The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 24, 1998 · Page 33
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 33

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Sunday, May 24, 1998
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Page 33
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THE SALI JOURNAL Sports REGIONAL TRACK RESULTS / D3 BASEBALL / D5 ALMANAC / D7 SPORTS JOURNAL T COLLEGE BASEBALL HAROLD BECHARD The Sallna Journal Wichita State's season ends ihockers fail io show what [they're about WICHITA — Gene Stephenson, meet Roy Williams. Roy, say hello to Gene. Arid while you're at it, say goodbye to the No. 1-seeded team in the NCAA Midwest Regional Baseball Tournament. In a scene eerily familiar to what happened two months ago to Williams' Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA basketball tournament just down the road in Oklahoma City, Wichita State was unceremoniously bounced from their own regional Saturday afternoon. This time it was Arizona State doing the damage, outplaying the Shockers on their home field in postirig a 6-4 victory Saturday afternoon in front of a disbelieving crowd of 5,769 in Eck Stadium. And so, remarkably, just seven games into this regional tournament, the No. 2-ranked team in the country has been eliminated and all those gaudy season numbers are of little consolation. Fifty-six wins and just seven losses; a 34-2 home record and an NCAA record 12.06 runs and 3.21 doubles per game were just some of those numbers. But Shocker sophomore Pat Magness would trade them all for more baseball. "I'd rather be 40-20 and win the (College) World Series than be 55-5 and staying home," said Magness, who had four hits Saturday, but only one with anyone on base. Magness' four hits went for naught because the hitter ahead of him! in the WSU lineup — Jeff Ryan — failed to produce, again. Ryan entered the regional with 21 homers and 105 runs batted in and left with those same numbers. Oh yes, his batting average did drop 13 points from .454 to .441. "A lot of guys were fighting pitches and not being patient," Ryan said. "My hitting wasn't there the entire tournament. I felt like I let the team down." Jeffj you weren't alone. In addition to not picking up the clutch hit — the Shockers were 4 of 30 with runners in scoring position and left 33 runners on base — Wichita State also booted the ball four times Saturday. All the errors — two each in the sixth and ninth innings — came at the absolute wrong time for the Shockers. "Fellows, we did have 14 hits," Stephenson said. "The bottom line is our defense let us down. We scored enough runs today to win. If we play defense, just normal defense, we win the game. But it didn't happen." What made it even more frustrating to the Shockers was the errors came on routine plays. A poor throw here, a dropped ground ball there. It just wasn't meant to be for a team that had its sights set on the College World Series in Omaha next weekend. "I would say most of the plays today were routine," shortstop Zach Sorenson said. "There is no excuse for them. I made an error today throwing the ball (which led to an insurance run for Arizona State in the ninth inning). We let the team down today defensively." Arid just like the day before against Arkansas, when the Shockers needed a clutch hit, they couldn't get one. Even Brian Preston's three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning had the good fortune of being barely blown over the wall by a strong northerly gust. "I thought that would be the turning point of the game," Preston said. "But I guess it wasn't." And now the questions begin, just like when Kansas was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the second round in March. Was Wichita State's schedule too soft? Many believe it was after the Shockers steamrolled through a Missouri Valley Conference (26-1 record) that put just one team in the NCAA Tournament. Now that team is gone, leaving plenty of good seats available for today's final games of the regional. "It's a shame we didn't play throughout this tournament like we played all season," Stephenson said. "This is a tough situation because this team, certainly for the last half of the season, played like the best team in the country. "I don't have any answers. If we did, we would have fixed it." Sounds a lot like the speech I heard two months ago at The Myriad. Arizona State eliminates No. 1 -seeded Shockers from Midwest Regional By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal WICHITA — You could call it the "Nightmare of 21st Street" and not too many folks wearing black and gold these days would disagree with you. Arirenast. 6 For the third time in wichltast. 