Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2002 · Page 19
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 19

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
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Sunday, October 27, 2002
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Page 19
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Sunday, October 27, 2002 - Page C-1 SPORTS Pitt beats Boston College in overtime. Page C-3. C Rick Weaver Halos are cool It's all about halos, a second baseman who had an inexplicable way of pronouncing his last name and minor-leaguers who have become October heroes. Let me pull you in on a secret: I always thought those halos that adorned the caps of the old California Angels were really cool. Of course, that was a year or two before Montreal joined the majors and introduced those tri-colored caps that strongly resembled beanies. It didn't matter that the Angels' second baseman, Bobby Khoop, pronounced his last name, "ka- nopp" (Didn't you ever wonder why it was not pronounced "noop"?). It mattered not that anyone from our neck of the woods who had an American League orientation rooted for the Indians or— Lord forbid — the Yankees. It mattered not, either, that the Angels of my bubblegum card collecting era also consisted of Bubba Morton, Paul Schaal, Merrit Ranew and Rick Reichert (the latter whom my two brothers always called "Pete Reichert," confusing him with Washington Senators left-hander Pete Richer!). I'm not quite old enough to remember when Leon Wagner ("Daddy Wags" to those who do not know longtime Indiana area umpire Bob Wagner) patrolled the outfield for the Angels. Don't ask me about Eli Grba, Ned Carver or Albie Pierson, either. But I am barely old enough to remember when the Dodgers shared their ballpark with the Angels. When the Dodgers were playing, it was "Dodger Stadium." When the Angels were home people called it "Chavez Ravine." At a time when the majors had only 20 teams (our family didn't get out of Pennsylvania very often and the annual trip to a Pirates games at Forbes Field bordered on a budget-buster for dad), I always had a soft spot in my heart for the Angels. 'Growing up during an era that preceded expanded basic cable in an area where the only time we saw American League teams was on the Saturday game of the week, the seldom-shown Angels were always something of a mystery team. I still dug those halos. And I felt bad when the star-crossed Angels lost one of their own, often under tragic circumstances. Names that come to mind include Minnie Rojas, Lyman Bostock, Chico Ruiz and, of course, Donnie Moore. And now being one who saw about a dozen Erie SeaWolves Eastern League games when they were the Angels' Class AA farm club, it has really done me proud to see former SeaWolves Ramon Ortiz, Ben Weber and Shawn Woolen on TV in the World Series. That's what having a AA club in your neck of the woods can do for a baseball fan. When you see a player you cheered during his minor-league days make it to the World Series, you are not ashamed to say you saw him before he made the big time. The Anaheim Angels, a team that once was marred by tragedy but never blessed with a champion, represent a beacon of hope to fans who had grown cynical about the game of baseball. It has been a year in which a labor dispute was settled without a strike, the Yankees, Braves and Diamondbacks did not last beyond the division series, and the Twins — a team that was supposedly on the contraction chopping block— lasted longer than any of those big-spending clubs. But no team has done more to show that just about anything is possible in baseball than has the Anaheim Angels. Rick Weaver is a sports writer for The Indiana Gazette. E-mail: i weaver@indianagazetle.net Homer-Center runs to title Wildcats win cross country title lUP's Jamien Harvey (31) knocked the ball loose from Lock Haven's Rob Kristiniak as the defense forced (Gazette photo by Thomas Slusser) six turnovers. Off to the races Howard's quick strikes help IUP shake off Bald Eagles By BILL BALINT Gazette Sports Writer It's been a long time since Mike Howard was a 100-meter dash champion in the Pittsburgh City League. But Howard turned the Miller Stadium football field into his own personal track on Saturday just long enough to pull the Indiana University of Pennsylvania football team out of the doldrums and into the heart of the NCAA Division II Northeast Region playoff race. Howard produced third-quarter touchdowns on an 81-yard punt return and a 42-yard fumble return that each featured his blazing speed in the open field. More irnportandy, those plays were crucial as IUP turned a 7-3 halftime deficit into a 31-14 Senior Day triumph over much-improved Lock Haven in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division play. The Indians won their eighth straight game and figure to move into one of the four regional playoff positions with two games to play thanks to Saginaw Valley (Mich.) State's loss to Ferris (Mich.) State. IUP was ranked fifth entering this weekend. "I just wanted to catch the ball and then make the first person miss," said Howard of his punt return. IUP 31, Lock Haven 14 Turning pomt-With IUP trailing 73 midway through the third quarter, Mike Howard returned a Bald Eagles punt 84 yards for a touchdown. The Indians went on to score two more touchdowns within a 3:25 span