The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 35
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 35

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, May 4, 1997
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Page 35
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DZ SUNDAY, MAY 4, 1997 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL V SALINE COUNTY GOLF Mitchell, Robertson rally into finals Twosome will play Jensen, Ryan today in Saline County Four Ball Match Play final By LARRY MORITZ The Snlinn Journal This was unfamiliar territory for Justin Mitchell and Sean Robertson. As partners on the golf course, Mitchell and Robertson were unaccustomed to playing from behind. But rally they did Saturday at Elks Country Club in the semifinals of the Saline County Four Ball Match Play Tournament. The defending tourney champs advanced to today's 36-hole championship match with a 1-up victory over North Me Arthur and Marty Simpson. That same 1-up score was the winning margin in the other semifinal, where Dick Jensen and Jerry Ryan survived a tight match with Pat Newell and Mark Riddle. "That was definitely one of the toughest four ball matches I've played," Robertson said. "Justin and I didn't make any mistakes and didn't post a bogey the entire round. "North and Marty were a little more up and down. They had a couple more birdies than we did, but they missed some opportunities to really put us down." Mitchell and Robertson were 2-down at the turn, but cut that lead in half with Robertson's birdie at No. 10 and pulled even with par at No. 13. "We had never been behind for that long Scoreboard / Page D6 in a match," Mitchell said. "We knew if they got a couple of breaks we would be in trouble. But once we got even at 13, we felt pretty good." Mitchell-Robertson took their first lead on Mitchell's 12-foot birdie putt at No. 16, and maintained that one-hole advantage when Simpson and McArthur could not get birdie opportunities to fall on the 16th and 17th greens. McArthur-Simpson got their par on No. 18 and watched as both Mitchell and Robertson faced par putts to halve the hole. Mitchell's attempt from 12 feet failed to fall, but Robertson slipped his putt over the edge of the cup for the win. "When you have a putt for the win like that, it looks a heck of a lot farther," Mitchell said. "Sean snuck it in, but all that matters is that it fell." Saturday's semifinals had a familiar look to them. In last year's inaugural event, Robertson-Mitchell defeated McArthur-Simpson in the semifinals, while Jensen and his son David topped Newell-Riddle in the other semi. Ryan, the lone newcomer this spring, is enjoying the relaxed atmosphere with Jensen as his partner. "Dick is pretty easy-going, which is the way I like it," Ryan said. "He also likes to putt first, and that should take all the pressure off me. But today I didn't make anything. "He played good, steady golf and there were very few times Dick was out of a hole — and I rode him hard." Ryan did come up with the shot that both teams agreed turned the match around. With his team down one hole on No. 10 and Jensen facing a potential three-putt, Ryan produced an unconventional chip-in. "First (Ryan) chunked a wedge that went about 30 yards for his second shot," Jensen said. "Then he scalded one that must have been going 110 miles an hour when it hit the pin and fell in. That was possibly a two- hole swing there." Newell-Riddle were 1-down going into No. 18, but Ryan's par sealed the victory. Today's championship match at EGG is scheduled for an 8:28 a.m. start, with the final 18 holes expected to begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. T HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS: SALINA CENTRAL INVITATIONAL KELLY PRESNELL/The Salina Journal Salina Central sophomore Pete Stroer delivers a return against teammate William Hardy in the first round of the Central Invitational on Saturday. Stroer won 9-0. Stroer perseveres to win singles title Salina Central sophomore comes back to edge BVN's DeKinder in three sets By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal Pete Stroer decided Saturday that if he was going to lose in the singles final of the Salina Central Invitational, he would at least go down swinging. Instead, the Central sophomore raised his game to finish the second set with a crucial service break, then kept the momentum going in the third for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Blue Valley North's Jake DeKinder at Oakdale Park. Stroer handed Blue Valley North its only two losses of the day, except for an all-Mustang doubles final. North won the 16-team tournament — Central had four teams and Salina South two — with 152 points, followed by Central with 92, McPherson with 62 and South with 47. Stroer, who had not been challenged all season, had his hands full with DeKinder, a Class 5A state doubles champion last year. But in the second set he started to solve DeKinder's serve and slowly took the offensive. "He has a great serve and my returns weren't on in the first set," Stroer said of DeKinder. "I had to concentrate every game and