The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 19, 1998 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

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Tuesday, May 19, 1998
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Page 11
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THE SALPW30URNAL Sports CLASSIFIED / B4 ALMANAC / B7 FUN / B8 iKIs B T HIGH SCHOOL REGIONAL SOFTBALL T PRO BASKETBALL DAVIS TURNER/The Salina Journal Salina South pitcher Sara Mitchell delivers a pitch against Topeka West Monday in the Class 5A regional at Salina. South rolls into state tourney ^Mitchell tosses 1 -hit shutout in beating Topeka West in final -By BOB DAVIDSON The Salina Journal Salina South pitcher Sara Mitchell just missed a no-hitter, coming within one out of the gem. That was the only thing the Cougars didn't achieve Monday in their Class 5A regional softball tournament at the East Crawford Recreation Area. South steam- rolled McPherson and Topeka •West en route to winning the 'championship and earning its sixth consecutive state tournament berth. The Cougars (20-2) demolished McPherson 13-1 in their opener, then downed Topeka West 5-0 on Mitchell's one-hitter. They will play in the 5A state tournament May 29-30 at the ECRA diamonds. Topeka West (5-15) advanced to "the title game by defeating Salina " Central 5-0 as freshman pitcher Erin Pierce struck out 15 Mustang batters. Ironically, it was Pierce who ruined Mitchell's no-hit bid with a solid two-out single to right center in the bottom of the seventh inning. "It was right down the middle, a perfect pitch," Mitchell said. "By that time I just wanted to get an out and get out of there." She did that, retiring the next batter on a ground ball to second. Mitchell struck out three and walked none. Two West batters reached on errors. "I kinda knew I had (a no-hitter)," Mitchell said. "I wasn't worried about it. I didn't go out and try for it." Mitchell credited her effectiveness to her ability to throw ball over the plate. "I had good control. I felt like I could throw a strike when I needed to," she said. Kendra Harbaugh and Amanda Campbell were equally effective against McPherson, combining on a two-hitter. "Pitching is always the key," South coach Daryl Hoelting said. "All three of our pitchers did well. We stress it and we work on it a lot. It doesn't happen by accident. "The credit goes to pur pitching coach Kenny Hancock. Pitching has been a vital cog in most of our runs and he's the one responsible for that. I try to stay out of the way so I don't screw it up." South scored all five of its runs in the third inning against West. The Cougars used five hits, two West errors and a wild pitch. Tai Kerbs drove in one with a double, Jessica • Watson one on a single and Leah Wahlgren one on a ground ball. One scored on a wild pitch and one on an error. ' "The kids were relaxed and really confident," Hoelting said. "We played good ball." South scored seven runs in the second inning against McPherson to take a 9-0 lead. Wahlgren led the rally with a two-run double. The Cougars strung together four hits, a walk and three McPherson errors. Harbaugh pitched the first three innings and Campbell the last two. The game ended in the fifth inning because of the run- rule. "We play to win every game," Mitchell said. "I suppose these mean more because they're the regionals. But we play our hardest no matter what game it is." Topeka West 5, Central 0 Pierce pitched a two-hitter as the Chargers ended Central's season. Pierce struck out six in a row in one stretch and struck out the side in the seventh inning. "She pitched very well today," Central coach Jerre Morgan said of Pierce. "She was a lot better than the last time we faced her. We just didn't hit the ball. We stood there and took too many third strikes. "We'd been playing very well together, but we didn't come through today." West scored four runs in the third against Central starter Jamie Moreen. Amanda Parker's two-run, two-out single accounted for the final two runs. Freshman Jessica Herrman relieved Moreen to start the fourth inning and gave up one run and four hits the rest of the way. Central finishes 6-13. Jazz puts in big hole Utah rallies to topple Lakers in Game 2, takes 2-0 series lead By BOB BAUM The Associated Press T HIGH SCHOOL REGIONAL TENNIS SALT LAKE CITY — Karl Malone and John Stockton aren't ready for rocking chairs yet. Malone, at the top of his game at age 35 — he finished second to Michael Jordan in the MVP balloting released earlier in Monday — scored 33 points and the 37-year- old Stockton added 22, his highest-scoring game of this year's playoffs. They led the Utah Jazz past the Los Angeles Lakers 99-95 to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Another old-timer, 35-year-old Jeff Hornacek, added 11 points, including two free throws that helped clinch the victory with 24.5 seconds remaining. But it was a reserve, Chris Morris, who