The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 15, 1998 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

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Friday, May 15, 1998
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THE SALWCioURNAL Sports BASEBALL / C3 TRACK HONOR ROLL / C5 CLASSIFIED / C6 c T AIRING IT OUT T PRO BASKETBALL JOSH DUBOW The Associated Press Webber traded for Richmond $portsCenter kirs 20,000th show Sunday Doctors sing its theme song in the delivery room. Fans in airports yell out an anchor's signature call like chickens yakking in a coop. But ESPN's "SportsCenter," airing for the 20,000th time Sunday night, is more than nicknames, one-liners and funny commercials. It has changed the way people follow sports. .vBefore "SportsCenter," fans thirsty for highlights were left with three-minute sportscasts on the late local news or weekly s'hows like "George Michael's .Sports Machine." ^ Today, for good or for bad, viewers can see every rim-rattling dunk, circus catch or showboating celebration dance long before the morning paper hits the doorstep. "What other coverage did for you the next day or the next week, 'SportsCenter' could do immediately in a more exciting way, while giving fans context to performances and trends," ESPN managing editor John Walsh said. The show also brought a new attitude to television, delivering news and highlights with smart humor and an edge. "From the beginning, our marching orders were 'You guys know what you are talking about. Say it, but say it smartly and back it up with opinion and facts,' " said longtime anchor Bob Ley, who will be the host for Sunday's 90-minute ' show with Dan Patrick and Chris Berman. That successful formula has catapulted the network to unforeseen heights and made celebrities out of ,j,ts anchors. ^ "Once upon a time we got : laughed at when we asked for press passes," said Berman, perhaps the most popular of ESPN's anchors because of his memorable nick• names and catchy calls. "Now when I walk through airports, peo- ; pie yell out my 'back, back, back' ^home run call and treat me like I'm someone important." Patrick realized his celebrity status when the intern delivering his ,fiCgt daughter called her "en fuego" rand^sang the "SportsCenter" theme "flncler his mask. But all three anchors know that : combining humor and schtick with ! journalism is not an easy task. ;Many other ESPN anchors and some imitators at other networks Sacramento also sends Thorpe to Washington for the troubled Webber By JOSEPH WHITE The Associated Press WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards on Thursday traded a problem child for two veteran gentlemen, sending Chris Webber to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe. The trade breaks up the former "Fab Five" duo of Webber and Juwan Howard, the former University of Michigan teammates who brought more disgrace than success in four troubled seasons in Washington. "Guys, I make no bones about it," Washington general manager RICHMOND WEBBER Wes Unseld said. "We gave up a tremendous young talent in Chris Webber. We got a tremendous, mature leadership-type individual in Mitch Richmond." Although Unseld said that Webber's off-the-court problems — including an arrest on marijuana and assault charges and a separate grand jury investigation into a sexual assault complaint — played "hardly any" factor in the trade, he frequently peppered his • NBA playoffs / Page C5 remarks with words such as "maturity," "leadership," "intangibles" and "chemistry" when dis- cuss^ng its benefits. "Mitch Richmond has shown over the years that he is a professional," Unseld said. "He can provide some of the things that I feel this team sorely needs: leadership, the ability to have someone you can go to get you a basket when you really need it." While Webber has been considered one of the bright young talents in the league, Richmond and Thorpe are both in their 30s and in the twilights of their careers. However, both have earned the reputation for staying out of trouble, something that appeals to Wizards owner Abe Pollin. Richmond is a former All-Big 8 standout with Kansas State. "I agree that the possibility for criticism is there when you do a situation not only young for old, but big for little," Unseld said. "There's always second-guessing." Webber, who was not available : for comment, is awaiting trial for a January arrest on charges of marijuana possession, second-degree assault, resisting arrest and several traffic-related charges after he was stopped on the way to practice on Jan. 20. This week, Webber had his driver's license suspended for 120 days in connection with the case. That arrest has no connection to Webber's more recent legal troubles. He and Howard have been named in a sexual assault com- £;<£3ust because dad leaves the "p'swer tools out, it doesn't mean everyone can play with them," Patrick said. "You can do too much, but you can't do too little." The success of "SportsCenter" has spun off its own network and 'several other shows, most notably "Outside The Lines" — which along with HBO's "Real Sports" has taken sports television journalism to a deeper level. But ESPN has been a victim to its growing competition. Ratings for the 11 p.m. "SportsCenter" fell 17 percent in the first quarter, Something that can be partially at- Ltributed to Fox Sports Net and '-CNN. "We are not the only good