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News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida • Page 31

Fort Myers, Florida
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TOM IIAYDEN Sports Editor 335-0357 Monday-Friday 10 a.m. -8 p.m. SECTION The News-Press Scoreline 332-5600 or 1-800-848-0515 oorts SUNDAY, JUNI IE 4, 2000 Sluffi ft The News-Press Sykora's goal breaks tie in 2-1 win, gives New Jersey 2-1 lead in Finals of the Stars having a lead and being terribly desperate for a win this game was loaded with scoring chances right from the start. Some of that had to do with Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock getting away from the matchup that had the teams' two top lines going head to head, a matchup that directly affected the outcome in the first two games. Instead, Hitchcock spent most of the night pitting checker Guy Carbonneau's line against Patrik Elias, Sykora and Jason Arnott; and was successful in getting his own No.

1 line of Mike Modano, Brett Hull and Jere Lehtinen against rookie Scott Gomez's line. At 13:08 of the first, Dallas' power play earned the 1-0 lead when Sylvain Cote fired a bull's-eye into the empty side. Arnott pushed a shot through Belfour's pads at 18:06 of the first. The Devils took their first lead since Game 1 at 12:27. During a power play, Sykora fired a 55-foot one-timer that somehow went in off the web of Belfour's glove.

Stars fail to seal win 4C Game summary 4C The Associated Press EARLY SCORE: Dallas' Derian Hatcher, right, hangs his head as New Jersey's Jason Arnott (25) celebrates his goal with teammate Petr Sykora (17). Blazers Lakers fight for title shot f) J. cO '-HI -y I A t- inr i What a difference that goal made, and what a difference the 2-1 lead in games can mean. The Devils, who couldn't get the next goal when it was 1-1 in Game 2, can put the defending champions in an enormous hole if they can somehow leave Dallas with a Game 4 win Monday night. At worst, though, the resilient Devils will go home in good shape.

Unlike the bogged-down Game 2 which was a product About 250 players participated in Lee County Parks and Recreation programs and Community Tennis Association events in 1996. Today that number is more than 1,200. Florida has seen its USTA membership grow by 4,000 to 5,000 players each of the last two years. "It really shows in the amount of league play," said Kiko Castillo, head teaching pro at The Landings. More of his members are playing in USTA mixed doubles leagues.

A "super senior" league started here a year ago, adding another option beyond the senior league. Southwest Florida's growing overall population has helped bring more players to the region. See TENNIS 4C Get In the game 4C Area tournaments 4C ANDREW WESTThe News-Press ENJOYING THEIR COURT TIME: Linda Rodgers, center, gets high fives from Nancy McKenzie, left, and Betty James, right, during a friendly game of tennis Wednesday at Bonita Bay Club. Tennis is on the upswing throughout the nation and the region following a slump in the mid-1990s. Tfennis rolls up numbers Gannett Newt Service DALLAS Goals have become precious now, and games even more so.

Saturday night, the New Jersey Devils got the goal that made the difference, the one that broke a tie in a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Reunion Arena. Petr Sykora got this one, which was one that Stars goalie Eddie Belfour may have nightmares over. Southwest Florida," said Susie Romanovich, 53, a Bonita Springs resident who has increased her playing time from twice a week in 1998 to four times a week now. Romanovich's playing habits show a reverse in tennis' downhill trend of past decades. During the sport's 1970s heyday, when Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert were wowing crowds, about 34 million Americans played tennis.

That slumped to 16 million players in the mid-1990s because of competition from other leisure sports and a perceived lack of access to tennis. But a massive USTA campaign, along with local efforts to offer free clinics at public courts and clubs, has boosted play here. LESSINGER MESMER two days, which they said were mostly for the fun of it. "You don't fish charity bene- I Saturday's score Devils 2, Stars 1 (New Jersey leads 2-1) Monday's game Devils at Stars, 8 rem Today's game Blazers at Lakers, 7:30 p.m CE3 (Series tied 3-3) Wednesday's game FINALS Pacers at Lakers-Blazers winner, 9 Q23 series. Los Angeles hasn't lost three games in a row all season.

"It's definitely a concern, absolutely," Bryant said, "because you never know what's going to happen in Game 7, especially against a team like Portland." Only six teams have been down 3-1 and come back to win a series, and it's never happened in the West finals. "This is what you dream of," said Portland guard Steve Smith, who is shooting 57 percent (12-for-21) from 3-point range in the series. "I think everybody, whatever aspect of basketball you're in playing, watching, sitting Game 7 of any series is fun." The Lakers say the Blazers have defended O'Neal so well, especially in Friday night's 103-93 Portland victory, because of illegal defense. "They're illegal most of the time," O'Neal said. Said Bryant, "Hopefully, we can get a couple of illegal defenses.

