The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 20, 2001 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, April 20, 2001
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Page 17
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FRIDAY APRIL 20, 2001 THE SAUNA JOURNAL Sports HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS / C3 PRO BASKETBALL / C4 FOOTBALL / C5 T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Royals' owner backs Muser Embattled manager of 4-11 club 'not the one who performs on field' By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press AP file photo Royals manager Tony Muser has watched his team stumble out of the gate, largely due to an Ineffective bullpen. s KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Despite a major league-worst 4-11 record,Kansas City Royals owner David Glass said he remains 100 percent committed to manager Tony Muser. "Tony's not the one who performs on the field," Glass said Thursday from his office in Bentonville, Ark. "He's done a good job. He is about as dedicated and conscientious a manager as there is in baseball. He's the guy for us. He's a good man." Muser, beginning his fourth full season as manager, has come under fire from fans and media who were led to expect a second straight season of improvement. But the Royals, who improved 13 games last season, have been swept six games by the New York Yankees this year and are fresh off a 2-4 road trip. Going into a three-game weekend series at home against Toronto, they were hitting .229 with a staff ERA of 5.65. Most disturbing is a bullpen that's been squandering leads just as it did the previous two years when the Royals were the laughingstock of the league for blowing 56 saves. Roberto Hernandez, obtained from Tampa Bay in the three-way trade that sent outfielder Johnny Damon to Oakland, has been mostly ineffective, with an 0-3 record and an ERA of 15.19. Two of his three saves have been a result of great ninth-inning double plays. "To the casual fan, it probably looks like more of the same that we had last year," Glass said, "But we're better than that. We'll get this thing turned around." In addition, first baseman Mike Sweeney and third baseman Joe Randa, who combined last year to drive in almost 250 runs, have been mired in terrible slumps. They are a combined 19-for-107 with only 13 RBIs. "The overall record is disappointing," Glass said. "But I'm not concerned at this point in time. We've got a group of good young players. We have improved our starting pitching. The bullpen is improved and I think we'll demonstrate that over a period of time. "Some of the guys are maybe putting too much pressure on themselves and trying too hard," Glass added. "They just need to relax and play" While running the Wal-Mart retailing empire. Glass was known as a patient man who rewarded loyalty. "The thing I've found over the years is teams will go through a stretch like this and then they turn around and they'll win a few games in a row and that changes everybody's mood," Glass said. "The beauty of baseball is you get to come right back and play again the next day" The Royals, who haven't had a winning April since 1989, will be right back on the road for a six- game trip to Tampa Bay and Boston after their three-game set this weekend against Toronto. T HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER Central blanks South 'Stangs strike twice in first half, defense makes it stand up By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal An early, wind-aided goal didn't hurt, but it was the Salina Central girls' second-half defense de- Sallna South 0 Salina Central Z fense Thursday that put them over the top. After scoring twice in the first half, the Mustangs refused to let Salina South turn the same gusting, south wind into a weapon after intermission, holding on for a 2-0 1-70 League soccer victory over the Cougars at Bill Burke Park. "We were very worried about them having the wind," said Central midfielder Soni Resales, who scored the Mustangs' first goal less than two minutes into the game. "They've got a lot of strong legs. "We wanted to pressure every ball, starting with our forwards, so we could keep them at (their defensive) end." Mission accomplished. While aU seven of South's shots came with the gusting south wind at its back. Central possessed the ball enough in midfield to keep the Cougars from applying any sustained pressure. "I thought we played better the second half, against the wind," said Central coach Brian Berner, whose Mustangs JUSTIN HAVWORTH / The Salina Journal Salina Central's Ashley L. Young (left) collides with South's Abby Maxwell battling for possession in the second half of Thursday's game at Bill Burke Park. Central won, 2-0. improved to 5-4 overall and 2-0 in the 1-70. "In the first half we took advantage of some high pressure and they made some mistakes that we were able to capitalize on. "In the second half we came out and tried to do basically the same thing. Our strength is when we're able to control and pass the ball." The Mustangs, who now own a 2-1 advantage in the two-year-old soccer series between the intracity rivals, wasted no time taking advan­ tage of a South miscue and grab the lead. In the second minute, on a short clearance out of the 18- yard box by the Cougar defense, Resales ran onto the See MUSTANGS, Page C3 T PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL T AUTO RACING Salina Speedway revved and ready B-Modifieds join Wednesday lineup; TORA Late Models to make four appearances By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal A new racing class on Wednesday nights and a limited engagement by a fresh brand of Late Models, not to mention the usual cosmetic improvements to the track, will greet local racing fans this year as Salina Speedway prepares to open its season Saturday ' This weekend's lineup will feature the regular Ministock, IMCA Hobbystock, Su- perstock and IMCA Modified classes, starting at 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday night, also at 7:30, the Cruisers return for their third season, accompanied by the new B-Modified class. "This is our fifth year (operating the track)," said race promoter Chuck Fairchild. "We've set our goal to try to improve so much each year, and each year we've been able to reach our goal. "A few of the changes this year are a concrete wall down the back straight, and we're also replacing the chain link fence around the grandstand." On the racing front, in addition to the weekly Saturday programs, Fairchild will bring in the new TORA Late Models for four shows and the NCRA 360 Sprint Cars twice. The TORA — Topless