The Courier-News from Bridgewater, New Jersey on March 27, 1986 · Page 41
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The Courier-News from Bridgewater, New Jersey · Page 41

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Bridgewater, New Jersey
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Thursday, March 27, 1986
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Page 41
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nMafffta Scoreboard D-2 Local scene D-4 Major baseball D-6 D-1 Sports Editor, Tom Perry Call him at 722-8800, ext. 445 1. THE COURIER-NEWS Thursday, March 27, 1986 Spring training John Belis Courier-News Sports Writer Mets make more roster cuts By MARTY NOBLE (c) 1986, Newsday Meacham works overtime on his batting average FORT LAUDERDALE - It was twilight and most of Bobby Meacham's Yankee teammates were long gone. Last night's exhibition game against the Montreal Expos had already been postponed by the second straight day of heavy rain here. The infield was one huge puddle and the sky was an ugly gray. This was no night for baseball. BUT MEACHAM KEPT working. He dug in against live pitching in the Yankees' sheltered batting cage at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, taking swing after swing. Batting coach Roy White studied him closely. "Keep your shoulder back, don't rush it," White ordered. "Think about starting all the way back in the catcher's box. That way you won't hurry your swing." Meacham nodded and tried again. "Okay, two strikes now," White said. "Think line drive!" Meacham ripped a pitch into the back of the net, behind the pitcher, and flashed a satisfied smile. Then Meacham moved into the next alley, to face a lefthanded pitcher, and White followed him. "Turn your back foot out a little," White suggested. "Turn your toe out. Try a few that way." Meacham immediately began making more solid contact. "It felt better," he said. ' White nodded. "You weren't getting to a lot of balls you should be hitting," the coach explained. Meacham took a few more swings before heading toward the clubhouse. "ROY'S HELPED ME a lot," he said. "We've worked on getting my hands in a more comfortable position and on using my whole body when I'm hitting lefthanded. He wants me to stay back more instead of jumping out at the ball. "This is my fifth year switch hitting and it's all starting to come together for me. But there's still this flood of ideas, so many things to remember. I want to get to the point where I can go up to the plate without thinking about eight different things." The Yankees certainly don't expect Meacham to become a .300 hitter. He established himself last year as a fine everyday shortstop and he bats ninth in the lineup, so he doesn't need to hit to keep his job. But nobody likes being an automatic out and nobody was very pleased with Meacham's .218 average last season. "I don't think in terms of average, but I think about RBIs," says Meacham. "Batting ninth, I feel I should get around 60 RBIs. (He had 47 last year). "I'm seeing the ball better lefthanded. I thought I was making progress last year and then I injured my left wrist in July and played hurt the last two months. It kept me from swinging lefthanded and really set me back." The wrist problem was corrected by post season surgery to repair a dislocated tendon and now Meacham says he feels fine. He's batting .342 this spring, including a .320 mark from the left side. He's had a hit in nine of his 13 games and in five of his last seven. AND, FOR THE first time in his career, Meacham can go into a season knowing that he's the Yankees' regular shortstop. There's no job to fight for. It's his. "I guess so, but I really don't want to feel that way," Meacham insists. "I've always been reaching for something, trying to win the job, and, now that I've got it, I don't want to feel comfortable. "I still want to pressure myself. I think that's the only way you can improve. It may sound crazy, but I don't want to just settle for being a starter. I want to be the best I can be and I know there's room for improvement." The book on Meacham is that he has great range and an outstanding arm. He makes the spectacular plays routinely but he sometimes fails to make the routine plays. Meacham smiles. "Yes, I'd agree with that," he admits. "We've looked at films and I probably made five to eight errors on Continued on Page D-3 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Coach Vera Hoscheit summoned Terry Leach from the Mets' practice field Wednesday morning, and Leach joined Hoscheit on the sideline. But when Hoscheit said, "Davey wants to see you in his office," Leach returned to his shagging duties in the outfield and avoided the Mets' manager. "I knew what Davey (Johnson) was' going to say," Leach said. "When you've heard it as many times as I've heard it, you don't have to hear it again." Leach was one of six players reassigned to the Mets' minor-league camp yesterday. He was the most sur prised, the most disappointed and, at age 32, the one with the least future. He was the one who "wanted to cry." The others Stanley Jefferson, Randy Myers, John Gibbons, Terry Blocker and Argenis Salazar hadn't expected to find April employment in Flushing. Leach hadn't planned on it either. He remembered 1982, when he sent his wife, car and belongings to New York on the final day of spring training and found out 12 hours later he was assigned to the minor leagues. But he had hoped. "I thought I had a 50-50 chance, at least," Leach said. "When the season ended last year, I was the third man out of the bullpen (behind Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell). I thought I had a chance ... But this is nothing new for me. I've never broken camp with a major- league team." Leach compiled a 3-4 record and 2.9l earned-run average as a starting pitcher and reliever with the Mets last season. His numbers in four starts were 3-1, 2.70. He is to work as a starter in Tidewater, where he has spent parts of the past five seasons. 