The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 18, 1996 · Page 18
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 18

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Friday, October 18, 1996
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r C4 FRIDAY. OCTOBER 18, 1996 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL BASEBALL PLAYOFFS Lopez is series MVP Atlanta catcher started Game 1 with hot bat and never cooled off By PAUL NEWBERRY The Associated Press ATLANTA — Javy Lo'pez clutched the crystal trophy as he searched for his wife and son outside the Atlanta Braves clubhouse. "You better put that away before you drop it," Terry Pendleton, a veteran of postgame celebrations, said with a wink. Fat chance. Lopez didn't flub anything during the NL championship series and he wasn't about to start now. The Atlanta catcher hit .542 to earn MVP honors as the Braves clinched a historic, comeback by routing St. Louis 15-0 in Game 7 Thursday night. "I never expected anything like this," Lopez said, glancing down at his award. "Now that it's in my hands, I feel real proud." From start to finish, this was Lopez's series. In Game 1, he hit a two-run single in the eighth inning to give the Braves a 4-2 victory. The Cardinals won the next three games to take a commanding lead, but Lopez's hitting never waned and he finally got some help from his teammates. In the final three games, as Atlanta became the first NL team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the championship series. Lopez had plenty of help on offense. Atlanta outscored the Cardinals 32-1 to win the series. Somewhat obscured, Lopez kept right on hitting and finished 13 of 24 to tie Will Clark's 1989 record for most hits in the NLCS. Afterward, he tried to explain his success at the plate. "It's just something that happened," he said, having swapped his trophy for his 11-month-old son, Javier Jr. "I can't explain it. I expected to contribute, to help us win somehow. This time, I was swinging the hot bat and I'm happy for it. "It seems like every time I swing at the ball, I hit it hard somewhere." Lopez, who usually plays in the shadow of sluggers Fred McGriff, The Associated Press Atlanta catcher and NLCS MVP watches his fourth-inning home run during Game 7 against St. Louis on Thursday. Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko, may be ready to take his place alongside them at age 25. Last year, he hit .315 as Atlanta won its first World Series title. This season, he had the best power numbers of his career: 23 homers and 69 RBI. "I think Javy has pretty much come into his own this postseason," said Tom Glavine, who got the Game 7 win. "The kid is in a tough situation catching what many consider the best pitching staff in baseball. If we don't do what we're supposed to do, everyone is going to point a finger at him. He's really been hi a no-win situation." Take his relationship with Greg Maddux. The four-time Cy Young Award winner has much better numbers this season when defen- sive specialist Eddie Lopez is behind the plate, prompting speculation that Lopez's game-calling skills were lacking. In Game 6, however, manager Bobby Cox decided he couldn't take Lopez's hot bat out of the lineup. Even without his personal catcher, Maddux allowed only one run in 7 23 innings and the Braves stayed alive with a 3-1 victory. "He's come a long way calling the game," Glavine said. "Everyone knew when he got here that offensively he was a tremendous threat. But I think every year that goes by, he gets better and better defensively, better and better at calling ball- games. I don't think it's going to be too long before he's a well-rounded catcher." Tonight's area high school football Here is tonight's schedule of high school football games involving teams in The Salina Journal's circulation area of north-central and northwest Kansas: TOP 10 GAMES 1. Kensington (6-0) at Logan (6-0). The Cheyenne Conference championship and possibly an Eight-Man II playoff berth are at stake in this battle of unbeaten state powers. Kensington is ranked No. 2 in Eight-Man II and Logan No. 6. 2. Linn (5-0) at Blue Valley-Randolph (6-0). Linn is ranked No. 5 in Eight-Man I and Blue Valley No. 4 with the winner gaining the inside track for a district championship. 3. Waconda East (6-0) at Pike Valley (5-1). In what is arguably the state's strongest Eight-Man I district, the winner of this game still has to get by unbeaten and No. 3-ranked Mankato. Waconda East is ranked No. 8. Those three teams also are battling for the Pike Trail League lead. 4. Belleville (4-2) at Southeast of Saline (6-0). The winner will get an early jump in a very competitive Class 3A, District 10 that also includes No. 9-ranked Beloit (5-1) and Minneapolis (4-2). All four teams are 2-0 in the North Central Activities Association and Southeast of Saline is ranked third in the state. 