The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 8, 1997 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 8, 1997
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Page 21
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THURSDAY foiA*aM&9? THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports SCOREBOARD/ D2 BASEBALL/ D3 AUTO RACING / D4 D T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Tigers bust loose against KG The Associated Press Detroit Tigers shortstop Delvl Cruz can't handle the ball on a pickoff attempt as Kansas City Royal Jay Bell gets back to second base. After scoring just four runs in their last three games, Detroit rides Lira, long ball to victory By The Associated Press DETROIT (AP) — Felipe Lira wasn't sure how long it had been since his last victory. He didn't really want to know. It would only make him feel worse. Lira ended his nine-game skid with home-run help from .... , . Tony Clark, Travis |*g ' AL Fryman and Bobby |M Royals 3 Higginson as the De- JgBL _. ~ troit Tigers beat the v^^ II9W8 " Kansas City Royals 12-3 on Wednesday night. "I didn't remember when my last win was," Lira said. "Some guy told me it was July 7. Wow! That's 10 months ago." Lira (1-2) allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings, striking out six. Jose Bautista started the seventh and Mike Myers pitched the ninth for Detroit. The Tigers, held to a total of four runs in their three previous games, broke out for two in the first, four in the second, one in the fourth and five in the fifth. "Every team needs a game like this once in a while," Detroit manager Buddy Bell said. "Especially us. We've been playing in tight games. We have to find a way to win games like that. You need either good hitting or good pitching. Hopefully, both." The Royals, who came in off a two-game sweep of Boston, scored two unearned runs in the first when Craig Paquette's two-out grounder got past the third-baseman Fryman for an error that allowed Jay Bell and Jeff King to score. "We had a couple opportunities and basically didn't take advantage of them," King said. "The games in the Boston series were fairly well-pitched game and we got a couple big hits. That didn't happen tonight." The Tigers chased Royals starter Jim Pittsley (0-3) after 1% innings. Pittsley, who moved into the Royals rotation after left-hander Chris Haney fractured his left ankle April 14, gave up six runs on five hits and three walks. "Pittsley was terrible," Royals manager Bob Boone said. Clark hit his 10th homer, a shot deep into the second deck in right, with Brian Hunter on board in the first. Hunter had a two-run single in the second. The Tigers had bases loaded when Randy Veres got Melvin Nieves on a grounder to end that inning. Fryman's seventh homer, a solo shot in the fourth, gave Detroit a 7-2 lead. Higginson's fourth homer, a three-run shot to greet reliever Mitch Williams, keyed the fifth as the Tigers built a 12-2 lead. *\ Game notes The Royals entered the game tied wffh Cleveland for first place in the AL Ceii- tral. It was the first time they had been in first place that late in the season since July 6,1993. ...Boone had a lengthy and animated conversation with umpire Joe Brinkman after Brinkman warned Jamie Walker about pitching inside to Daniion Easley in the ninth. "I wanted to know why he's yelling at my pitcher," Boone said. "He's not throwing at Easley. He's a young kid who's never pitched above Double-A." Brinkman must have agreed. He didn't eject Boone. ... The Tigers, looking for more offense, pur,- chased the contract of Bob Hamelin from their Triple-A affiliate in Toledo on Wednesday. Hamelin, a first baseman, was expected to be used mainly as a designated hitter by the Tigers. Despite slow start, Dye ready to prove self to Royals, fans While Tucker is tearing it up for Braves, Kansas City still optimistic deal will pan out By La VELLE E. NEAL III The Kansas City Star S T. LOUIS — Jermaine Dye has been tabbed with something he didn't ask for. He's the player who's supposed to make fans forget about Michael Tucker. It's not a nice way to be known. Ask David Howard about the unfair abuse he took for being protected in the expansion draft instead of Jeff Conine. Dye is supposed to justify the Royals trading Tucker, among the best prospects in team history. So far, Dye hasn't delivered. Worse yet, he came to the Royals with a foot bruise, encouraging comparisons to the Ed Hearn-David Cone trade on the 10th apniversary of that deal. But, now healthy and back in the lineup, Dye can forge his own identity. "I don't read newspapers or listen to that stuff," Dye said of the outlets for armchair GMs. "I've started out slow every year and usually pick it up after the first month. This injury has been