4 as many days, the Wichita State Shockers failed to live up to their own lofty expectations and, as a result, became the first No. 1-seeded team in the NCAA Tournament to be eliminated. Arizona State did the honors Saturday afternoon, defeating the frustrated Shock- ^^^^^^^^ ers, 6-4, in front of STEPHENSON 5,769 fans at Eck Sta- STEPHENSON dium. The loss in the Midwest Regional ended Wichita State's season at 56-7 and marked the third time in five years the Shockers have won no more than one game in a regional at their home park. And just like the day before against Arkansas, the Shockers looked in good shape to continue their season at least a few more hours. A three-run home run by catcher Brian Preston had tied the game at 4-4 after six innings, but Arizona State took the lead for good in the top of the seventh inning and added an insu£ ance run in the ninth. „„_ And so the team that had entered! ; the regional with a 16-game winning; • streak and unbeaten record at home; ' (33-0) is done for the season. .j^ "During the last half of the season* - f we played like the best team in thflQ country," a disappointed WSU coach Gene Stephenson said afterwards^ "We didn't play anything like that in-rj See WSU, Page DZ T HIGH SCHOOL STATE TENNIS Central captures 5A championship! A JL M. gftQI Mustangs edge Winfield for crown; Stroer falls short in bid to repeat By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal HOFFMAN LAMB WICHITA — Pete Stroer finally ran out of bullets Saturday, but not before leading the Salina Central Mustangs back to the top of the Class 5A tennis heap. In a classic final, Topeka West's Martin Zovic withstood furious rallies in each set from , defending champion Stroer to claim the singles title 7-6 (11-9), 7-5 at Wichita State's Sheldon Coleman Tennis Complex. McPherson's Will Heidebrecht and Andy Johnson won the doubles 6-4, 6-4 over Winfield's Aaron Dick and Josh Mettling to complete a perfect season and Central claimed its second team championship of the 1990s, edging Winfield 33-30. Stroer, who had not lost a match in the past two seasons, fought back from 4-1 deficits in each set against Zovic, whom he had beaten three times during the regular season. But the Slovakian exchange student was on the top of his game and had an answer each time. "I didn't beat myself," Stroer said. "He came to play and I'm very impressed with how he played. I kind of had to ask myself how good am I on one of my bad days. Even if I didn't win, I left it all out there." Central's team finish helped ease the disappointment, Stroer said. The Mustangs, who were locked in a two-way battle with Winfield, got key contributions Saturday from both doubles teams as Jeff Lamb and Ben Hoffman teamed for third place with Chris Wilson and Lance Jones taking sixth. Freshman Andy Porter qualified in singles but was eliminated Friday with a pair of losses. "I'm proud of the way everybody played," Stroer said. "If I. hadn't had them here, I couldn't have done as well. They won state. They did their part and I did my part. "It's awesome to be state champion. I thought we deserved it. I'm really pleased with the way our doubles teams played." Wilson and Jones, the only two seniors on the team, won their first consolation match Saturday 6-1,6-4 over Wichita Kapaun's Sam Ritchie and Robbie Wilkins before Southeast of Saline's sect Currie rolls to second t?BI straight singles title ^ By The Journal Staff *G».I Class 3-2-1A TOM DORSEY/The Salina Journal Salina Central's Pete Stroer returns a shot against Topeka West's Martin Zovic In the singles final. falling 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 to Travis Date and Dean Buckner of Maize. "My senior year, I couldn't ask for a greater way to finish up," Jones said. "We came in sixth place, but we got a state championship for the team and that's incredible." "It's pretty sweet," Wilson added. "I couldn't think of a better way to end it. It's the height of my tennis career." Lamb and Hoffman dropped their semifinal to Winfield's Aaron Dick and Josh Mettling, 6-1,6-2, but came back to outlast Topeka West's Chris Humphrey and Chris Roth 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 for third place. "After winning the first set 6-0, there's a tendency to let up a little," Lamb said of the third-place match. "We knew we had to break Humphrey right off the bat and we did. We know our returns are the strong part of our game." The doubles finals went against form, with both teams struggling to hold serve early after dominating in that department throughout the tournament. But the big-serving Johnson, who was broken twice in the first set and once in the second, came through in the end. In the singles final, Zovic said he was determined to end Stroer's domination of then- series. "I was thinking that I did not have anything to lose and I could only gain something," he said. "I really prepared for this match and believed I could'win. "The first games in each set are always important. I had a little more control (by leading) in each set, but Pete always came back." Stroer (29-1) came back to lead 65 in the first set and had a break point for the set before Zovic held and took it to the tiebreaker. At 8-9 in the tiebreaker, Zovic won his two service points to regain the lead, then took the set when Stroer hit wide on a groundstroke. WICHITA — Nothing was goint to shake Southeast of Saline senior Thayne Currie on the final day of his high school tennis career. Not a last-minute site change for the Class 3-2-1A state tournament. Not an unbeaten foe in the nals. Not even facing an opponent with 11 more victories than Currie in the tourney's championship match. Currie (26-3) was only slightly, tested during the final two rounds of the 3-2-lA event, breezing past Meade's Mark Thomas in the semi-' finals, 6-1, 6-0, and sealing his secv.v-.