triggered the decisive fourth-quarter run for Utah. The best-of-7 series doesn't resume until Friday at the Forum in Inglewood. Utah is 8-1 in playoff series when it has taken a 2-0 lead. "We can't give up anything," Stockton said. "We have to come with all our concentration and intensity and play our best game in LA." Lakers ...95 Jazz .......99 I Utah leads West series 2-0 • Game 2 of East semifinal series between Pacers, Bulls 7:30 p.m. today (TNT) The Lakers were vastly im<' proved from the distracted, unmb ; tivated team that was blown but'J 112-77 in Game 1, the worst playoff : loss in the franchise's proud history. But in the end, the result was' the same. " : Shaquille O'Neal, 6-for-16 from' 1 the field with 19 points in what'he; said was probably his worst game'' as a Laker in Game 1, scored 31 on 14-for-21 shooting Monday. But' h£ ' was 3-for-8 at the foul line an'd 1 missed a short hook shot withr^S; seconds left and Utah leading 96f-'93.'' When the game ended, O'Neal' and referee Steve Javie got inttf'a' 1 spirited argument, then O'Neal was coaxed off the court. '•' ^' Eddie Jones, held to just six 1 points in Game 1, came alive in the-' second half for all 19 of his point's.' 1 • The Lakers led from midway • through the first quarter until Mttr 1 - 1 ' ris' spinning bank shot put Utah ahead 76-75 with 9:41 to play. Mbr 1 -" ris had another basket during an'! 11-0 run that put the Jazz ahead : fofl good. a ; r ''; The run went to 13-1 on Malone's' : stuff shot that made it 85-76 with' 1 6:21 remaining. ' ; "Our entire bench was so aggres-' sive defensively, we had five or six; stops in a row and some easy basf ; kets," Stockton said, "and all of a sudden we had a nice cushion." ;i ' • But the Lakers didn't fold. '' ' Three-pointers by Jones and Rick Fox brought Los Angeles back. And when Malone was call|^for a foul after a Utah turnov'e'rV Derek Fisher made one of two free throws to cut the lead to 94-93 wi|$, 1:19 remaining. Antoine Carr sank a 17-footer^ with one minute left, his only b|sf- ket of the game in four attempts, to put Utah up 96-93, then O'Neal missed the hook, Hornacek made the free throws and the Lakers were finished. Jordan nabs fifth NBA MVP award Central qualifies full team for state Stroer, Porter, Lamb, Hoffman, Wilson, Jones capture regional crown By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal . McPHERSON — Not even Pete Stroer could get too excited about his own performance Monday as he breezed through the singles bracket of the Class 5A tennis regional. He was more interested in Salina Central's historic team effort. Not only did Stroer repeat as regional singles champion, but the Mustangs rolled to the team title by qualifying all four of their entries for state for the first time ever. "I guess it was good enough," Stroer said of his 6-3,6-1 finals victory over Buhler's Alvaro Marti. "I was not real pleased with the way I played, but that's not what matters. Qualifying everybody is what's important. "We're all really happy with each other as a team. We squeaked by in the 1-70 (League tournament) last week and everybody redeemed themselves today." In addition to Stroer's individual title, the Mustangs got third in singles from freshman Andy Porter, plus second and third in doubles. Juniors Jeff Lamb and Ben Hoffman took unbeaten Andy Johnson and Will Heidebrecht of McPherson to three sets before dropping the doubles final while seniors Chris Wilson and Lance Jones were third. Central finished with 15 points to 7 for runner-up McPherson. Buhler was third with 5 points, followed by Great Bend with 4 and Salina South with 3. South did not qualify anybody for state. No Central entry was seeded lower than third and all four held true to form. "I've been coaching at Central since 1981 and I've never qualified my entire team before," said Central coach Bob Warkentine. "That, I think, says a lot, with all the great players and teams I've had the opportunity to coach. "The nicest thing today is our young men battled through some adversity — both the (hot) weather and some three-set matches. They set us up at least to challenge for a state championship." The 5A state tournament will be Friday and Saturday at Wichita State University's courts. The top four regional singles and doubles finishers qualified. Stroer, the defending 5A singles champion, did not lose a game in his two matches leading up to the finals against Marti, a Spanish foreign exchange student. Marti changed the pace on his ground strokes and mixed in some drop shots to win three games in the first set before Stroer took over in the second. "He's a solid player," Stroer said. "He's got good ground strokes. I think he was trying to bring me in to the net and pound it See TENNIS, Page B3 Bulls star one MVP award short of record held by Abdul-Jabbar By CHRIS SHERIDAN The Associated Press NORTHBROOK, 111. — Michael Jordan won his fifth Most Valuable Player award Monday, and it