The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - April 9, 1990 - Page 5
by Jeff Sheran Fe
Daily Baseball Writer and E
Michigan captured the regular receiv
season title last season with a 21-6 tered
Big Ten record. But that's just about while
the best they can do this year. Arbor
The Wolverines must adjust to C
the penalties imposed upon them by rotati
the conference, as a result of viola- niors
tions under former coach Bud Mid- last s
daugh. These penalties include, most the oi
notably, the restriction of postseason Todd
What that means is Michigan can but t
not win the Big Ten Championship, the s
which is determined by a postseason two-t
tournament. But it can repeat as the W
team with the best record in the con- beenc
ference, and that is exactly what draft,
first-year coach Bill Freehan and his rema
squad intend to do. Price
The Wolverines dominated the tain,t
league in pitching last year, compil- and t
ing a team ERA of 3.15, almost a to the
run better than Purdue's 4.13. How- So
ever, the staff benefitted from the the re
golden arm of Ross Powell, whose with
services Michigan no longer pos- Mich
sesses. the i
Powell, who led the Big Ten in whoe
record (7-0), ERA (1.53), and strike- hono
outs (53), bequeaths the number one publi
slot in the rotation to Russell Brock. baser
Brock, a sophomore righthander, 52 R
earned all-Championship honors in third
ellow righthanders Jason Pfaff against I
Dennis Konuszewski will also Two)
ve the nod as starters. Pfaff let- nod at fi
last year for the Wolverines, Haeger,
e Konuszewski comes to Ann Ten last
r as a heralded rookie. year. H
o-captain Kirt Ojala bolsters the Fairman
on from the left side. The ju- the posi
southpaw notched a 3-2 record team in h
eason with a 2.83 ERA. He and spot.
ther starters can look to reliever "It'ss
Marion to protect their leads. Freehans
arion did not pitch last year, soon, an
he sophomore fireman began decision.'
eason with a string of nine and MikeI
hirds scoreless innings. will shar
'hile Michigan's pitching has Dave Ev
depleted by the Major League shortstop
an experienced core of hitters Ruff gua
in on this year's squad. Phil spectivel;
the other Wolverine co-cap-
brings his .330 batting average
eam-leading ten home runs back
heart of the lineup.
econd baseman Matt Morse led
eturnees in hitting last season
a .344 mark, and he returns as
igan's lead-off batter. Across
nfield stands Tim Flannelly, In th
earned pre-season all-American stands am
rs from several major sporting will chas
cations. The sophomore third pion Illin
man knocked in a team-leading turns ev
BIs, and will bat in the crucial that defec
slot this season. Flannelly has the cham
.dy posted a 22-game hitting It is a
k, which ended last weekend least capt
Wolverines will vie for the
irst base. Incumbent Greg
named third team all-Big
season, has been injured all
owever, sophomore Andy
has staked a valid claim to
tion thus far, leading the
home runs from the clean-up
a nice problem to have,"
said. "We expect Greg back
d then we'll have to make a
Matheny and Todd Winston
e the catching duties, while
erly rounds out the infield at
. Steve Buerkel and Dan
rd center and left field, re-
e conference, Michigan
nong four or five teams who
e defending Big Ten Cham-
nois for the title. Illinois re-
ery regular from the team
ated the Wolverines, 2-0, in
pionship game last year.
safe bet that Illinois will at
ture the regular season title,
while Iowa and Indiana should be the
chief contenders for second. The
Hawkeyes led the league in batting
last season, and return their entire
batting lineup. Indiana took second
in the hitting category, but lacks
depth on the mound.
Minnesota narrowly missed the
playoffs last year, but field an im-
proved squad led by catcher Dan Wil-
son, a candidate for the prestigious
Golden Spikes award.
Ohio State and Michigan State
both seek offense to complement
solid pitching and defense. But 1989
Big Ten Coach of the Year Bob Todd
feels his Buckeyes, who took fourth
in the conference last season, are
even better this time around.
Northwestern, Purdue, and Wis-
consin will remain at the bottom of
Wolverine shortstop Dave Everly juggles a grounder in the first game of
Saturday's doubleheader with Iowa. Everly gained control and managed
to make the play.
last year's playoffs,
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Swinging a heavy bat for Michigan
by Theodore Cox
Daily Baseball Writer
Last week Michigan sophomore
Tim Flannelly sported a bruise under
his left eye, an unshaven chin, and a
cold stare that made everyone take
The 6-foot-2, 195 pound
thirdbaseman makes people take
notice on the diamond too. Flannelly
leads the team in batting average,
hitting .380. He held a 22 game
hitting streak that ended Saturday.
He leads the team in game-winning
RBI's with three. And he handles the
hot corner like a regular gold glover.
"I'm swinging okay," Flannelly
said. "You know when I get in those
situations where I can help the club
out with guys in scoring position
I' m just up there hacking away."