show •.qufrthere," Berman said. "But we'd ;:l«i'to think we are as good or bet: tefthan anyone else." i> And after 20,000 shows, it still is. LTube bits ** . What happens when one net- fwork promises two leagues the ' same window for its games? That's '"the.ouestion ESPN is trying to an- sjSer, with the NFL and baseball "s«3ieduled for Sunday nights. ; Baseball officials are balking at ;.thjlhetwork's plan to move the '•games to ESPN2, which has about ' 17 million fewer homes. .;. Baseball, which does not want to • be perceived as taking a backseat ! to the higher-rated NFL, may try ; and nullify the final 4>/ 3 years of the contract and sell the cable rights to another bidder, possibly Turner Sports. ESPN, which has shown games on ESPN2 in the past, is considering options to raise the number of homes for the three games in dispute, including using over-the-air or basic cable stations in certain markets. • TNT's Kevin Harlan will replace the departing Verne Lundquist on the network's coverage of the NBA conference finals. The bombastic Harlan will team with Doc Rivers on one .series. T HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL TOM DORSEYflTie Salina Journal Canton-Galva shortstop Chris Nelson drops the ball while trying to tag Sacred Heart's Chris Nlehouse at second base on a steal attempt In the first game of a triangular Thursday at Dean Evans Stadium. Ell-Saline also competed In three-game event. Sacred Heart clubs Ell-Saline Canton-Galva downs both Knights, Cards in first two games By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal When Ell-Saline ran out of gas in its second game Thursday, the Sacred Heart Knights were ready to pounce. After both teams opened the baseball triangular with losses to Canton-Galva, Sacred Heart jumped on Ell-Saline early in the finale and rolled to a five-inning 14-0 victory over the Cardinals at Dean Evans Stadium. Canton-Galva scored four runs in the seventh inning of the first game to pull away for a 7-2 victory over Sacred Heart, then exploded for nine runs in the final two innings to top Ell-Saline 15-8. Sacred Heart, 9-9, scored in each inning of the nightcap while pounding a depleted Ell- Saline pitching staff. The 11-hit performance and run-rule victory was a welcome finish to the regular season for the Knights, who open Class 2-1A regional play Monday at Lincoln. "That's what Ell-Saline Sacred Heart 14 we wanted to do," said Sacred Heart coach Greg Maring, whose Knights got three runs in the first inning, four in the second and five in the third. "We wanted to get ahead early and hopefully have it carry over to Monday. "We needed a game like that where we hit the ball. That's totally different from the first game. In the first game we didn't hit the baU well, but I think a lot of that had to do with (Canton- Galva's) pitcher keeping us off stride." Ell-Saline played without five senior starters — including their top four hitters and two best pitchers — who were away on a senior sneak. Matt Schmidt, a top hitter and pitcher for Sacred Heart, also missed the game with a sprained ankle. "We just about exhausted all of our pitching," said Ell-Saline coach Tim Stephenson, whose Cardinals fell to 4-14 with the two losses. "We depend quite a bit on our upperclassmen. We threw as many strikes as we could and Sacred Heart hit the ball well. "Our kids played. They wanted to play well here at Salina both games and at times they did some nice things. But we got a little frustrated by the end of the second game and things seemed to kind of unravel." Jeremy Ryan had a big game for Sacred Heart, pitching a four- hit shutout for the victory and going 2 for 4 with a double, triple, two RBIs and three runs scored. Nick Barley was 3 for 3 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. Canton-Galva 7, Sacred Heart 2 Canton-Galva broke a 2-2 tie with an unearned run in the sixth inning, then tacked on four more in the seventh to break it open. Beau Peterson pitched a complete-game four-hitter and also doubled and tripled for the Eagles, who improved to 13-7 with their two victories. Still, Canton-Galva coach Joe Rierson was not happy with his See KNIGHTS, Page C3 V MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Damon's grand slam keys Kansas City victory plaint filed by a woman after a party April 6 at Howard's home in Montgomery County, Md. No charges have been filed in that case, which is being heard by a grand jury. "It's a concern," Sacramento general manager Geoff Petrie said of Webber's legal troubles. "I think we're going into that with our eyes open. He does have some issues." Webber's legal woes, plus his erratic leadership in the locker room in a season in which the Wizards failed make the playoffs despite having the sixth highest payroll in the NBA, have brought a cloud over the organization. This past season, Webber led the Wizards with 21.