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September 15, 1958 - Image 87

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1958-09-15

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ophomores, uniors



of l



By FRED KATZ the NCAA championships at Oma-
chigan's baseballers started ha during June. Until the playoffs
season with a flourish but Western had lost only six games
I with a frustrating fizzle. including the two to Michigan.
predominately sophomore Fisher's Last
(15 of the 24 men to see It was a year that was unique
a were first year men), it was in several ways for the Wolverines.
:ted to cause little stir in the The 1958 outfit was the last of 38
Ten race. The 7-8 record in Michigan teams to take the fi'eld
Conference shows that the under the keen tutelage of coach
erines followed the form chart Ray Fisher. He was only the second
7 closely, diamond ;coach in Michigan's his-
e season's overall mark was tory, the first being Branch Rickey,
i more impressive at 18-12. who has since gone onto greater
of the non-league wins came glory in the najor leagues.
ist Western Michigan, the Unique, and rather untimely,
that represented, District 4 in too, was the fact that the Wol-

verines finished in the second divi-
sion for only the second time
during Fisher's tenure. Michigan
ended in a sixth-place tie with
The weakness that Fisher said
would be his team's downfall -
shoddy pitching - evidenced it-
self in the middle of the season
against the sturdy bats of Western
Conference hitters.
Almost every hurler on the squad
seemed to have his difficulties
sometime during the pennant
drive. And many of the difficulties
stemmed from sore arms that
didn't heal fast enough in the
Florida sun.
Then, too, Fisher was relying on
eight sophomores of a 12-man
mounds corps, and their inexperi-
ence at times proved disastrous.
Liakonis Tops
Michigan's outstanding flinger
in Big Ten play proved to be Nick
Liakonis, a bespectacled right-
hander from Detroit, who compiled
a 3-1 record in his first varsity
season. Liakonis was second to
workhorse John Herrnstein in
strikeouts as he set back 29 enemy
Herrnstein, of course, was the
mainstay of the pitching staff
through most of the season. How-
ever,nhewas frequently incon-
sistent and toward the close of
the year was not nearly the pitch-
er he was at the beginning.
The honor of appearing in the
most games went to a sophomore
from Woodville, Ohio, Al Koch.
Although used in relief a great
deal of the time, Koch was the
Wolverine's third starter and
showed a lot of promise.
Theeright-hander found Michi-
gan State a soft touch, also, and
beat them on four hits, 2-1,- im-
mediately following Herrnstein 's
win. The winning run" in the con-
test was knocked in by Jack Mock
in the bottom of the seventh.
Mock's hit was dramatized by the
fact that he had just been brought
up from the reserves. in order to
strengthen the right-handed hit-
ting. It was his first hit in a Wol-
verine uniform.
Rough Time
Koch had a difficult time of it.
through the rest of the season, but
finally picked up his second win-by
relieving Herrnstein in the year's
finale against Iowa.
The 6-5 victory provided Mich-
igan with a doubleheader sweep.
against the Hawkeyes after they
had won the opener, 7-3, and end-
ed Fisher's career on an appropri-
ately happy note.
Two'senior southpaws saw limit-
ed pitching action in winding up
the last of their three years each
on the squad. Dean Finkbeiner

The infielders supplied the hit-
ting power. The five regulars, four
of whom should return next season
had a combined average. of . .310.
The next two foremost hitters be-
hind Brown were catcher Jim
Dickey with a .342 and sophomore
first sacker Bill Roman with .327.
Dickey, chosen to the Big Ten
All-Star team, was also first in the
runs-batted-in department with
Double-Play Combination
Completing the infield were the
double play combination of Ernie
Myers and Bob, Kucher. Myers,
the smooth-fielding senior short-
stop, finished at .230 while Kucher
completed his first season for the
Maize and Blue with .274.
The outfield, combination last
season was never a fixed one. It
depended on who was pitching for
both the opposition and Michigan
as well.
About. the only real fixture was

Ralph Hutchins, the 1959 captain-s
elect, who thrilled Ferry Field fans7
with several stunning grabs of]
sure-fire homers.
Once, during the Purdue game,'
Hutchins raced to the fence in
left field for a line shot. The ball,
was several feet above his head;
he leaped for it and at the same1
time going over the fence. He hit
the other side with a perfect som-
ersault the sphere still in his glove.
Hutchins also hit a highly re-
spectable .295.
In centerfield was Herrnstein,
that is, when he wasn't pitching.
Herrnstein was five points below
Hutchins with .290, but always was
dangerous because of his long-ball.
Other Fielders
Alternating at both center and
right was the left-handed hitting
Sealby who finished at a .256 clip.
Also sharing right field and avail-

able for pinch-hitting roles were that is needed to turn it in
Neil McDonald and Mogk. They real championship outfit.
hit .333 and .291 respectively Only two regulars will be n
s.. r e a ing .from the lineup, Myers
What does the coning season Sealby, and they were the
have to offer ,"M" baseball fans? with the lowest batting aver
From the evidence of last year's An excellent crop of fresh
squad which always had the poten- indicate that the job of the
tial but seemed lacking in its base- coach, whoever he may be, wi
ball savvy, experience is about all one of bliss.
'New Books if You Prefer

BIG SWING-Dave Brown, Junior third baseman this next spring,
takes a hefty swing at a fastball."The catcher for Western Michi-
gan is set td throw to second, as gone of Brown's- teammates
attempts a steal.

.. ..sophomore slugger
finished with a 3-2 record, made
mostly against non-conference op-
ponents. Bob Sealby, who was used
primarily as an outfielder, didn't
allow an earned run but failed to
figure in a decision.
Surprise Hurler
The surprise of the pitchers was
the squat rightie Bob Stabrylla,
The senior, who has played every
position except first base, sat .on
the bench until the Purdue game
when Michigan was trailing by an
insurrmountable amount.
Stabrylla ambled to the mound,
threw three excellent innings, and
the Wolverine's most 'effective re-
liefer was uncovered. The con-
fident little hurler still has'a year's
eligibility left despite his, senior
status, but hasn't yet decided
whether to usee it.
Rounding out the mound staff
were five sophomores who were
used primarily in relief and show-
ed excellent potential. Two of
them, Jim Bradshaw and Ron
Jernigan, actually sported the top
records on the team, 2-0 apiece,
but pitched' only 17 and 163 in-
nings respectively.
Other Pitchers
The other three were George
Weemhoff, Larry Hearing and
Danny DenHouter, who threw a
total of 10 innings between them
and posted a composite 2-1 record.
In the hitting department three
regulars boasted above .300 batting
averages with third baseman Dave
Brown leading the club at .376.
The team's overall percentage .of
.288 showed where its real strength

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