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April 03, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-03

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April 03, 2003

olbte ltkbiaun j&iv


Late heroics
save game
fior ''nine
By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
It started as an unorthodox game of pitching yester-
day at The Fish. It ended in the traditional Michigan
slugfest that Wolverine fans are growing used to:
Michigan prevailed 11-9 over Eastern Michigan,
thanks to senior Jordan Cantalamessa's three-run walk-
off homerun in the bottom of the ninth.
Michigan (3-1 Big Ten, 12-10 overall) was cruising
after five solid innings from freshman Craig Murray
and sophomore Drew Taylor, but their replacements
forced Cantalamessa's late-inning _AS__N____HGAN_
Michigan ended up using
seven pitchers in the game. The pitch-by-committee
approach worked early, but the bullpen allowed eight
runs in the final three innings, eating up the lead that
Michigan had held all game.
"We threw everybody we had," Michigan coach
Rich Maloney said. "Ali (Husain) would have had to
pitch the rest of the game. We were just hoping some-
body would step up."
Husain stopped the bleeding as best he could,
replacing fellow freshman Derek Feldkamp in the top
of the ninth after Eagles first baseman Luke Beeler tied
the contest with his second homerun of the game. After
allowing a single, Husain picked off catcher Matt Mof-
fet at first. The out proved crucial when Eastern short-

'M'blue-collar seniors
leave their own legacy

Matt Collins was one of seven pitchers used in Michigan's victory at The Fish yesterday. The Wolverines
surrendered eight runs in the final three innings, leading to Jordan Cantalamessa's walk-off homerun.

stop Brian Bixler doubled and later scored.
"I'm happy the coaches can trust me in a situation
like that," Husain said. "I didn't do the greatest job, but
I did good enough. When you have hitters like we
have, you have a little room for error."
When Husain did shut the door on the Eagles' rally,
the heart of the Michigan order got its chance in the

bottom of the inning. Sophomore second baseman
Nick Rudden and senior third baseman Brock Koman
were both beaned and senior catcher Jake Fox beat out
a double play to put runners on the corners for Canta-
lamessa's dramatics.
"It was 2-and-2, one out and I was just trying to get
See EAGLES, Page 10A

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Editor
Finding dependable replacements for
fullback B. J. Askew and tight end Ben-
nie Joppru is shaping up to be quite an
ordeal for the Michigan football team.
Sophomores Sean Sanderson and
Tim Massaquoi - the heir apparents at
fullback and tight end, respectively -
are not making the progress that Michi-
gan coach Lloyd Carr would like at this
point in spring practice.
Carr announced yesterday that he is
holding Sanderson out of spring drills
because of academic
reasons. Massaquoi
missed all of winter
conditioning while d0
recovering from a 9
hernia surgery,
which is holding him
back in the spring.
"He's done a good job, but he's not
where he needs to be," Carr said. "We
have to keep working there."
Carr, who has been frustrated with
Sanderson's development since the end
of last season, said that he didn't know
whether the 6-foot-3, 289-pounder
would be able to compete in the fall.

at tight end
While it seems that Carr still expects
Massaquoi to earn significant playing
time at tight end next season, he has
refocused his attention on redshirt
freshman Brian Thompson at the full-
back position.
Thompson, recruited as a linebacker
out of Saginaw's Nouvel Catholic High
School, has Carr drooling over the possi-
bilities of lining him up in the backfield.
"What I see there is a young (former
Michigan fullback) Aaron Shea," Carr
said. "This kid is really athletic, and I
think it's going to be a great move for
our team.
"I feel very comfortable about our
fullback position, because it was a con-
cern. It's going to be -difficult because
B.J. did so many things. But I think
Brian Thompson has a chance to be a
great fullback."
Carr is also looking very closely at
Kevin Dudley at fullback, citing the
major improvement he has seen in Dud-
ley's blocking this spring. At tight end
- with Massaquoi hobbled off and on
- converted quarterback Andy Mign-
ery has made a strong surge for playing
time next season.
TAKING THE LEAD: Sophomore Pierre
Woods is well on his way to earning a

