WEDNESDAY, April 8, 1992 The Sun C3 YV.i I I Kounas feels right at home with Spirit DAVID CREAMERThe Sun A 21st-round pick by Seattle in the June 1990 draft, former San Gorgonio HS star Tony Kounas returns to Fiscalini Field Thursday as starting catcher for the San Bernardino Spirit By Chuck Hickey Sun Sports Writer SAN BERNARDINO It took six years, but Tony Kounas is back home to play baseball in San Bernardino. Come Thursday night, Kounas, a 1986 San Gorgonio High School graduate and Ken Hubbs Award winner the same year, will strap on the shinguards for the San Bernardino Spirit in its 1992 California League opener, Kounas is back home in San Bernardino and at Fiscalini Field, where he claims to have played more than 50 high school games. And he couldn't be happier. "It's exciting to be back here," said the 24-year-old Kounas after Tuesday's workout at Fiscalini Field. "It's a lot different than when I played here in high school. "When Thursday comes, it might bring back a lot of memories." Coach Ivan De Jesus said Kounas will more than likely start in the opener against Palm Springs and bat anywhere from fifth to seventh. "It will be nice playing in front of a large crowd," Kounas said. "At Peninsula (last year), we were playing in front of 50, 60 fans a night." Kounas' road back to S.B. began after his graduation from San Gorgonio. It included stops in Stillwater, Okla.; Los Angeles; Bellingham, Wash., and Peninsula, Va. After his 17th-round selection by Boston in the June 1986 draft, Kounas opted for college instead, attending Oklahoma State for three years. "I had my mind set to play college baseball," Kounas said. "It was a dream of mine to win a national championship. And coming out of high school, I wasn't ready to play pro ball. "I don't regret going to college. If pro ball doesn't work out, I have my degree." When Kounas was a freshman, the Cowboys advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., losing to Stanford in the championship game. Two years later, Kounas didn't feel right for the program anymore and transferred to Loyola Marymount, where he played left field for a year. He's three classes short of graduating. "Going to Loyola was the best decision I ever made," Kounas said. "I never got homesick. I wasn't playing every day at Oklahoma State and I wanted to do that." Seattle drafted him in the 21st round of the 1990 draft. The Spirit is a Single-A team in the Mariners' farm system. "When I was drafted by the Mariners, the first thing I thought of was going to San Bernardino," Kounas said. He played for the Mariners' Rookie League team in Bellingham in 1990 and last year was at Peninsula of the Single-A Carolina League. The team finished 46-73. And now, he's come home. Americans Kanza nips Conner boat By Bernie Wilson The Associated Press . SAN DIEGO Controversy, crashes and a comeback by the America3 Foundation's Kanza marked the craziest day yet of the America's Cup semifinals. When it was over, Italy was in the challenger finals, Japan was eliminated and the on-the-water umpiring system was under fire. Kanza survived a wild finish to beat Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes by 57 seconds on Tuesday and move into sole possession of first place in the defender semifinals. Kanza has five points, Stars & Stripes four and America3, Kan-za's stablemate, one. Conner's magic number for advancing his only yacht into the finals remains two, and he could clinch a spot with a victory over America3 on Wednesday. However, America3 will sail with a new keel and ballast configuration in an elTort to make it more competitive in light winds that are prevalent at the start of races, foundation president Bill Koch said. Under the rules, boats can be reconfigured only between rounds. But America3 was allowed one mid-round change because it allowed Stars & Stripes to be retrofitted in the middle of round two after a tandem-keel led to three lopsided losses. "Stars & Stripes is very competitive, and maybe we're pushing them a little bit into this mode change," Stars & Stripes navigator John Bertrand said. The defender race hardly had a lock on craziness. Both challenger races were delayed by mechanical problems. And an error by the race committee resulted in the match between France's Ville de Paris and Italy's II Moro di Ve-nezia being abandonded on the second leg and restarted. Once the race was restarted, American-born Paul Cayard skippered II Moro di Venezia to a 1:28 victory that clinched a spot in the challenger finals. Zedlitz leads Players West tournament The Sun RIALTO Jean Zedlitz of Pleasanton fired five birdies and one bogey for a course-record 4-under-par 69 to grab a two-shot lead over Kim Lasken of Whittier on Tuesday in the first round of the $10,000 Utility Vault Women's Golf Classic at El Rancho Verde Country Club. Lasken fired a two-under 71 while Nancy Kessler of Portland is in third with a 1-under 72. Karen Weiss of Roseville, Minn., Peggy Kelly of Madison, Wis., and Tracy Nakamura of Monterey Park are tied for fourth at 73. Los Angeles' Kim Kell is next at 74. The tournament is part of the Players West Golf Tour. SEASONS GREETINGS! Spirit Baseball Is Finally Here! This season we have more give-aways, surprises, and excitement than ever before! It all starts with the opening homestand: . Don't forget to meet the 1992 SPIRIT at the Annual Player Luncheon, ' , Wednesday, April 8th at Noon. 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Coupon valid through 4-12-92. 1 I 3 RIVERSIDE, 3502 Tyler (next to Target), 687- Original prices reflect offering prices and may not 04014 3655 SAN BERNARDINO, Inland Center Mall, 844-3248 MONTCLAIR, Montclalr Plaza, 621-2942 have resulted in actual sales. Interim markdowns may have been taken. Quantities limited to stock on hand. , t. Oshman's Sporting Goods, Inc.
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