5. Inman (5-1) at Ell-Saline (6-0). Inman is the last obstacle fdr No. 2- ranked Ell-Saline before next week's Class 2A, District 9 showdown with No. 6 Sacred Heart. 6. Eastern Heights (5-1) at Northern Valley (4-2). Things do not promise to get any easier for the winner of this Eight-Man II, District 9. Both teams still have to face No. 2 Kensington and No. 6 Logan. Northern Valley is ranked No. 10. 7. Abilene (3-3) at Concordla (4-2). Abilene is coming off an upset victory over Marysville while Concordia was stunned 34-0 by Southeast of Saline last week. The winner should be the favorite for the Class 4A, District 10 title. 8. Qulvlra Heights (4-2) at Wilson (5-1). No. 9-ranked Wilson, coming off a tough loss at Sylvan last week, needs a victory to force a showdown with No. 2 Little River in Eight-Man I, " District 9. 9. Hays (2-4) at Salina South (3-3). Both teams have played rugged schedules in preparation for this key Class 5A, District 3 battle. South is coming off an impressive 54-7 thrashing of Junction City. 10. Oberlln (4-2) at Norton (6-0). Oberlin, coming off an decisive victory over Atwood last week, hopes to catch No. 1 Norton looking ahead to next week's Class 3A, District 15 battle at No. 2 Smith Center. REMAINING SCHEDULE Beloit at Minneapolis Bennington at Southern Cloud (Miltonvale) Central Christian at Tescott Chapman at Clay Center Cheylin at Sharon Springs Clifton-Clyde at Valley Heights Downs at Sylvan Ellis at Dighton Goessel at Hope Goodland at TMP-Marian Herndon at Syracuse Christian Hesston at Hillsboro Hoisington at Oakley Hoxie at Atwood Hugoton at Pratt Jewell at Hillcrest Lawrence at Topeka High Lebo at Chase County Lenora at Morland Lincoln at Stockton Lucas-Luray at Natoma Manhattan at Junction City Mankato at Nelson, Neb. Marion at Herington Marysville at Wamego McPherson at Great Bend Midway-Denton at Hanover Moundridge at Remington Ness City at Quinter Nickerson at Ellsworth Osborne at Plainville Palco at Healy-Utica (Utica) Ransom at Golden Plains Sacred Heart at Canton-Galva St. Francis at Hill City St. John's Beloit at Tipton St. John's Military at Wakefield Salina Central at Highland Park Santa Fe Trail at Council Grove Scott City at Colby Smith Center at Phillipsburg Smoky Valley at Russell Solomon at Centre. Topeka West at Washburn Rural Trego at Leoti Tribune at Grinned Triplains at Brewster Ulysses at Larned Victoria at LaCrosse Washington at Frankfort White Rock at North Central Saturday's game Chase at White City Monday's game Emmanuel Christian at Central Christian JV T PRO FOOTBALL Young to return to First inning dooms Cardinals 49.ers' lineup Sunday By R.B. FALLSTROM The Associated Press ATLANTA — Their somber faces said it all. Three games ago the St. Louis Cardinals were on the verge of returning to the World Series for the first time in nine years. When last seen on Sunday, Dennis Eckersley was smiling, celebrating, punching his fist in the air after nailing down Game 4. The rest of the way was a nightmare. "They've proved it to us," Eckersley said. "They didn't have to beat the hell out of us to prove it to us, that's for sure." In the last three games of the best-of-7 series, the Cards were outscored 32-1. "We overachieved, I think," Eckersley said. "I think we scared them. They're probably acting like it was no big deal, but they were scared." So scared that twice the Braves ran up football scores — 14-0 in Game 5, and 15-0 in Thursday night's finale. The Cards' lone run in Game 6 scored on a wild pitch. The Cardinals now have the dubious distinction of blowing 3-1 postseason leads on three occasions, two of them by double-digit deficits. • The 1968 World Series final wasn't so bad, ending with Mickey Lolich outpitching Bob Gibson in a 4-1 final. But this one was eerily similar to the 1985 finale, when the Royals beat up John Tudor to the tune of 11-0 and Tudor took out his frustrations on an electric fan, cutting his hand. In this year's Game 7 failure, Donovan Osborne settled for slamming his glove on the bench and knocking over two water coolers in the dugout after exiting with two outs in the first and six runs in. Teammates steered clear. "There's really nothing to say when you get your butt kicked like that," Osborne said. "You've got to grin and bear it." Earlier Thursday more than a few Cardinals said no matter what happened in Game 7 it had been a successful year — considering St. Louis went from 62 victories last year to 88 in manager Tony La Russa's first season. "If we win this series, it's a great year. If we win the World Series, it's been an outstanding year," general manager Walt Jocketty said. Call it a very good year with a very bad ending. As bad as Osborne's outing was, he came tantalizingly close to getting out of the first with minimal damage. It was 1-0 with two outs arid runners on first and second when Jermaine Dye singled to left and slow-footed Fred McGriff made the turn for home about the same time left fielder Ron Gant was unleashing his throw to the plate. A good throw would