Watching the video this morning there were illegal defenses a whole bunch of times. They just weren't called. Some of them were our fault because we didn't point them out and we weren't patient enough." And Jackson: "We just need to get their defense legal, that's all. Once they get their defense legal, we'll be all right. See WEST 5C Loprestl column 5C tourney supporter Scott Weisenberger.

Asked how she managed to catch so many more fish than Brian, Lisa explained the superiority of her personal strategy with a laugh. "Every time he hooks a fish, I grab his rod," she said. See TOURNEY 4C Team winners 4C Individual winners 4C Awards 4C More people joining USTA, taking private lessons in Southwest Florida TENNIS BALL SALES The tennis industry considers ball sales the best measure of play. Total sales increased more than 5 percent between 1998 and 1999 to 113.2 million balls. First quarter 2000:30,229,881 1999:27,412,708 Miami tops FSU to force Game 3 By BILL VILONA The News-Press sports bureau TALLAHASSEE Florida State reverted to its dark side Saturday night, a mistake-filled performance that forced an emotional swing and a deciding game in the NCAA Division I Baseball Super Regional against rival Miami.

The Hurricanes seized on the Seminoles' season-high six errors, then got just enough quality relief pitching to hold off a comeback threat, tying the series with a 7-5 win before a crowd of 5,421 at Dick Howser Stadium. "This ballgame is one you wish you hadn't been involved with," said Florida State coach Mike Martin. "But the fact that you were, you have to just forget it. You don't want to dwell on it. "You turn the page, because you don't want to carry anything into (today).

Now this is what it's all about." The two teams will meet at 1 p.m. today for the regional championship. The winner will head to the College World i Series in Omaha, Neb. In essence, it will be a close replica of the teams' meeting in the CWS finale last year. "As I told Mike, the way we've battled each other, as close as we've played, it should be only fitting that it might come down to the final batter in the ninth inning (today)," said Miami coach Jim Morris, whose team beat FSU 6-5 to win the CWS title last year.

"But I don't know if my heart can take that." The Seminoles will start Mike Ziegler, their No. 1 starter for much of the regular season, today. Miami will start freshman Kiki Bengochea, who lost to FSU twice in the regular season. The Seminoles were the worst-fielding team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, making 104 errors in the regular season. But they had been superb in winning their past four playoff games.

Saturday night, they unraveled in the field. Four of Miami's runs resulted from FSU errors. Seminoles third baseman Pichi Balet and shortstop Brett Groves had two errors apiece. It was FSU's most errors in at least two seasons. The Seminoles' worst effort last year was a three-error game.

FSU outfielder Karl Jernigan's fourth-inning homer momentarily tied the game. Seminoles starter Jon McDonald, who looked so dominant in beating Central Florida with a two-hitter last Sunday, was lifted after two batters in thefifth inning. "Johnny really battled," said Martin. "He was certainly faced with some adversity." Other super regionals 6C CORRECTION Deion Sanders is a Fort Myers resident and a North Fort Myers High School graduate. A story in Saturday's sports section reported Los Angeles hasn't lost 3 consecutive games this season The Associated Press LOS ANGELES To borrow a line from Jack Nicholson, this is as good as it gets.

The two best teams in the NBA, at least as far as records go; two teams that have won. twice on the other's court in the playoffs; two teams that have fought each other to an intense standoff, 2-2 in the regular season and 3-3 in the playoffs. Portland vs. Los Angeles today in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. "I think the NBA and NBC got exactly what they wanted," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

There are plenty of subplots. Can Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant finally become champions? Can Jackson, the NBA's Zen master, instill a championship mentality in the Lakers? Can Portland's Scottie Pippen lead a team to a title without Michael Jordan at his side? "It would be great for me," Pippen said. "This team brought me here to advance and get to the finals and go farther than what they did last season. Just that alone means a lot, to be able to come here and be the piece to carry them that far." This is the first game of such magnitude at the new Staples Center, and Bryant can hardly wait, sore foot or no sore foot. "I love it," he said.

