The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 11, 1996 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, October 11, 1996
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Page 15
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FRIDAY 11,1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports BASEBALL/C3 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL / C4 CLASSIFIED / C6 c V COMMENT JIM LITKE The Associated Press Baseball needs more fans like New York kid Baseball needs more fans like 12- year-old Jeff Maier, not fewer. This is not an endorsement for more audience participation. There's too much already. But on this particular night, when this particular kid leaned over the right-field wall in Yankee Stadium and stuck out his glove, he did more than just help out Derek Jeter and his New York teammates. He did baseball a big favor because he made it smile. He made us all smile, if only for a moment. Try to remember the last time baseball did that. "I wasn't trying to turn around the outcome of the game," Jeff said. "1 was just trying to get a ball." At first, he felt bad about botching his chance, but not for long. And as soon as they realized what he'd done, others felt worse. Orioles manager Davey Johnson got angry enough to get tossed out of the game. Umpire Rich Garcia admitted later that he blew the call. "I thought the ball was going out of the ballpark," Garcia said. .Under major league rules, if a spectator clearly prevents a fielder from catching a ball, the batter is out. But that was not the ruling in the eighth inning Wednesday night. Instead, Garcia ruled the ball Jeff rerouted into the seats a home run. That tied the game 4-4, and New York went on to win 5-4 in the llth v , Jeter finished with four hits and Bernie Williams delivered the home run that sealed the victory. But there was no doubt who the real star was — the seventh-grader wjio turned up on ABC's "Good Morning America," all 5-feet-l of him, wearing a Yankees cap and jejrsey. ;!"I'm starting to understand what it'did," Jeff said. "It struck me this morning when I woke up. Wow! I njjay have really helped the Yan- kfesout." -Two New York newspapers dubbed him the "Angel in the Outfield." Not everyone, though, was that charitable. Baseball purists and the fans in Baltimore seethed. Unfair, a sh3m£, another stain on the fabric o£jjas,eball, the partisans howled, fiirtBer proof the owners, players, umpires — and now the crowds — are" out of control. Not exactly. . J^hat Roberto Alomar did was unfair. He spit on an ump, then SP& on baseball's laughable justice system by clinching both a wildcard spot and the divisional series fpr the Orioles with clutch hits in .games he shouldn't have been allowed to play. .What Jeff Maier did was pure whimsy. He reminded us why we cared about the game in the first place. Why we played it, dreamed about it and ran back into the house for a glove every time somebody suggested going to see a game: to catch a baseball. "You have no idea how impor- tantbaseball is to this boy," his grandmother, Lorraine Briemer, said from the family's home in Old Tappan, N. J. "No idea." 'The Little Leaguer had his pre- bar mitzvah party last Saturday and tfie theme was baseball. "There was a big lighted score• board that said, 'Welcome to Jeffs World Series.' Earlier in the week, Jeff begged his mother to let him use his own money to buy a ticket for the Ifeagne championship series. Jane tyfaie2 explained that was almost impossible, and besides, neither , she nor her husband would be free either night to take Jeff to the gamfc" Buf fate intervened to make it happen. First, one of the Maier's friends called the next day with an extra ticket. Then, from his seat in Sectiqn 31, Jeff tracked the parabola Deleter's fly ball, raced to a spot alorijgthe right-field wall and waited. ? In^the movies, of course, Jeff would have caught the ball. But this was Yankee Stadium. One fan jostled him and knocked the ball out of the glove and into the stands. A second grabbed it and ran Qff. It wasn't a total loss. On Thursday, he had one of the best seats in the house — right behind the Yankee dugout. 'As baseball says in its most recent r ad campaign — what a game! T BASEBALL PLAYOFFS O's even with Yankees Palmeiro delivers key blow; next three games in Baltimore By TOM WITHERS The Associated Press NEW YORK — Nothing bizarre or controversial got in the way of the Baltimore Orioles for a change, especially no 12-year-ol'ds. Rafael Palmeiro hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning Thursday, lifting Baltimore to a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees to even the American League championship series at one win apiece. Palmeiro's shot to right-center off loser Jeff Nelson snapped a 2-2 tie and gave the Orioles a reason to celebrate less than 24 hours after a possible win in Game 1 was stolen away by a 12- AUKGHffiZ Baltimore 5 "We put it New York 3 b( : hind us " winning pitcher David Wells said of the Game 1 loss. "We had to. You can't worry about your last game, and that's what we did. We went out there and did our jobs." Having earned a split in raucous Yankee Stadium, the Orioles will play the next three games in the best-of-7 series at Camden Yards. Jimmy Key will start Game 3 for the Yankees tonight against Mike Mussina. Game 2 was fairly nondescript. Just solid baseball. The Orioles got a great start from Wells, homers by Palmeiro and Todd Zeile and adequate relief. And Tarasco got a little revenge by catching Cecil Fielder's fly to right for the final out. Maier brought his glove to the game again, but sat with his