have gotten McGriff, but this one was terrible, far up the third-base line. Later in the inning, Gant missed a diving catch on Tom Glavine's drive with the bases loaded and what should have been an RBI single became a three-run triple as the ball rolled to the wall. Series to feature great pitching It'll be Atlanta's superb starters vs. New York's strong relievers By BEN WALKER The Associated Press In a World Series that features pitching, it will be the Atlanta Braves' awesome starters against the New York Yankees' brilliant bullpen in an October matchup that brings both managers back to their baseball roots. Game 1 is set for Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, with the likely 1996 Cy Young Award winners possibly facing each other. John Smoltz, who led the majors in victories and strikeouts in the regular season and then went 3-0 in the playoffs, will probably start for the Braves. Andy Pettitte, who led the AL in wins, is set to pitch for the Yankees. The Braves have made it to four of the last five World Series, and are trying to become the first NL team to repeat as champions since Cincinnati's Big Red Machine in 1975-76. The Yankees and Braves have met before in the Series. Lew Burdette won three times, including a victory in Game 7, for Milwaukee in 1957, but Mickey Mantle and New York came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Hank Aaron-led The Associated Press New York Yankees' manager Joe Torre watches a team workout Thursday. Braves the next year. Atlanta comes in with a three- game winning streak, having overcome a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs by beating St. Louis behind its big three of Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Denny Neagle, acquired in a late-season trade, may start Game 2, with the Braves hoping he can help neutralize the Yankees' lefty hitters. "Their starting pitching is intimidating," said Yankees manager Joe Torre, who was fired as the Braves manager in 1984. The Yankees made it to the Series for the first time since 1981 because of their bullpen and playoff power provided by Darryl Strawberry and Cecil Fielder, both acquired in midseason. John Wetteland led the league in saves, helped by dominant setup man Mariano Rivera. The Braves count on hard-throwing Mark Wohlers as their closer. David Cone and Jimmy Key will also start for the Yankees, and a decision on a fourth starter will be made later. Scoring runs has been no problem in the postseason for New York. Bernie Williams, MVP of the AL championship series, led the offense, while Strawberry and Fielder made key contributions. As always, though, the Series will pose a problem for the AL team when it shifts to the NL city. The Yankees will not be able to use a designated hitter for the middle three games in Atlanta, meaning Strawberry — bothered by a broken toe — or Fielder may sit. No such lineup problems for the Braves, still trying to make up for the offensive gap left when David Justice sustained a season-ending shoulder injury early in the year. Rookies Jermaine Dye and 19-year- old Andruw Jones have filled the spot in right field. Torre faces the team that he made his major league debut with in 1960. He started out with the Milwaukee Braves. Braves manager Bobby Cox broke into the big leagues with the Yankees in 1968 and stayed with them for two years. He managed in New York's farm system for six years and served as the Yankees' first base coach when they won the Series in 1977. I San Francisco went 2-1 without injured starting quarterback By The Associated Press SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Steve Young, sidelined the past three games by a groin strain, will be back in the lineup Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers play Cincinnati. "As far as the medical people, in visiting with them, they felt he was ready to go, he feels as though he's ready to go, so he's going," coach George Seifert said Thursday. Young last played Sept. 22, when he aggravated the groin injury during the 23-7 loss at Carolina. He originally was injured at the end of a scramble Sept. 8 against St. Louis. During the absence of the two- time league MVP, the 49ers went 21 with Elvis Grbac at quarterback. They beat Atlanta and St. Louis before losing 23-20 in overtime last Monday night at Green Bay. "I'm glad I'm going to go play and now I have to prove that this doesn't recur," Young said. "I've got to now play the rest of the season. I can't be tweaking it or be going in and out of the lineup." Young's rehabilitation had gone YOUNG slowly until last week when he received a series of anti-inflammatory injections. He resumed practice just days before the Green Bay game and suited up as the backup to Grbac but didn't play. Buckley's comeback DA VIE, Fla. — As'a TV commentator, Jimmy Johnson once said Terrell Buckley belonged on the bench. As the coach of the Miami Dolphins, Johnson says Buckley deserves a place among the