came packaged with the highest praise imaginable from Bill Russell — another five-time MVP winner. "Over the last year and a half, JORDAN more than ever, I've been asked who's the best player who ever played," said Russell, who presented the award to Jordan. "I will say this about you: I cannot imagine anyone playing any better than you do." Jordan, trying to lead the Chicago Bulls to their sixth title this decade, won the award in a landslide over last year's winner, Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz. Jordan got 92 first-place votes to 20 for Malone. Gary Payton of Seattle finished third, garnering three first-place votes, and Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers received one first-place vote from an international panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. "The biggest trophy I could gather today is that a legend like Bill Russell could take time out of his schedule to come here and present the trophy to me," Jordan said. "That is true respect, and a touch of some of the past success and history of the game of basketball that somehow gets forgotten in today's game. "I've always respected my elders, learned from them and tried to maintain the excellence of.the game that they provided. For hlml to come here today is truly a trophy in itself." i'A Jordan, 35, previously won the award in 1988,1991,1992 and 1996. He would have a chance to match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's mark of six MVP awards if continues to play basketball. Jordan will be a free agent at season's end and Has said he may retire. '''"" An air of finality has surrounded Jordan and the Bulls this season, a factor that helped caused the lopsided voting. "It's ironic in a way that the reason Malone won it last year — sort of the sentimental career achievement thing — is the reason Jordan won it this year, even though Jordan had the better statistical season last year and Malone had a better statistical season this year," said John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times. Jackson was one of three Chicago-area writers who voted for Ma5l one last season, drawing the wrath of Bulls fans who inundafed their voice mails with angry messages. T COLLEGE BASEBALL Defending national champion LSU, Wichita State among top regional seeds By CRAIG HORST The Associated Press OVERLAND PARK — Defending champion LSU emerged from th_e powerful Southeastern Conference as a top seed Monday as play begins toward the College World Series. The Tigers will be trying for their third straight college title, something that has not been done since Southern Cal won five in a row from 1970-74. Wichita State (55-5), winner of the Missouri Valley Conference title, is the top seed and host of the Midwest Regional. LSU (42-17), one of seven SEC teams in the tournament, opens Thursday against Nicholls State (28-32), the only team with a losing record in the tournament. Nicholls State is in the tournament by virtue of winning the Southland Conference title. Stanford, which enters the tournament on a four-game losing streak that cost it the Pac-10 title, is the top seed in the West. The * Regional pairings / Page B2 Cardinal (41-12-1) is at home against Loyola-Marymount (33-211). Stanford lost its last two regular season games to USC before being swept in two games in the Pac-10 playoff with Washington (39-15), which got the conference's automatic bid. LSU is backed by a power-hitting lineup that includes 24 home runs from Eddy Furniss and 21 homers from Brad Cresse. Other top seeds were Miami (469), Atlantic I; Florida State (49-18), Atlantic II; Rice (45-15), Central; Southern Cal (40-15), East; Florida (42-15), South I. The winners of the eight region- als advance to College World Series in Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. May. 29-June 6. The series has become a crowd- happy event as well as representing an achievement for the athletes. The regionals, as well as the se- ries, are double elimination. Conference champions won 19 automatic berths. Ten leagues played in for five other spots. The NCAA Baseball Committee picked the other at- large teams. A major consideration in the at- large selections was records in non-conference play, said Ron Wellman, athletic director at Wake Forest and chairman of the baseball committee. "We have encouraged teams to play difficult non-conference schedules," Wellman said. "We have rewarded those teams who have gone out and done so, and done so successfully." LSU, for example, was made a top seed despite a 12-9 road record because it played a top 10 non-conference schedule and was 17-4 'in those games, Wellman said. Wellman continued his push for the NCAA to expand the field from 48 teams to 64 teams. "We could do some very attractive things with a 64-team bracket," Wellman said. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavidson@sal|ournal.com

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