The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 28, 1989 - Page 9
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SS Gagin plays role in baseball, life
BY JAY MOSES
When minor league players talk
about the major leagues, they refer
to it as "The Show."
And why not? That's a pretty
accurate description of baseball. It's
a show, and each team is like a cast
of characters. And, as with any
show, you have the stars, and you
have the role players.
In the Michigan baseball team's
"show," shortstop Chris Gagin, a
junior from Southfield, MI, is one
of those role players.
"My job basically is to just play
a sound defensive shortstop," Gagin
said. "I just want to do my part. I'll
let the big guys have the big years."
SINCE THE departure of last
year's shortstop tandem, Bill St.
Peter and Steve Finken, Gagin's role
has been increased. He has moved
from second base and will be the
No.1 shortstop. Those are pretty big
shoes to fill, but Gagin has the
situation in perspective.
"Defensively, I can do the job
just as well," Gagin said. "I don't
have to fill the big offensive role,
and, frankly, I couldn't."
But in at least one respect, Gagin
is different from most role players.
There is no doubting his importance
to the team.
Head coach Bud Middaugh is the
first to agree. "Chris is outstanding,"
said the Wolverine skipper. "I'm
honored to have had the opportunity
to have worked with him. He has a
superior attitude and has done a lot
for this club."
ALTHOUGH Middaugh knows
where Gagin's place is as a player,
he sees that as yet another of Ga-
"He's a role player," Middaugh
said. "But he stays within himself
and plays intelligently. He plays
Gagin said. "I pretty much figured I
wouldn't be playing baseball
WHEN GAGIN went into Mid-
daugh's office before his first year of
school, though, Middaugh recog-
"He asked if he could try out, and
I said 'You don't try out, you're on
my team."' Middaugh said.
Gagin's status as a role player can
be deceiving, though, as can his 5-
foot-6 stature. He is a line drive
hitter with surprising power.
"I'll hit a few home runs, and
drive in a few runs," Gagin said. "I
can hurt a few people if they take me
too lightly. It's kind of the surprise
Gagin's talent runs in the family,
too. His younger brother, Lexy, will
start at second base for Michigan
State as a first-year player. That
should make for an interesting scene
when the Spartans come to town on
"WE'RE gonna have a nice
little feud when he comes to Ann
Arbor," Gagin said. "We're looking
forward to that."
But baseball isn't the only thing
in Gagin's life where roles come
into play. He is in the school of
LSA, majoring in pre-law.
And in a little over a year, Gagin
will have a completely new role to
adjust to-as a husband. He is
engaged to be married to Michigan
gymnast Julie Duckworth.
It seems whatever role he must
play, be it shortstop, brother,
fiancee, or teammate, Gagin plays it
with class. So he may not be the
star of Michigan's show. But when
it comes to acting in a supporting
role, Chris Gagin is truly one of.
Michigan's leading men.
Youthful battery looks
for some charging
BY DAVID HYMAN
"Pitching and defense are the keys to success at any level of baseball
and this season is no exception."
These are the words Michigan coach Bud Middaugh reiterated when
looking towards the 1989 season.
However, it is pitching which the Wolverines need to tend to as the
Big Ten season awaits. "We've got a lot of young arms and new guys,"
Last season, Michigan led the conference with a Big Ten record of 20
wins (20-8) and a 3.50 ERA. But 12 of those victories were awarded to
players no longer on the roster - 1988 Sullivan Award winner Jim
Abbott, Mike Ignasiak and Chris Lutz.
JUNIOR RIGHTHANDER Mike Grimes (1-1) is the sole returning
member of last season's starting rotation and will lead this young staff.
"He is not throwing well yet, but I expect him to perform much
better," Middaugh said of Grimes' performance during the spring trip.
Last season's bullpen ace, lefty Ross Powell (1-0, 11-1 career), will
make the move to starter as will senior righthander Dave Peralta.
