The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 27, 1998 · Page 23
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 23

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Wednesday, May 27, 1998
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Page 23
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THE SAUNA JOURNAL SPORTS WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 1998 D3 V MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Home runs are in the Cards Led by McGwire, St. Louis has homered in 17 straight games By R.B. FALLSTROM Tlie Associated Press ST. LOUIS — Mark McGwire doesn't hit every Cardinals' homer, it just seems that way. St. Louis, which has homered in 17 consecutive games, is ap- proachiiie the major league record of homers in 25 straight, mainly because of McGwire, on pace to hit 83 homers and drive in 202 runs. With his homer Monday against Colorado, McGwire became the first player ever to hit 25 home runs before June 1. He has 13 of the Cardinals' 34 homers during the streak, which already had set a team record. "It's not like I sit there and read a history book on Cardinals' baseball," McGwire said. "Everything that happens in my career will mean something when my career is over with. St. Louis has 70 homers for the season, up from 40 at this time last season. Of the additional 30, 25 are by McGwire. His home-run ratio of one for every 11.60 at-bats is the best ever, relegating Babe Ruth's 11.76 to second place. That doesn't seem to impress McGwire. "I hope I play another 10 years," he said, "and I'm more worried about what I can do the next 10 years than what I just did." Overall, home runs in the ma, jors aren't up much this year. .There have been 1,468 in 738 games, an average of 1.99. Last year at this time, there were 1,420 in 734 games, a 1.93 average. Earlier this year, McGwire even managed to homer in the game that ended the Atlanta Braves' homer streak at 25 games, which tied the record '•shared by the 1941 New York Yankees and 1994 Detroit Tigers. That game, on May 14, was No. 6 in the Cardinals' streak. St. Louis players don't even consider the run a team accomplishment. "You mean Mark's record, don't you?" Gary Gaetti said. "' "He's got most of the home runs." But no matter how good McG- wire is, he couldn't challenge the record alone. Filling in the few blank spaces are Ray Lankford (six homers), Ron Gant (five), Brian Jordan (four), Gaetti and Delino DeShields (two) and Brian Hunter and David Howard (one). Manager Tony La Russa said it's too early to talk about chal- The Associated Press Ray Lankford of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates teammate Mark McGwire after McGwire hit his 25th home run Monday in a 6-1 loss to Colorado. lenging the Braves' mark. "I'll give you a mini-version of Mark McGwire's stock answer," La Russa said. "He doesn't want to talk about 61 home runs until he gets to 50. We don't want to talk about it until we get to 20." Some players don't really want to talk about it at all. Gant, who's second on the team with 10 homers, claimed to be unaware of the long-ball blitz. "That's all for the fans and the media," he said. "The players, we don't care about that, we're just trying to win games." Gant said he doubted the Braves knew what they were accomplishing until reporters pointed it out. And even if they did, he reasoned, what could they do about it? "No one in here knows if anybody is going to hit a home run tonight," he said. "You've just got to do what you can. The way we've been playing it's possible, because we've got a lot of pop in this lineup. But if it doesn't, it's not going to make or break our season." La Russa doesn't mind the record chase, as long as nobody gets carried away. "You can swing for homers and it will hurt you," he said. "The key is to do things right at the plate and let your ability take charge." That's what's happening so far, according to Lankford. "It's funny, when you hit them, you don't really know what pitch you hit, you just kind of sit and react to it," he said. "I guess you get in one of those rhythms, and you make it happen." On Monday, McGwire tied a Busch Stadium season record with 17 homers at the ballpark. He has 56 home games left to break it. Not that it seems to be a a problem. Since the Cardinals acquired him from Oakland last Aug. 31, he has 20 homers in 14 home games, one every 5.6 at- bats. Rockies star Larry Walker, who hit 49 homers last year, marveled at McGwire's 25th, a 433- foot smash off a window at the Stadium Club just below the upper deck in left on Monday. The homer was the Cardinals' only run in a 6-1 loss, but that was all anybody was talking about in the visitor's clubhouse. "I almost snapped my neck trying to keep up with that one," Walker said. "I couldn't believe how hard he hit it." T COLLEGE TENNIS: WOMEN'S NCAA TOURNAMENT K-State's Dorodnova ? > reaches quarterfinals By The Journal Staff SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Kansas State senior Yana Dorodnova won two matches Tuesday to earn All- America honors and advance to the quarterfinals of NCAA women's singles championships at Notre Dame's Courtney Tennis Center. The 47th-ranked Dorodnova, who hails from Moscow, Russia, defeated Katherine Nasser of Northwestern 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in her second-round match Tuesday morning, "She started the match tight like she did (Monday) and didn't play a particularly good first set," K- State coach Steve Bietau said. "Her success is a matter of how hard she has been fighting. "She's not at the top of her game, but she's moving closer. Her level of tennis is good, but her level of fighting is tremendous." Dorodnova defeated Wisconsin's Barbara Urbanska 6-3,6-3 Tuesday afternoon for her third victory of the tournament. "She played better and had a solid