The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 18, 1998 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

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Monday, May 18, 1998
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OURNAL Sports HIGH SCHOOL REGIONALS / B3 AUTO RACING / B4 CLASSIFIED / B5 ! if "I'm just going to cherish this for the rest of my life" • David Wells, Yankees pitcher Perfect game! Left-hander dominates Twins from start to finish in 4-0 win By RONALD BLUM '• The Associated Press EW YORK — Even David Wells admits he has some flaws. On Sunday, he was perfect. "Couldn't happen to a crazier guy, huh?" he said after pitching only the 13th perfect game in modern major league history, a 4-0 win for the Yankees over the Minnesota Twins. "I'm just going to cherish this for the rest of my life." The burly — some say overweight — left-hander pitched the first perfect game at Yankee Stadium since 'Don Larsen in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, and the first in regu- & lar-season history for New York, <*P Wells, three days short of his 35th " birthday, even attended the same -fschool as Larsen: Point Loma High in San Diego. Larsen, like Wells, was a carefree character who loved the ^nightlife and was known as "The Imperfect Man." '<** "Two Point Loma Pointers pitching perfect games," Wells said with a laugh, puffing on a Monte Cristo cigar after taking Larsen's telephone call in the clubhouse. "I knew that. I understand he's goofy, too," Larsen told The Associated Press by telephone from his home in Idaho. "I'm glad for him." Wells (5-1) struck out 11, throwing 79 strikes and 41 balls in dominating from start to finish. New York field- :/ers made no exceptionally tough £iplays to protect the first perfect game jj&jsince Kenny Rogers did it for Texas g ^against the Angels on July 28,1994 -"*'-* "In the seventh inning, I started jetting really nervous. I knew what r was going on," Wells said. "I was hoping the fans would kind of shush a little bit. They were making me nervous." The ballpark was nearly full: 49,820 on hand for Beanie Baby Day. "Boomer is the farthest thing from a Beanie Baby," said Yankees manager Joe Torre, who recalled sitting in the upper deck for Larsen's perfect game. Wells kept trying to keep his mind occupied. He'd go in the clubhouse after retiring the side, then returned to the dugout after Yankees batters made one out in the bottom of innings. His teammates tried to avoid him, except for David Cone and Luis Sojo. "After the seventh inning, I told him it was time to break out the knuckleball," Cone said. "He let out a The Associated Press New York Yankees pitcher David Wells is carried off the field by his teammates after pitching a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins Sunday. Wells became the first to pitch a perfect game at Yankee Stadium since Don Larsen in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. big laugh. That told me he needed it." Wells, who went to a three-ball count on four batters, gave up his only hard-hit ball in the eighth, a sharp one-hopper by Ron Coomer that second baseman Chuck Knoblauch knocked down. Knoblauch recovered and had plenty of time to throw out his former teammate. Wells got a standing ovation as he came out to pitch the final inning, and the crowd stayed on its feet. Jon Shave hit a routine fly to right. Javier Valentin struck out. It all came down to Pat Meares. He took a called strike. Then lofted a high, lazy fly to Paul O'Neill in right. Wells pumped his left fist twice at the ground after the final out. His teammates swarmed him, and he was carried off the field by Bernie Williams and Darryl Strawberry. There had been 12 perfect games, including Larsen's gem, since 1900 — several others previously viewed as perfect, such as Harvey Haddix's extra-inning effort, were dropped from the list a few years ago by the records committee. "This kind of accomplishment is too far-fetched for me," Wells said. "You know what's going on, you try to keep things in check, but there's no way in heck you can." Wells, who got only his fourth career shutout in 219 starts, came in with a 5.23 ERA, and his consistency was certainly in question. On May 6 in Texas, he nearly blew a 9-0 lead and tersely flipped the ball to Torre when he was lifted in an eventual 1513 win. But Wells bounced back last Tuesday against Kansas City, winning 3-2. He retired his last 10 batters in that one, and Sunday's game gave him an AL-record 37 in a row. The major league record is 41 by Jim Barr of San Francisco in 1972 — Wells can • break the mark in his next start at Boston. Red Sox rally, complete sweep of Royals Boston's three-run sixth inning, strong outing by its relievers topple KC By HOWARD ULMAN The Associated Press BOSTON — Some unexpected contributors gave the Boston Red Sox the lead. The usual strong performance by their bullpen kept it. Lou Merloni, Red Sox 5 Mark Lemke and Darren Lewis — batting eighth, ninth and first — each drove in a run in a three-run sixth inning that carried the Red Sox to a 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. "We're battlers at the plate," said Merloni, who made his major-league debut seven days earlier in Kansas City. "Our job is to do everything we can to get on base to set it up for the big guys." The big guys weren't needed once the bullpen took over after Derek Lowe pitched five solid innings and left with the score 2-2. Boston has lost just one of 22 games it led after six innings, and its relievers allowed only one run in 10 innings in sweeping the three-game series with the Royals. "All those guys, I feel good about them when I put them out there," Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said. Ron Mahay (1-0) followed Lowe and allowed one run in 1% innings. Jim Corsi retired both batters he faced in the seventh. Dennis Eckersley struck out two of the four batters he faced in the eighth, and Tom Gordon did the same in the ninth, picking up his major-league high 16th save in 17 opportunities. Merloni, who made his major league debut a week earlier, singled home Troy O'Leary, who had singled, to tie the game at 3-3. Lemke hit a sacrifice fly that scored Jason Varitek, who had walked. Then Lewis, filling in for the injured Nomar Garciaparra as the leadoff hitter, beat out an infield hit to shortstop Shane Halter that brought in Merloni. Mahay had given up Kansas City's go-ahead run in the sixth when Larry Sutton singled and went to third when Varitek threw the ball into center field as Sutton stole second. Terry Pendleton singled home Sutton. But Sutton might have caught Mer- loni's