holding me back a little. I just have to play every day and not worry about it." Dye is more attentive to mending his .188 batting average. He hit his first American League homer Sunday against the New York Yankees. There's still the promise of power and the outfield play that made him attractive to the Royals. Tucker's skills were attractive, too. His speed, swing and power potential were mentioned over and over by Royals officials. Tucker, 25, was supposed to be the foundation of a young, up-and-coming team. Instead, Braves fans will see Tucker the finished product. His two-for-three effort Monday pushed his average this season to .400. "It will take a year or two to evaluate the trade," Royals general manager Herk Robinson said. "Tucker's gotten off to a fast start and Jermaine hasn't. That does. n't mean it's a bad trade. We gave them two good players. We knew that." Dye, 23, came to the Royals with few weaknesses. He's a good breaking-ball hitter and a strong-armed defensive player. But he hasn't hit well in the few at- bats he's had, and his strong arm has been erratic. "Tucker's gotten off to a fast start and Jermaine hasn't That doesn't mean it's a bad trade. We gave them two good players. We knew that." Herk Robinson Royals general manager "Dye, over five years, will have better production than Tucker," Robinson said. "He plays a solid right field, has a solid glove. And he is a high-quality individual. "Polished? I think Dye is a season and a half behind Tucker." The Braves needed left-handed punch in their lineup after the spring-training trade of David Justice to Cleveland. Dye was in an outfield with Ryan Klesko, Kenny Lofton and Andruw Jones. The Braves traded from a position of strength. Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox, who both agree Dye doesn't need much polish, said they traded a potential star. "He's a player we thought highly of based on what he did last year in his first season in the major leagues," Schuerholz said. "He hit .281 in 100 games and had a lot of home runs (12). He's a strong player. A power hitter with a great arm." Dye impressed Cox last season by playing well as the Braves pushed toward a World Series berth. Dye might just be breaking into the majors this season if not for Justice injuring his shoulder and missing most of the season. "The man played for us in a pennant drive, the playoffs and the World Series," Cox said. "They will like him a lot over there. He is a true right fielder and has power to right field, center field, left field. He's a great breaking-ball hitter, too. Just watch. Just watch." But Dye said trying to get used to different pitching patterns in the American League has been a high hurdle. He admitted he was pressing to hit his first homer. "The pitchers over here are different," Dye said. "In the National League, the See DEAL, Page D3 File photo Although Kansas City Royals right fielder Jermaine Dye just missed catching this foul ball in Sunday's game against the Yankees, the Royals organization believes the former Atlanta Brave will be a productive acquisition. T PRO BASKETBALL Bird's future uncertain a$ Carrisout \ Whether former Celtic great stays:, on and helps Pitino or becomes " Pacers coach may be known Friday By HOWARD ULMAN The Associated Press "I think he'd do better as a coach, although do pretty good as a manager," said Celtics president Red Auerbach, who took Bird with the sixth pick of the 1978 draft. f "He'll do well at anything because he's bright and he's very motivated. When he has a purpose to .ap something, he does it," Auerbach added. "As a coach, you're right out there and you're working with p!4y- ers. As a general manager, you're dealing with oth,ef guys who may not want to deal with you." * WISH-TV in Indianapolis, citing an unnamed source close to the family of co-owner Herb Simoty, reported that Bird had made a verbal agreement and that the deal was to be finalized Wednesday night; The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, which didn't cite its source, said Bird would sign a contract with Indiana on Friday worth about $4 million a year. The newspaper said the former Celtics great would coach at least two seasons, with an option to then become the team's director of basketball operations: The Boston Globe said the offer was $4.5 millioiva year plus part ownership and that an unidentified source close to Bird indicated Bird would acceptat but delay the announcement until after Pitino's scheduled news conference today in Boston. <-J • Knicks win series opener at Miami / Page D3 T COLLEGE SOFTBALL Wesleyan, Bethany begin quest for national tournament! KCAC entries know little about their first-round foes today in regional at Lindsborg By BOB DAVIDSON .' Ttte Salina journal Fear of the