that broke the game open. Key stats - IUP forced six turnovers and registered three sacks while allowing only 207 yards of total offense. IUP gained just 225 yards. Team records - Lock Haven 4-4 (1- 2PSCAWest), IUP8-1 (4-0). Quotable - iUP coach Frank Cignetti: "Our defense and special teams played well enough today that we could have won that game even if the offense had not put up a point." Next game - IUP visits Shippensburg on Saturday. "Making the first person miss is what we stress in practice. I did that, and it just opened up." Howard's return could not have come at a better time for IUP. With four-year starting quarterback Brian Eyerman out with a concussion, red- shirt freshman Kevin Weidl was pushed into duty. He did respond with a solid effort with two touchdown throws, but the Indians' offense was stagnant during the first half, manufacturing just a field goal even though the IUP defense came up with three turnovers. Howard contributed to the lack of offense by mishandling a bouncing punt and fumbling it back to the Bald Eagles. "I wouldn't blame our performance on the quarterback," said IUP coach Frank Cignetti. "The disap- pointing thing is that we wanted to run the football. We didn't block people well up front. That's one area where we didn't play well." IUP averaged only 3.5 yards on its 64 offensive plays, accumulating just 225 yards of total offense. The ground attack struggled for most of the day, gaining 141 yards on 49 tries. The Indians also fumbled six times, although they lost just two. Lock Haven played with increasing confidence and finally embarked on an impressive nine-play, 86-yard drive just before the half. Standout receiver Marcus Burkley caught a 10- yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Rob Kristiniak, beating excellent coverage by Howard in the corner of the end /one. Continued on page C-4 By MATT ADAMIAK For The Indiana Gazette REEDSVILLE — When Tom Lawson was hired to replace Chris Stultz as the head cross country coach at Homer-Center this year, he knew he was taking over a talented team that could be among the elite in District 6. Homer-Center showed just how deep and talented it was, winning the District 5-6-AA team championship Saturday at Indian Valley Middle School. In just its third year in existence, the Homer-Center cross country team finished with 85 points, easily outdistancing second-place United, which had 127 points. Marion Center placed third, totaling 149 points. Homer-Center will travel as a team to Hershey to compete at the PIAA Championships next Saturday at Hershey Park Stadium. "I'm excited for the kids and how far they've come over the past few years," Homer-Center coach Tom Lawson said. "The kids worked hard in practice every day, and hard work paid off. The back of the team carried the front runners, and it was our depth that did it for us." Although it was the depth and consistency throughout Homer-Center's lineup that allowed it to win the team championship, several individuals enjoyed standout days. Joe Kotzur was Homer-Center's top finisher, placing seventh with a time of 17:05. He finished 10th a year ago as a junior. "I'm excited about going to states again, and hopefully I medal," Kolzur said. "It was our goal to win districts as a team, and we worked hard all season to be able to get to this point." Matt Lawson separated his lower two ribs on the right side of his chest earlier this season, and his health has been up and down since then. Lawson ran in pain on Saturday, but he was still good enough to finish ninth with a time of 17:17. "I had to try and tough it out today," he said. "I didn't run as well as I would have liked, but I was stili able to go out there and lake care of business." Homer-Center's Eric Bishop placed 11th at 17:38. Chris Herdman, a sophomore, ran a 17:41 to place 13th, and that proved to be an important part of the championship performance. "I think that (Herdman's 13th- place) was just as big as our guys finishing in the top 10," Tom Lawson said. What made Marion Center's performance so remarkable is that four of its seven top runners are first-year runners. "This was a good experience for all of the kids," Marion Center coach Aaron Lehman said. "We've been improving all year, and they really believe in themselves." Mud, Lions can't stop Stingers By JOHN B. SMATHERS Gazette Sports Writer ARMAGH — The Marion Center Stingers qualified for the District 5-6 Class AA playoffs for a fourth straight year Saturday with a 28-0 win over the United Lions under hostile conditions at Thomas ]. Maditl Field. The Stingers bowed out in the first round oh each of the past three trips to the playoffs. Thai's one string coach Dave Malicky would like to break next week, so he was hoping his team would find a challenge Saturday and use it to prepare for playoff football. The Stingers found it in the middle of the field, and at each end of the field, and ... well, just about everywhere between the lines. Mud was omnipresent, a challenge to any team trying to move the ball without losing it. And the Stingers could not forget about the Lions either, even though United was just trying to avoid its first 0-9 season since 1964. The combination of mud and Lions might not have presented the challenge of playing a Forest Hills, Bishop McCort or Bedford, but the Stingers came away with the result they wanted and their second straight shutout. Marion