The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 1, 1998 · Page 23
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 23

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Wednesday, April 1, 1998
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Page 23
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WEDNESDAY AWffl, : vises THE SAUNA JOURNAL Sports SCOREBOARD / D2 BASEBALL/D3 KSU, KW NEWS / D4 D V MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Belcher hurls Royals past Orioles Appier's replacement pitches seven shutout innings in opener By DAVID GINSBURG T1\e Associated Press BALTIMORE — A year ago, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals on opening day and remained in first place for the rest of the season. So much for an encore. Tim Belcher, starting in place of the injured Kevin Appier, allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings Tuesday as the Royals opened the season by defeating Mike Mussina and the Orioles 4-1. Few people expect the Royals to parlay the vie- tory into their ROYALS 4 first playoff ORIOLES 1 berth since "•' '"-' 1985, but the young team was genuinely excited about getting off to a good start — especially against a star-studded club that plans to make a third straight trip to the postseason. "This sets the tone, to get out of the gate on a positive note," said Royals closer Jeff Montgomery, who pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save. Rookie Larry Sutton drove in three runs and Jeff King went 2- for-2 and scored twice before leaving in the fourth inning with a sore back. It was the fifth straight time the Royals opened against Baltimore, and second time they won. "Today we played good baseball and we won," Kansas City manager Tony Muser said. "We have 161 to play. But even if we lost today, I thought we played well. That's been my intent all along — not to be intimidated by an opponent." Belcher certainly didn't appear apprehensive about facing the Orioles. After compiling an 11.66 ERA in spring training, the right-han- der faced only one batter more than the minimum and did not permit a runner past first. "Yes, it is important. You get that good adrenaline and emotional lift from a win like this," he said. "Particularly when you're on the road in this park against that club. T COLLEGE BASKETBALL OpertnHay firsts By The Associated Press PITCH — Strike from the New York Wets' Bobby Jones to Philadelphia's Doug Glanvllle at 12:45 p.m. CST. HIT — Philadelphia's Mark Lewis In the second Inning, a single to left field off Jones. HOME RUN — San Diego's Wally Joyner off Cincinnati's David Weathers In the sixth Inning. GRAND SLAM — St. Louis' Mark McG- wire off Los Angeles' Ramon Martinez. RUN — San Diego's Qullvlo Veras scored on an error by Cincinnati shortstop Pokey Reese. RUN BATTED IN — San Diego's Tony Gwynn with an RBI groundout off Cincinnati's Mike Remllnger In the third Inning. DOUBLE — San Diego's Steve Flnley off Remllnger In the third Inning. OUT — Glanvllle grounded to shortstop Rey Ordonez. STRIKEOUT — Philadelphia's Curt Schilling struck out New York's Edgardo Alfonzo In the first Inning. STEAL — Texas' Tom Goodwin stole second In the first Inning. I mean, they've been pretty good for a couple of years." Baltimore lost despite getting 11 strikeouts in eight innings by Mussina, who allowed three runs and six hits. The defeat ruined the debut of Orioles manager Ray Miller, who couldn't do much except watch Belcher mow down one batter after another. "He did what a veteran pitcher has to do. He came right at you," Miller said. "I thought Mussina did a good job, too. I'll take that kind of pitching from him all year." After Belcher left, consecutive two-out doubles by Joe Carter and Chris Hoiles against Jose Rosado got Baltimore to 3-1 in the eighth. Scott Service then struck out pinch-hitter Harold Baines to end the lone Orioles threat. "The worst thing about today is that people were waiting for something to cheer about and we couldn't do anything about it," Miller said. "Offensively, we just didn't get the job done." The previous two openers at Camden Yards were postponed because of bad weather, but the game-time temperature was a summer-like 91 degrees. Belcher, putting a chill on the crowd of 46,820, allowed only three runners and struck out six. McGwire, Griffey home runs, Marlins' victory highlight opening day in big leagues By BEN WALKER The Associated Press The Associated Press Tim Belcher delivers a pitch against Baltimore in Tuesday's season opener at Camden Yards. Swimming pools, cigar bars. Devil Rays, Diamondbacks. Revamped Marlins, new- look Brewers. They were the stories on opening day — until McGwire and Griffey. - : ; • Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey- jjf. quickly showed what this expansion season may be all about. Both homered TjU.es- day, beginning the chase for Roger Marls' record of 61. McGwire became the first St. Louis