The Town Talk from Alexandria, Louisiana on April 5, 1997 · Page 10
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The Town Talk from Alexandria, Louisiana · Page 10

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Saturday, April 5, 1997
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B-4 Saturday, April 5, 1997 The Town Talk, Alexandria-Pineville, La. Auto Racing Seeling, Scelzi, Arend, Geoffrion lead qualifying: Angelle Seeling, Gary Scelzi, Jeff Arend and Scott Geoffrion led after Friday's opening qualifying session for the NHRA Winston Invitational at Rockingham Dragway. Seeling recorded the quickest run in pro stock motorcycle history and Geoffrion headed up what is already the quickest field ever in pro stock. Seeling, of Americus, Ga., covered the quarter mile in 7.320 seconds at 184.31 mph on a Suzuki. The previous fastest was 7.321 by Dave Schultz at Gainesville, Fla., last month. Scelzi, of Fresno, Calif., set the pace in top fuel, using a track-record time of 4.641 seconds at 296.05 mph. Arend, of Toronto, put Al Hofmann's Pontiac in the top spot with a 5.073 elapsed time at 287.35 mph. Arend is filling in for Hofmann, who is recovering from injuries received in an accident last month at Gainesville. Geoffrion, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., used the quickest run of his career, a 6.945 at 198.63 in a Dodge, to set the pace in pro stock. Geoffrion is looking for his first pole position since the middle of the 1995 season. The pros have two rounds of qualifying remaining on Saturday, with final eliminations on Sunday for the $632,700 all-star event. Injured Craven upgraded and out of ICU: Ricky Craven, injured in a crash during practice for the Interstate Batteries 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, was upgraded to fair condition Friday. Jimmy Johnson, general manager of the Hendrick Motor sports team, said, "Ricky has moved out of the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), and he's in a room. Last night, he looked like a man who was in a lot of pain. He had a lot of tubes in him. This morning, he looked like Ricky Craven. He had the neck brace off and the tube was out of his nose." Craven, who crashed Thursday during the opening Winston Cup practice session on the new lVj-mile oval, sustained a broken right shoulder blade and a concussion. Concern by doctors over a small contusion in his brain waned after Craven, 30, spent a comfortable night in Parkland Health and Hospital Systems in Dallas. Baseball Randy Johnson misses first start due to son's illness: The long-awaited return of Randy Johnson was pushed back to Saturday night after his 1-year-old son was hospitalized with a viral respiratory infection. Johnson, the 1995 AL Cy Young Award winner, had been scheduled to start Friday night against the Boston Red Sox. He is recovering from back surgery and hasn't started since last May. "He's not ready to pitch tonight," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said before Friday's game. "So we're going to flip flop (Bob) Wolcott and Randy. Hopefully, Randy will go tomorrow." Johnson spent the night at a hospital with his son, Tanner, whose first birthday is Saturday. The boy was admitted to a Seattle hospital on Thursday, was in good condition Friday. He probably will be released Saturday. Grace on DL, Clark recalled, Tapani undergoes operation: The Chicago Cubs put first baseman Mark Grace on the 15-day disabled list Friday. Grace, off to a 5-for-10 start, strained his right hamstring while running the bases in the sixth inning of Thursday's 7-2 loss at the Florida Marlins. To replace Grace on the 25-man roster, outfielder Dave Clark's contract was purchased from Triple-A Iowa. Cubs pitcher Kevin Tapani had surgery on his right index finger Friday as Dr. Richard Eaton, a New York hand specialist, removed scar tissue from a ligament. The pitcher will wear a cast for two weeks. To make room for Clark on the Cub's 40-man major league roster, Tapani was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Wilson gets $6.5 million contract extension: Seattle Mariners catcher Dan Wilson agreed Friday to a $6.55 million, two-year contract extension through the 1999 season. Wilson, 28, hit .285 with 18 homers and 83 RBIs in 138 games last season. He also played in his first All-Star game and ranked fifth among major league catchers by throwing out 39 percent of runners attempting to steal. After making $1,025,000 this season, Wilson gets a package that includes a $250,000 signing bonus, $2.4 million in 1998 and $3.5 million in 1999. The club has a $4.4 million option for 2000 with a $400,000 guaranteed buyout Indians sign Shuey to three-year extension: Right-handed reliever Paul Shuey and the Cleveland Indians agreed Friday to a three-year contract extension worth $3,203,000 guaranteed. An option for 2001 and performance bonuses could push the package to $11,603,000 over four years. Shuey, 26, was 5-2 with a 2.85 ERA last season and has a career record of 5-5 with a 3.89 ERA in 