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April 01, 1979 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 10-Sunday, April 1, 1979-The Michigan Daily
AFTER 12-6 ROOKIE YEAR

Women bank on

improvement

El N EF F
ENOUGH
By Billy Neff

By JON WELLS
The Michigan womens' fast pitch sof-
tball team is on a fast track. This
program, entering only its second year,
has achieved a level of quality that
defies the laws of collegiate athletics.
In their rookie season the Blue swatters
posted an impressive 12-6 record in
spite of a tough schedule and the
unavoidable pains felt by a first-year
team.
As of now, the team is not in a con-
ference, but head coach Gloria Soluk is
confident that inevitable improvement,

coupled with the sturdy foundation
established in 1978, will propel
Michigan into the Big Ten in the near
future.
THE BACKBONE of the Wolverine
nine is to be found in the persons of two
returning standouts, pitcher Theresa
Gardocki and catcher Sheryl Tominac.
Gardocki is an accomplished fast-pitch
softball pitcher. Tominac, in a good
position to judge, believes she is "one of
the best in the state."
Coach Soluk doesn't underestimate
the value of her dynamic battery.
"Gardocki and Tominac were keys to
last season," says Soluk. "They
allowed us to go from no program to a
competitive one in just one season."
The Blue women were indeed com-
petitive last year as they subdued Big
Ten foe Northwestern, 7-2, on opening
day and were nipped in extra innings by
a very tough Michigan State team.
LAST YEAR'S team, admittedly with
everything to gain and nothing to lose,
was characterized by an aggressive
style of play. According to assistant
coach Mina Sonda, the team will retain
that style again this year. "We're an
aggressive team. We like to put
pressure on the opposition."

In addition to the tandem of Gardocki
and Tominac, the club has a talented
crop of new players that includes
eleven freshmen. Apparently the new
faces have done much to bolster the
outlook for the coming season. Fresh-
man Debbie Haines is slated for center-
field and Jeanette Dillay, a transfer
student from Jackson Community
College, will fill the gap at shortstop.
'We're very strong up the middle,"
said Sonda. "We have an excellent cat-
cher, a super shortstop, and a solid
fielder in center."
ASIDE FROM Haines and Dillay, the
lineup is very much up in the air.
Freshmen Amy Ames and Diane Hat-
ch, along with junior Mary Hibbard,
will battle for the remaining two out-
field slots while the infield is still up for
grabs. This year's team is deeper than
last year's, and subsequently the com-
petition for starting positions is stiffer.
The depth of the pitching staff has im-
proved dramatically with the arrival of
freshmen submariners Laura Reed and"
Julie Zyjewski.-
The field on which the softballers
play, located in a rather remote corner
of Ferry Field, is certainly no gem.

When a Michigan player refers to the
shortstop hole she is not speaking
figuratively. The field has a rather
uneven grade that creates a noticeable
valley at short.
Aside from Sheryl Tominac's com-
ment that the field is "pretty em-
barrassing," the coaches and players
do not seem to be too upset by it.
COACH SONDA is realistic and op-
timistic about the status of the women's
softball team at Michigan. "There are
growing pains in every sport,"she said,
"and I feel we're getting a good respon-
se from the Athletic Department."
The Blue fast-pitchers open their
season at home tomorrow against
defending state champs Western
Michigan. The doubleheader starts at 3
p.m. and promises to be a challenging
confrontation for the young Wolverines.
The team meets Lansing Community
College at home on Tuesday, travels to
Bowling Green on Thursday, and retur-
ns home for a Friday doubleheader
against Albion.
With the young talent that this team
has and their aggressive style of play,
the Michigan softballer's seem to have
eluded the sophomore jinx.

SOCCER
Heidelberg Lions
Amateur Team
Tyouts-Tules. April 3
5 pm Fuller Park
(Near swimming pool
on Fuller Rd)
Raindate-April 5
Practices ,Tuesilhurs
5-7pm Fuller Park
Players at all
Positions Welcome
-especially goalie
Info: Mike Rubino 665-4635

NHL reborn... ..
...merger stabilizes I
.R
By BILLY NEFF b
Hockey has new life. Yesterday, at the Warwick Hotel in New York, the w
National Hockey League reached a merger with the World Hockey -
Association, The merger will add four of the WHA's teams - the New
England Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and Edmonton Oilers --
to the NHL.
It could not have come at a better time!
The NHL is a distant fourth in the rankings of the major sports, it does
not have a contract with a major television network, the caliber of play has ;
been reduced considerably and there are really only four or five high quality
teams. Baseball and football seasons really excite fans in other cities in the
nation. Except for those of the top teams, the opening of hockey season
brings barely a yawn to most towns.
The league lost their TV contract several years ago, and with it many
fans. The only exposure hockey receives is through UHF networks in the in-
dividual towns. Thus, players like Mike Bossy and Marcel Dionne are not
household names like Pete Rose or Julius Erving.
Hockey also has suffered considerably from a large discrepancy between
teams. On the one hand, there are the Montreal Canadiens, the New York
Islanders and the Boston Bruins. Stretching my conception of very good
teams some, I'd add the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers.
Being generous, I might add Buffalo, Atlanta and Toronto to the list of good
teams.
However, the average fan is then left with nine bad or, at best, mediocre 1
teams. In fact one division, the Conn Smythe, does not have a team with a
winning record (Chicago leads the way with a mark that is seven games
below .500).
Since the quality of play has dropped, the fans are not coming through;
the turnstiles as much. There are consistent sellouts in only five of the seven-
teen NHL arenas. And since all of sports is ruled by the omnipotent dollar,
hockey is in trouble; but after yesterday, that might be changed to was in
trouble.
The merger breathed new life into the NHL. Not only will they be adding
a couple of quality teams, but they also will be adding box office draws like
Bobby Hull (if he comes out of retirement), and Gordie Howe and his sons.
Most importantly though, the NHL will be adding a measure of stability.
Prior to the merger, the two leagues were involved in a vicious bidding war
over the top quality talent. Subsequently, player salaries escalated, and only
the richest teams were helping themselves. For instance, the Rangers added
Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson by simply outbidding
everyone else.
Teams like the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Blues just could not
compete with owners like the Rangers' Sonny Werblin (the owner of
Madison Square Garden) - the rich were getting richer. Now player
salaries should stabilize somewhat, enabling the lesser teams to nab some of
the higher priced stars.
The players' association will gripe, of course, although they have no
legal right to complain. But in the long run, they will receive the same
money as before, and maybe even more.

