The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on April 11, 1987 · Page 25
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 25

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Saturday, April 11, 1987
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INSIDE 26 Friday's baseball 27 Today's HID activities 29-42 Classified he (Kimea Saturday, April 11, 1987 MORNING LINE Yale Youngblood Captains' talent is showing Thursday night at Fair Grounds Field, some 2,833 local baseball fans were treated to a glimpse of what this game of hardball is all about. Fortunately for most of them, the Shreveport Captains were doing the treating. In an almost perfect blend of timely hitting, rock-and-fire pitching and major league fielding, the Caps showed just how efficient this machine can be when it hits on all cylinders. The result was a 4-2 victory over Arkansas, a verdict that broken to the essentials merely represented a small step in the club's quest for a Texas League East Division first-half title. But the fact that it was achieved with such precision raised an important and perhaps premature question about the caliber of play that will be displayed at the yard this summer. Is it possible this is the best Shreveport team in recent history? Living up to potential Clearly, on this given night, it lived up to an advanced billing that was the recurring theme of spring. Manager Jack Mull said early on at training camp that this team had the championship talent. Pitching Coach Marty DeMerritt, never the shy, retiring type anyway, did his management cohort one better. "This," 'Dog' barked, "is the best talent the Giants have ever sent to Shreveport." Certainly, based strictly on flashes of brilliance displayed already, there's that chance. Clearly, this is a solid pitching staff from top to bottom. What that means during the course of a season is that there shouldn't be any extended losing streaks, regardless of whether the bats stay up with arms. And so far, the bats have held their own. Add the big league fielding capabilities shown in flashes during the first four games, and indeed, a case could be made that what happened Thursday will become a rule and not an exception. Still, the jury is out at least for a few more weeks. Fortunately, that's a notion not lost on the defendants, as Deron McCue quickly observed two nights ago. . "Let's wait and see what happens," McCue pleaded after knocking in the game-winner Thursday with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. "It's still early. There are still enough new guys mon this club that well j nave to wait and una out i whether we can blend . Deron McCue together." The unspoken word at the heart of McCue's state of the union address could be the key element for the Captains this year. The word is chemistry, and for the next month or so, it will be Mull's major field. During that span, he will juggle lineups, try various combinations in the hitting order and try to be sure each of the 1 0 pitchers get both quantity and quality out of their innings on the mound. Trying to stay fresh So far, he has everyone's interest piqued, but that's as much attributable to a fresh start as to fresh starters. There will come a time, though, when roles will have to be developed. When sluggers realize their worth to the club rests in their ability to drive home runs. When a slumping hitter must not let his hitting woes segue to his glove. When backups will have to reconcile themselves to spot duty and strike quickly, if not often. Mull thinks the transition process will go smoothly, simply because of the resilient nature of his pupils. "This is as good a group of kids as I've ever worked with," he said. "Everybody understands the concept of playing for the team, of picking up the guy who is down and doing the little things it takes to win." If he was correct in that early season notion, he could very well be correct in the one made earlier. In any case the prospect for an outstanding season looms more than simple conjecture. At this point in the season, few assessments could be more encouraging. SMU won't play football in 1988 The Associated Press DALLAS Southern Methodist will scrap its limited 1988 football season in the wake of NCAA sanctions against the school for improper payments to athletes, officials announced Friday. SMU interim president William B. Stallcup Jr. said in a statement the school should be able to return to full participation in the Southwest Conference in 1989. In the harshest penalty ever against a football program, the NCAA on Feb. 25 banned football for 1987 and restricted the 1988 schedule to seven road games. Stallcup had said more than a week ago he was considering dropping football for 1988. "The cancellation of the 1988 season in itself does not have a significant bearing on the longer term future of SMU football and intercollegiate athletics," said Stallcup in the statement Idled Sutton says switch is necessary Leader s 70 i fashioned in weird round By KENT HEITHOLT The Times AUGUSTA, Ga. Masters leader Curtis Strange's golf bag should carry a warning for gallery members. Caution: this 18-hole ride could be hazardous to your health. Strange's round Friday had his followers looking green in the gills and grabbing for the nearest plastic bag. The roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia isn't half as turbulent. "It was up-and-down," Strange said of his strange second-round 70 that gave him a two-day total of 141, three-under-par. "It