63 relief appearances. Basketball Nuggets LaPhonso Ellis injures Achilles tendon: Forward LaPhonso Ellis, the Denver Nuggets' leading scorer, sustained an injury to his right ankle that forced him from the game against Phoenix in the second quarter Friday night. Ellis, who has missed substantial amounts of playing time the last three seasons because of injuries, received a pass on the wing and took an awkward step on an attempted drive to the basket. He went down, grabbing his ankle, and had to be assisted from the court. Ellis, who had 12 points and five rebounds, was scheduled for an MRI on Saturday. Pitino tells Bird he's happy at Kentucky: Kentucky coach Rick Pitino said he spoke with Larry Bird about the Boston Celtics coaching job but told the former star player that he was happy with the Wildcats. "I listened, thanked him very much, told him I was very happy at Kentucky, but if I had a change of heart I would let him know," Pitino said in an interview with WHAS radio. Pitino said the conversation with Bird took place Wednesday, two days after Kentucky lost to Arizona in the NCAA championship game, depriving the Wildcats of a second straight national title. Tim Duncan wins Wooden Award: Tim Duncan, one of the few college basketball standouts these days to use all of his eligibility, was honored Friday as winner of the 21st annual John R. Wooden Award, which goes to the male player of the year. A 6-foot-10 senior from Wake Forest, Duncan was a runaway winner, receiving 4,764 points from nearly 1,000 sportswriters and sportscasters from all 50 states in the country. Utah's Keith Van Horn, another senior, finished second with 4,017 points, followed by junior Raef LaFrentz of Kansas with 2,870; sophomore Ron Mercer of Kentucky with 2,840, and senior Jacque Vaughn of Kansas with 1,956. Malone sets NBA record: 10 straight 2,000-point seasons: Karl Malone became the only NBA player to score 2,000 or more points in 10 straight seasons with 2:30 gone in the first quarter of Utah's game Friday night against Vancouver. The power forward of the Jazz reached the milestone with a 4-foot hook shot. The basket gave the Jazz a 9-0 led over the Grizzlies. Malone had entered the game just a free throw short of the mark. The game continued without an immediate announcement of Malone's feat. Shammgod says he's staying in school: A published report said Providence's God Shammgod will turn pro, but he said Friday that he's staying in school. The Boston Globe reported Shammgod, 20, would forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NBA draft. It quoted an anonymous source close to the Friars' program as saying Shammgod would make an announcement "in a couple of days." Golf ' Inkster leads, youngster misses cut: Juli Inkster, winless on the LPGA Tour for nearly five years, shot a 4-under-par 68 and held a one-stroke lead over reigning U.S. Open titlist Annika Sorenstam after Friday's second round of the Longs Drugs Challenge. Inkster, winner of 15 career tournaments, has a 4 under-par 140 score as the winds calmed on a warm and sunny day at Twelve Bridges Golf Club. Sorenstam, the season's leading money winner, equaled Inkster for the best round of the day round and was at 141. Natalie Gulbls, 14, of Citrus Heights, Calif., who tour officials said was the second-youngest player to ever compete in an LPGA tournament, shot a 12-over-par 84 and missed the cut with a 165 total, 21 over par. Demouy was the 'Rainmaker' By Jeffrey Nixon Assistant sports editor BATON ROUGE LSU kept waiting for the rain to bail it out But by the eighth inning, when no rainout was coming, Chris Demouy figured it was up to him to save the Tigers. Demouy retired all four batters he faced striking out the side in the top of the ninth to preserve a 9-8 win over South Carolina Friday at Alex Box Stadium. Top-ranked LSU improves to 30-3 overall and 12-1 in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. The Tigers also remain unbeaten at home this season at 21-0. South Carolina falls to 22-11 and 6-7 in the SEC East. The series continues this afternoon at 4 as LSU's Doug Thompson (4-1) is scheduled to face Brett Jodie (5-0). LSU took a 5-0 lead off Gamecock starter Brent Moore (1-1) in the first. The Tigers stretched that to 8-0 on an error and a two-run homer by Eddy Wadkins can still play he shows crowd By Bob Tompkins Staff reporter NEW ORLEANS Lanny Wadkins didn't show up the leaders Friday at the Freeport-McDermott Classic, but he proved to himself and those who watched him during his windy round at English Turn that he still can play and still has the fire for which he was known for two decades ago. Wadkins rallied with birdies on the last four holes en route to a second-round 69, putting him at 6-under 138 through 36 holes, four strokes off the pace set by Scott McCarron and Larry Rinker. Winner of 21 tournaments in his 27 seasons on the PGA Tour, including the 1977 PGA Championship and the 1979 Players Championship, Wadkins hasn't won a tournament in five years. His last title came at the 1992 