Cardinals player to hit a grand slam on opening day, highlighting a 6-0 win over the Rupert Murdoch-owned Los Angeles Dodgers. "It's an awesome feel- M ^wtoc ing," said McGwire, who MC « WI " C y hit 58 last year. "How can you not get chills?" <i;l Griffey, who hit 56 last season foiSthe Seattle Mariners, kept pace a few hour's later. The AL MVP connected for a,solo home run against Cleveland. The Florida Marlins, meanwhile, also got off to a strong start. Having stripped nearly half their roster in a move to iijash a $53 million payroll to $33 million'^ fhe World Series champions scored six runs in the first inning and beat the Chicago Cubs 11-6. _ ; For at least one game, these MarJuls looked a lot like last year's champs. WprljJ Series MVP Livan Hernandez was the winning pitcher and October stars Gary Sheffield and Charles Johnson hit three- run homers. "Nobody should get carried away," Florida manager Jim Leyland said. "It's just one game, and we're a very young ballclub. We're going to take some bumps and bruises." The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, however, looked exactly like the expansion teajni It is in an 11-6 loss to Detroit at St. Petersburg, Fla. "• "• The Devil Rays fell behind 11-0 after five innings and the sellout crowd of 45,369 at Tropicana Field had little to cheer except for Wade Boggs' home run. ' i See BASEBALL, Page D3 Smith embraced Kentucky challenge and won The Associated Press Tubby Smith holds the Sears Trophy during the postgame celebration Monday night. V HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL School's first black basketball coach knew the hot seat he jumped into after Pitino-era By PATRICK McMANAMON Scripps Howard News Service SAN ANTONIO — The University of Kentucky had beaten St. Louis in a second- round NCAA Tournament game when the message scrolled across television screens in Lexington, Ky. Here's the time the team plane will arrive from Atlanta, it read, here's the terminal and here's where to park. Please leave 20 minutes early. That was the atmosphere that Tubby Smith joined when he accepted the job as Kentucky coach last May after the departure of Rick Pitino to the Boston Celtics. It was a job some advised him not to take, for some thought Kentucky was not ready for a black coach. Smith ignored the issue, asked to be judged as a coach and a man, and went on to guide the Wildcats to their seventh national title, four behind UCLA's mark of 11, with a 78-69 victory over Utah in the championship game on Monday. "That never crossed my mind," Smith said. "I was happy for our players, happy for my staff, happy for the fans. Because this program is more than a basketball program. It is a way of life." Smith, the son of a poor Maryland farmer, had 16 brothers and sisters, all of whom had to bathe in a steel utility tub every Saturday night. He earned his nickname because he never liked to leave the tub. That he would lead a traditional basketball power which was painfully slow to integrate to the title seems almost beyond the normal confluence of events. But this year, Smith did just that. Smith understood the challenge that awaited him but did not agree when a black Lexington columnist wrote that his family's safety was in danger and Kentucky was not ready for a black coach. He took the job, calling it a dream. And he took those words as a challenge — to himself and to fans. "There are so many things that can go wrong," Smith said. "So many things you have to do right." And there were so many things he did do right. Smith took Pitino's players, modified Pitino's system and installed his own. No longer did Kentucky use the all-court pressing and fire-threes-at-will style; under Smith, the press is applied moderately, and the offense pounds the ball inside. Smith adjusted to the talent he had, instead of making the talent adjust to him. "It's mind boggling to me," said Utah coach Rick Majerus. "You've got to give Tubby a tremendous amount of credit. He had to kind of combine new players with existing players with a new staff into a system that somewhat resembled Pitino's and yet add his own touch to it. To me, it's an incredible coaching job on his part and it speaks to what Kentucky basketball is." "I think," Smith said of the way he is treated by fans, "that people have accepted the fact that he knows what he's doing a little bit." Smith knew Kentucky's history when he took the job, how Adolph Rupp did not have a black player until the 1971-72 season. Smith even remembered watching TV as a 14-year-old and seeing Texas Western's five black starters upset Rupp's five whites in the 1966 championship game held in College Park, Md., not far from his home. He remembered being inspired. "Not so much that they were black," he said. "But seeing the underdog win the way they did. It gives all underdogs some hope.';' Call that an offshoot of a regular Tubby '. tenet: judge me as a person, not as a black