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September 04, 1997 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-04

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 4, 1997
Despite major league fame, Sorensen remembers 'M' baseball.

By Maok Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
During his three-season career in the mid-1970s,
-frmer Michigan pitcher Lary Sorensen was close
every college baseball player's dream - twice.
And the memory still stings him.
"The two Big Ten titles and then losing two years
in a row to Eastern Michigan in the regionals over
at Eastern," Sorensen said. "We took them to the
final game both years and if we had beat them, we
would have gone to Omaha. We just came up a lit-
tle bit short."
While the 1975 and '76 versions of the
Wolverines dominated the Big Ten, winning back-
to-back championships, the elusive College World
Series in Omaha, Neb., was twice spoiled.
The Michigan baseball program has undergone
changes in the two decades since, but Sorensen's
loyalty to baseball and his former school remains
undying. And with the scrutiny Michigan sports
have experienced this summer, Sorensen said he
-takes each attack on the school personally.
"I think that anybody that participated in sports
at U of M feels a lot of pride being associated with
the program,' he said. "So every time dirt is thrown

on the program, you feel bad about it."
The entire Michigan program has been undek
fire, but as a change from the early 1990s, the base-
ball program is not under attack.
"I think Bill (Freehan) really started the whole
thing," he said. Freehan "brought respectability
back to the program. (Current coach Geoff) Zahn's
taken it up the next step. When they brought
Freehan in, they thought this would give Michigan's
baseball program some legitimacy - and I think it
did."
The validation was hardly a concern when
Sorensen played at Michigan for legendary coach
Moby Benedict from 1974-76. When graduation
came in the spring of '76, Sorensen moved on his
other dream - big-league baseball.
After spending 11 years as a journeyman major
league pitcher, Sorensen had years of professional
experience but no longer possessed a big-league
arm.
So he turned his attention to the action of those
with remaining talent and joined former athletes
whose careers were cut short by nature - televi-
sion commentators.

"Baseball is a fantasy world and you want to
spend as much time in it as possible," Sorensen
said. "Being a broadcaster is the next best thing to
being on the field - you're there everyday, and
you're participating. By talk-
ing to the guys you're an out-
sider to a degree, but you still
feel a big part of it."
Because he began at the
bottom of the profession,
Sorensen was forced to return
to his collegiate roots in the
very venue that eluded him as
a player - the College World
Series in Omaha.
Sorensen Now five years later,
Sorensen is the analyst for
another team in the state of
Michigan, the Detroit Tigers.
Long days and multiple road trips continue to be
Sorensen's life, but even the Tigers' travails can't
erase the past.
When thoughts of Justin Thompson and Tony
Clark fade from his consciousness after a day at

the office, Sorensen allows himself to think back
to college baseball and its importance to the
sport's success. And he said his Michigan career
was a positive example.
"It was an all-around great experience" he said.
"I think it's the way kids should go if they have the
opportunity - especially at a school like
Michigan. It's a real developmental time for kids.
A semi-controlled environment - like college is
- is a good way to develop even further.
"I think about some of the kids I saw in the
minor leagues at rookie ball and they were pretty
good players, but at 18 years old, they couldn't han-
dle being on their own."
After 11 years in the professional ranks, three as
a college pitcher and another seven as a member of
the media, Sorensen knows the game inside and out
and treats the increasing collegiate presence in the
majors as nothing but positive for the game.
"Kids are getting good coaching in college and
so they're further developed when they start play-
ing professional baseball," he said. "I think the
trend has been swinging that way for a long time
and will continue to do so."

, _

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Dressers, Chests, Sofa Beds, 1
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HARRIERS
Continued from Page 12
prised everybody and finished fifth
in the country.
"Seven years ago, one of my ath-
letes hyperventilated about 20 yards
from the finish line," Warhurst said.
"We finished only about 6-8 points
out of fourth.
"But that team wasn't half as tal-
ented as this team."
Michigan could face a smoother
sail to the championships because its
arch rival, Wisconsin, lost a lot to
graduation.
The Badgers, the three-time
defending conference champions,
will run this year without standout
Pasquel Dobert.