Canon Greater Hartford Open. He had played in only four events this year coming into this tournament, and he missed the cut in two. He looked like his old self, though, on the last stretch of holes Friday. Wadkins knocked a sand wedge to within 15 feet for a birdie on the island 15th green. Then he stroked an 8-iron shot 20 feet from the pin on 16 and rolled it in for a birdie. He placed a 6-iron shot six feet from the cup for a birdie on the par-3 17th and knocked a 4-iron shot within eight feet for a birdie on the 18th, considered golfs most difficult final hole. Sidelined with bronchitis for two weeks earlier this year, Wadkins is also coming off a year in which he nearly lost his zeal for competing on the Tour. "I didn't have the zip or desire to work hard last year," said Wadkins, 47. "There were places I wanted to be more than golf courses home, with the kids. I didn't feel like practicing. My mind just wasn't into it." One of the main reasons for this funk, he admitted, was the loss of the U.S. team, under his direction as captain, in the 1995 Ryder Cup. "I've never spent two years of my life working on the Ryder Cup and losing," he said. "It took some time getting over it." Nevertheless, it isn't as if he's trying to start all over. "Once you get in the heat again, it's kinda like riding a bike," he said. "I've won enough. I haven't forgotten how to win." Wadkins said he misses not being in the upper echelon of players, and he misses not playing at the Masters, but he said he hadn't even thought about qualifying for next week's Masters by winning here. His objective for the next few years, before joining the seniors circuit, is to play well and "pass some of the ole boys ahead of me on the career win list." Three times a top-10 finisher in 18 tournaments here, including a runner-up finish in 1988 at Lakewood Country Club, Wadkins said he has other plans next week, but it would be a "pleasant problem" to rearrange his schedule next week to play in the Masters. "I think I can still play and win here," he said. 4133 Lee St. 445-6553 Furniss in the third. Furniss' homer, his 11th of the season and third in two games, makes it 34 straight games LSU has hit at least one homer. The rainy skies kept threatening to bring the game to a halt. Although it was never a downpour, a steady drizzle and occasional lightning always hinted more was to come. "I thought I had a pipeline (to the heavens) going in the fifth," said LSU coach Skip Bertman. "The information I had was (the storm) was 20 minutes away." So LSU's hitters were aggressive, swinging at anything' close, and Tiger starter Patrick Coogan (8-0) worked quickly. When Coogan struck out the side on 12 pitches in the fifth, the 6,538 in attendance cheered as if it were the final out of the ninth. "There was a sense of urgency," Coogan admitted. "I wanted to get in there and get out of there." But the celebration was premature. The rains never came and LSU had to battle to pull out the win. : : : k. M"-- feiv A Associated Press Andre Agassi hits a forehand to Sjeng Schalken in Davis play. Rejuvenated Agassi gives U.S. Davis lead NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) Andre Agassi overcame gust-ing winds and a slew of unforced errors to beat Sjeng Schalken 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), and countryman Jim Courier rallied for a five-set victory against Jan Siemerink on Friday, giving the United States a 2-0 lead over the Netherlands in their Davis Cup quarterfinal. Courier defeated Siemerink 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 on the hardcourts at the Palisades Tennis Club, the first time in his nine-year pro career that he's won a match after losing the first two sets. The United States could clinch the best-of-five series Saturday with a victory in the doubles. The winner advances to the semifinals against the Australia-Czech Republic quarterfinal winner. Agassi erased a 5-3 deficit in the third set en route to winning his 14th straight Davis Cup match, putting him within two of tying Bill Tilden's record for consecutive victories by an American. "That was great," he said. "I played real well in spite of the conditions. It was blowing a good 20-25 miles per hour out there, I'm guessing." Agassi's victory was his first in any competition since February. He has lost a career-worst five straight matches on the ATP Tour, dropping his world ranking to 29th. Siemerink, ranked 22nd in singles, held a match point against the 17th-ranked Courier in the fourth set. Siemerink's volley winner put him ahead 40-30, but he then netted a return of Courier's serve and sent a backhand wide as the American tied the set 5-5. Both players held serve to Starts April 7 at 6:15 P.M. at the w YWG 442-3397 South Carolina scored seven runs off Coogan in the sixth inning to pull within 8-7. "The intensity died down and I guess there was a lack of concentration on my part," Coogan said. "The rhythm changed," Bertman said. "We had to rush, then the air let out of the balloon. They're a very