RBI single for an out had he not slipped in left field. "Once he went down, he had no chance," Royals manager Tony Muser said. "I think it rained here 11 days in a row recently. The field didn't have much time to dry out." Glendon Rusch (3-6) took the loss although Brian Bevil faced Merloni, Lemke and Lewis for their RBI at- bats. Boston swept the series after losing its previous four games and is 6-1 against Kansas City this season. The Royals are 2-7 in their last nine games. V PRO BASKETBALL BUIIS . . .1*5 Pacers .79 • f . j • Bulls lead se'- rles, 1-0. ^ Chicago Bulls,' Toni Kukoc (lejty and Scottie Pippen double team the Pacers' Jalen Rose during Sunday's first half. < •r.'f> — AP i" Bulls prevail with defense Pippen's defense on Jackson Chicago keep Pacers out of sync, force 26 turnovers in Game 1 By CHRIS SHERIDAN Tile Associated Press CHICAGO — Scottie Pippen wouldn't let Mark Jackson breathe. The rest of the Bulls followed 1 his lead. vi-jv With an NBA title to defend, the Chicago Butts certainly defended it vigorously Sunday. On a day when they had long stretches whefe they couldn't have played much worse offensively, the Bulls' brilliant defensive schemes made all-the __^____^__ difference in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Led by Pippen's work 'oh Jackson, Chicago made 'Indiana look like a bumbling cast of championship pretenders, forcing the Pacers + The Los Angeles Clippers will pick first in next month's draft /Page B2 .into 26 turnovers and keeping Indiana out of sywc in an 85-79 victory. '<' •!=' "That's something we looked at coming into this series," Pippen said of defending Indiana's point guard. "(Jackson) really makes that team click, and with ball pressure and my size, it sort of limits .the offensive opportunities that he can have and also allows us to pressure the ball and not let him see our defense. "I felt I could cause havoc as he tried to bring the ball up." It was that kind of inspired effort that allowed the Bulls to overcome a l-for-9 shooting performance by Pippen and a 2-for-ll afternoon for Toni Kukoc. Even Michael Jordan started l-for-9, but he returned to form in the second half and scored 25 of his 31 points over the final 24 minutes. By the end of the game, Jordan was hearing chants of "M-V-P, M-V-P" and was making the kind of plays that will undoubtedly earn him that award when it is officially presented Monday. Jordan had five of Chicago's 19 steals, and Pippen — who guarded Jackson most of the game — had four. "I knew my pressure would take a toll on him," Pippen said. "I could tell frustration was setting in on them when I had to dodge three or four picks in the backcourt." The Pacers made only one run in the second half, pulling to 66-65 early in the fourth before Jordan made three showstopping plays. The first was a weaving drive, including a crossover dribble, through three defenders for a layup that made it 70-65. The second was a backdoor cut behind Jalen Rose for a reverse layup and three-point play, and last was a jumper with 5:13 remaining for a nine-point lead. And on a day when Chicago was playing its defense so well, even that margin was too much to overcome. Four of Indiana's five starters shot under 50 percent, including a 5-for-14 outing for leading scorer Reggie Miller, who finished with 16 points. Jackson had seven of Indiana's turnovers and Rik Smits and Dale Davis added four each. "There's only one Scottie Pippen," Jackson said. "He did a great job." "We anticipated wrong," Miller said. "To tell you the truth, I was looking to have Scottie on me and (Jordan) guarding Mark. They threw us for a loop. This sends us back to the drawing board." T HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL Peterson resigns as Centre's head coach But longtime coach of last year's Eight-Man I state champion will remain with team as an assistant By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal As he looked back on 27 years of coaching football and, more recently, Centre High School's Eight-Man I state championship last fall, Bud Peterson knew two things for sure: One, he owed more time to his family, and two, at age 48 he still wasn't ready to give up on coaching completely. So when Peterson resigned his duties as the Cougars' head coacn i as t week, it was with the stipulation that the three-man coaching staff remain the same. Assistant coach Justin Redeker will take over the top job in the fall while Stan Wiles continues as a trusted assistant and head junior high coach. The second assistant will be the former head coach. "For 27 years I've made all the decisions and done quite a bit," Peterson said. "I just felt it was time to have some other priorities in my life and bow out. It's kind of an extraordinary situation because I'll be an assistant coach and still be involved." Redeker, who will start his third year at Centre, saw his role expand last year as the Cougars won 11 straight games after losing their opener to Eight-Man II runner-up Hope. Wiles, who was Peterson's top assistant for several years, has helped make the transition for younger players seamless by implementing the Centre system at the junior high level. "Stan is also the junior high coach and didn't want to take both of them on," Peterson said. "He's done a tremendous job in our system. "This year we turned the defense over to (Redeker) and he ran it all year. We're excited about this. We have the same three coaches and Justin will be able to put a little more into it." Peterson said his ascent to the head coaching ranks was similar 25 years ago in his first teaching job at Norwich. He was the junior high coach when long-time high school coach Bob Skillen turned the reins over to him. In his two years as head coach at Norwich, Peterson's teams went 16-4 with a second-place finish at state. Next he went to Remington High School for four years and to Kingman for two before returning to his hometown of Burdick and the Centre job. The 1997 championship season was his 17th at Centre. "I feel good about that," he said. "I feel good about the experiences I've had and the great young men we've had at Centre. "We've had the luxury of some real fine athletes and good families to work with. Those are some things I'll miss and be real emotional See PETERSON, Page B3 Splish, splash The Associated Press Participants in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase make their way over and through the water jump during the Big 12 Championships Sunday. Coverage appears on Page B4. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT Sjbdavldson@saljournal.com

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