over the short fence at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, but he was somehow able to gather himself and record the third out of the inning. There's no word on where Opel is slated to be selected next month in the 2013 version of the draft. But if his recent highlight-reel play is any indication, it might be earlier than the 41st round.
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In basketball news, LeBron James won his fourth NBA MVP award in near-historic fashion. The Miami Heat star fell one first-place vote short of becoming the first unanimous selection ever. Carmelo Anthony got the other tally.
And in hockey, the San Jose Sharks are one victory away from the franchise's first-ever playoff sweep. Logan Couture had two goals and two assists in a 5-2 win over Vancouver that gave San Jose a 3-0 series lead.
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