good team and they did a good job coming back." The letdown carried over to LSU's offense, as well. After scoring eight runs in the first three innings, LSU managed just one more a Mike Koerner run-scoring double in the sixth. So if neither the weather nor the offense was going to save LSU, it was up to the bullpen to hold the lead. Dan Guillory ended South Carolina's seven-run sixth inning by forcing a groundout. Brian Daugherty struck out the side in the seventh and got two out in the eighth, but he gave up a run to cut the Tiger lead to 9-8. Demouy came on with runners i' At I force the tiebreaker. Ahead 6-4, Courier blew a set point by double-faulting, but Siemerink netted a backhand that cost him the set. They traded serves in the fifth until Courier gained the only break at 5-3 when Siemerink committed the last of his 13 double faults. Courier had double match point at 40-15 after Siemerink netted the service return. He followed a forehand volley into the net and then put away a backhand volley in the opposite corner to close out the 3-hour, 25-minute match in growing shadows. Much of the sellout crowd of 5,296 had already departed because of unseasonably cold temperatures and stiff winds. Courier has been the ironman of the American team this year. He notched two victories a five-setter and a four-setter in the United States' 4-1 victory over Brazil in February. 12 Hi 4 1 4 (OIK - t t j t SportsNet Plus For a complete list of Town Talk Xtra categories dial 211, then category sm. NCAA Basketball 1630-1764 NBA Basketball 1765-1791 LPGA Golf 1981 PGA Golf 1982 Sr. Tour Golf 1983 Men's Tennis 1984 Women's Tennis 1985 Transactions 1986 Town Talk Extra Is a service of SportsNet and first and second with two out in the eighth. The junior left-hander fell behind Brandon Walters 3-0, but battled back to 3-2 before getting Walters to pop out to catcher Conan Horton to end the threat. "I was just trying to kill the momentum," Demouy said. "I went 3-0 on (Walters) and threw him three straight fastballs. Fortunately I got him to pop up and Conan made a nice catch." The ninth inning was a breeze (literally) as Demouy fanned Adam Everett, Derick Urquahart and Ryan Bordenick to end the game. South Carolina struck out 16 times in the contest with Everett leading the way with four. After striking out Bordenick, Demouy pumped his fist in celebration. "Coach tells us college baseball is a game of emotion," Demouy said. "When I'm pitching well, I'm very emotional. I think it gives me an edge." Heaven knows Friday's weather didn't. Texas track unlike any other track FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Good or bad, one thing most of the Winston Cup drivers agree on is that the IVi-mile oval at the new Texas Motor Speedway is unlike any other race track they've seen. The track was the major topic of discussion Friday as rain that began Thursday postponing the first round of qualifying for Sunday's Interstate Batteries 500 continued to fall. After waiting until 4 p.m. CST in the hope of getting in at least some activity, NASCAR decided the day was a washout. The new schedule for Saturday will give the Winston Cup drivers 30 minutes of practice before the 42-car field is decided in one round of time trials at 9:30 a.m. The Coca-Cola 300 Busch Grand National race will go on as scheduled, beginning at 1 p.m. Dale Jarrett, the series points leader and winner of the last two Winston Cup races, struggled in Thursday's practice sessions, ranking 34th on the speed list. "This is something totally new," Jarrett said. "We were kicking ourselves because we didn't come here to test like a lot of the teams did. It's a totally different race track. We struggled when we first went out there. The car was better than the driver for much of the day. "We started to make some progress in the second (practice) session, and I think we could have got a good top 10 qualifying effort. Now, we're just waiting like everybody else to see what's going to happen." Terry Labonte, the defending Winston Cup champion and third in the current standings, said, "We did come here to test and we found out real quick it was a good thing we did. When we started (the test), we were out inleftfield." "By the time we finished, we had a good handle on it," Labonte added. "I hate that qualifying got rained out (Thursday). We had a good run in practice." Rain has been a major cause of frustration for the drivers and the teams. "At a new race track like this, you want to get in every minute you can get on the track," Jarrett said. "You just don't want to waste time. All we've done so far is a qualifying-type effort. We need more track time." "Right now, when you come to a track like this, everybody goes out and makes one or two laps," Labonte said. Plus Using a touch tone phone you just dial three digits - 211 -from anywhere in the local Alexandria calling area Just 40 for up to five minutes of access. Charges appear on the phone bill where the call is placed. 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