The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 2, 2001 · Page 23
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 23

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 2, 2001
Page 23
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WEDNESDAY MAY 2. SOOl THE SALIW30URNAL Sports BASEBALL/D3 AUTO RACING / D4 NBA PLAYOFFS / D5 T PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL Cagerz face similar foe in Lakeleind Jones Jr. feature player for Blue Ducks; Kansas wili be without top scorer Webber By The Sallna Journal LAKELAND, Fla. ~ The Kansas Cagerz, minus their leading scorer, take their show to the Sunshine State today for a 6 p.m. game against the Lakeland Blue Ducks in the Jenkins Athletic Center. The Cagerz (1-0) will be without 6- foot-6 guard Sedric Webber for the brief two-game trip to Florida. Webber is on a week-long tour of China, • HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL ^LLmfifiti l^ut is expected to jtgBKBBB^ return early next JBSBSSSBBl' week in preparation ,..„.„<,..!"!!!!!!. for the Cagerz's CAGBiZat J^iM!SJ!|._. Kansas coach wh «!i;.^f«'il^;f F'-an^s Flax said ASbir Webber will be reRecords: Cagerz Placed by either 1-0; Lakeland 1-2. Gary Johnson or Cortez Barnes in the starting lineup. Lakeland is located 15 miles east of Tampa in central Florida. The franchise was called the Gulf Coast Sun Dogs the last two seasons. "They will be a lot like we are," Flax said. "It should be a good matchup." The Blue Ducks are 1-2 after three games with a 116-87 victory over Atlantic City and losses to Oklahoma (115-86) and Florida (86-82). Kwan Johnson, a 6-5 guard from New Orleans, leads Lakeland in scoring at 26.0 points per game, which ranks fourth in the United States Basketball League. The Blue Ducks also feature 5-9 guard Roy Jones Jr., the undisputed light heavyweight boxing champion of the world, who has started all three games and is averaging five points a game. Flax said he'll be looking for a more physical game from his big men, most notably rookies Craig Rodgers and Eric Carter. "We're going to have to improve our interior defense," Flax said. "We let guys catch the ball too easily We're a little too non-aggressive." The Cagerz's big men will be battling the USBL's leading rebounder in 6-9 center Innocent Kere, who is averaging 12.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. The Cagerz are taking the mandatory 10 players on the road to Florida. Wayne Houston is not with the team because of a sprained left ankle. Join­ ing either Johnson or Barnes in the starting lineup will be Tory Walker, Johnny Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Rodgers. The Cagerz notched a big season- opening win Sunday night with a 93-90 victory over defending USBL champion Dodge City "All three of these road games (to start the season) are big ones," Flax said. "But the win over Dodge City was the most important one. Following tonight's game, the Cagerz will travel down the west coast of Florida to Fort Myers where they will play the Florida Sea Dragons on Friday T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Indians sock KG with five homers All of Cleveland's long balls occur with two outs in rout of Royals By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Salina South second baseman Cord Charvat tags outTopeka West's Dan Armstrong In the second inning of the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader at Dean Evans Stadium. Cougars deal West two losses South reaches .500 mark following 1-70 sweep of Chargers By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal In a season BASEBALL TopekaWest ^Salina South 7 3 9 S of ups and downs for the Salina South baseball * • " • team, Tuesday's doubleheader sweep of Topeka West ranks as one of the highs. The Cougars have not been above .500 this season, but reached the break even mark for the fourth time with the 9.7 and 5-3 victories at Dean Evans Stadium. More importantly, the wins keep South's chances for an I- 70 League title alive. Now 8-8 overall, the Cougars are 6-2 in the league and face 1-70 frontrunner Manhattan ,in a twin- bill at Evans Stadium Friday "First of all, it puts us at .500, which we've been strug- T HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL gling to get to' all year," first- year South coach Kurt Wolf said. "At 6-2 in the league we'll be vying for. a league title against Manhattan on Friday. "But it is going to take a