unknown won't deter Mike Smith or Steve Barrows from forging ahead. -'"•Smith, Kansas Wesleyan's Softball coach, and Barrows, coach of the Bethany Swedes, know next to nothing about their , first-round opponents in today's National "'Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Great Plains Regional Tournament at Lindsborg. But neither coach has lost much sleep „ because of it. S "We don't know much about anybody," ^Smith said of Sioux Falls, S.D., the team the - Coyotes play at 2 p.m. today in their first game. Starting times were moved back two hours by Wednesday's torrential rain. "We have to play our game. We know they're 12-8 and they had trouble getting a lot of their games in because of bad weather. We've talked to some other coaches in the region and from what we can gather, they can't be too strong. "We just have to do our best and not let anybody dictate what we do." Wesleyan (30-10) is the No. 2 seed behind Northwestern Iowa (38-7), which enters the tournament ranked 18th in the final NAIA poll. Wesleyan qualified by winning the Kansas Conference's regular season and post-season tournament titles. Sioux Falls is seeded seventh. Bethany (18-18) is seeded eighth and opens against Northwestern Iowa at noon. The Swedes finished second in the KCAC regular season and postseason tournament. "It's going to take our best effort to beat Today'* QamM AlUmttorg Moon - Northwestern, Iowa (38-7) v». Bethany (18-t8); Don*. Iowa (IMi) vs. Mtot State, 8.0. (20-10) 2 p.m. — Maiy, N.D. (20-10) vs. ConconJia, Neb. (26-20); Kansas Wesleyan (30-10) vs. Sioux Fate, S.D.(12-8) 4 p.m. — Northwestern Iowa-Bethany loser vs. Dordt-Minot loser; Mary-Concordla loser vs. Kansas WBStoyan-etoux Fate loser. ' • friB- -r- NorthmiiUm-irthany wtontf v». Poult- Mtot wirwrMvy-Conconiia uftn* v«. Kansas Westoyan-Stoux Fait loser. them," Barrows said, "but we're capable of doing it. All we know is they're ranked 18th, they're 38-7 and apparently have a very good team." Wesleyan will play the winner or loser of the Mary-Concordia game. "We've seen Mary a number of times," Smith said. "They've beaten us each of the last two years and I'm told they're as strong as ever, or maybe stronger, this year." Bethany will play the winner/loser of the Dordt-Minot State game. The Swedes split two games with Minot and two with Concordia this season. Games are scheduled for 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., Friday with the championship slated for 4 p.m. A second championship game will be played at 6 p.m., if necessary. The Great Plains winner advances to the NAIA national tournament May 14-17 at Decatur, Ala. Smith will send Leslie Richey (13-7, 2.90 earned run average) to the mound against Sioux Falls and follow with his ace hurler, Kary Taylor (15-2,1.85 ERA). The Coyotes' offense is led by shortstop Linda Belcher, center fielder Holly BOSTON — The question is the same as it was when Larry Bird made blind passes or amazing shots from behind the backboard: What will he do next? , : ; M.L. Carr's resignation as director of basketball operations Wednesday left one key figure's future uncertain in the shakeup of the Boston Celtics. And Bird's decision — to help new Celtics coach Rick Pitino with personnel matters or, more likely, to become coach of the Indiana Pacers — should be revealed by Friday. ; * Pacers president Donnie Walsh and a source clq$e to Bird denied reports Wednesday that Bird already had agreed to return to his home state and succeed Larry Brown as Indiana's coach. A Celtics spokesman said the club was unaware bf any decision Bird might have made. That decision — as Pitino said Tuesday when he was named coach — might come down to whether Bird wants to be in the front office talking by telephone to general managers or on the bench helping his team win games as he did throughout his brilliant 13- year career with Boston that ended in 1992. He has been a special consultant for the Celtics since then. Sudbrook and first baseman Melissa Denton. Belcher is hitting .446 with four hoiQP runs and 43 runs batted. Sudbrook has^M .470 average with two homers and nirtfe RBIs. Denton is batting .365 average with 35 RBIs. Barrows will send Salina South product Addie Boden to the mound against Northwestern Iowa. Ebert back home The Great Plains regional will be a homecoming for Concordia second baseman Cherish Ebert. Ebert, a junior, played at Southeast qt Saline High School and for two years at Cloud County Community College before transferring to Concordia (Neb.) last fall.. She's batting .368 with 32 RBIs and a .%$ on-base percentage. She was an all-Nf- braska-Iowa Conference first-team selection. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjnews@S4ljournal.com

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