try to get one break and I finally got it. "At the end of the second set and in the third I kept my returns low as he came in and he missed a few volleys. He was pretty steady, but Coach (Bob Warkentine) told me to attack on the backhand and make him hit passing shots." After hanging on to hold serve for a 54 lead in the second set, Stroer got the break he needed to even the match. At 15-all, he charged to the net behind a deep forehand for a winner and DeKinder missed a backhand volley to make it 15-40. Stroer netted a return on a second serve to squander one set point but took the game when DeKinder missed a passing shot wide. Stroer broke DeKinder for a 2-0 lead to start the final set and had a game point in the third game, but DeKinder won the next three points to get the break back. "I was so excited I broke him that I thought about the break instead of concentrating on my game," said Stroer, who came back to break DeKinder again at love, winning the game with a big forehand return of a second serve." Stroer also was tested early in his semifinals before finishing off Blue Valley North's Sean Kembell 7-5, 6-1. "In the semifinal, the first set was really a struggle because he played pretty well," Stroer said. "But I thought I played pretty consistent today and stepped it up another notch in the finals." Kembell, after losing to Stroer in the semifinals, came back to beat Southeast of Saline's Thayne Currie 9-3 for third place. Stroer said that the Central tourney, combined with the Topeka Invitational on Wednesday, should help prepare him for state later this month. "It definitely lets you know what you need to work on, playing Jake," Stroer said of DeKinder, who also will be at the Topeka meet. Brett Dickerson, DeKinder's state championship partner last year, teamed with freshman Vishal Panchal to win the doubles title 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) over Brent Kembell and Bret Waltz. Central's John Huseman and Jeff Lamb, who lost 6-0, 6-3 to Dickerson and Panchal in the semifinals came back to beat McPherson's Tyler Brown and Will Heidebrecht 9-4. On April 22, the Mustang duo lost 6-4, 6-3 to Brown and Heidebrecht for the Salina South Invitational title. "I thought the difference was the mental toughness we had," Huseman said about the rematch. "We concentrated more on every point and took one point at a time. "It was just shot selection and playing more smart. In big situations, you've got to play smart if you're going to win doubles matches." BRIEFLY T HORSE RACING Baffert repays old debt with Derby triumph By JOHN NELSON The Associated Press LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bob Baffert finally got a chance to pay off an old debt when he won the Kentucky Derby. It was to the tune of $1 million. "A man named Mike Pegram got me into thoroughbred racing," said Baffert, a former quarter- horse trainer who saddled Derby winner Silver Charm on Saturday. "I told him I'd need a bankroll, at least $300,000.1 thought that would blow him away. He asked me, 'How about $1 million?" I ' said 'I'm your man.'" ' That was in 1989, and Baffert said he made payment in full in the winner's circle on national television. "I asked him how I was ever going to repay him, and he said, 'If you ever win the Kentucky Derby, mention my name,"' Baffert said. Baffert still races horses for Pegram — in fact he had one in an earlier race Saturday at Churchill Downs — but his Derby winner was with Robert and Beverly Lewis. "We'll be into the middle of next year before we come off this high," said Lewis, a Southern California beer distributor. It could last even longer than that. "When they plant me six feet under. I want my tombstone to say 'Loving husband, adoring father, and winner of the 123rd Ken-^ tucky Derby,'" Lewis said. "And if I have to come back to check it, I will." Baffert has trained several stakes winners for the Lewises, although their most famous horses, stakes winners like Serena's Song and Preakness champion Timber Country — were sent to D. Wayne Lukas. This one was purchased by Baffert as a 2-year-old for $85,000 for the Lewises, and it stayed with Baffert. "I can find the runners," Baffert said. "Finding the people to put up the money is the hard part. I've made my whole career buying horses like this." Lewis said Lukas "was one of the first men to throw his arms around me today. He said, 'I'm CO The Associated Press Trainer Bob Baffert holds the trophy after Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby Saturday. sorry I'm not part of the team, but I certainly respect and love each member of your team. 1 " The victory was made even sweeter for the 44-year-old Baffert because of what happened last year. That's when he sent out Cavonnier to finish second by a nose to Grindstome. For a brief moment, Baffert thought he had won, and he later called it his most agonizing defeat. Silver Charm beat Captain Bodgit by a head in a race that went down to the final few strides. "As they were coming down the stretch, I just kept saying, 'Please, Lord, don't do it to me again. I can't take it,'" Baffert said. "When they hit the wire, my