St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on July 27, 1989 · Page 92
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 92

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Thursday, July 27, 1989
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Page 92
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ST. LOUIS FC37-CI3PATCH Sports -XT 41 THURSDAY, JULY 27, 1989 Alton Legion's Longest Day Has Happy Ending The game ended just after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. But for Karl Doucleff and his Alton American Legion baseball team, it might as well have been 2 p.m. "We didn't care what time it was," Doucleff said. "We ; were sky-high." f Alton completed its longest day by stunning Belleville 11-6 in the third and deciding game of the District 22 best-of-three championship series. ; Doucleff's club, which has been fighting an uphill battle all season, advances to the Fifth Division Tournament. ,The five-team, double-elimination competition begins to- ; day in Edwardsville. Alton (18-19) will take on Murphys-boro or Carbondale at 12:30 p.m. in the first round. ', Despite the late hour, Doucleff and his players stood around home plate for about 10 minutes after the game, reflecting on the fortunes that brought them the unexpect- : ed crown. ! "I know most of the fans thought we were crazy," Doucleff said. "But the kids worked so hard for this I : wanted them to hang around and enjoy it a little longer." Alton was never considered a serious threat to win the title. It struggled through the regular season and finished third in the North Division with just a 11-9 record. Ed- 'wardsville, which placed first, and defending league champion Granite City were thought to be the top threats. Actually, most league coaches felt the real talent in the district was in the South Division where Belleville, Smith-ton and Waterloo reside. Belleville draws its players from ;, Belleville West and Althoff high schools, which were p coming off successful campaigns. Smithton's lineup is comprised of players from Freeburg High, which won the Illinois High School Association Class A title last month. "I could see where people would say we didn't fit in," lou don't know what it means to these kids. They never gave up and now they've got something to show for it. J J KARL DOUCLEFF, Alton manager Doucleff said. But when the dust cleared, Alton was the only team left standing. Last month, even the most ardent optimist would have had trouble picturing Alton in the winner's circle after it lost four of its first five league games. Most importantly, it lost one of its top players pitcherinfielder Tony Stoecklin with a hamstring pull the first game of the season. "Obviously, it didn't look good," Doucleff recalled. "But I kept telling everyone that we'll be all right. "It got to be sort of a joke. Every time we'd look in the local paper, there I was saying, 'we'll all right.' I think the players were amused by it more than anything." But as it turned out, Doucleff was right. Stoecklin returned from the injury sooner than expected. The slumping hitters caught fire. The defense came together. All of a sudden, Alton was a serious contender. Doucleff said the turning point came over the Fourth of July holiday. Alton played its best ball of the season in a 12-team tournament in Kokomo, Ind. Despite losing three of four games, it proved to itself that it could compete with any team in the area. "When we came back here we had the attitude that these other teams aren't so tough," Doucleff said. Alton opened the North Division Tournament with a 4-3 upset of Granite City. Then came a 6-0 shocker over Edwardsville in the second round, a victory that put Doucleff's crew in the best-of-three series. Although Edwardsville bounced back to win the North Division Tournament, it did not play in the championship series because it already had earned a berth in the Fifth Division Tournament as the host team. Alton began the championship series with a 4-1 victory over Belleville Sunday night. Belleville bounced back to win the second game Monday, setting the stage