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The Wolverines lost a big contrib-
utor in Scott MacDonald. Michigan's
hopes also rest on its depth and the
improvement of Steve Lawrence,
Todd Snyder, Don McLaughlin and
Jay Cantin.
"We should be the best team in the
Big Ten," Sullivan said. "This is def-
initely the best team we've had in the
time I've been here."
Unfortunately, high finishes at
nationals aren't gained during the
conference season.
Michigan has had trouble rising
to the occasion at nationals in the
past.
Last year, faced with the humid
climate of the Arizona desert, the
Wolverines stumbled to No. 13 in the
nation.
Gunning for the top 10, Mortimer
didn't even crack the top 100, suffer-
ing from severe heat exhaustion.
But this year's season finale will
be held in the kinder temperatures of
South Carolina.
The move may be just enough to
push Michigan into the nation's
elite.
"It is a little easier going from
warm to cold temperatures,"
Warhurst said. "But I don't think it's

eWe should be
the best team in
the Big Ten. This
is definitely the
best team we've
had in the time
I've been here
-- Kevin Sullivan
Michigan cross country
runner
going to be 85 degrees down in
South Carolina. I've got to consider
(last year's performance) was just a
fluke because of the way everybody
bounced back in indoor and outdoor
track."
This year's squad has the ingredi-
ents for a record-breaking season,
barring injuries and untimely heat
waves.
"It's a very reasonable goal for us
to finish in the top four nationally,"
McLaughlin said. "I believe that we
are the best (Michigan) team ever."

UN IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN PROPERTY DISPOSITION

13241 Baxter

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Noon to 4p.m., M-F

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CAMP
Continued from Page 12
The Wolverines' men's and women'
teams will compete in the Michigan
Open at the Michigan Golf Course
Saturday at 2 p.m.
The unscored meet will feature
mostly unattached entries and will give
the Wolverines the chance to get into a
competitive rhythm before serious
competition begins. Michigan is com,
pelled by the NCAA to have the early
meet because they began practice early
at the camp.
"We're forced to start this early in th'
season by NCAA rules because of the
preseason camp," McGuire said.
"We're only allowed a certain amount
of practice opportunities before our
first competition. In a perfect world,
neither coach Warhurst or myself
would like to start this early.
"We're going to be low-key and use
it as a benchmark to see where we're
at.'
The meet will also give McGuire a
early glance at Michigan State's team,
which is sending some runners to com-
pete.
"We'll try to establish some people
who have been training together in
packs in practice," McGuire said.
"We're hoping they'll do it in the meet.
At the same time, we want to be beat-
ing some green shirts."
Warhurst said the open would give
him a chance to see how some of thW
runners respond to competition -
camp may have been strenuous, but it
didn't provide the experience of a real
meet.
"At home you can run anyone you
want," Warhurst said. "If I travel I can
only take 12 people. It will be real
interesting.
"Camp gave us an idea of who's fit
and who isn't, but I have to make
choice of which athletes I'll take to th
first away meet.'
A week ago the Wolverines were
bonding on the shores of Lake
Michigan - roasting s'mores around a
fire. In this weekend's season opener,
they'll be the ones feeling the heat.
Wildcat

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CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange
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Ann Arbor

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rematch

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possible
in Maui
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) - Arizona
and Kentucky could have a rematch of
their NCAA championship game if each
wins in the first round of the Maui
Invitational.
Arizona, which beat Kentucky 8479
in overtime to win its first NCAA title,
will play Boston College in the opening
round of the 14th annual Mgaui
Invitational, it was announced yesterday.
Kentucky will play George
Washington in another first-round garp
on Nov.24 and is in the same brackedf
the eight-team tournament with
Arizona.
The other bracket has Duke playing
Chaminade and Missouri against
DePaul.
The semifinals are Nov. 25 with the
championship game on Nov. 26.
The last time Kentucky and Arizona
met before the championship game in
Indianapolis on Mar. 31, was in the 64
game of the 1993 Maui Invitational
when Kentucky prevailed, 93-92, on a
last-second tip-in by Jeff Brassow.
If the two Wildcats do meet in the
semifinals, it will be the second year in
a row an NCAA championship game
rematch was played the next November.
Kentuckv and Svracuse nlaved in the

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