Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey on June 16, 1985 · Page 65
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Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 65

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Asbury Park, New Jersey
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Sunday, June 16, 1985
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Page 65
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Sun., June 16, 1985 Asbury Park Press 2 Baseball 4 Scoreboard 15 John Geiser LfttU i rv Chen still in command at BKni.ini.iirn 1MTTK Elliott DENMAN Lavelle is giving Jays lots of relief Gary Lavelle, the kid from Scranton, had simply been on the road too long. He never did get to see "That Championship Season," that Scranton and basketball-based Broadway smash. "Tell me when it comes around again," he told people last week at Yankee Stadium But Lavelle, born in Scranton 36 yeart ago, is no waiter. ' :. This time he's writing his own script. He is the ace left-handed reliever of the Toronto Blue Jays, North America's Team. . Through 58 games, Toronto had carved out the finest record in baseball and Lavelle a toiler of distinction for 10 years for a San Francisco team of no distinction at last was putting his own "Championship Season" together. Toronto, of course, has been knocking on the door of the American League East leaders for years, but the Jays have never managed to get all their vital signs together. With considerable talent, they've still managed to play a supporting role. They never had a chance last year and the Tigers' runaway start was just part of it. Their own inability to nail things down in the late innings was an even bigger part. They were penned in a dilemma of their own making. When manager Bobby Cox called for relief, he was put on hold. Through the seventh of April, 1984, it was all so glorious north of the border. The Jays held first place for exactly six games. But they wound up holding second for exactly 156 games as the Tigers clawed their way to to the top of the bascbal heap. Well, Lavelle came over to the Jays last Jan. 26, in exchange for three unknowns, and Cox solved the toughest of baseball equations. Righty reliever Bill Caudill had come to Toronto from Oakland in December for Dave Collins and Alfredo Griffin and dollars for the first half of the solution. With new help all around him, incumbent righty Jim Acker has risen to new heights of his own fnaking. At last look, Caudill had nine saves, Acker eight and Lavelle three in the late-game stardom that put Jays alone out front, atop the AL East standings for over a month. To a man, these Jays button up on the subject of bigger things ahead. "Sure it's nice now, but don't start talking pennant in June," said centerficlder Lloyd Moseby, typically talking nothing but caution. ". As the Maple Leafs continue to slide on soft NHL ice, the Ontario metropolis' love affair with the Jays only deepens. It's a long-standing hunger that only continued Jays' success can sate. For Lavelle, all this winning is heady stuff. He experienced precious little of it in San Fran. He managed to win more games (73) than he lost (67) all those years even though his team wasn't coming close to making that kind of a statement. ' The Jays' two triumphs over the Yanks this week, following a series-opening 4-2 loss, only bolster team confidence as the AL East race reaches its middle stages. While Jays' relievers were shutting down the Yanks in the late innings, Billy Martin's pen-men were being reached for the runs that proved heartbreakers to starters Ed Whitson and Ron Guidry, who had hurled such masterful ball at the start. It was Acker, Lavelle and Dennis Lamp coming in to silence Yank bats one night and Lavelle and Acker the next. "We've had the hitting and defense all along," says skipper Bobby Cox. "Now at last we've got the bullpen help we've needed." "There are an awful lot of months , left in this season," said manager Billy : Martin, whose only happiness was seeing the Jays clear out of the 4 Stadium. "We know we've got some hard work. We know we can get back , in this thing." The thing is that the Yanks and Jays have taken vastly different , approaches to building winners. North America's Team is a team without stars. No one sticks out, they all stick together. And this team that sticks together wins together. Perfect example: Ranee Mulliniks, whose pinch-hit homer off Rich Bordi jolted Yank hopes in the 10th inning Wednesday night. The starless system is fine with Lavelle, who twice was a National League All-Star and now talks Mulliniks' language. "I just want to be one part of the whole, just blend in," he says. That's an old line, even if he didn't know it. It's straight out of "That Championship Season." '.' Elliott Denman is an Asbury Park Press staff writer. His column . ' appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Open By BARBARA MATSON Press Staff Writer BIRMINGHAM, Mich, Before he came to Oakland Hills Country Club this week, T.C. Chen knew only that the United States Open Championship was a major tournament. And he knew only that Ben Hogan was a golfer who came before Jack Nicklaus. Now that he's scored three sub-par rounds for a 54-holc Open record-tying score of 7-undcr par 203, Chen is learning Open history. But not as fast as he makes