Center moved the ball well through the air (11.5 yards per attempt) and well enough on the ground (3.8 yards per carry). The Stingers were guilty of just three penalties for 25 yards, they had pretty good starting field position {averaging their own 41) and a solid lime- Marion Center 28, United 0 Turning point — Marion Center led 14-0 when a poor snap rolled past United punter Kurt McGinnis, who was tackled for a 23-yard loss at United's 10-yard line. Marion Center scored three plays later. Key stats — Houser caught four passes for 94 yards. Marion Center held United to 26 rushing yards. United was guilty of nine penalties for 50 yards, including six for illegal procedure. United freshman quarterback Sean Domer passed for 131 yards. Marion Center committed no turnovers in muddy conditions. Team records — Marion Center 6-3, United 0-9. Quotable —Marion Center coach Dave Malicky: "This field got bad in a hurry. After about halfway through the first quarter, the center of the field was just done. I walked out there once during a timeout and thought 'I'm not coming back out here again. I'm going to slip and kill myself.'" Next game — Marion Center plays in the first round of the District 5-6 Class AA playoffs.The opponent has not yet been determined. of-possession edge (28:56-19:04). But perhaps most significantly, the Stingers committed no turnovers on a sloppy field against a determined The field conditions at United weren't ideal on Saturday, as the Lions' Steve Oleksa can attest. (Gazette photo by Jamie Isenberg) United team. they arc going to be a nice team "United played with a lot of heart again. But we threw the ball well out and character," said Malicky. "It's here in these conditions, very evident. They played hard, and Continued on page C-10 A pair of runners — Cory Spidell and Joe Yatzkanic — earned a trip to states and will represent Marion Center at Hershey. Spidell placed third with a time of 16:47, while Yatzkanic came in 13th at 17:47. "I was hoping to get a top five. I ran nn an on C-10 ^ m race) an d rm dell said. "I'm also happy to have a teammate going with me so I don't have to run alone." "It's a good feeling because this was kind of unexpected," Yatzkanic said. "We've worked hard all season, and this was just excellent." United is also sending two runners to the state meet. Ed Rosporski finished fifth at 16:57, and Matt Pajak was 10th at 17:29. Laurel Valley's Brandon Thiel placed 19th at 18:03 and qualified for states. Westmont-Hilltop's David Mock ran the fastest time of the day (16:11) and beat Forest Hills' Jake Strayer U6:27) for the District 5-6 Class AA boys title. Mock, who also won the individual title a year ago, was in control of the race from the beginning, and he kept his focus by going for the course record of 16:08. "My goal was to get and establish a lead early, and I was able to do that," Mock said. "I was out there by myself and I needed to stay motivated so I went for the course record." Although Forest Hills' Leanna Nastase placed second in the state last year at Hershey, she never won a district title — until Saturday. Nastase ran an 18:51 to run away with the District 5-6 Class AA girls' individual title. She became the first girl at Forest Hills to win a district championship in cross-country. "It feels good to finally win the district meet," Nastase said. "I would have liked to have been a little bit faster, but running out in front is hard." > Bishop Guilfoyle's Sonja Hinish, the two-time district champion, came up with pneumonia last week and was forced to withdraw from the competition." "It's a little bit disappointing, because I would have liked to have a chance to go to states three years in a row," Hinish said. "I definitely didn't want my season to end this way." Marion Center placed ninth with 292 points, and its top runner, Lindsay Brock, carne in 28th in 22:10. Homer-Center's girls didn't fare as well as the boys did, finishing 13th with 351 points. Junior Carrie Timko ran a 22:45, which was good enough to place her 40th out of 123 runners. "The girls did OK today," Tom Lawson said. "It's the first time since September that we were able to field a whole girls team." Bishop McCort won the team title with 79 points. Angels force Game 7 By BEN WALKER AP Baseball Writer ANAHEIM, Calif. — Maybe there is some magic in that monkey. Troy Glaus lined a two-run double after a key misplay by Barry Bonds in the eighth inning, capping an amazing rally that Sifted the Anaheim Angels over the San Francisco Giants 6-5 Saturday night and sending the World Series to Game 7. After he homered again, Bonds had it right in his hands — the ball, the! game, the championship. In fact, a; platform had already been set up in' the Giants' clubhouse for a trophy- presentation. '. But then it all slipped away as he] hobbled and fell on Garret Ander-; son's single near the left field line,setting up Glaus' go-ahead hit off! Robb Nen and capping the Angels': comeback from a late 5-0 deficit. Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer in the seventh to make it 5-3 and Darin Erstad's leadoff shot started the rally in the eighth. Give credit to that Rally Monkey, too. Because when the pesky primate began jumping up and down on the Scoreboard, the Angels and the sellout crowd of 44,506 would not be denied. Continued on page C-5

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