and fullback still there

The Daily Grind
ust a few weeks ago, former Michi-
gan All-American Mike Cammalleri
stood in a Los Angeles bar, anxious-
ly awaiting to watch the big game. Cam-
malleri, who bolted from the Wolverines
this past summer after his junior year to
sign with the Los Angeles Kings, was
sitting with a handful of other injured
Kings' teammates. And they all had their
eyes glued to the televisions and the
Kings-Bruins game.
Cammalleri, who hasn't skated in two .
months since getting his first concus-
sion, made an ececutive order, telling the
bartender to switch to the Ferris State-
Michigan CCHA Super Six Champi-
onship game.
He watched his former teammates
and classmates raise the "Mason Cup"
-just like he had done last March.
And he probably couldn't help but
realize what he was missing out on.
Cammalleri's senior class, with or
without him, is going to the Frozen Four
for the third straight season.
There's no glitz or glamour with this
year's seniors - captain Jed Ortmeyer,
John Shouneyia, Mark Mink, Mike Roe-
mensky and J.J. Swistak. There's no big
names or Hobey Baker finalists - not
after Cammalleri and classmate Andy
Hilbert left the past two years. There's
no NHL teams banging on their doors.
But there's grit and hustle. There's
heart and a blue-collar work ethic.
There's plenty of banners (two CCHA
regular season titles, two Mason Cups,
three Frozen Four berths).
And despite the adversity, the offsea-
son departures and the injuries, there's
another chance at a national title.
"It's not about who's gone, it's about
who's here"
Swistak is used to hearing all the-
questions regarding players leaving the
program. It happens every year (All-
Americans such as Cammalleri,
Hilbert, Mike Komisarek, Jeff Jillson

and Mike Comrie have all left in past
three offseasons).
And, much like the others in the sen-
ior class, he's sick of answering them.
"It's overblown big time, "Swistak
said. "They're great players, but they
don't make the team go."
He's right. It's not one player that
makes Michigan go. It's five.
It's Ortmeyer, whose bone-crushing
hits, inspirational speeches and clutch
goals make these Wolverines go. He
plays hurt, and he he even plays with
one leg (anchoring the first line last year
despite suffering a slightly torn left ACL
in early January). He'd literally run
through a brick wall for his teammates,
and that's why they revere him.
It's Shouneyia, who's the Wolverines
top returning scorer from last year, using
his pass first, pass second mentality to
give his teammates scoring chances.
It's Roemensky, who's playing the
best hockey of his career, shutting down
opponents' top lines and giving a steady
presence to a young, depleted blueline.
It's Mink, who thought he'd never
score again after a 30-game drought dur-
ing the middle of this season, but scored
two goals in the NCAA Midwest
Regional finals last Sunday to keep the
Wolverines' season alive.
And it's Swistak, who used to be a
gritty, fourth-line grinder, unselfishly
switching to defenseman.
"They don't go out and try to be
superstars every night," said sophomore
Milan Gajic. "They just do their job."
Just days after the Wolverines' heart-
breaking loss in the Frozen Four last
year to Minnesota - the eventual
national champions -the 2003 senior
class gathered in the lockeroom at Yost
for a special meeting.
"We just told ourselves that we blew
our shot (last year)," Swistak said. "And
we made it a point that we were going to
get back (to the Frozen Four) again, and
we're going to put our best foot forward.
And now - minus Cammallen -
the seniors are there, just like they said,
quietly preparing their team for the trip
to Buffalo, N.Y, for a chance to become
the first Michigan senior class in five
years to bring home a national crown.
,Now that would be quite the legacy.

starting role at the SAM linebacker
position, the roaming linebacker spot
that Victor Hobson held down last sea-
son. Carr tabbed Woods his leading
man at this point in spring practice,
even though Woods is still adjusting to
his recent move from defensive end.
"Pierre has a knack for getting to the
football, and I like where he is right
now," Carr said. "Pierre gets better
every day."
Woods, who was one of the top
defensive ends in the country coming
out of high school, made his presence
felt countless times on special teams
last season. His fire and intensity were
most noticeable on kickoff return cover-
age, especially in the Outback Bowl
against Florida, when he corralled a
Gator return man, grabbed his towel
and threw it into the air in celebration.
Carr said Woods is working hard to
mold himself into a linebacker.
"He's playing on his feet as opposed
to putting his hand on the ground," Carr
said. "He's playing much lower. The
first instinct of a player who has his
hand on the ground is to play too high.
When you're too high, you don't have
the leverage to defeat a blocker. Your
power comes from your legs."

Woods is also learning the mental
aspect of playing the SAM linebacker
spot. Carr said Woods was working on
reading motion from the tight end and
fullback and where to align himself at
the start of each play.
Carr has also been encouraged by the
performances of Lawrence Reid and
David Harris, both of whom are enjoy-
ing more playing time thanks to the
absence of starters Carl Diggs and Zach
Kaufman, who are recovering from
knee injuries this spring.
QUICK HITS: Redshirt freshman Steve
Breaston has been hobbled throughout
spring practice with a minor injury to
his hamstring. Breaston should compete
for time at punt and kick returner, as
well as wide receiver, when he is
Carr decided to move redshirt fresh-
man Darnell Hood from tailback to cor-
nerback. Carr said that Hood agreed his
best opportunity to play was on defense.

Joe Smith can be reached at

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