Flannelly, however, doesn't get
caught up in the streaks during the
season. He has learned to concentrate
only on winning.
"I don't dwell on the streak
because once you start doing that
you start swinging tentative and not
*turning on pitches you should be,"
"I was in a nice groove against
Central Michigan. I felt for the ball
a little bit, but I don't think that had
anything to do with me thinking
about my streak."
What makes his feat loom even
larger is that Michigan plays mostly
doubleheaders, and therefore
Flannelly must hit in both games to
keep such a streak alive. And when
the Wolverines take the field for a
'M' baseball lives in
purgatory for past sins
by Matt Rennie
Daily Baseball Writer
The Michigan baseball team will not win the Big Ten title this
season. They won't win it next year either.
A team wins the Big Ten baseball title in the conference's post-season
playoffs. Michigan won't be there because they're paying. They're paying
dearly for the work of their former coach, Bud Middaugh, whose mis-
doings landed the program on a two-year probation and ban from post-
Middaugh is not around any more, but he left behind a team whose
season will end on May 13, their last game of the season. Guaranteed. No
playoffs. No College World Series. Nothing after that..
On the night the probation sentence was handed down, the team
practiced at the indoor field house. Coach Bill Freehan met with his team
before the practice and told them the news. Then, he turned it over to the
leaders of the team: Tim Flannelly, Matt Morse, and the co-captains, Phil
Price and Kirt Ojala.
What could they say? That it didn't matter? It did matter. It mattered a
It would be easy for the team to fold their tents and write off this year.
The primary goal of baseball teams from Little League to the majors,
making the playoffs, is an impossible task for the Wolverines. Why not
hang it up? Why not just go through the motions?
For some, there's the potential of making the pros, but that's only a
dream for most. The challenge is keeping everyone from believing that
this is an empty season, which is no small task.
"It was a difficult situation," Flannelly said. "We've got some young
guys on the team. It can be very disheartening for young minds coming in
here to find out that we're going to be on probation. We got to make sure
we can guide them along with everybody else."
The team has re-evaluated its goals, changing its focus from the
playoffs to the regular season.
"We just want to show everybody that we deserve to be there," Ojala
Michigan was 12-11 entering the weekend series with Iowa, but
numbers do not tell the story. Are the Wolverines better than a .500
team? Yes, but their record does not indicate a lack of effort. They haven't
quit, when it would have been easy to do so. They're playing with
everything they have, even though they don't have everything to play for.
"Everybody was upset," Ojala said, "but we realized that that's what
we have to put up with. So we'll just go out there and play hard every day
anyThat's what they're doing. They don't have any other choice. They
can't learn from their mistakes because they didn't make the mistakes.
They're serving a sentence for another man's crimes.
It's like the Howard Jones lyrics: "You can feel the punishment, but
you can't commit the sin." Middaugh will not feel the frustration of the
post-season ban, but his former teamalready has. They feel cheated and
betrayed, and it's difficult to blame them.
"It's fiard to say that the reason that we're on probation is not even
here anymore," Ojala admitted.
"I don't think it's fair that we all suffer because of what took place in
the past," Flannelly said. "It was one man's actions. It's unfair that a
hard-working group of people like we are has to pay for that."
The team may sound bitter, and, to a certain extent, they are. But it's
not a case of revenge, wanting Middaugh to pay also. It's more a case of
wanting to have their own sentence lifted.
If anything positive has come out of the situation, it is that the team
has come together as a unit, a community of the condemned. Middaugh is
gone. The new coach Freehan, who graduated from Michigan in 1966, is
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Wolverine thirdbaseman Tim Flannelly's consistent hitting has provided coach Bill Freehan with leadership
both on and off the field. Flannelly's 22 game hitting streak ended last Saturday as he went 0-for-3 against Iowa.
the leadership of the ballclub. When
you come into the situation that I
came into, you can look at stats but
you really don't know personality. I
see good work ethic. I see guys
wanting to come down and practice
and work hard."
Freehan was pleased to see
Flannelly maintain that work ethic
and leadership ability even after the
Big Ten levied sanctions on the
"That attitude has been
outstanding since day one," Freehan
said "Leaders don't emerge out of
anything to shoot for, but that's all
part of maturing and getting better as
a ball player. You have to gain that
discipline to put all that behind
No post-season and no live tele-
vision appearances means major
league scouts won't view Flannelly
as much. "Everybody that comes to
Michigan has the aspiration of play-
ing professional baseball," he said.
Right now it looks as if Flan-
.. ._! .I.L . _t. . -
in the NCAA West II Regionals.
The New Jersey native also led
Team USA to a silver medal in the
Presidential Cup Tournament in
Taiwan, hitting .344.
For now, however, he must
readjust and adapt to what he can do
"We reevaluated our goals when
we found out we were on probation,"
Flannelly said. "We can no longer
win the Big Ten, so we just have to
concentrate on playing every game