body was numb. I never thought I would feel like this again. And I probably never will, unless I win the Derby again." With only his second Derby starter, Baffert already has become one of the most popular trainers around the Triple Crown circuit. He's a charming cut-up. Prematurely gray and peering rakishly through wire-rimmed sunglasses, he once posed as a porno star in a local barber shop, just to see what kind of reaction he would get. Early in his training career, he sneaked into the winner's circle after winning a quarterhorse race with a pumpkin mask over his head, and no one knew he was there. Now, he has the results to go along with his personality, and that makes for a pretty special combination. "I have been so lucky," Baffert said. "I've been so confident and cool, but I didn't want to brag on him and jinx myself. I can't believe I'm here talking to you guys." Baffert said he told a TV reporter in private earlier in the week, "As good as he is training, I think he could win the Triple Crown. But I told him not to say anything. "I'll tell you one thing, we haven't seen the best of Silver Charm yet." Lewis said the combination of Stevens and Baffert was a winner in his book, yet as the horses charged down the homestretch, "I couldn't help go back to the efforts of Cavonnier and envision a possible replay. But Silver Charm, with his great heart, stamina and determination wasn't going to let that happen." "I don't have much to say, really," Baffert said as he mounted the post-race podium. "I waited a year for this. This was even bigger than I thought it would be. I didn't think I could feel like that again. "I know my horse, and he likes to wait on other horses a little bit. I saw Captain Bodgit coming, and I said to myself, 'Please don't do it. Don't do it to me again!'" Central softball team third at Wichita tourney WICHITA — Salina Central's softball team finished third at Saturday's Wichita Northwest Invitational. The Mustangs opened with an 1 83 victory over Dodge City, lost 121 to Valley Center then rebounded with a 9-1 win over Garden City in the third-place game. , Central wasted little time taking control against Dodge City, scoring seven runs in the top of the first inning. The Mustangs collected 13 hits in the victory. Central, however, allowed seven runs in the first inning of its game against Valley Center and never recovered in a five-inning loss. ' "Valley Center hit the ball in the first inning and then we played great defense the rest ofi. the game," Central coach Jerre Davis said. "Tara McDonald and Alison Smith made some good ; plays." Against Garden City, Central. scored eight times in the third inning to break the game open. McDonald and Stephanie Reinert keyed the outburst with doubles to support the solid pitching of Jamie Moreen. Now 5-4 on the season, Central plays Monday at Great Bend. Wesleyan softball team wins KCAC tourney HILLSBORO — Kansas Wesleyan's softball team continues to roll along. Wesleyan, which went unbeaten in last week's KCAC Round Robin to seal its conference regular-season championship, captured the conference's postseason tournament as well Saturday. The Coyotes hiked their record to 30-10 after defeating Bethany 96 in nine innings and 2-1 in the championship game. Both Wesleyan and Bethany, by virtue of its runner-up tournament finish, qualify for next week's NAIA Great Plains Regional Tournament at Lindsborg. Wesleyan's extra-innings victory over Bethany ended in dramatic fashion when Linda Belcher belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. Melissa Denton went 3 for 4 with a triple and scored two runs to pace the Coyotes offensively. Wesleyan proceeded to snap a. scoreless tie with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and made its lead stand up in its 2-1, tourna- ' ment-clinching win. Kansas State clubs Kansas in baseball LAWRENCE — Scott Poepard had four hits, including two home runs, to lead Kansas State to a 2411 romp over Kansas in Big 12 . baseball Saturday. ' Kansas (28-22 overall, 12-17 Big 12) jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the third inning. But the Wildcats (30-23, 9-20) exploded after that, scoring five runs in the. fourth inning, eight in the fifth and six runs in the ninth. Poepard also had four RBIs on, five at-bats. Kansas continued driving in. runs, also, with two runs in the fourth and three in the eighth. But the Jayhawks were swamped as . four other Wildcats — Eric Som,-, merhauser, Todd Fereday, Josh Marn and J.D. Loudabarger — each homered, driving in a total of 10 runs throughout the game. Stanford beats UCLA for volleyball crown COLUMBUS, Ohio — A netted serve and Matt Fuerbringer's block gave Stanford the final ttyo points and a wild 3-2 victory oVer two-time defending champion UCLA Saturday in the NCAA men's volleyball championship. The top-seeded Cardinal (27-3) won the first two games 15-7 and 15-10, knocking the 16-time national champion Bruins back oh their heels. But UCLA fought back with 15-9 and 15-6 victories to push the match into a fifth game. From Staff and Wire Reports

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