However, junior righthander Tim Lata, who has a perfect collegiate
record of 9-0 may become the staff ace. Lata was named one of three
Coppertone National Players-of-the-Week by Collegiate Baseball after he
threw a seven inning no-hitter against defending NCAA Division III
National Champion, Ithaca College.
"He threw very well on the spring trip and I expect this to continue,"
Sophomores Jeff Tanderys and Kirt Ojala will provide solid innings as
well as some experience. Ojala has one save to go along with a 2-0
record, while Tanderys is 1-0.
THE BULLPEN will be headed by junior righthander John Locker,
who has two saves so far this season.
Newcomers who will look to break into the rotation are lefty Tracy
Piehl and righthanders Russell Brock, Eric Persinger and Jason Pfaff.
Along with some good pitching, a team needs to be backed up by solid
catching and this is Michigan's weakest link.
"We have no experience as we have two freshman and one with not a
whole lot of experience," Middaugh said. The experience was to be pro-
vided by senior Mike Gillette, but Gillette decided to sharpen his kicking
game for the upcoming NFL draft and is not expected to join the team.
Junior Stacey Katlin was the only catcher with experience as Michigan
entered its annual spring trip. "Stacey's responded really well," Middaugh
replied, as he mentioned that Katlin was an initial walk-on as well as a
Mike Matheny and Todd Winston will see plenty of action and
experience in their first season behind the plate, while senior Ed Turek
will provide some depth.
Michigan shortstop Chris Gagin will assume a more prominent role in
the Wolverines' game plan this year. Gagin made the move from
second base after the departure of Steve Finken and Bill St. Peter.
wherever we ask him to. Chris is
one of our main guys."
Pretty high praise for a player
who wasn't really recruited by
Michigan out of high school. Gagin
impressed Middaugh, but Middaugh
was told Gagin had signed with
Michigan State, so he didn't pursue.
MSU did offer Gagin a scholarship,
but he came to Michigan as a regular
student for academic reasons.
"Michigan State was guaranteeing
me a spot to play, but I couldn't
turn down Michigan as a school,"
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BLUE LOOKS TO TOP THE BIG TEN
1'M' ready in89
BY PETER ZELLEN
Last year, the Michigan softball team lost its last game of the season to
Indiana, 2-1. The Wolverines fell out of first place and lost the Big Ten title
by a half-game to Minnesota. For the players, this has been a hard memory
To start 1989, the Wolverines are fresh from an 18-6 preseason and are
ready to challenge the Gophers for the title again.
Coach Carol Hutchins is more enthusiastic about this year's squad than
of any other during her five years at Michigan. "One of our great qualities is
that we're a team, we pull for each other," she said. "In fact, this is the best
team I've ever had."
Michigan's 1989 team looks like this:
Pitching - With the graduation of Michelle Bolster, last year's Big Ten
MVP with an 0.94 ERA, the Wolverines were in search of a new starter.
Junior Jenny Allard will be that replacement. She had a preseason record of
4-4 and an 1.21 ERA.
The ace of the staff will be sophomore Andrea Nelson. She was
Michigan's Rookie-of-the-year in 1988 with a 9-3 record and 1.40 ERA.
This spring, Nelson posted a 14-1 record with a 0.95 ERA. The two will
prove tough against Big Ten batters.
The third member of the staff is rookie Julie Foster. She should pitch in
many of the non-conference games in order to rest Nelson and Allard.
Catching - Senior MaryAnn Daviera was a shortstop in her first two
seasons at Michigan but will now be the primary catcher due to her strong
throwing arm. Daviera was hampered by a knee injury for most of last year
but has proven to be healthy this spring. Her career batting average is only
.197, but Hutchins remains high on Daviera, who made no errors in 33
games last year.
Also seeing time behind the plate will be Julie Cooper, who also plays
rightfield, and rookie Bridget Fitzpatrick, who is primarily the designated
player (she bats for Nelson when she pitches.)