person; judge me by my character, not my ? color. j But don't ignore the obvious. i "I would have to say most blacks in . * America had some real problems with ken! tucky (in 1966)," Smith said. "It was the } time of the civil rights movement, and our * ideas were shaped by that. My perception ^ of Kentucky was no different than it was I for any school that didn't offer opporturii- * ties to minorities." , \ Now, though, Smith talks of the incredi- \ ble opportunity he has, how special it is to jj coach at Kentucky and how much he enjoys . I Not that things were always easy. Ken- it. f tucky lost three games at Rupp Arena this f season, one to Louisville. That just doesn't* happen. Late in the year, a radio host told * Smith that the team was 25-4 but he shouldn't worry, none of the fans had given up; « j yet. ; ' The true test of acceptance may come < down the line, when his team does not win a national championship but is upset in the first or second round of the tournaments •' • For now, fans love his coaching and his folksiness and down-to-earth style. . . „ , Salina South takes two from Concordia Cougars have no trouble winning openers despite cold, windy conditions By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal With rain and sleet, wind gusts of more than 30 miles per hour and wind chills in the teens, Tuesday was hardly the ideal day for Salina South coach Daryl Hoelting to be making early-season evaluations of his softball team. The Cougars opened the 1998 season with a pair of one-sided victories over Concordia, ending both games of the doubleheader at the South High fields by the 10-run rule after five innings. South batted around in two innings during a 14-0 win in the first game, before re- placement starter Amanda Campbell pitched a four-hitter in a 12-2 victory in game two. "I was just pleased we were able to get outside and play," Hoelting said. "We have been outside very little this year. Considering the fact •ACTBALL * na * We na( * a P^f p»M, , basketball CONCOHDIA o 2 han g OV er and have been outside slim to §AMNA SPUTH 14 12 none, I thought the kids played pretty well." South jumped on Concordia early in both games. The Cougars sent nine batters to the plate in building a 5-0 lead after one inning in the first game, then went that one better with a six-run inning to open game two. Hoelting was also pleased with the balance of his offense. Eight of nine starters scored in the opener, and all nine crossed home plate at least once in the second game. Junior Kendra Harbaugh made her varsity pitching debut in the early game, working out of a first- inning jam and settling down for a four-hit shutout. With returning pitcher Sara Mitchell out because of illness, Campbell came in to strike out four and walk two in five innings. "It's tough to know exactly how well they were throwing because of the weather, but I was encouraged by the job of both pitchers," Hoelting said. "Neither one had ever thrown a pitch in varsity competition. Campbell was penciled in to throw junior varsity and after Sara wasn't able to play, she jumped up and did the job." South right fielder Tai Kerbs had two doubles and four RBI in the opener, catcher Kendell Powell had three hits in the second game and third baseman Leah Wahlgren was 5 for 6 in the two games with five RBI. The Panthers only runs came in their final at bat. Trailing 11-0 with two out and nobody on in the top of the fifth, Concordia needed two runs if the game was going to continue. April Avery drew a walk, Rita Walker doubled Avery home and Genae LaGasse followed with an RBI single. "Concordia had two or three kids sitting on the bench for disciplinary reasons so they had some kids out of position," Hoelting said. "They are going to have a pretty good ball team." South is off until next Tuesday when the Cougars play at home against Great Bend. Lue to enter NBA draft By The Associated Press LINCOLN, Neb. — Tyronn Lue sat at the head of a table Tuesday and read aloud the words that Nebraska basketball fans did not want to hear. ': "After a lot of discussions with my family and the Nebraska coaching staff, I have decided to make myself eK . igible for this year's NBA draft," he said. Lue is a quick, sharpshooting guard, who led the Cornhuskers to the NCAA ' Tournament and a 20-12 season. The All-Big 12 junior point guard, who led Nebraska in scoring last season with 21.2 points per game, had talked repeatedly since the fall about the possibility of \ t leaving the Cornhuskers a year early to turn profes- 1t sional. ''''*> \ Lue is seventh on Nebraska's all-time scoring list, with 1,577 points. He broke the Nebraska record this season by making 78 3-point shots. Lue said NBA teams have projected him as a No. 6 to No. 15 pick. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 82?-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavldsoo^saljournal.com

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