was pretty exciting, but not exactly a round to be proud of." "Yeah, it was cheer one hole, throw up the next, cheer another hole and throw up again," said Sarah Strange, who followed the ebb and flow of her husband's round. Strange's card showed five bogeys, five birdies, one eagle and just seven pars. It finished on a down note, but it was still upbeat enough to grab a one-shot lead after 36 holes in the 51st Masters. Strange, who bogeyed two of his last five holes, shot his second straight sub-par round to hold an edge over a quartet of golfers at 142, including first-round leader John Cook, who birdied the last two holes for a 73, Corey Pavin (71), Larry Mize (72) and Roger Maltbie, who had the tourney's best round with a 6-under 66. Only six players were under par for two days and just four more could claim even-par 144 scores. "I threw up on myself coming in, but every player had his troubles. I just had mine at the end of the day," Strange said. "I just have to remember I did have five birdies and an eagle." The eagle came on the fifth hole when Strange hit a 6-iron that stopped 185 yards away in the bottom of the cup. "It kind of broke the ice for me," he said. - He bogeyed the next hole, however, but recovered with a pair of birdies, three pars and two more birdies in the next seven holes. When he stumbled on the way home, Strange had to try hard to forget his 1985 Masters performance. That year he blew a four-shot lead with six holes to play and lost to Bernhard Langer. "I dealt with that last year and got it out of my system," he said. "But there is some special motivation. When you blow a tournament, you always want to come back and win it. "But The Masters is a tournament that means more than anything else to me." Twenty-two of the game's top players are sitting just five shots from the top spot with 36 holes left. Wx5 s f 0 '' ,m.&.,, . ...aw.tiiji . .v .,,y,,,. ,,,,.,. j I snr i f. ' v&V- The MASTERS AP Laser Photo Strange things happened to Curtis Strange Friday as he captured a one-stroke lead in The Masters Tournament. Prominent in that group are Tom Watson (72) at 143, Seve Ballesteros (71) at 144 and Ben Crenshaw (70) at 145. Defending champion Jack Nicklaus (72) was at 146 and pretournament favorite Greg Norman was at 147. "It's going to be a long, frustrating and tiresome 36 holes," Strange said. "I could win this thing or I could finish off the face of the earth." Maltbie, formerly a Tour wild child, took a step toward completing his transformation from party animal to parental role model with his 66. The man who once left a first-place check of $40,000 on the floor of a Boston tavern after an evening of celebrating "that's still cloudy" whizzed past the field by cutting 10 strokes off his first-round 76. "It was probably five shots me and five shots difference in the course," said Maltbie, who made seven birdies and one bogey in his morning round. "But I thought a lot of other people would do better." They didn't and Maltbie, who recently celebrated the birth of his first child (Spencer), found himself paired with Strange in the final group today. Several golfers had shots at taking the lead, but all faltered. Mize surrendered a share of the lead with a bogey at 18, See STRANGE, Page 28 . : vtr .r ".- j , . Vsx,-J Second-round leaders Curtis Strange .....71-70141 i John Cook 69-73142 j Larry Mize 70-72 142 j Roger Mahbie 76-66 142 i Corey Pavin 71-71 142 Tom Watson 71-72 143 T.C. Chen 74-63 143 Bernhard Langer 71-72 143 Others f FAILED TO QUALIFY f a-Buddy Alexander 76-76152 I Hal Sutton . 77-76153 j a denotes amateur More Masters scores, Page 28 f By KENT HEITHOLT The Times AUGUSTA, Ga. - After missing the cut in the 51st Masters Golf Tournament, Shreveport's Hal Sutton decided it was time for a change. The change won't occur in his golf game, however. Most likely it will involve another caddy switch. "I'm not going about this thing the right way," Sutton said after his second-round 76 (for a two-day total of 153, nine-over par). "My caddy and I just aren't communicating. There's no way I should be scoring this bad with the way I'm hitting it. "Something has to be done. Not has to be done, it will be done." Sutton's caddy is Andy Martinez, who once caddied for Johnny Miller. Martinez and Sutton started their association before the 1987 season and the combination just hasn't clicked. "I know what the problem is," Sutton said. "He caddied for Johnny Miller when Miller was playing great. He knows the game and he wants to help out, but I've never had a caddy that helped me decide anything. "We need to do something differently. I told him, 'We're at the crossroads.' " Sutton's absence for the final two rounds will only be his second missed cut in 11 events this season. It also ends his streak of making the Masters' cut in odd-numbered years; Sutton made the cut in 1985 and 1983. "There's nothing good or positive about missing a cut, nothing whatsoever. In a major tournament it's probably a little worse, because it means so much more," Sutton said. Conditions were better for scoring in Friday's round, but Sutton suffered the misfortune of several misplaced shots and an erratic putter. There were no four-putt greens like he suffered on Thursday, but there were some misses. "My putting wasn't all that bad, I just couldn't keep the ball out of the wrong spots," he said. "There are some dangerous places to be on this course and I was in a lot of them." Although Sutton played the back nine in even-par 36, it