for the third game later that night. Because the second contest lasted longer than anticipated, the third game got underway around 10:45 p.m. Alton jumped to a 6-1 lead but then held off a late rally for the triumph. The winners arrived back in Alton around 3:30 a.m. Doucleff, who runs a bakery in town, took off his uniform and went right to work. "I usually get up at 3:30 anyway," he said. "I've got to be in at 4:15 so there was no reason to get any sleep." Alton has a solid pitching staff led by the one-two punch of Stoecklin and Jason Wittman. Stoecklin, a lefthander, recently completed his freshman season at Lewis And Clark College in Godfrey. Wittman helped Marquette High reach the state tournament for the seventh time in the last 11 years. Righthander Joey Porter, a senior-to-be at Alton High, has come through with flying colors the past couple weeks. He tossed a five-hit shutout in the 6-0 victory over Edwardsville. Shortstop Craig Hentrich and second baseman Brauni Borman lead the attack. Hentrich has hit around .400 all J season. A Post-Dispatch all-Metro punter and placekicker, he Is headed to Notre Dame on a football scholarship. Borman, a recent graduate of Wood River High, is batting ',' .350 and leads the team in RBI. !; Infielders Brian Mossman and Gary Hubbard and out- ;' fielders Mike Russell, Jeff Mossman and K.C. Doucleff, are also swinging hots bats. Catchers Tom Brinkman and Brian Piotrowski have been tough down the stretch. The majority of Alton's players come from Alton High, which compiled an 11-19 record in the spring. The others came from Marquette, Wood River and Bunker Hill. Doucleff says his team is capable of continuing Its J magic in the Fifth Division Tournament. The winner advances to the state tournament August 3-6 In Arlington's. Heights. t "Right now, we're excited," he said. "If that has any-a thing to do with the way we play, we're going to be tough to beat." Edwardsville (24-5), Harrisburg and Centralia round out the field. Harrisburg looks to be the team to beat. It knocked oft' Edwardsville in the sectional ound of the high school tournament on its way to the Class AA championship. The Edwardsville players have been looking forward to . a rematch and will get it at 4 p.m. this afternoon. That first-round contest will go a long way toward deciding the champion. St. Clair's Marty Willis Has A Major- League Vision ; By Vahe Gregorian ; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff 1 Marty Willis' high school days were dwindling, and his vision was myopic. He could see nothing before baseball, nothing after t baseball. To him, that was no impairment. To his father, Carl, it was. They had words, many words, on the subject. ' "I said, 'Marty, we're going to have to have a serious talk about what it is you want to do with your life; whether it be college or trade school or whatever, you need to find ', a venture of some sort,' " Carl Willis said. Marty's response? "I want to play baseball." .' Of course you want to play baseball, Marty. You've I loved It since you were a 5-year-old ballboy, since you " were old enough to hold a ball in your hand. All you ever wanted for your birthdays and Christmas was baseball equipment. 1 But Carl Willis tried to explain that Marty had to see ; past that now. He stressed that there needed to be some- thing more, even if it's just a backup. ; "We got into some pretty heated conversations over ; that," his father said. Nothing had changed by the time Marty graduated from , St. Clair High in 1984. Not much changed after that, either. "When he went to East Central a junior college in Union, he took courses really irrelevant to anything just to be able to play some baseball," Carl Willis said. On twist to the story is that Marty Willis, a 6-foot-3 righthander, now is in his second year of pitching in the Detroit Tigers organization. Last year, pitching on loan for the Peoria (Ariz.) Brew- "I I'm just trying to move up one level a year. 9f MARTY WILLIS I ers of the Arizona State League, Willis earned the Rolaids Award as the league's best reliever, and in his one start he