'I'd rather pitch in relief in New York than a starter in Tidewater," he told Johnson. "But I guess that's not going to happen right away." He said later, "I'll go down and hope I get another chance. I can't give it up. I've spent too much time and too much energy trying. But sooner or later, I've got to make a decision. I've put 11 years into my career, and I've got a year and 66 days in the big leagues. That's not much of a Dension." Reassigning Leach was difficult for Johnson. Telling Jefferson to return to the minor leagues almost seemed silly, even though the rookie centerfielder had been told last winter he would not be promoted to the major leagues in the spring. "What do you say to a guy who's hitting .500?" Johnson said. "I told him,' 'Go down, have a good year and be ready.'" Sid Fernandez continued his impressive spring work Wednesday, shutting out the Blue Jays for five innings on '. two hits and two walks. Fernandez, who struck out five, has struck out 16, walked five and allowed nine hits in 16 innings this spring. His ERA is 1.13. C j v r Associated Press Pholo Coach Eldon Miller made his last game with Ohio State a winning one last night as his team beat Wyoming, 73-63 for the championship of the 49th National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden. LW championship NEW YORK - It was Miller Time at Madison Square Garden last night. Eldon Miller had something to celebrate. The head coach of the Ohio State basketball team had just watched his Buckeyes win the 49th annual National Invitation Tournament. Ohio State defeated Wyoming 73-63. The victory was Miller's last at Ohio State. He was fired in February. Goodbye, Columbus, and take that, Buckeyes. How about some parting shots, coach. "I know what you guys are trying to get at," Miller said with a smile. "But I've had 10 wonderful years at Ohio State. I'm just happy for the kids. Some kids work this hard and never win a championship. "Besides," he added. "I'm not saying goodbye to these kids. I don't say goodbye to friends. I was their coach, now I'm their friend. And there won't be a bigger fan of theirs next year." Next year Miller will be head coach at Northern Iowa. "It's not like I'm moving to outer space," he said. "I'm only moving to Northern Iowa." That brought some laughter and snickers from the crowd in the news conference. "How do you get to Northern Iowa?" Paul Franklin C-N Sportswriter someone asked. Miller paused, smiling. "Well, you get a plane to Chicago, then get a plane to Cedar Rapids," he said. "Then you take another plane to Cedar Falls, and it's right across the river from Waterloo." He smiled again. "You guys from the East..." Miller turns his program over to a coach from the East, Gary Williams. Williams was hired out of Boston College earlier this month. During Miller's 10 seasons at OSU, he was given a succession of one-year contracts. Williams was given a five-year deal. Continued on Page D-3 Two sisters plan to get a kick out of Europe By JOHN KELLY Courier-News Staff Writer Susie Meisenbacher threw herself back in her chair, rolled her eyes in disbelief and listened halfheartedly while older sister Jennifer controlled the conversation around the Meisen-bachers' large, oval kitchen table. "Oh, God, here she goes again," Susie sighed, sinking even deeper in the chair. Without breaking sentence, 17-year-old Jennifer cast the kind of baleful glare that all younger sisters understand. Susie, the youngest Meisenbacher at 15, heeded this warning and discontinued her mild protest at least temporarily. "Culturewise, I'm most anxious to go to Russia," Jennifer said with an air that reflected her older years. "I've heard on the news and other shows that people in Russia feel the same way toward us as we do toward them." Susie, now sitting straight up and glancing at her father and mother, was again becoming restless with what she considered a boring and long-winded explanation. Jennifer watched her sister out of the corner of her eye but continued to talk, r "Also," she said. "I like culture a lot. In school, I've been studying ..." Now thoroughly frustrated, Susie cut in. "Will you shut up, Jen," Susie cried. "He doesn't want to hear about that." With that, the two rocketed along on the kind of verbal rampage indigenous to all homes containing two or more sisters. After a minute, what had turned into playful banter ended upon request of the parents. "We're sisters, we're supposed to fight," Susie offered in defense. "We get along best on the soccer field." Competitors and fighters to the end, the Meisenbachers are two of the most talented schoolgirl soccer players in the Bridgewater area. Susie, an All-Central Jersey fullback, and Jennifer, a hard-working forward, have led Bridgewater-Raritan High School East to the playoffs for the past two seasons. This summer, they will be among a group of young soccer players, boys and girls from 12 states, on a trip through seven European countries as part of Teams USA's 1986 European-Soviet Cup Tour. Susie will compete on one of the two un-der-17 teams while Jennifer plays for the under-19 squad. Competition for the teams was fierce, and only one of every five candidates was selected. Sisters being selected is quite an accomplishment. Teams USA is a not-for-profit organization with teams in 14 states. Regional director of the program is Marianne Viscovich, former captain of the St. John's women's soccer team. Executive director is Mark Huck, a member of the 1984 U.S. Winter Olympic Team. Unitronix of Branchburg is the first active sponsor of the Meisenbachers. First stop on the tour is England on July 2. But both girls especially look forward to the trip to Leningrad, U.S.S.R., on July 21. The question is, are the