couldn't overcome his front nine 40. He never could erase his double-bogey 5 on the par-3 No. 4. Sutton's tee shot buried under the lip of the bunker and he left his second shot in the trap. Sutton plans to take next week off and then rejoin the PGA Tour in two weeks. "I'm going to the farm in Arkansas (just north of Hope)," he said. "I'm going See SUTTON, Page 28 Caps can thank pitchers for 4-0 victory By YALE YOUNGBLOOD The Times How hot are the Shreveport Captains right now? Well, in Friday's 4-0 win over Arkansas, one Shreveport pitcher Dean Freeland. twirled no-hit ball for 63 innings, and another Dennis Cook slammed a seventh-inning pinch-hit homer. Still, neither was awarded the "nffirial" cramA hall when it was over. Freeland That pill went to center fielder Paul Meyers, who in a makeshift presentation ceremony in the festive Caps' clubhouse was honored for his first and second hits as a Class AA player. It was a fitting gesture, initiated by CAPTAINS ON THE AIR Arkansas Travelers at Shreveport Captains, 6:50 p.m. (pregame), 7 p.m. (first pitch), KEEL-AM (710). right fielder Deron McCue, considering that it climaxed a second straight "everyone's a hero on this club" outing. It was a game marked by the drama of Freeland's quest for Texas League history, the excitement of Cook's unlikely slugging display and the sweeping feeling that whatever it takes to win or whoever it takes to win it this club has the bases covered. "We sat in here and talked about this club last night," said Shreveport manager Jack Mull. "And we can't get over how close-knit these guys are, how well they pull together. One night one guy picks us up, the next it's another. That's the mark of a good ball club." Obviously, this early in the TL season, it's a tad premature to start printing playoff tickets. Still, Friday night showed for the third night in a row that when the 3-1 Caps are clicking, they're a sight to behold. Freeland got the ball rolling by keeping it from rolling or flying anywhere for the first six innings. Finally, with one out in the seventh, Traveler second baseman Luis Alicea hit a hard grounder in the gap between first and second, just beyond a spirited diving effort to stop it by Captains second baseman Greg Litton. Dennis Carter followed Alicea's hit with one of this own, and while many of the 2,756 at Fair Grounds Field will no likely speculate that the second single was borne of the inevitable letdown Freeland suffered after the first, the young right-hander contended it was more the result of a bad pitch. "I threw a hanging split-fingered fastball," Freeland said. "Even if I'd gotten the first guy out, that one would have been a hit anyway." Moments later Freeland gave way to Cook the pinch-hitter not to be mistaken with Cook the pitcher, who a night before earned his first AA win and the former University of Texas standout outfielder showed he hasn't lost his swing. Batting only because Ty Dabney is nursing a hyperextended elbow and T.J. McDonald was attending his sister's wedding, Cook lifted a John Costello fastball over the right field wall to stamp official what was already looking like a Caps' win. Earlier, Litton had scored run No. 1 on a double-play grounder in the second inning. And Shreveport had added two more in the third when Everett Graham doubled and scored on Romy Cucjen's single, then Cucjen came around on Lit-ton's triple. All this came at the expense of Arkansas starter Craig Weissman, who was no match for Freeland on this "pitcher"-perfect evening. The five-game series concludes tonight at 7 p.m. Boxscore on Page 26 File photo Al Dodd prepares to make a catch during his playing days with the Saints Al Dodd dies in accident By BRIAN McNICOLL The Times Al Dodd started out barely wanted and ended up sorely missed. Dodd, a star defensive back at Northwestern State and a top receiver in the National Football League, died Thursday night in an automobile accident near Opelika, Ala. Dodd was co-captain on the 1966 Demons team, which went undefeated and finished as the No. 1 college division team in the nation. He then went on to stints with three NFL teams, including the New Orleans Saints. Dodd, 4 1 , was residing in Dadeville, Ala., at the time of his death. Gene Knecht, the assistant NSU coach who recruited Dodd, remembers being surprised at how few other schools were after him. "His high school team went to the state finals his senior year, and I was surprised how few people were interested in him," Knecht said. "You could tell he was a good player. He was the finest athlete I ever had the pleasure of working with." "Nobody much was interested in him besides us," recalled Jack Gayton, the Demons head coach then. "I guess they thought he was too little or something." He wasn't. Dodd, who ran a 9 6 100-yard dash at West Jefferson High School in suburban New Orleans, became a college division Ail-American at free safety. Dodd holds NSU interception records for career (31) and season (nine), and his 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in another game is still the school's longest He and Dick Reding went to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., after that unbeaten season, the first college division players to do so. He is one of only three Demons to have his jersey number (4 1) retired. The others are Gary Reasons (No. 34), currently playing linebacker for the New York Giants, and the late Joe Delaney (No. 44). i i n r -- -- m.

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