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March 18, 1997 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-18

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10 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 18, 1997

If weather cooperates, Zahn and 'M' baseball will play at Ray

Fisher

By Tracy Sandier
Daily Sports Writer
Religion seems to be a theme with the
Michigan baseball team lately. After playing in
the F&M Bank Classic at Oral Roberts over the
weekend, the Wolverines will begin their home
season today against Detroit Mercy at 3 p.m. at
Ray Fisher Stadium.
God willing, it won't snow.
Against the Titans, No. 30 Michigan (9-6)
will focus on improving its defense and pitch-
ing. The Wolverines have a team batting aver-
age of .35 but falter with a 6.99 ERA and 37

team errors.
"We know the mistakes we're making,"
Michigan coach Geoff Zahn said. "We feel we
can correct those by playing more. We've been
making simple errors that happen to cost us."
Before losing their final two games of the
F&M tournament, Michigan was riding a nine-
game winning streak. The Wolverines ended up
in third place, but they are not concerned with
their disappointing weekend finish.
"I think we need this home game to get ready
for the Big Ten season," Zahn said. "We know that
we're a better team than how we played (this

weekend). We're seeing that we can play with
anyone in the country."
Currently, the Wolverines are forced to deal
with injuries. Aside from losing outfielder
John Papp for the season with a knee injury,
the team has been playing without other key
players.
Third-baseman Mike Cervenak suffered a
broken nose over break but is expected back for
today's game, while outfielder Jason Alcaraz
has a pulled hip flexor and is being evaluated
on a day-to-day basis.
Last on the list of the walking wounded is

freshman pitcher Bryce Ralston. He has a
back injury that wifl he looked at again in a
week.
In Cervenak's absence, shortstop Brian
Kalczynski has filled in at third. He has more
than compensated with a .439 batting average,
being named the MVP at Oral Roberts.
Also hot with the bat has been rightfielder
Derek Besco, who is hitting .455. He and pitcher
Brian Steinbach (2.63 ERA) were named to the
all-tournament team.
"Right now, Kalczynski's the best hitter on the
team," Zahn said. "But they didn't pitch to Derek

at all this weekend. I'm really proud of Derek
because he had a tough summer. He came back
and is doing extremely well."
Zahn is also happy with the progress of out-
fielders Bryan Besco and Brian Bush, in addi-
tion to the pitching of Luke Bonner and JJ.
Putz.
"We're always excited when we get to play at
home'" Zahn said. "We're looking for warm
weather, and we need to get some guys playina
while getting work in for our pitchers. We're n
there yet. Our biggest concern right now is pitch-
ing and defense."

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- John Madden had
his hands full
after Michigan
won the CCHA
playoff champi-
onship Saturday.
WARREN ZINN/Daily

MADDEN
Continued from Page 9
Madden is not only the best defen-
sive forward on his team, he's the
best in the CCHA. He won the award
as the league's top defensive forwarI
at last Thursday's conference awar
banquet, and Berenson said he easi-
ly could have won it in previous
years.
"Some things just seetn so natural
to me on defense," Madden said.
"Just picking up a man, or just
knowing the kind of things I like to
do in their zone. Most of the times
I've just been in the right places at
the right times, been on the rig
side of the puck - on the defensivx
side.
"That's why I get some of my
offensive chances - (because) I'm
playing good defense."
Madden has become known for
his shorthanded goals and gutty
defense on penalty kills.
But Saturday night, he also
recorded his fifth power-play goal of
the season, and 26th overall, off
feed from the corner from Mik
Legg.
Add 35 assists to his offensive
- production, and Madden is the third-
leading scorer on a prolific offense,
just one point behind Muckalt.
Bowling Green coach Buddy
Powers called Madden "the best all-
around player in college hockey"
earlier this year, and Berenson said
Madden's the best two-way .play)
he's coached at Michigan.
Lacking the size of Jason Botterill
and graceful skill of Brendan
Morrison, Madden has relied on old-
fashioned hard work to keep up with
his senior classmates.
"When I went to the rink the first
time I saw him, the people around
the rink were talking about Johnny
Madden," Berenson said. "And one
thing about Madden, they said, was
he works hard every night. And tl@
hasn't changed in four years."
Every night and every day in prac-
tice, Madden sets an example with
his work ethic. He often stays on the
ice long after practice has ended,
along with Legg.
Madden made his determination
known early in his Michigan career.
After a disappointing freshman sea-
son - only 17 points in 36 games -
Madden came back with 21 go4
and 43 points in his sophomore sea-
son, earning him the 1994-95 Alton
D. Simms Trophy as Michigan's
most improved player.
Luhning said Madden's attitude is
contagious, and he should know.
Luhning has played on a forward
line and on the penalty-killing unit
with him for most of the season.
"Going out with Johnny, you've
got to be ready to work har
Luhning said. "He expects you to '
you're out there with him.
"I think he's the kind of player that
makes players around him better.
He's a good playmaker, you see him
working so hard, and it motivates
you. It's like a disease."
With Michigan's run to repeat as
a national champions starting Sunday,
Berenson would love a case of
Madden's confidence to infect
team as well.
"In a crunch situation, he's as
good as anyone on faceoffs in your
end, to win a big draw," Berenson
said. "He wants to be there. It's like,
'You can trust me coach, put me out
there.' He doesn't say that, but that's
the way he plays. That's the way he
acts."

Despite all of the hardware
Madden has earned this year,
isn't satisfied.
"I put my goals way up there," he
said. "I haven't reached my goal yet.
I want to be a dominant player, and I
don't feel I'm a dominant player at
this level yet."
But to get to where he wants to be,
all Madden probably has to do is lis-
ten to his own words.
"I've always believed that if you
work hard enough at something, yg
become good at it," he said.
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