little luck and a lot of hard play on our part. Manhattan may come in undefeated and ranked No. 1 in 6A, so it is definitely not going to be easy and we have to put together our A game. Tuesday's victories also came against a Topeka West squiad the Cougars may see later this month in their Class 5A regional at Topeka. The Chargers (5-11) kept both games close and had the potential tying run on base in the seventh inning of both contests. "Nothing was easy and we never make it easy," Wolf said. "We are playing better basie- ball and our players have a better understanding of what I expect from them. What I was really pleased with is the way we hustled from home to first on simple ground ball outs. That's the type of effort I want to see." • South trailed 4-0 in the opener before erupting for eight runs in the third, including five runs with two outs. Mick Gordon's infield single with the bases loaded brought home one run and tied the game. Jared Lilly lined a 3-2 pitch into the left-center field gap for a triple, driving in three more runs and Lilly later scored on a double steal. With runners at second and third in the top of the seventh, the Chargers had the potential tying run in scoring position with one out. South reliever Ryan Brin was able to work out of it with a ground ball and two infield pop outs to end the game. Gordon, Lilly, Eric Puvogel and Brandon Smith had two hits apiece for South in the opener. South did all of its scoring early in the second contest, taking a 5-1 lead after three innings. Lilly tripled and scored oh a wild pitch in the first. while Gordon tripled and eventually crossed the plate after a passed ball. Brian Sears had an RBI single and Weston Moody drove in another run with a double during South's three-run second. Andy Maxwell, after throwing 1 % innings of relief in the opener, came off the bench to throw three more innings in the second contest. Brin got the game's final out to earn his second save of the day The second game included the ejection of West pitcher Tych Cowdin and coach Brett Cowdin in the third inning, and South pitcher Gen Gillespie in the fourth. Tych Cowdin was ejected after hitting Lilly with a pitch leading off the third. Both benches were warned later in the inning that any further hit batsmen would result in the ejection of the pitcher. Gillespie nipped West's Tyler Frazee with two outs in the bottom of the fourth and was also ejected. KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eddie Taubensee thought back to Game 7 the 1985 World Series, when Darryl Motley pulled a ball foul to left, just missing a home run, then connected on the next pitch for a three-run homer to right that was barely fair. Taubensee did the same thing Tuesday night, hitting a three-run homer in the Cleveland Indians' 13-2 rout of the Kansas City Royals. "That came into my mind. And on the next pitch .... I can't say I knew it was going to happen. But that's what I thought about," Taubensee said. Marty Cordova, Juan Gonzalez, Ellis Burks and Russell Branyan also homered for the Indians. Gonzalez, who hit a two-run drive off Blake Stein in a six- run seventh, has 29 RBIs in 24 games. Chuck Finley (2-2) won for the first time in five starts, improving to 16-11 against Kansas City He allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. Cleveland, which set a season high for runs, hit all its homers with two outs. Chad Durbin (0-1), called up a day earlier from Triple-A Omaha, gave up a two-run homer to Burks in a four-run first and a three-run drive to Taubensee in the fourth that made it 7-0. Durbin allowed seven runs and five hits in four innings. "I couldn't have been more prepared mentally or physically" said Durbin. Doug Henry gave up the 455- foot drive to Cordova. Three pitchers later, he allowed 435- foot homer to Branyan. Game notes For the first time this year, the Royals started a game without Carlos Beltran in center field. He was scratched just before game time with flu-like symptoms.... "The game was delayed about 10 minutes starting the top of the ninth after a spectator fell out of the right- field bleachers onto the field. The man appeared to be unhurt. • Pitching moves / Page D4 The boys of spring Here is a comparison of Major League Baseball's April statistics in 2000 and 2001. 