family behind the Yankees' dugout and couldn't help out the home team this time. With the score tied 2-2, Alomar doubled down the left-field line with one out in the seventh off Nelson. Palmeiro, who went 3-for-3 with a homer in Game 1, followed by hitting a 3-1 pitch over the wall in right-center. Maier, right fielder Paul O'Neill and 56,432 others could only watch as the towering drive left the field. Wells pitched out of serious trouble in the fifth and sixth'in- nings before leaving with runners at first and second in the seventh. The left-hander gave up eight hits over 6 2-3 innings as he raised his career record at Yankee Stadium to 10-1. Wells has special regard for Yankee Stadium and it's not because of his success there or the polite fans. He readily admits that Babe Ruth is his favorite player and his proudest possession is a 1930 Yankees team ball signed by Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The Associated Press Todd Zeile watches his game-tying two-run homer during Game 2 of the ALCS on Thursday. Gaetti, Cards slam Braves By BEN WALKER The Associated Press ATLANTA — Not so fast, Atlanta Braves. Gary Gaetti hit a game-breaking grand slam off Greg Maddux in the seventh inning and the St. Louis Cardinals startled the Braves 8-3 Thursday night, evening the NL championship series at one win apiece. Not only did the Cardinals become the first team to solve Atlanta's awesome pitching in the playoffs — and extend Mad- NUttGAMEZ St. Louis 8 Atlanta 3 dux's string of spotty October starts — they also ended the Braves' eight-game home winning streak in the postseason. Even more importantly, St. Louis took away the home-field edge in the best-of-7 series, which now shifts to Busch Stadium for the next three games. The Braves went 6-0 at St. Louis this season, and the Cardinals will try to reverse that trend Saturday. Gaetti's slam capped a five-run seventh and finished Maddux, who matched a career high by 4 More playoff coverage / Page C3 allowing eight runs. The inning was set up when third baseman Chipper Jones threw away a bunt, ironic because it was Jones' bunt in Game 1 that was botched by the Cardinals in a 4-2 loss. Ray Lankford hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-3 lead and, with Maddux laboring, the Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs on an intentional walk to Brian Jordan. Gaetti spoiled that strategy, and the entire evening for the sellout crowd of 52,067, by lining the next pitch over the fence in left-center. It was the fifth slam in NL championship series history, and the second off Maddux — Will Clark of San Francisco connected in 1989 when he pitched for the Chicago Cubs. For Gaetti, who led Minnesota to an improbable World Series championship over St. Louis in 1987, it was his third hit of this postseason, two of them homers. The slam gave the victory to Todd Stottlemyre, who was 0-3 against Atlanta this year. T HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL 1-70 title at stake tonight Salina Central must beat Manhattan to claim third straight league crown By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal Tonight's Salina Central-Manhattan game would be considered special even if it wasn't Marvin Diener's 100th game as Central head coach. Two of the state's top-ranked teams meet at 7:30 p.m. in Salina Stadium. Both have survived the first half of the regular season without suffering defeat — Central at 5-0 and Manhattan 4-0 — and both teams have space reserved in their respective trophy cases for the 1-70 League championship trophy. Although this game is about as big as it gets for a nonplayoff high school contest, Diener emphasizes that it is not a make-or-break game for his team or Manhattan coach Lew Lane's Indians. "I think that for either team to lose the game doesn't mean that their season is over," Diener DIENER said. "And win or lose, I think both teams will do well in their respective districts. "But I do think a loss could cost that particular team a lot of momentum going into district and sets up the winning team for a really big lift." Tonight's game is Central's league finale and a win clinches a third consecutive 1-70 championship outright. Manhattan still has two league contests remaining after tonight — Topeka West and Junction City — but would be the only unbeaten team in the league with a victory over Central. • "The 1-70 League titles are very important to our kids," Diener said. "They are very proud of the last two league titles and everybody still knows you have to go through Manhattan to win it. They realize that will be a very difficult task." A couple of lengthy Mustang winning streaks will also be put to the test. Central has won 28 consecutive regular-season games and 17 consecutive league contests. Its last regular-season and league loss came against Manhattan in week four of the 1993 season. Both teams are ranked No. 2 in their respective classes — Central in Class 5A and Manhattan in 6A. Manhattan is coming off a 20-14 double- overtime victory over Salina South, where the Indians scored 14 points in the final six minutes of regulation to force the overtime. The Indians allowed an average of only 127.3 yards offense in their first three games before South rolled up 329 yards last week. "South played really a tremendous game and really lifted their level of play one more step," Diener said. "I think that's very important for our kids to match that kind of effort. "When you talk championship-type atmosphere in games like this, it usually brings out the best in both teams and I expect that (tonight)." SALINE COUNTY GAMEDAY Salina South (2-3) at