pitched a no-hitter. This year, playing Class A baseball for the Lakeland Tigers, he has won three games and has an earned-run average of just over 3.00. "I'm just trying to move up one level a year," said Willis, who was coveted by the Brewers after spending last season with them because of an overstocked Tigers rookie league staff. The reason he is there is another twist in the story. Although Marty's steadfast stubborness chafed his father, they reached an accord, an agreement without which Marty probably wouldn't be able to play baseball. Convinced by his wife Janet that Marty would find a venture after baseball ran its course, Carl Willis made a deal with his son, who spent two years pitching in the Metro Leagueafter he finished playing at East Central. When Tigers scout Joe Thurman came to sign Marty, dangling no signing bonus and a wage of about 700 a month before taxes Carl Willis was ready to back his son. "I told Marty that if he would give 100 percent effort and dedication, I would try to support him financially and as his advisor," said his father, who runs a dyecasting company in St. Clair. "Marty and I basically shook hands on that. "It's put a strain on our lifestyle financially, bet h's getting a taste of life's hardships, along with a learning experience." The learning has been cultivated on the field and off. On the field, he has honed his split-fingered fastball "I'm still learning it, though" and revved up his fastball to as much as 92 mph "It's not too bad." He's also developed his approach to the game, with the assistance of Tigers' veteran pitcher Jack Morris, who has been in Lakeland while rehabilitating from an injury. "He helps us out a lot by giving us talks, mostly just about the mental part of the game," Willis said. Although he has prospered from Morris' presence, in one way it also has muzzled his growth. Had Morris not arrived in Lakeland, Willis would have started a few games, which he is eager to do. He has not started a game since his no-hitter in his final appearance last season. Off the field, he's learning to cope with the different lifestyle. His girlfriend, Sheri, is with him in Lakeland, which is located between Tampa and Orlando. Although they have gotten accustomed to it, it is not their idea of the good life. "It's nice, but it's not like home," he said. "There's so' much traffic, and there's always people. I really like the quiet; I like using where I can breathe the fresh air." Janet Willis said: "He loves coming from a small town.! He likes knowing everybody, and he loves just being able' to bowl, and fish and hunt, especially hunt. Usually when, he goes out after something, he comes back with somethi'.0 " ' W'hcjgh she referring to his hunting, her. point has otnu' applications, implications her husband has, come to terms with. He still worries about his son's future, but he doesn't' hide his pride over his accomplishments. His support is given eagerly, not grudgingly, even though he sometimes thinks he made more concessions than he should have. "I'm more confident now than I was before about Marty's future, and I guess I don't know if you ever do; have total confidence about your children," Carl Willis said. "I do know, and my wife convinced me, Marty's the type of person who will put 100 percent into whatever he wants to do, and that makes me more confident." As for the handshake? "He's holding up his end of the deal," Carl Willis said. The same could be said for Carl Willis. He has taken his family on several extended visits to see his son play, and has subsidized his son's Lakeland hotel room and paid for his rental car, meals and other incidentals. SALE ENDS JULY 31, 1989 I ' 111 - 88 Chevy Cavalier Black, 2 dr., at. ac, AMFM, Pow Lock, Mag Wheels oaded, only 1989 Dodge Dynasty, I 6,xxx mi. IK - 1988 Ford F-1 50 Green, Stick. 6 cylinder, air. 1987 Cavalier CS. 4 dr.. Auto , Air, AMFM, Low miles Rpnn 1988 Chevy Conversion Van, White Silver, loaded w9,xxx ml. fc-jmiN.i l in Iuij,J 1983 S-IOTahoe Blue, V-6, Air, 79,xxxmi. 1988 Chevy Beretta GT, Grey, Auto, Air, i m, & Cruise, AMFM Stereo. 