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Richmond paced the Kings with 23.2 points per game, while Thorpe scored at a 10.2 clip. V COLLEGE BASEBALL Tigers fall in West Regional Sonoma State forces FHSU into win-or-out situation this afternoon By The Journal Staff CHICO, Calif. — Sonoma State jumped to an early lead, then withstood Fort Hays State's late rally en route to a 6-5 victory in the opening game of the NCAA Division II West Regional Tournament. The sixth-ranked Tigers (43-13) play the loser of Thursday night's game between Chico State and Cal State-Los Angeles at 1 p.m., today in an elimination game. The winner advances to the NCAA Division II World Series in Montgomery, Ala. Sonoma State (32-19) took control early, scoring three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning against Fort Hays starter Billy Scogin. The Tigers made it 3-1 in the second on Anthony Vasquez's solo home run leading off the inning. Sonoma State added single runs off Scogin in the fourth and fifth innings and made it 6-1 with a run in the eighth off Tiger reliever Bret Klassen. The top-seeded Tigers made things interesting in the bottom of the eighth against Sonoma State starter David Avila. Nate Field, Bill Russell and Vasquez singled with one out, Vasquez's single driving in Field. After Matt Muller fouled out, Steve Ysac belted a three-run homer to right to make it 6-5. But Avila ended the rally by getting Ryan Wasinger on a fly ball to right. Avila got the first out in the ninth inning, but walked pinch-hitter Bill Breshears. Reliever Scott Goucher relieved Avila and struck out Ryan Lopez and got Field to ground out to end the game. Avila (10-2) gave up 11 hits and five runs in 8 % innings. He struck out nine and walked three. Scogin (5-2) surrendered 11 hits and six runs, four earned, in 5% innings. The Tigers committed three errors in the game. Klassen pitched well in relief of Scoggin, giving up four hits and one run in 3 % innings. Ryan Bedrosian, Derek Bell and Eric Kowes had three hits each to pace Sonoma's 15-hit attack. Vasquez had three hits and Lopez, Field and Ysac two apiece for the Tigers, who totaled 11 hits. Royals outfielder hits knuckleball off Springer in second inning By FRED GOODALL The Associated Press ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Johnny Damon waited for a knuckleball to his liking, then made Dennis Springer wish he'd never thrown it. Damon hit a grand slam and Tim Belcher won for the First time since opening day as the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 10-2 Thursday night for a two- game sweep. Damon's second-inning homer off Dennis Springer (1-6), who loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter, gave him six RBIs in the series. Damon finished 2-for- 4 with two stolen bases and scored three runs. "It was a knuckleball that was down around my knees. He threw me some at the chest, and I thought about swinging at them. But how my swing is, I'm not really going to do much with those," Damon said. "I just happened to get that per... feet pitch, and At Royals 10 Devil Ray» 2 fortunately it hit the bat. That's how it went. It was a lucky one. You really can't prepare to hit a knuckleballer. And when you do, you have to feel pretty good about it." Jeff Conine also hit a solo homer off Springer, who has lost six straight decisions. "It's very frustrating. You go out there and you want to do the best job you can," Springer said. "I felt good out there. I just made some bad pitches at bad times." Belcher stopped his five-game losing streak, limiting the Devil Rays to six hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked two to win for the first time since beating Baltimore 4-1 on March 31. After scoring one run in each of Belcher's previous three starts, the Royals supported him with 12 hits, including their first homers in six games. "We put together a nice offensive night. That always makes it easy," Belcher said. "I pitched effectively. And to get a club that's had some struggles of late makes it easy, too. But you've still got to go out there and do it." Tampa Bay's got an unearned run on Mike Kelly's infield single in the sixth, and Quinton McCracken added a sacrifice fly in the ninth off Scott Service. Springer got in trouble with two outs in the second, walking Larry Sutton and Jermaine Dye, then hitting Sal Fasano with a pitch. Damon followed with his second career slam. "I threw a knuckleball that didn't move a lot, and he did a good job and hit it. There's not a lot you can do about it," Springer said. "It all happened with two outs, mostly. ... I got deep in the count with Damon, and I just can't get into that situation." Conine's first homer of the season made it 5-0 in the third, and the Royals added a run in the fourth on Shane Halter's RBI single. Halter hit a run-scoring double in in the eighth and an RBI single in Kansas City's three-run ninth. For Tampa Bay, it was a disappointing finish to a seven-game homestand. The Devil Rays began the series with a three-game winning streak, including a two-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. WSU advances By The Associated Press EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Wichita State scored seven runs in the third inning to break a tie en route to a 12-1 win over Illinois State in Missouri Valley Conference tournament semifinals Thursday. Wichita State (53-5) took advantage of four walks in the third as Joey Blue had a two-run double and Jeff Ryan and Pat Magness added two-run singles. Zach Sorensen hit his 15th home run of the season in the fifth inning. The homer was Wichita State's 116th of the season, a conference record. Wichita State plays either Southwest Missouri State or Indiana State in the winners' bracket final at 2:30 p.m. today. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT 8lbdavld8on@8allournal.com

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