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September 06, 2001 - Image 25

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-06

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The Michigan Daily - SportsThursday - September 6, 2001- 11B

Little League fraud could
land Daddy Almonte in jail

Isle of riches: Yashiui
gets record contract

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
(AP) - Danny Almonte's father was charged Tuesday
with falsifying a birth certificate to make his son
appear to be 12 when he actually was 14-- and thus
too old for Little League.
Felipe de Jesus Almonte "will be arrested as soon
as he sets foot in this country," said Victor Romero, a
public-records.official in the Dominican Republic
who determined the young pitcher's real age.
De Jesus, who is still in New York, faces three to
five years in jail if convicted.
Danny's father has not made himself available to
the media and could not be reached for comment.
Also on Tuesday, school officials said Almonte was
finishing seventh grade in the Dominican Republic up
to June - another reason he should not have qualified
for Little League championships.
Almonte finished seventh grade June 15 at the
Andres Bello Primary School, said Bolivar de Luna
Gomez, vice principal of the school in Moca, a small
farming town 90 miles north of Santo Domingo.
That would have prevented the boy from playing
the required six Little League games to qualify for the
championships.
"We can't lie," Gomez told The Associated Press.
"He was here and the records show this. It is the truth,
and if authorities ask us to turn the documents in, we
are ready to do so."
Newsday and The New York Times had earlier
reported on Almonte attending the Dominican Repub-
lic school in the 2000-01 academic year.
Joann Dalmau, spokeswoman for Almonte's Bronx,

N.Y.-based Rolando Paulino All-Stars team, denied
the boy had lived in the Dominican Republic until
June.
"I saw him in May here, playing in a regular-season
game," she said. "So there was no way he was in the
Dominican Republic in June."
But Romero confirmed Almonte had been in a
Dominican school until then.
The New York team was stripped of its third-place
finish in the World Series after Almonte's real age was
revealed last Friday. Little League also voided all of
Almonte's records, including a perfect game.
Depending on the weather, Little League seasons
start as early as February and as late as June 1, with
the all-star tournament that leads to the Little League
World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., beginning
July 1. To be on a league's all-star team and partici-
pate in the tournament, a player must have played in
at least half of his team's games by June 15.
Little League spokesman Lance Van Auken said
that would have been impossible for Almonte.
"If he wasn't in the country until after June 15, then
it seems impossible that he would have been eligible
under those conditions as well," Van Auken said. "It
adds to the weight of evidence against Rolando Pauli-
no and anyone else who might have known Danny
was ineligible."
Van Auken said the president of each league - in.
Almonte's case, Paulino - signs an affidavit verify-
ing the eligibility of each player in the tournament.
Paulino, founder and president of the league that
bears his name, was banned for life from any affilia-

UNIONDALE, N.Y (AP) --Alexei
Yashin agreed to the biggest contract
package in NIL history yesterday, a
10-year deal with the New York
Islanders worth nearly $90 million.
The 27-year-old Russian center had
given up millions by sitting out an NI-L
season in Ottawa.
"It's a privilege for me to know that I
will be spending the rest of my career
on Long Island," he said at a news con-
ference.
The deal eclipses the one the Col-
orado Avalanche gave Joe Sakic in July
five years, $50.5-million. The
Avalanche have an option for a sixth
year that would increase the package to
$57 million.
Washington's Jaromir Jagr will make
$20.7 million over the next two seasons,
making him the highest-paid player by
annual salary.
Yashin,'who earned $3.6 million last
season with Ottawa, will report to train-
ing camp Tuesday in Lake Placid, N.Y.
"To add a player of Alexei's caliber
means great things for this hockey
club," general manager Mike Milbury
said.

Yashin had 40 goals and 48 assists
with the Senators last season. He man-
aged only one assist as Toronto swept
Ottawa in the first round of the playoffs.
He sat out the previous year after
Ottawa declined to give him a lucrative
pay increase. In 1998-99, he scored 44
goals and had 50 points and was a final-
ist for the league's MVP award.
The 6-foot-3 center has proved
durable. He did not miss a game in any
of his last four seasons. Ottawa traded
Yashin for the No. 2 entry draft pick
and selected teen-ager Jason Spezza.

Danny Almonte pitched a perfect game in this
summer's Little League World Series.
tion with Little League because of the age controver-
sy, as was Almonte's father.
Gomez also confirmed Almonte is registered as
having been born on April 7, 1987, as the government
ruled Friday.
Hector Pereira, president of the Dominican Base-
ball Federation, appealed Tuesday on behalf of the
boy, saying "Danny is a phenomenon and anything
around him is. news, but if they continue investigating,
they can psychologically harm the kid."
Meanwhile Tuesday, Danny and his father were on
their way to register him to attend school in the
Bronx, said Jennifer Falk, spokeswoman for the New
York's Administration of Children's Services.

Alexi Yashin hit the'bank yesterday. His
$90 million contract is tops in the NHL.

------

All-Williams final on horizon at U.S. Open

NEW YORK (AP) - Mindful of a
recent conversation with her sister, Ser-
ena Williams stayed cool in the third
set for a breakthrough victory at the
U.S. Open.
Williams ended a streak of losses in
four consecutive Grand Slam quarterfi-
nals Tuesday night, edging Lindsay
Davenport 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-5 to reach the
semifinals.
During the match, Williams remem-
bered a discussion while watching the
Open on TV earlier in the tournament
with older sister Venus, who happens
to be the defending champion.
"Venus told me the other day that

champions don't get nervous in tight
situations," Williams said. "That really
helped me a lot. I decided I shouldn't
get nervous and just do the best I can."
Capping a furious exchange on her
third match point, Williams ripped a
forehand winner for the victory. In the
semifinals, she plays top-seeded Marti-
na Hingis, who advanced by beating
Daja Bedanova 6-2, 6-0 in 42 minutes.
Williams won the 1999 Open at age
17, but has been frustrated in major
events since. She lost to Davenport at
the Open a year ago and lost three-set
matches in three Grand Slam quarterfi-
nals this year.

"I definitely should have been more
serious in the past," Williams said. "I
get tired of losing in the quarterfinals
all the time. I would like to go three
steps father than the quarterfinals."
She'll try to take the next step
tomorrow against Hingis, who has won
their last three matches and leads the
series 6-4.
Davenport said the result will
depend largely on Williams.
"She has the game to overpower
Martina," Davenport said. "How many
errors compared to winners she has'
will be the difference."
Williams blew a 2-0 lead in the sec-
ond set and failed to convert a pair of
match points in the tiebreaker. In the
final set, she went ahead 3-0 and was

serving at 4-2, 40-love before Daven-
port made one last charge to reach 4-4.
In th final game, Williams hit a lung-
ing crosscourt volley to make it 30-all,
then smacked a return into the corner,
out of Davenport's reach. That gave
Williams another match point, and this
time she embraced the chance, belting
three consecutive sizzling forehands, the
third angled crosscourt for a winner.
Williams clenched her teeth, pumped
her fists and screamed to celebrate the
win, which heightened the prospect of
an all-Williams final Saturday night.
Venus defeated Kim Clijsters 6-3. 6-
1 on Wednesday to advance to the
semi-finals.
"That would be great," she said.
"I'm sure TV would love it."

t-

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