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April 19, 1999 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-19

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

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Spring practice
leaves questions
for M' foo l

Gentile sweeps
back on to scene

ly TJ. Berka
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan football team's open spring practice Saturday
could be considered a success. But not because the offense
looked sharp and the defense looked aggressive.
It was because nobody else got hurt.
The Wolverines canceled their spring game for the second
time in three years because of a rash of injuries that have
engulfed the team this spring. But Michigan did run a semi-
formal scrimmage - with the offense in blue jerseys and the
defense in white - this past Saturday.
"Today was just one day out of 15;" Michigan football coach
Lloyd Carr said. "But today was significant just because there
were a lot of people in the stands."
The couple thousand that ventured out to Michigan Stadium
Saturday saw crisp performances from two essential offensive
players, tailback Anthony Thomas and quarterback Drew
Thomas, a few pounds heavier than he was in January's
Citrus Bowl win over Arkansas, darted for three runs of at least
25 yards, including one touchdown.
As the returning running back with the most experience,
Thomas hopes to step up his performance accordingly.
"I don't see it as pressure - I see it asbeing a team leader,"
Thomas said. "As a team leader, I have to step it up to the
Henson has emerged this spring as a viable threat to win the
starting quarterback job. His passes were sharp, as he hit
Marquise Walker on a couple of long strikes, including a

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
Patience is a virtue - a virtue that
Michigan softball catcher Melissa
Gentile has had to learn this season.
But her patience has begun to pay off,
as she returned to the lineup in this
weekend's sweep of Northwestern.
Gentile batted in Rebecca Tune for
the first run in Michigan's 4-2 win
yesterday. The All-America catcher
was forced to sit out the beginning
half of the season while recovering
from back surgery in November.
She saw her first action as a pinch-
hitter for Karmen Lappo in Saturday's
10-3 victory in the first game of the
doubleheader. Gentile walked and
was immediately replaced with pinch
runner Mary Conner as soon as she
reached base.
Starting as the designated hitter
yesterday, Gentile no longer had to be
quite as patient.
Neither did the rest of Michigan's
squad as they jumped out to 3-0 lead
off Catherine Davie's two-run shot to
right, scoring Tune from first. Pam
Kosanke finishedhout Michigan's
scoring, reaching home plate on a
sacrifice fly from Chrissy Garza.
Jaime Gillies (13-2) earned her
second win of the series in a relief
appearance for Kate Eiland. Eiland
went 3 1/3 innings, allowing one run
before the durable Gillies finished
out the game.

Saturday's results were much the
same - as Michigan swept the dou-
bleheader against Northwest
Gillies pitched a four-hit shutout for
the Wolverines, who won the night-
cap, 2-0.
Michigan did its scoring in the sec-
ond inning. After a wild pitch that
scored Kosanke, Garza hit a long fly
ball to left field. The sacrifice fly
scored Tammy Mika for the last run
of the game. It was Gillies' sixth
shutout of the season.
Earlier in the afternoon MIe
Barda (17-1) provided Michigan with
another complete game, leading the
Wolverines to a 10-3 victory.
The sophomore went all seven
innings, stranding six Northwestern
batters on base.
Never letting an inning get out of
hand, Barda allowed no more than
one run per inning.
Scoring four runs in the fifth and
two runs in the second, third
sixth, Michigan's bats beat
Northwestern into submission.
Big Ten hit leader Traci Conrad led
all hitters withsthree, also scoring on
three occasions.
But it was Kosanke's second-inning
rocket homerun to left field that start-
ed the Michigan slaughter. The two-
run shot completed Michigan's scor-
ing in the inning.
Inside: Softball boxscores.
Page 15.

Melissa Gentile returned to the Michigan softball lineup, helping Michigan to a four-game sweep of the

See FOOTBALL, Page 15 Wildcats.

The 'Great One' finishes grand career

NEW YORK (AP) -There were four
farewell laps around the rink, tears and a
simple wave - and then he was gone.
Wayne Gretzky ended his NHL career
yesterday to rousing cheers and endless
chants from an overflow crowd at
Madison Square Garden.
Smiling through his tears, the greatest
player ever made it easy for everyone to
say goodbye - skating around the arena
slowly enough for plenty of souvenir
photos to be taken.
He touched youngsters' hands every
time he noticed them extended from the
crowd. He even played to the adoring
fans, donning a blue Yankees hat, then a
red Rangers beret.
The 38-year-old Great One skated one
lap around the rink with teammates in
tow, then came an encore, as a lone spot-
light followed him around the ice and
Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better"
blared throughout.
Perhaps the most excruciating moment
for him came as he fought the tears, occa-
sionally looking down at the ice, while

posing for one last photo with team-
mates, who all wore No. 99 caps.
"I'm devastated I will no longer be a
hockey player," Gretzky said. "I will miss
every part of the game, because I loved
every part of the game"
But he never second-guessed his deci-
sion to retire, announced this past Friday.
" ... I've made the right decision. You
know, this is not a passing on, this is a
moving on," he said.
Gretzky ended his career with an
assist, setting up a second-period goal as
his New York Rangers lost to Pittsburgh
2-1 in overtime.
On the final shift of his 21-year pro
career, with all the fans at Madison
Square Garden on their feet cheering as if
a Stanley Cup title was imminent,
Gretzky did nothing special. That was
rare, particularly on this day - when he
set up a dozen good scoring chances -
and for his unparalleled career.
During a Rangers timeout with 40.4
seconds to go in the third period, his wife,
Janet, started to cry as the fans began the

long, final salute to her husband. Gretzky
acknowledged it with a nod, then a wave,
then by raising his stick in the air.
"When (New York coach) John
(Muckler) called timeout, it hit me that I
was done;' he said, his eyes watering
once more. "Then is when it hit me that I
had only 30 seconds left"
Moments after the timeout, he nearly
had a breakaway, but Pittsburgh goalie
Tom Barrasso, who had a sensational
game, beat Gretzky to the puck.
As if his career just wasn't supposed to
end now, the game went into overtime. It
ended abruptly when Jaromir Jagr, hock-
ey's dominant player these days, scored.
The crowd and the Rangers seemed
stunned, but only momentarily. Then
everyone remembered why they'd come
to an otherwise pedestrian matchup.
As the "Gretz-ky" chants began again,
he skated over to the Penguins, who were
lined up at the blue line, and shook hands
with several. Then he hugged Jagr - an
unofficial passing of the torch? - before
returning to his teammates.

One 'Great' legacy
in Edmonton, Los Angeles, St. Louis and
New York, in his transformation from
the most dominant young player to the
most dominant veteran. Wayne Gretzky
has always been hockey's best.
By the age of 14, Gretzky had already
scored more than 1,000 goals and
became a national celebrity. He went
on to score 2,856 points in 20 NHL
How dominant was he? Gretzky has
more assists (1,962) than any player
has goals and assists combined.
The "Great One" retired at the age of 38,
despite Canada's prime minister begging
him to continue playing.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
announced that no one will ever again
wear No. 99 in the league.
"When a gentleman told me in 1977 to
wear this sweater, I didn't imagine one
day nobody else would be allowed to
wear it," Gretzky said.


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idiiga n Giammta
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