Soviets ready for this rough-and-tumble duo? Apparently, the Soviets are covered, because only the boys teams are scheduled to compete there. Jennifer and Susie, who grew up playing on all-boys teams, don't like the distinction here. "I'm really disappointed we're not playing in Russia," Jennifer said. "I'd like to see how good they really are. We're a lot more aggressive than other girl players. Guys used to be surprised after we hit them and they were on the ground. You've got to be rough back." Susie began to giggle and blurted out a headline for the occasion. "Sisters Take on Soviets," she said. Dick Meisenbacher added his own version. "Sisters Savage Soviets," he mused. After mulling over the implications, he added, "You two better not get kicked out of Russia." One thing is certain, the Meisenbachers' aggressive brand of soccer will be foreign to most European women players. In Europe, soccer is traditionally a male sport, and women have a tough time playing at all, much less competing against men. The Meisenbachers, on the other hand, relish the chance to compete against boys. In fact, four weeks ago they played in a game against members of the B-R East football team. Susie is reported to have "taken out" four opposing players in that game. "If we were in shape, we would have killed them," Jennifer said. However, after all talk of soccer and competition, the girls are mainly concerned with some of the more pressing aspects of their trip. "Excitement really sets in when we start buying the clothes,'' Jennifer said. "Oh, will you stop," Susie groaned. By The Associated Press EAST RUTHERFORD - It took a pair of New Jersey natives to end a losing streak that had been plaguing the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not once in their last 14 games had the Cavaliers been able to defeat the New Jersey Nets, and not once had they won in the Brendan Byrne Arena, which opened in 1982. The last time the Cavaliers won in New Jersey was on Jan. 2, 1981. But last night, Edgar Jones, a Newark native, tapped in a missed shot by Roy Hinson, a Franklin Township product, with four seconds left to give the Cavaliers a 110-108 victory over the Nets before 10,278. World B. Free led the Cavs with 26 points, while Mike Gminski had 24 for the Nets. "Jersey is Jersey. We're bad," said Hinson, a Rutgers graduate who scored 15 points and had 9 rebounds. "It's big to win here. It's important." Jones, who scored only six points, was thrilled by the whole thing. "My heroics go back to college" at Nevada-Reno, Jones said. "That's the first time I ever got a tip-in to win a game. That's the first time, folks, and you were there." For the Nets, it was another bitter pill. The club has lost four straight games and nine of 12, and relinquished its lock on the Eastern Conference's sixth playoff spot as Washington passed the Nets with a win over Dallas. And the Nets may lose even more. The team is to make an announcement Thursday regarding the status of center Darryl Dawkins, who has missed 23 of the last 24 games due to a groin injury. "It was a tough way to lose," Nets Coach Dave Wohl said. "The ball defied gravity and somehow rolled over the rim. "I'm not unhappy with the way we're playing," he said. "We've lost sometimes because we're run-down. Our last six games have been our most consistent stretch of basketball, even though the record doesn't show it." IFinaD Four tiriip DneDps recruitting By DENNE H. FREEMAN AP Sports Writer DALLAS A giant by-product of being in the NCAA Tournament's Final Four, besides the $850,000 payday for each team, is the wonders it works for recruiting. "It's like having the U.S. government stamp meat with 'government inspected,' " said Louisiana State's colorful coach, Dale Brown. "It makes recruiting easy. Nobody says 'LSU Who?' when you call. It's a distinct advantage to being in the Final Four." Kansas Coach Larry Brown says, "I agree, it adds credibility to your program." Duke Coach Mike Kryzyzewski adds: "It should help next year's class. A youngster sees you are in the Final Four and perceives your program as being an excellent one." Louisville Coach Denny Crum said a Final Four berth "makes it a lot easier to get your foot in the door to talk. After we won the title in 1980 it really helped us." The four coaches discussed the matter on Tuesday in a national telephone hookup with the media. Kansas arrived late last night with the other three teams expected today. Louisville plays LSU at 2:42 p.m. Saturday in Reunion Arena, with Duke and Kansas meeting 30 minutes after the first game is over. Krzyzewski is making his coaching debut in the Final Four, but said he's not worried about being a rookie. "I'm too excited to feel the pressure and I hope the players catch onto it," said Krzyzewski. "I talked to (Indiana Coach) Bobby Knight and he's helped me get prepared." Krzyzewski is worried about the Blue Devils' poor shooting during the tournament. "I don't know why because it is one of our strong points," he said. "We've played good defense and we've re-bouned well. Kansas is the best shooting team we've played and if we both have hot shooting it could be a high-scoring game." Duke defeated Kansas 92-86 in the finals of the Big Apple NIT tournament in December. "Our earlier victory over Kansas doesn't mean much because it happened too long ago," the Duke coach said. "We have two evenly matched teams." "We'll have to play the best basketball game of the year and quit making turnovers and giving the other team second shots to win," Brown said. "I don't believe their earlier victory over us will have any bearing on the game, although we have great respect for Duke." ch w. ) Vi ;;-x fON if - "' ' . L fi Courier-News Photo tv Steve Kftver Jennifer and Susie Meisenbacher plan to get a kick out of soccer in Europe this summer.

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