performance from the baseline," Bietau said. "Yana reduced the number of errors she had been making and was able to come iii and put enough pressure on to break her opponent." Dorodnova upset Vicky Maes of Arizona 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in Monday's first round. "It is a tremendous accomplishment for Yana," Bietau said. "There are a lot of schools in our (Big 12) conference and in the nation that have never had a player advance this far." The singles championships continue today with quarterfinal matches. The semifinals and finals follow on Thursday and Friday. BRIEFLY FHSU's Field, Vasquez named Ail-Americans HAYS — Two Fort Hays State baseball players have been named NCAA Division II Ail-Americans. .Relief pitcher Nate Field was a first-team selection and first baseman Anthony Vasquez a second- team choice. Field, who was also the Tigers' starting shortstop, was 4-2 with 13 saves this spring. The 13 saves broke his old Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference record of 10. He was 7-3 with 23 saves during his two-year career at Fort Hays. He was a first-team West Region choice. Vasquez was hit .426 with 19 home runs and 73 runs batted in this season. He was named first team West Region, selected for the NCAA II West Regional Tournament team, and RMAC first team. KSU's Silva, KU's Wyrick earn all-Big 12 DALLAS — Kansas State relief pitcher Andy Silva and Kansas outfielder Clint Wyrick have been named to the all-Big 12 Conference baseball second team. No KU or K-State players were named to the all-conference first team. Kansas catcher Josh Dimmick and K-State third baseman Josh Marn and catcher Yancy Ayres were honorable mention picks Spicer not interested in Neb.-Kearney job HAYS — Fort Hays State athletic director Tom Spicer has withdrawn his name from considera- tion for the position of director of; athletics at Nebraska-Kearney. ' ; Spicer, who is in his ninth sea-" son at Fort Hays, made the deci-, sion over the weekend. "After serious review by our family of all matters related to the job at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kathy and I have withdrawn our name from consideration," Spicer said Tuesday in a release from Fort Hays." Spicer was reportedly one of three finalists for the position. Ediger resigns as Tabor's tennis coach HILLSBORO — David Ediger has resigned as men's tennis coach at Tabor College and will be replaced by Jim Paulus. Ediger will remain as women's tennis coach at the school. Paulus, a 1994 graduate of Tabor, currently works with the Tabor Enrollment Management Of-, fice in Denver. He assists in case management, fund raising and fi-. nancial reports keeping. ; Salina's Willey signs baseball letter with NU Aaron Willey, a former Salina Central player and outfielder the past two seasons at Allen County Community College, has signed a baseball letter of intent with the University of Nebraska. Willey batted .390 this spring at Allen County and is playing outfield for the Salina Blaze semi-pro team this summer. Willey batted .400 for the Blaze last summer. From Staff Reports T COLLEGE ATHLETICS Breakup leaves future uncertain for Texas WAG schools SMU, TCU, Rice will be left with Texas-El Paso, Hawaii, San Jose State, Fresno St. By C. BRYSON HULL The Associated Press DALLAS — It was only two years ago that Southern Methodist, Texas Christian and Rice were forced into a new home with the dissolution of the Southwest Conference. Now they must ponder their futures all over again. The Western Athletic Conference, where the three SWC refugees landed in 1996, will apparently split in two next year after Tuesday's announcement that eight of the 16 teams are leaving. The defectors — Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah and Wyoming — cited the loss of traditional rivalries since the WAC's expansion. They also cited rising travel costs and insufficient revenue growth. That leaves TCU, SMU, and Rice in the league with Texas-El Paso, San Jose State, Fresno State, Tulsa and Hawaii. It's not clear where the defections leave WHO'S LEAVING Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah, Wyoming WHO'S LEFT Texas Christian, Southern Methodist, Rice, Texas-El Paso, San Jose State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Tulsa the WAC or if it will even survive after next year. The remaining schools, saying they were taken off guard, didn't discuss their possibilities for remaining. "That's down the road," said SMU athletic director Jim Copeland. "To even speculate on that right now would be premature. Our number one priority right now is to stabilize." But Copeland hinted that he felt betrayed. "I'm disappointed, I think, in the way this was handled," he said. "There weren't what I would consider common courtesies in the way this was handled. My feelings beyond that really aren't important right now." "We're trying, at this point, to evaluate where we are. The thing that is obvious is, number one, we're still in the WAC." Officials said they would consider their options this weekend, when the WAC board of directors meets in Monterey, Calif. "We will now turn our attention to discussing how this development will affect the eight universities that remain," TCU chancellor William E. Tucker said in a statement. Rice President Malcolm Gillis said his school has been dedicated to the WAC. "Rice spent considerable effort trying to make it work in spite of the problems posed by geography and other difficulties," Gillis said, adding that he was surprised by the breakup. WAC Commissioner Karl Benson, who vowed not to see the league die on his watch, acknowledged that Texas appears to be the hub of the realigned conference. He also hinted that the WAC might try to attact new members to fill in the geographic gap between schools in the southwest and the California and Hawaii