"If you look at the past at all the great teams, everybody's been pushed to their limit before, everybody's been pushed to the seventh game. As a kid watching those games, I used to love them. "To be in this type of situation, even though we'd much rather be preparing for Indiana, is kind of cool." Cool, maybe. Scary, definitely. The Lakers, winners of 67 regular-season games, have lost two in a row to the Trail Blazers after taking a 3-1 lead in the in total inches of snook, redfish and trout.

Each team was allowed to enter two fish of esich species, which were photographed against an official Caloosa ruler and released on the water. The tournament's top individual angler was Lisa Harris, who teamed with her husband, Brian, for a second-place overall finish. Lisa Harris won the Caloosa Sportsman Award, presented in memory of long-time tournament By BETSY CLAYTON The News-Press Tennis ball national sales have jumped more than 10 percent, signaling to players and organizers that more people are getting into the game. Americans bought 30.2 million balls in the first quarter of this year, compared to 27.4 million last year. Ball sales are considered the best measure of play in the tennis industry.

The state and Southwest Florida are no exception. More people are joining the U.S. Tennis Association here. They're participating in clinics. They're taking private lessons.

And newcomers to the sport are signing up for free programs throughout the region. "There's so many opportunities to play tennis here in Fourth quarter 1999:20,816,782 'tmy 1998:18,856,269 L-J Third quarter 1999:28,830,273 TCT 1998:27,929,718 LU Second quarter 1999:36,122,246 "frah 1998:35,928,501 kia SOURCE: Tennis Industry Association Defending titlists repeat in Caloosa fishing SHAN STUMPFThe News-Press "The three of us just get to go out together and enjoy fishing," Lessinger added. The Caloosa likely the largest inshore fishing tournament in a state that doesn't keep official track of such things featured 100 boats and 298 anglers. Proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Florida Gulf Coast University for the fourth year. Participants fished two days for the highest score, computed I -'SJ BACK ON TOP: ff' Defending team champs claim their third title in five years.

McGARRY fit tournaments except to see the proceeds go to a good cause," Mesmer said. By BYRON STOUT The News-Press CAPTIVA-If Las Vegas had made odds on the Caloosa Catch Release fishing tournament's 11th running, winning bettors wouldn't have pocketed much. The defending team of Ozzie Lessinger, Jess Mesmer and Sean McGarry won for the third time in five years. The three fishing guides netted $2,500 for their efforts over PRO FOOTBALL i i BASEBALL INTERLEAGUE Tigers 5, Cubs 3 Braves 1 1 Yankees 7 Astros 6, White Sox 1 Athletics 9, Giants 7 Dodgers 8, Angels 3 Expos 7, Orioles 4 Phillies 9, Red Sox 3 INSIDE Fanfare 2C Motorsports 3C Golf4C WNBA5C Scorecard11C Youth sports 12C TRIVIA TOP DOG: What school has won the most NCAA baseball championships? Answer 11C TENNIS VENUS ADVANCES: Tennis, the French way, is played under a blue haze of cigarette smoke amid a symphony of cell phones, and the fashion-conscious fans love a player with style, like Venus Williams. Williams has what the French call "exotisme," an exotic presence.

She blended that with a gritty attitude and sweet strokes Saturday in a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Emilie Loit to reach the round of 16 at the French Open. French 0pen4C PIATT SENT DOWN: John Jaha was activated from the disabled list by Oakland before Saturday's game against San Francisco. To make room, the A's optioned third baseman Adam Piatt to Triple-A Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League. Jaha batted .444 in a three-game rehab assignment with Sacramento. Piatt, a BLshop Verot High School graduate, hit .303 in 10 games during two stints with the A's.

INTERLEAGUE Marlins 2, Blue Jays 1 Royals 16, Pirates 3 Reds 9, Twins 3 Mets 1, Devil RaysO Indians 4, Cardinals 2 Rangers 4, D-backs 3 Padres 7, Mariners 4 NATIONAL LEAGUE Brewers 2, Rockies 1 (12) NO DUEL Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens both struggle as Atlanta wins ugly. Roundups 8-9C TAKING HIS SHOT: Carolina wide receiver Brian Kinchen, left, will play Tuesday in the U.S. Open regional tournament at Shadow Hawk Golf Club in Houston. If he finishes in the top two, he'll advance to play in the U.S. Open, slated for June 15-18.

Story 2C fiA, I rT i In nlim I TONIGHT: Miracle at St. Petersburgh, 4:05 Miracle lose 5-1 IOC ipfWMTflffirjitTar "1 '1 4 tlr'.

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