Infield -Defensively, this may be the most solid infield in the Big Ten.
At first base is junior Sara Dyksterhouse, who last year had a fielding
percentage of .990 with only four errors.
The keystone combo will be senior Nan Payne at second and sophomore
Bonnie Tholl who was All-Big Ten at shortstop last year. The two posted
fielding averages of .980 and .927, respectively.
Third base is covered by Allard, who fielded .958 with just six errors.
However, when she pitches, Fitzpatrick will probably see action at the hot
Last season, the problem with this group was offense. In 1988, only
Allard hit well at .300 with 22 RBIs. The other three combined for a .215
average and only 32 RBIs. This spring however, Dyksterhouse, Payne, and
Tholl have bounced back with a combined .313 with 19 ribbies.
Outfield - This group is led by senior captain and centerfielder Beth
Mueller. Last year, she hit a disappointing .229 but came back strong this
spring at .350. She also showed some power with four homers and 16 RBIs.
Patrolling left and right are speedsters Kelly O'Connor and sophomore
Cooper. Cooper has the more experience of the two, playing everyday last
year and batting .261. She also made the All-Big Ten team. Her six stolen
bases were second on the team to Mueller's seven.
O'Connor, a junior, was out for most of last year with a hand injury but
1989 SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
WAYNE STATE (DH)
*OpO STATE (DH)
*MICHIGAN STATE (DH)
RECORD VS.IN 198
Did not play vs. in 1988
Did not play vs. in 1988
Did not play vs. in 1988
benefits softball team
BY PETER ZELLEN
When a player is named captain
of a team, there is a lot of
responsibility in the role. They are
expected to lead that team, both on
the field and off and to set an
example for the rest of the players.
Such a player is Beth Mueller,
the senior centerfielder on the
Michigan softball team, and she
enjoys the challenge.
"I like it a lot," Mueller said.
"It's a big honor that they put me in
. Seeing how she made the team, it
seems like it was Mueller's fate to
be a leader by example.
MUELLER wasn't recruited by
Michigan and she passed up a chance
to play basketball at junior college.
games that season but her-average
dropped to .229.
"It was real disappointing. I was
trying too hard. I kept saying to
myself 'what's happening to me?'
Mueller admitted. "This year though
I've taken the pressure off myself.
It's my senior year and I'm trying to
Her new attitude seems to be
having an effect. After a 24-game
spring trip Mueller is hitting at a
.350 clip with four homers and 16
RBIs. "She's swinging a great stick
out of the third slot," Hutchins said.
This same attitude also helps her
teammates. "Beth is always someone
to turn to if you want to see a smile,
she's always happy and up," Allard
said. "She adds a lot of happiness to
Home games in CAPS
* Denotes Big Ten opponents
All home games are held at the Varsity Diamond
Starting timefor weekdaygamesis 3:30p.m.
Game time for Saturday doubleheaders is 1:00 p.m.
1989 WOLVERINE ROSTER
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Tinley Park, IL
made the Michigan
squad as a walk-
on. A coach of
hers during a
called the Wolver-
ines to tell them
"There were six
or seven people
there for a one-day
said. "I waited all
night for a phone
call, and then
Hutch (head coach
made the call."
She worked out
with the team and
survived the final
game, Mueller is
counted on for her
a leader, she gets
Julie Cooper. "I
play with her in
the outfield and
she informs me
about things out
...leads by example
cut. Mueller came
in with five other rookies and only
secondbaseman Nan Payne, catcher
MaryAnn Daviera, and herself are
left. "She surprised a lot of people"
said pitcher-thirdbaseman Jenny
Mueller got off to a bad start her
rookie season, batting only .145 in
Shes a very
good role model,
both academically (Mueller wants a
career in the medical profession) and
athletically", explains newcomer
Shelly Bawol. "Her being a walk-on
is another reason to look up to her.
She's just an all-around nice
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