it. The 26-ycar-old Taiwan native shot a I -under par 69 yesterday in steady rain in the third round of the 85th U.S. Open to take a two-stroke lead over 1978 Open champion Andy North. North sank a 60-foot put on the 16th green to score an even -par 70 over Oakland Hills' wet 6,996 yards. Chen's 54-hole total of 203 matches the record set by George Burns in 1981 at Merion Golf Course in Ardmorc, Pa. The legendary Ben Hogan won the Open at Oakland Hills in 1951 when he broke all Open scoring records with a 276, including a magnificent closing 67. Chen first read about this piece of American golfing history in the program guide he received at registration this week. So there are no ghosts chasing the happy young man from Taipei. Still, he knows no Far Eastern player has ever won the U.S. national championship and he knows he can make his mark here at Oakland Hills. "When you have a chance to win a major," he said, "then everybody is thinking maybe you are a superstar or a big star." And yet Chen has kept his excitement firmly in check. He only lost his concentration once yesterday, when he missed a two-foot par putt on the 1 7lh hole after rainwater sluiced off his baseball cap onto his face. It rained from the first hole to the last yesterday but Chen shook off the raindrops as easily as he shook off the pressure of leading the first U.S. Open he has played in. "Usually we play in Taiwan from November to April," Chen said. "That's the winter season and winter is just like this." Chen picked up a birdie on the par-5 second hole, the hole where he dropped his double eagle in the opening round. After driving the fairway, he hit a 3-iron that landed beside a tree in the left rough. He chipped to about four feet from the pin and sank the putt to escape trouble with a birdie. It was the sort of play he's made all week: a little luck, a deft touch on the green, and a big grin. See CHEN, page C5 f ! 1 lice " 9 "'Wl A s y , " s A,. St. . . J -it State champs STEVE SCHOLFIELDAsbury Park Press Ocean players celebrate their 3-0 victory over Montville in the state Group III championship game at Princeton University. It was the first state title for the Spartans in their 20-year history. Shore comes up short. loses to Newton m By JOE ZEDALIS Press Staff Writer PRINCETON Non-alcoholic champagne flowed on one side of the field at Princeton University, tears on the other. Unfortunately, Shore Regional High School was the team "on the other side." On an afternoon when every game was a tough one to lose, Shore's 4-3 nine-inning loss to Newton in the NJSIAA Group II baseball championship was an even more bitter pill to swallow considering the unusual circumstances that surrounded the scoring of the decisive run. But when the umpiring crew met on the third base line for the second time in what seemed like an eternity and not just minutes and correctly reversed a decision on a batted ball that had struck a baserunner, Newton was a winner, Shore a dejected loser. With the score tied 3-3 in the last of the ninth, Gary Wroblewski opened the inning by reaching on an error. An already tired Vinnie Christopher then walked No. 3 hitter George Mendel on a 3-2 pitch. But Christopher wheeled, fired a strike to shortstop Vinnie Fiore to pick off Wroblewski. It appeared as if the Devils had dodged a bullet again. But then Christopher, who finished throwing 169 pitches, walked the next two hitters to load the bases. Shore head coach Fred Kampf started out to the mound, went back to the bench and finally removed his ace, who was trying to breaking Kampf s record for wins in a season. On came Turk Acquaro, in came the Shore infield. Newton's Brian Kersnowski then smashed a shot that darted toward the middle of the diamond. Fiore, the shortstop, dived and missed but the ball struck Erik Pcdcr-scn, who was going from second to third, on the foot.-'S The umpires immediately made the call. Pedersen was'jout, the ball was dead and the bases were still loaded. But just as most everyone seemed satisfied with the call, Newton head coach Robert Melillio approached the umpiring crew again. "The infield was in," Melillio said. "They wanted to get the runner at the plate. The runner was hit with the ball behind the shortstop. The rule is, if he has an attempt to make a play, the shortstop, and doesn't, and the runner gets hit with the ball behind him then it's just a live ball." The umpires agreed and George Mendel stepped on home 'plate with the decisive run. "1 was thinking of it as I was coming off the field," Melillo explained. "And I realized the infield was in. He got hit with the ball behind the shortstop. The call made was the right one if he's hit with the ball in front of the shortstop. In that pressure situation you're upset that you made an out that way. But then I realized that those guys had a chance to make the play. "Yeah, it was a strange way to win a game, but it would have been a strange way to lose it too." Kampf momentarily disputed the call but returned to his bench quickly. "Fiore was on the grass," Kampf said. "Fiore was on the dirt. I think it was the right call." It was game that Shore should have won. The Devils walked the tightrope again yesterday, only this time they fell. As has been the case throughout its state tournament excursion, Shore scored first. In the top of the second, Christopher sliced