NFL's elite cornerbacks. "Right now I'd match him with anybody in the league," Johnson said. "He's been outstanding." The reclamation of the 25-year- old Buckley ranks with Johnson's foremost achievements during his first season in Miami. A fast-talking first-round draft pick who became known as a brazen bust, Buckley was once perhaps the NFL's most maligned player. Now he's tied for the league lead with five interceptions going into Sunday's game at Philadelphia. The latest interception came Sunday at Buffalo, when Buckley stepped in front of Jim Kelly's fourth-and-goal pass in the final minute and returned it 91 yards for a touchdown and a watershed 21-7 victory. "Last week was like a climb up a mountain and getting to the top and just'enjoying it," Buckley said Thursday. "The Lord put me in a position where my enemies will become my foot stools." Wesleyan spikers edge Ottawa By The Journal Staff OTTAWA — Following a strong start, Kansas Wesleyan was extended to five games before turning back Ottawa Thursday in a Kansas Conference volleyball match. The Coyotes prevailed 15-9,15-4, 12-15,15-17 and 15-13. "I told the kids that this was our night," Wesleyan coach Tom Hughes said. "But it did not come easy." Wesleyan took command of the match at the outset with back-to- back victories and led 12-9 in the third game before Ottawa battled back and eventually evened the match. "We came out really well, really fired up," Hughes said. "But 12 seems to not be a good number for us. We stalled out there." But Wesleyan regrouped and won the deciding fifth game. The Coyotes were led by Kary Taylor (six aces, 21 kills, 18 blocks), Marsha Emmot (21 kills), Holly Morris (17 kills), Tabetha Gillespie (16 blocks) and Lisa Tripp (three aces, 55 assists). Now 6-10 overall and 5-5 in the KCAC, Wesleyan resumes play Thursday when it entertains Bethel. V PRO GOLF Mickelson loses when bunker shot bounces out American loses to Singh in first round of World Match Play By The Associated Press VIRGINIA WATER, England .— Phil Mickelson's desperation bunker shot on the final hole disappeared into the cup on a fly then incredibly bounced out, giving Vijay Singh the first-round contest in the World Match Play championship. The shocking turn of events Thursday came when it seemed Mickelson had successfully rallied from 5-down after seven holes to catch Singh on the 36th hole and force the match to sudden death. "I couldn't believe that it came out of the hole," Mickelson said after losing despite an eagle and 10 birdies. "Obviously there's a bit of luck in flying in the hole in the first place," Mickelson said. "But for that to happen, it was kind of surprising." In other matches, Steve Strieker defeated Australian Steve Elkington 3 and 2; Mark O'Meara eased past Nobuo Serizama of Japan 7 and 5; and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland came from 2-down to beat Ian Woosnam of Wales 3 and 2. Singh of Fiji plays Steve Jones, O'Meara takes on Tom Lehman, Montgomerie faces Mark Brooks and Strieker tackles defending champion Ernie Els of South Africa in Friday's second-round play. Mickelson, winner of four PGA Tour events this year and a tour- leading $1,620,999, was 5-down after seven holes but pulled to 1-down when he finished the first 18 holes birdie-eagle. The match was even by the 20th hole but Mickelson fell back to 2- down with two holes to play. Singh drove out-of-bounds on the 35th hole and Mickelson needed to win the 36th hole to force sudden death. Mickelson's shot from the green- side bunker flew high in the air and dropped cleanly between the edge of the hole and the flagstick into the cup. But it's flight was so pure, it hit the bottom of the cup. and bounced out. '^ Singh sank a 4-foot putt to eflij; the match. '-: Strieker, meanwhile, maintained his amazing streak of victories in head-to-head matches by coming from 2-down to defeat Elkington and advance against Els, who is trying to become the first player to win the title three years in a row. TAKE A SMART STEP TOWARD A BRIGHTER FUTURE The Army helps young men and women gain the kind of self-confidence that lasts a lifetime. We can teach you how to develop your own leadership ," qualities while learning to work well in a team. We'll also train you in your choice of more than 250 specialty skills. These assets are ;; all highly valued by civilian < • employers. And that's why even ' one enlistment in the Army is a sound investment in your future. Contact your Army Recruiter. 827-3666 ARMY. BE ALL YOU CAN BE: FLUSH COOLING SYSTEM Antifreeze • Backflushes cooling system to remove deposits, scale and corrosion. Recycled fluid provides superior corrosion protection for today's aluminum engine*. • Pressure tests entire cooling system. • Eliminates disposal and pollution problems. »Drains cooling system to facilitate repairs We Now Accept The NAPACARD Centennial Road / Salina / (913) 623-9732

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