Outlaw Racing Association — Late Models wiU replace the NCRA Late Models that have run on the track in the past. The class, which features Late Models with the tops cut off to give fans a better look at the drivers, was started by Wichita driver Lonnie Smith to combat a shortage of the NCRA races. The Cruisers, which teams two drivers to handle the wheel, breaks and throttle, have grown in popularity every year to where they rival the Saturday lineups. This year they will be joined by the B-Modifieds, which will serve as a training ground for the more experienced IMCA Modified division. "It's the same car as the IMCA Modified, only less horsepower," Fairchild said. "The competition is so tough at Salina that a lot of entry-level beginners were going to tracks in Western Kansas to get driving experience. "We're giving them the opportunity on Wednesday to compete with less horsepower and to learn the cars better before they upgrade their cars and go on Saturdays." Fairchild said he has modified the rules for the Cruisers as weU, limiting horsepower to cut down on speed in an attempt to level the playing field. "That's supposed to be a fun night," he said. "We're trying to keep guys from turning it into a dog-eat-dog competition. Of course, any time you have guys in race cars, it's going to get competitive, but they were getting pretty fast last year." On Saturday nights, the IMCA Modifieds will again be the headliners. Fairchild said Salina Speedway continues to have some of the area's most competitive shows in that class. The IMCA Hobbystock class, which debuted last year, also has seen an increase in interest, he said. Fairchild said his goal is to maintain last year's Saturday night car count of 90 to 100. Ticket prices on Saturdays are still $7 for adults and $2 for ages 6-14, with children under 5 getting in free. On Wednesdays, adult tickets are $5, with children ages 6-14 paying $2 and young children free. The speedway also will have a new Internet presence this year, with race information now posted at www.eagleradiocenter.com. Eagle radio stations KSKG Eagle Country (FM-99.9) and KINA News Talk (AM-910) will provide live race updates throughout the season. Cagerz's camp opens Saturday Cagerz preseason roster Listed are players expected to be In camp this weelwnd when the Kansas Cagerz Ijegin their 2001 preseason camp at Kansas Wesleyat\'s Muir Gymnasium. Also Hated are players who won't be available until a later date: Four draft picks are among the 15 to 17 players expected By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal Kansas Cagerz head coach Francis Flax expects 15 to 17 players to begin arriving in Salina today for the start of presea- s o n camp. Flax said the players will be checking in at the Cagerz office throughout the day and getting settled at the team hotel. The Cagerz begin w 0 r k outs Saturday in preparation for their third United States Basket- b a 1 1 League season in Salina. They will undergo physicals at 8:30 a.m., followed by the first practice of the season at 10:30 a.m. at Muir Gymnasium. Flax said there's always a chance more players could be brought in for a look. "We're getting calls all the time from agents who want to place players," Flax said. z-former Cagerz's players "We'll take a good, hard look at these players for two or three days before deciding if we'll do anything else." Two of the players expected to be in camp this weekend — forward Sedric Webber and guard Gary Johnson — played for the Cagerz during their first season in Salina in 1999. Four of the six players taken in last week's USBL Draft are also s che d- uled to be on hand. Those include 6-8 forward Tory Walker of New Orleans (second round), 6-11 center Craig Rodgers of Toled o (third), 6 - 6 guard DeMar- cus Minor of Baylor (fifth) and 6-9 forward Eric Carter of Washburn (sixth). Two other draft picks —6-3 guard Darren Kelly of Texas (first round) and 6-9 center Tajudeen Soyoye of Missouri (fourth) — are expected to arrive sometime next month after finishing their school work. Kelly and Soyoye are two of seven players the Cagerz are See CAGERZ, Page C3 PLAYER HGT POS COLLEGE Cortez Barnes 6-8 • F Southern Indiana Tyrone Brown 6-5 G Illinois State David Carson 6-3 G Brown Mackie J.C. Eric Carter 6-9 F Washburn IMIkeB/lott 6-4 G IVtontana State Wayne Houston 6-8 F Southern Indiana Jemialne Jackson 6-5 Q Detroit z-Gafy Johnson 6-0 G Southern California Mohamrned Kamara 6-0 G West Texas A &M DeMarous Minor 6-6 G Baylor Johnny Phillips 6-9 C Texas Tech Craig Rodgers 6-11 C Toledo Eddie Smith 6-0 G UMKC Nino Smith 6-6 F Central Methodist Oamien Spencer 6-4 •G St, Peters Tory Walker 6-8 F New Orleans z-Sedric Webber 6-7 F Coll. of Charleston Players available at later date z-Reggie Bassett 6-10 C Old Dominion Dan-en Kelly 6-3 G Texas z-Tony Kitt 6-B • .,F Kansas Slate z-Martin Levels r : 6-5 6 Seward County J.C. Tajudeen Soyoye 6-9 : r C / Missouri z-Billy Thomas 6-4 G Kansas z-Gerald Walker 6-0 G San Francisco • JUNIOR COLLEGE BASKETBALL Salina to remain site of Region 6 tourneys By The Salina Journal If it ain't broke don't fix it. That is the sentiment from the Region 6 office when they announced its men's and women's basketball tournament will be staying in Salina for at least the next three years. The Bicentennial Center has served as host to the postseason tournament for each of the past three seasons. There were reports earlier this year that Wichita was bidding to get the tournament back, and Hutchinson was bidding to be host as well. "There is a strong feeling with Region 6 that the people in Salina really want us there," Bryce Roderick, women's Region 6 Director, said in a press release by the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. "They provide us great hospitality, great help and support. We're very glad to be coming back for another three years." The Bicentennial Center has also served as host for the NJCAA Women's National Tournament for the past fovu- years. The Region 6 tournament will be played March 1013 in 2002, March 8-11 in 2003 and March 6-9 in 2004. "We are extremely pleased to have secured the tournament for another three years," said Gerald Cook, president of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. "In addition to excellent basketball, this event has a tremendous economic impact on our community "The Chamber, along with the Bicentennial Center, has enjoyed the development of a positive relationship with Region 6, and we certainly welcome the opportunity to continue that partnership." SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sJbdavidson@salJournal.com

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