Gardock i

S

pitching keys women

sofiballers in second. season

By SUZANNE JAQUES
She started pitching only three years
ago. Last year she became the leading
pitcher on the first year Michigan
women's softball team. And this year
Coach Gloria Soluk is looking for her
help in carrying on the winning

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tradition established by last year's 12-6
record.
Theresa Gardocki, a first year dental
student, was put on the mound because,
as she explained, no one else could "get
the ball over the plate." After accoun-
ting for half of the team's wins with a 6-
3 record, Gardocki proved to be the
diamond in, the rough that Soluk was
looking for.
Last year's pitch was simple, accor-
ding to Gardocki. It was "straight, low
and to the inside." It worked effectively
and earned her the nickname "Smoke."
Soluk has been polishing her diamond
into a gem for the 1979 season with pit-
ching practices that began last Decem-
ber.
"I've been throwing about 300 pitches
a day," Gardocki said. Her pitching ar-
senal now includes a drop, a rise, a
breaking ball, a change-up, and, of
course, the always dependable
"straight and fast" throw.
Standing six feet above the mound,
Gardocki is already an intimidating
sight to many of the shorter batters.
When this factor is combined with her
fast pitch, enthusiasm for the game,
and team-leading .341 batting average,
she becomes one of the most powerful
asset§ for the Wolverines.
Another factor which is helping her
shine is catcher Sheryl Tominac. The
sophomore from Dearborn Heights has
All-American potential, according to
Soluk, and is a dedicated athlete who
helps Gardocki pitch well. There is a
special rapport between the two team
members.
"We get along good," said Gardocki,
"Sheryl is always available for outside
work." Along with assistant coach
Mina Sonda, they have developed a
series of signals to aid in com-
munication between the two.
the team has been practicing hard in
preparation for the season, putting in
between 12 and 15 hours of work a week
since February, Gardocki estimated.

P

"Last year we were excellent defen-
sively, but we couldn't get that extra hit
to win those close games.
"There are quite a few hitters now.
We are not kidding around. The talent's
there; it just needs to be used."
Gardocki was the surprise story of
last year's debut season. She stepped
into the pitching position due to a lack
of experienced players and shocked
everyone with her natural ability and
speed.
Athletic excellence is nothing new to
her, however. She lettered in softball,
basketball, and volleyball at Northern
High School and was a member of the
Port Huron Community College NJCAA
Championship basketball team.
Her entry into the sporting world
began when she was young and decided
she wanted to play baseball. "I was
always interested in things not usual for
little girls. I liked to run in mud and
play baseball," she said.
Females weren't.allowed in Little
League at that time, however, so Gar-
docki started playing in the Port Huron
fast-pitch softball league.
Gardocki attributes much of her in-
dividualism to her parents. "My paren-
ts had no stereotypic values," she said,
"and encouraged me to follow my in-
terests.
"My arm is conditioned," she said,
"I'm feeling strong, and the team has a
lot of talent and natural ability; it's all
putting the talent in the right places."
Gardocki and the Wolverine softball
team begins their 1979 season
tomorrow. Her goal for the year is sim-
ple. "I hope this season is as good as the
last one."

U

The Michigan women's fastpitch soft-
ball team boasts newly-found depth in
the pitching department this season. In
addition to veteran standout Theresa
Gardocki, the club has 'high hopes for
first-year hurlers Julie Zyjiewski and
Laura Reed. .

"Maybe
it will
go aw..ay."
The five most dangerous words
in the English language.
{I

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SCORES S[
Exhibition Baseball
White Sox 4, Detroit 0
Toronto 6. Philadelhia 2
Atlanta 4, baltimore "B" 3
Boston 9, Minnesota 4
Cubs 4, Oakland 3
St. Louis 3, Pittsburgh 2
Montreal 9, Houston 6
San Francisco 8, Cleveland 5
Milwaukee 12, Seattle 5
Texas 8, Kansas City 6
Baltimore "A" 2, Yankees 0
NHL
Los Angeles 5, Detroit 4
Boston 4, Washington 1
New York Islanders 2, Buffalo 0
Toronto 6, Minnesota 2

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