Junction City (4-1) It would have been one of the biggest victories in the,history of the Salina South football program, but last week's heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Manhattan now brings questions concerning how the Cougars might respond the remainder of the season. South coach Ken Stonebraker would like to see history repeat itself. A week after losing to Manhattan a year ago, it was a 13-12 victory over Junction that got the Cougars on a roll and helped them win five of their last six games. South faces a Junction City squad that feels it could still earn a share of the 1-70 League title if it wins out and Manhattan beats Central tonight. The Blue Jays have already doubled their win total from a year ago. Junction City is one shutout quarter away from being unbeaten this season. The Blue Jays' only loss came to Salina Central when the Mustangs rallied in the fourth quarter for a 17-14 victory. Junction City has been involved in some close games, with three of its wins coming by one touchdown or less and it's widest margin of victory a 14-0 win over Shawnee Heights. Junction City tailback Matt Jordan, the second-leading rusher in the 1-70 League this season, has 866 yards on 135 carries. Herington (2-3) at Sacred Heart (5-0) The Cottonwood Valley League title is Sacred Heart's for the taking if the Knights can win their final league game tonight against Herington. A victory would give Sacred Heart its first outright CVL football championship since joining the league in 1987. The Knights shared the title in 1993 with Eure- TONIGHT'S SCHEDULE Manhattan vs. Salina Central at Salina Stadium, 7:30 p.m. Salina South vs. Junction City at Junction City, 7:30 p.m. (KSAL, 1150-AM) Herington vs. Sacred Heart at Kansas Wesleyan's Martin Stadium Southeast of Saline vs. Concordla at Concordia, 7:30 p.m. Sedgwlck vs. Ell-Saline at Brookvllle, 7:30 p.m. Solomon vs. St. John's Military at Perkins Field, 7 p.m. ka, a school that has since left the league. Sacred Heart struggled through some rough times in the CVL before having success in recent years. The Knights won only six games in their first six years in the league (6-21) but have a 16-5 record since 1993, when the current group of Sacred Heart seniors joined the program as freshmen. With last week's win over Marion, Sacred Heart coach Tony Canacari moved into second place on the Knights' coaching chart since the school reintroduced football in 1960. Canacari, who started the year in seventh place among the 10 Knight coaches, picked up his 16th win to pass Joe Ross (155). He now trails only Jon Bingesser, who went 98-41 in 14 years at Sacred Heart. A win tonight would enable Sacred Heart to reach another milestone — the 200th victory for the Knights program. The team's 50 start this season gives the program a 199141-5 record since 1960. Southeast of Saline (5-0) at Concordla (4-1) Now the fun begins for the Southeast of Saline football squad. The Trojans' schedule is loaded in the final four weeks of the season, starting with tonight's nonleague contest at Concordia. Southeast's next four opponents have a combined record of 14-6 and three of the four have been state ranked at one time this season. The Panthers know how to win close games, with three of their four victories coming by one touchdown. The Trojans got a big game from Ryan Kejr last week, when the senior rushed for 137 yards on 13 carries. Kejr had three touchdowns against Ellsworth after scoring only two in his team's first four games. The Southeast secondary will face its stiffest test this season. The Trojans have given up only 314 yards passing all season, but Concordia quarterback Jacob Letourneau has thrown for nearly 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns, in his team's first five games. Sedgwick (2-3) at Ell-Saline (5-0) It would be difficult to pick which has played better through the first half of the regular season — the Ell-Saline offense or defense. The Cardinals are on a record-setting pace offensively, averaging 53.8 points a game. The highest scoring average by a Kansas 11-man team since 1968 is 47.3 points a game, but the Cardinals' toughest tests are to come. The Ell-Saline defense is certainly doing its part, getting the Cardinal offense plenty of possessions to work with. Ell-Saline has allowed 36 points (7.2 a game) and still not allowed an opponent to score in the first half. Sedgwick is looking for its first Heart of America League victory this season and is coming off back-to-back losses against a pair of future Ell-Saline opponents — Inman (19-6) and Canton-Galva (42-8). Sedgwick has scored more than 14 points in only one game this season. Sedgwick is the third team Ell-Saline has faced this year that is making the move from eight-man to 11-man football this year. Solomon (1-3) at St. John's Military (3-2) The defense did in St. John's Military in its first Eisenhower League loss of the season last week against Hope. The Muleskinners gave up 496 yards of total offense to the Lions, including 284 through the air. In St. John's three victories this season, the team has allowed a total of 20 points. In the Muleskinners'.two losses, they have given up 100 points. St. John's has had six touchdowns scored by its defense and special teams in its first five games. Solomon has lost its last three games after opening the season with a victory over White City. The Gorillas have spread their scoring around, as senior Tim Neaderhiser has seven touchdowns and junior Matt Heller six. — Larry Moritz SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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