2000 2001 Percent Total Average Total Average change Batting | Average i .270 .260 W 3.7 Runs 3,922 ' 1075 3,526 9.61 Hits 1 6,774 18.56 6,529 17.74 4.4 Doubles 1 1,392" 3.81 1,272 3.46 Triples 1 151 0.41 141 0.38 Home Runs 935" 2.56 860 2.34 ^ 8.6 Walks 2,854 7.82 2,495 6.78 ••''13.3 Strikeouts 4,712 12.91 5,008 13.61 .'•it 'Mi: ERA 4.93 4.46 SOURCE: Elias Sports Bureau AP Results of new strike zone vary Pitching, timely hitting key South Cougars sweep West with big innings, solid pitching and defense By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal Timing was everything for Salina South on Tuesday in its 1-70 League Softball finale. The Cougars Topeka Weat 0 1 managed one big inning in SOFTBALL Salina South 10 7 each game and their pitching and defense took it from there as they swept Topeka West 10-0 and 7-1 at the South diamonds. The first game ended after five innings on the lO-run rule. "We hit the baU, but I think the difference is when we hit the ball," said South coach Daryl Hoelting, whose Cougars improved to 11-3 overall and finished second in the 1-70 at 73. "In the first game we got a couple of runners on twice and were able to get the big hit." Erin Hoppock and Ashlea Cleveland had two-run doubles to spark a four-run first-inning in the first game and the Cougars added two runs in each of the next three innings to end it in* five. Kelsey Nordstrom and Shelby Eastep, who also doubled, had three hits apiece to lead South's 10-hit attack. Nordstrom was sharp on the mound, holding West to a pair of singles and striking out 10 to push her record to 6-1. The Cougars got off to another fast start in the second game on Melissa Ferguson's one-out single, an error and Eastep's two-run double to left center. That was enough for South starter Betsy Wilson (5-2), who also threw a two-hitter and limited West to one run in the fourth on a walk to Erin Pierce, a wild pitch and Rachel Hughes' RBI single. "Last week we struggled a little, but this week we worked hard and came back and played well," said Eastep, who was 4 for 5 with two doubles in the doubleheader. "It's best to get ahead. The ball was working (Nordstrom and Wilson's) way and they usually stay on top if we get ahead." After West cut the lead to 2-1, South got an unearned run in the fifth inning, then added four more in the sixth with the help of two Charger errors. Hoppock and Robie Nelson had RBI singles in the inning and Cleveland a sacrifice fly. "Erin Pierce is a great pitcher and we knew the second game would be a different story" Hoelting said. "We've battled her for four years. We still got a seven-spot, though they gave us some help." South made just one error in the doubleheader to eight for Topeka West, which fell to 3-11, 1-5 in the 1-70. "We've been working on our mental concentration, on defense and in hitting," Hoelting said. "I thought our pitchers threw well. Both pitched good games and were around the plate." South plays again Friday in a 3 p.m. doubleheader at Hays. Stril<eouts up, home runs, scoring down through first month By RONALD BLUM The Associated Press NEW YORK — David Justice kept flailing away at the plate, striking out four times against Boston before hitting a game- winning home run. After 11 years in the major leagues, he was trying to adjust to a new strike zone. "That's not easy" said the New York Yankees designated hitter, who had struck out four times in a game only once before in his career. "As soon as you see a ball's high, you swing. If you don't approach it right, you pop up." One month after baseball started to enforce its new strike zone, strikeouts are up, while walks, home runs, batting average and ERA are all down. This is what commissioner Bud Selig envisioned when he told his aides to demand that umpires move the strike zone up and narrow it. For 20 years, it had gotten lower and wider, umpires ignoring the definition that had been in the Official Baseball Rules for more than a century "I think the strike zone is a littie higher, generally" Houston Astros manager Larry Dierker said. "We have a couple of guys calling it the way it used to be, but I think they're trying to follow the rule." There was an average of 2.34 home runs per game in April, down 8.6 percent from the record average of 2.54 in the first month of last season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball's statistician. Still, the decrease wasn't that dramatic, with the 2001 average remaining 5.4 percent above See PITCHERS, Page 03 SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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