-J ond consecutive state singles title with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Claflin's Clint Musgrove iiv _J| the finals. T _.J "I played well and didn't have to "•" stay out there too long," Currie said. "It was a lot of fun. "I knew I was capable of winning, but it was still a little bit sup^ prising since I didn't play that well^ Friday. Today I played well and the*' other guys started going for top^ much. They kind of panicked and* that helped make it easier." '-£, Currie dominated this year's., singles field, losing only eighty games during his four matches. ;~ "The first two rounds Friday I j started slow," Currie said. "The • semifinals I started forcing myself : to play really aggressive and it all just clicked. I kept the pedal to the metal and ran right through my- matches today." Currie had only one brief lull during the title match, winning the., first nine games in a row beforej losing back-to-back games to Mus^ grove in the second set. i "That first set and halfway ! through the second set, I was play- ! ing some of the best tennis I've j played all year," Currie said. "It j was 3-0 in the second set and I kind- 1 of had a lapse in concentration. I lost two games without winning a point." —; The tournament was movedJ from Hillsboro to the Wichita Col-j legiate High School courts because of wet weather conditions in Hillsboro. Currie completed his high school career in the same city where he will begin his college career, having signed to play for Wi~ chita State next season. "I feel like I ended my high school career on a high note," saiP Currie, Southeast's one-man te: nis team. "Now I look forward t( bigger and better things nex! year." : Collegiate won its eight consecii tive team title. Pacers dump Bulls By The Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS — They call him Killer Miller in certain parts of the country, and the city of Chicago may be next on the list. Reggie Miller showed the Bulls why he's one of the best clutch players in the game. He made three 3-pointers and two key free throws on a bum ankle late in the fourth quarter as the Indiana Facers held off the Bulls 107105 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. In this Miller moment, which closed the Pacers' deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, he hobbled around on one good leg yet still had enough resolve to make several big plays right when Indiana needed them — and jump for joy after a few of them. Miller scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and was 9-for- • More coverage / Page D2 15 from the field after going a combined 9-for-27 in Games 1 and 2. "I heard something pop. It's still hurting pretty bad," Miller said of his ankle. "But I'm going to have somebody work on it." Relying on 37 points from their reserves, the Pacers gave themselves a shot at tying the series when it resumes for Game 4 on Monday. This is the third time in five years the Pacers have been down 02 in the conference finals. They came back to force a seventh game the other two times. "We wanted to come out and play with better intensity than we had in Chicago," Miller said. "We have a lot of pride.... This is going to be a dogfight." Chicago has never lost a playoff series after opening a 2-0 lead. INDIANAPOLIS 500 82nd Annual 500-Mile Race 11 a.m. today (ABC-TV) Race preview: Page DB Winners trivia Youngest driver Oldest driver Most laps led Least laps led .Troy Ruttman, 1952, 22 yrs., 2 mo. _ Al Unser, 1987, 47 yrs., 11 mo. .Billy Arnold, 1930,198 laps .Joe Dawson, 1912, 2 laps Widest winning margin Jules Goux over Spencer Wlshart, 13min., 8 sec., 1913 Closest winning margin _ Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear, 0.043,1992 Fastest winning speed 185.981 mph, Arie Luyendyk, 1990 Slowest winning speed _ 74.602 mph, Ray Harroun, 1911 Leading career money winners *= one race win What's new? Fans will have the opportunity to watch the race on small hand-held TV sets, via a low-power signal that can be received in the stands Front row \ 2. Rick Wears 4,299,392 - k^^*r* 7. Mario Andretti* 2,766,931 . <.<% *, i-»Wl'aS2>, 4. Emerson Fittipaldi" 4,042,767 9. Roberto Guerrero 2,338,763 ,"i> *» ik v.iM(?*ji*i . *£ »jtl«3*i.» *Giii«f*r 1 si Weather forecast f MKru-gtL & i SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavldson@sallournal.com

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