schools. "There's certainly a wide gap between the Pacific and Texas now," Benson said. "When you look at some of the options and some of the possibilities, there are schools in between that have been interested in the WAC in the past, and we think will be interested in the future." Benson declined to say which teams might be approached but indicated that some candidates could be the schools who petitioned but were denied membership in 1994. Benson specifically mentioned Nevada- Reno, Utah State, New Mexico State, Boise State and North Texas. Holiday Bowl, TV contracts affected DENVER — With television contracts running into the millennium and a longstanding relationship with the Holiday Bowl, the Western Athletic Conference has been left vulnerable by an eight-school rebellion. The WAC's football and basketball contracts with ESPN run through 2000 and 2001, respectively, but are "subject to termination or renegotiation" in the event that league membership changes. "All of our current contracts are under the umbrella of the Western Athletic Conference and are subject to continued membership provisions," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. "This will cause all of our contracts ... to be looked at and scruti- nized to determine what the validity of those contracts would be post-June 30, 1999." The WAC has been scrambling for revenue ever since expanding to 16 teams in 1996. The expansion decision was made in hopes of making the conference more attractive, but WAC teams still have neve,; 1 been a major player in college football's-alliance that determines who plays in :'fhe most lucrative bowl games. The WAC made progress last June when it was granted a spot in the new Super Alliance, provided its champion finished sixth or higher in the national polls, but Tuesday's talk of separation cast doubt on the league's future participation. "It lends itself to some uncertainly," said Charles Bloom, spokesman for Super Alliance chairman Roy Kramer. "In its 16- team state, the WAC was guaranteed certain access. Whether that changes, we won't know until things clear up." 1 The Holiday Bowl in San Diego and the Insight.com Bowl (formerly the Copper Bowl) in Tucson, Ariz., have been the only ones to carry a steady relationship with the WAC. Insight.com officials this month ended its partnership with the WAC, and the Holiday Bowl now may be in doubt as well. NCAA opens door for learning disabled to sports, scholarships By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Hundreds of students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities stand a greater chance of playing college sports and getting athletic scholarships under new policies negotiated by the Justice Department with the NCAA. An agreement between the NCAA and the Justice Department, filed in U.S. District Court here Tuesday, resolved complaints that student athletes lodged with the government over the past 30 months. They contended the NCAA course and grade-point requirements that high school graduates must meet to be eligible for college sports and athletic scholarships violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by discriminating against learning-disabled students. "With today's agreement, the NCAA is opening doors for hundreds of students each year who want to go to college and play sports," Acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee told a news conference. "Many young Americans dream of getting a college education and playing college sports. But for hundreds of students across the country, that dream has not come true because they learn differently from their peers." "Thousands of young people in our nation ... have a neurological disorder. It doesn't mean they are less intelligent. It just means they process words and sounds differ- ently from most people," Lee said. "It doesn't mean they cannot learn; they just learn differently." Scientist Albert Einstein and World War II Army Gen. George Patton had learning disabilities "and no one would dispute their success," Lee added. NCAA President Cedric Dempsey said, "This has been a model exercise in federal-private cooperation, and the real winners are a special group of student athletes." Yale University pediatrics professor Sally Shaywitz said increased research has significantly improved special high school courses for the learning disabled. These courses cover the same material as regular classes, but may have fewer students or use computer-aided instruction, Lee said. The NCAA, however, "often discounted their courses out of hand." A University of Toledo baseball player was declared ineligible because the NCAA only gave him three-quarters credit for a geometry course designed to accommodate his math-related disability, Justice attorney Daniel Sutherland said. The NCAA also discounted special English and math courses for a skier who graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. Lee said some students were passed over by their first choice for college while they were trying to obtain NCAA eligibility rulings. Without admitting it violated the disabilities law, the NCAA agreed to certify special classes as meeting its requirements if they cover the same material as stan- dard high school classes. The association also agreed that learning-disabled college freshmen who have not met requirements to play sports can earn a fourth year of athletic eligibility if they maintain good grades and complete three-quarters of their degree program by the beginning of their fifth year in college. "The NCAA will not change its high academic standards," Lee said. "It will only change the methods it uses to assess whether a student with learning disability meets those standards." He commended the association for implementing some changes before the agreement was reached. 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