84 VW Jetta, Maroon, 5 speed ac, AMFM Cass, Alloy wheels 1987 Chevy Nova, Lt. Blue, 5 Spd. 1 965 Chevy Cavalier Wagon, Red, auto, air AMFM, very clean 87 Dodge Raider, Black 4 Tan, Auto, AC, AMFM. LOW Ml. It I 1985 Olds Delta 88, Royal Brougham, Cheap. 1985 Dodge Ram, Red, 4 W. Dr., Auto 84 Olds Cutlass Cierra LS White, at, ac, AMFM, Cheap 1986 Chevy Spectrum, AMFM, Air, only25,xxxmi. 86 Bronco II Eddie Bauer, Tilt, cruise, AMFM Cass & Alloy wheels. Red & Beige 1 83 Chevy Van Conversion, Tan 1 Blue, Fully Equipped, Only 70,xxx 1987 CMC S-1 5 Grey, AMFM, Air, 4 1984 Trans Am, White, Loaded 1985 Merc. Lynx, Beige, Stick 0mmluJ I 1989 Camaro RS, Blue, Loaded 1984 AMC Encore LS, 4 dr, green, ps, pb, air, AMFM only 30,xxxmi. 1 984 Cadillac Seville' , loaded Elegant, only 57,xxx mi. i 1 983 Olds Delta 88, AM.FM, Air Auto, Cruise, low mi. c; 1 987 Chevy Cavalier, Blue AMFM Cass., Auto, 19,xxx mi. Till & Cruise , .jr"4 84 Chevy Silverado, auto, AC, Tilt, cruise, Pow Windows, Pow Locks 88 Chevy S-1 0. Red, 5 speed, AM FMCas3.12xxxmi. Z30 85 Mercury Cougar XR7, fully equipped, Silver 1 986 Ford Thunderbird, grey, auto, air, tilt, cruise, AMFM cass. S -f 1987 Bronco XLT, Auto, Air, Tilt, Cruise, AMFM, 17,xxx mi. 1989 Celebrity, drey, Auto, Tilt, Cruise, AMFM, 4xxx ri't i M ' 1985 Ford Escort, blue, air AMFM cass., clean 1986 Mustang LX, Air, Cruise, AMFM cass. 1987T-BW Sport Cpe, Loaded, Silver IW'imV'1''--''' L j 86 Camaro At., AC, Cruise, AM FM Cass., T-Tops 4only34,xxxmi. 78 Chevy Malibu, 4 dr Auto, AC I only45,xxxMi. SALE HOURS: MON.'WEO.'fW. 8 30-9 00 TUES'THURS. 8 30-600 SATURDAY 8:30-5:00 SERVICE HOURS: - MONDAY THRU FRIDAY 7 A.M. 5:30 P.M. 345-5444 1 820 Vandalia, Collinsville GotJmmk special mm from LIMITED QUANTITY RANGER "EXPLORER" -. f?k ORUPTO . 1J saSSkJg FINANCING "SUPER VALUE" CASH BACK 1989 RANGER 4x2 STYLESIDE PICKUP PRICE INCLUDES Electronic AMFM stereo with cassette and clock Tachometer Deluxe two-tone paint Chrome rear step bumper Cloth split bench seats P215 RWL all-season tires Power steering 2.3L engine 5-speed manual transmission Deluxe wheel trim Tinted glass Interval wipers Headliner Sliding rear window EXPLORER SPECIAL VALUE PKG. Bright low-mount swing-away mirrors Cast aluminum wheels - deep dish LIST PRICE VALUE YOU PAY ONLY $1 1,578 $8699 $750 REBATE These vehicles are equipped with a Ranger "Explorer" Package which is being produced in limited quantities on a test basis. In order to qualify for he special added value of the Ranger "Explorer," you must be a resident of the following counties: 25 RANGERS IN STOCK AT COMPARABLE PRICES 1989 RANGER 4X2 SUPERCAB PICKUP - PRICE INCLUDES " 2.9LEFIV-6 "Electronic AMFM stereo Air conditioning with cassette and clock Rear jump seat -Tachometer 5-speed manual Deluxe two-tone paint transmission Chrome rear step bumper " Deluxe wheel trim Cloth split bench seats ,.- Tinted glass P21 5 RWL all-season tires Interval wipers Power steering Headliner Bright low-mount swing-away mirrors , EXPLORER SPECIAL VALUE PKG. Speed control Tilt steering wheel Cast aluminum wheels - deep dish 1 LIST PRICE VALUE YOU PAY ONLY "14,038 $10,799' MISSOURI ST. LOUIS ST. CHARLES JEFFERSON ILLINOIS ST. CLAIR: MADISON DEMONSTRATOR SALE PRICES INCLUDING FACTORY REBATES YEAR MODEL STOCK I LIST PRICE VALUE I DISCOUNT y YOU PAY ONLY 1989 ESCORT LX 2 POOR 1034 $10,060 $2061 $7999 1989 TEMPO G.L2D00R 995 $11,528 $2579 $8949 1989 PROBE G.L. CPE. 1110 $13,759 $1860 $11,899 1989 TAURUS 4 POOR 1112 $14,318 $2419 $11,899 1989 TAURUS G.L4D00R 946 $16,281 $3282 $12,999 1989 T-BIRD COUPE 1103 $17,719 $2920 $14,799 1989T-BIRD LX2P00R 1033 $18,760 $3305 $15,455 WE HAVE A LARGE SELECTION OF PRE-OWNED CARS AND TRUCKS IN ALL PRICE RANGES. THESE VEHICLES ARE FULLY INSPECTED PRIOR TO SALE AND BACKED IN WRITING SEE US TODAY!!! YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED!!! PARTS & SERVICE DEPARTMENT OPEN MONDAY THRU FRIDAY 7 A.M. TO 6 P.M. A FULL SERVICE DEALER SALES PARTS LEASING -SERVICE COMPLETE BODY REPAIR FACILITIES 1837 MADISON AVE , DOWNTOWN GRANITE CITY (618) 452-5400 t (314)867-921;

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