a one-out double into the right field corner. Scott Centanni then struck out, but when the third strike was mishandled, forcing catcher Kersnowski to throw to first for the out, Christopher broke for third. After the making the putout at first, the throw to third by Newton first baseman Mike Bell rolled down the left field line. Christopher was awarded home on an obstruction call at third base. See SHORE, page C8 Oeean captures Group III title By STEPHEN EDELS0N Press Staff Writer PRINCETON They were treading where no Spartan had ever gone before, this 1985 edition of the Ocean Township baseball squad, when they stepped onto Princeton University's Strubing Field for yesterday's NJalAA Group III final. They were also facing the massive Montville right-hander named Jim Price, a terror to North Jersey hitters all season long who's taking his 92 MPH fastballs to Stanford next year. But when the joyous sea of red finally flowed onto the diamond and the siren blasts roared from the fire truck and various horns throughout the crowd, it was evident the Big Red had secured its first state baseball title in the school's 20-year history. It was a familiar position for the Spartans (24-6), riding the right arm of senior pitcher Ted Feindt to roll past the Mustangs, 3-0, in Fcindt's third NJSIAA tournament victory and his second shutout. In all, Feindt limited the Mustangs to just three hits while striking out two and walking three to raise his final record to 1 1-2. "Teddy has carried us through the playoffs," said Ocean coach Dave En-derly. "He started with an execution of Freehold Township and then came Sterling, and now we've just witnessed another execution. Teddy just has a heart as big as the Princeton field." "I couldn't have done it without this team," exclaimed Feindt. "We knew we could hit him (Price) right from the start. Our hitters in the first inning came back to the bench and said we'd faced guys like this before this year." The Shore Conference Class B North champions heeded the advice well and, after smelling the blood with a pair of singles in the second inning, exploded for the winning rally in the third inning. Sophomore second baseman Mike Lcpore, hitting in the ninth position, led off the inning by driving the first offering from Price deep over the left fielder's head, bouncing over the fence for a ground rule double. Shortstop Pat Trush followed with a perfect bunt down the third base line, legging it out to give the Spartans runners on first and third with no outs. Following a stolen base by Trush and a strikeout by Ocean rightfielder Marc Keezer, Rob Goslin gave the Spartans all the runs they would need by singling hard through the middle of a drawn-in infield to score both runners. "He hung a curve but I was looking for the fastball on the pitch and I just swung at the ball," said Goslin, who also drove in the Spartans' only two runs in their Group III semifinal victory over Sterling. "We urnt nn In hat Innkino fnr ihp hpat i' ' o today. I like hitting in the third position in the order, it's better than leading off the second inning." After Price retired the Spartans in order in the fourth inning they reached See OCEAN, page C8 IP t J ?. - . ' 4 I t - " I &. "x V - . j Asbury Park Press Shore's Vinnie Christopher drives off the mound as he delivers pitch in yesterday's state Group II championship game. Eastern League interested in Toms River By JOE ADELIZZI Sports Editor DOVER TOWNSHIP If there were a suitable stadium in this Ocean County municipality, Eastern League president Charles Eshbach would recommend the area be granted a Double-A baseball franchise. That's what he said following a fact-finding trip to the municipality Thursday. Eshbach was there at the invitation of Dover Township mayor Roden Lightbody and met with township officials. The one road block to minor league baseball coming to the Jersey Shore is a stadium, but Lightbody indicated that it is a hurdle that can be overcome. "A corporation has indicated it may be interested in building a stadium if they felt that a minor league team could be guaranteed," said Light-body. Lightbody and others were non-commital as to whether the township itself would be willing to build a stadium if a private interest wouldn't make the investment. "We would need a feasibility study and some cost estimates before we could present something like that," said Lightbody. The Eastern League currently has eight franchises. Each one is operated by private ownership and is a working affiliate of a rnajor league team. Eshbach said that the league is hoping to add teams when the major leagues expand. That is expected to happen by 1987. "When baseball expands, the new major league teams must have Triple and Double-A teams according to the conditions of ownership for big league franchises," said Eshbach. "We're hoping to get those franchises so we can expand to 10 teams." And there is also the possibility of a team currently playing moving from its existing home. The Waterbury Indians an affiliate of Cleveland in the American League have been rumored to be for sale or seeking a new place to play. The going price for a Double A franchise is $350,000. "Our owners come from all walks of life," said Eshbach. "Some are just minor league owners. Others are See EASTERN, page C13

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