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May 28, 1980 - Image 15

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-28

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, May 28, 1980-Page 15


H .sports

Mark Mihanovic

M' to switch

Early season pretender .. .
.. . title contender
George Foussianes sat in the dugout, tears swelling in his eyes. It had
been the senior's last game in Fisher Stadium, and no one could have
anticipated, back in March when the Wolverines returned from Florida at 6-
7, that it would turn out this way.
But it had, and Michigan was on its way to Omaha, Nebraska and the
College World Series. For Foussianes, it marks the second opportunity to
capture the golden prize, a national title.
"I was there before, in my sophomore year, and therewas no team that
was better than we are now,"Foussianes claimed. "If we play like we can,
they (Michigan's chances) are good.
"My whole college career has been a lot of fun. Right now I'm just
thrilled to death. I got kind of sentimental near the end, this being my last
game here. I've just never been on a team like this."
It is a team that supposedly started the season in disarray. Bud
Middaugh replaced Moby Benedict, who had spent 18 years directing the
Wolverine diamond fortunes, and there were rumblings of discontent as
Middaugh installed more discipline into the program and cut several
veteran pitchers from the squad to make room for younger talent.
On top of that, standout hurlers Steve Howe and Steve Perry graduated
to the professional ranks, as did outfielder Rick Leach.
So it was to be a year to look at new faces at the ballpark. Enjoy the
sunshine, but don't expect much from the men in Blue. They're at least a
year away.
We were wrong
Oh, how far wrong one can go in prejudging teams and athletes! After
the ballclub's mediocre southern swing, Michigan moundsmen recorded
shutout victories in five of their next six contests, and it was off to the races.
Junior righty Mark Clinton got shelled in the season's third Big Ten game at
Minnesota, but then the Wolverines steamrolled to twelve straight wins and
the conference title.
And they did it Middaugh's way, using the freshmen, giving them plenty
of experience. Veterans like Clinton, Foussianes, and Chuck Wagner offered
words of advice and encouragement to the frosh, but in the end, it was the
talented right arms of Scott Dawson, Steve Ontiveros, and Scot Elam, and
the slick glove of second baseman Jeff Jacobson that made the Wolverines
champions, rather than fourth-place finishers.
"The way we work together on the field'>and "what's inside my
teammates" is Foussianes' explanation for the batsmen's success, and that
explanation is about as good as any. There inevitably exists a degree of
animosity within any group of 26 men striving to excel individually and as a
group, but Middaugh's crew seems to keep any jealousy well below the
surface. It sounds corny, but they are a team, in every sense of the word, and
a team that had become very efficient by tournament time.
Michigan domination
Michigan owned the Mideast regional. A 9-4 win over Central Michigan
and 7-0 and 12-3 trouncings of Nebraska made me wonder where all the great
college teams in this country are.
Seven Michigan regulars hit .300 or better during the three-game set,
Foussianes (5 for 9), Wagner (6 for 11), and catcher Gerry Hool (6 for 11)
all swinging at better than .500. Hool's .545 average, 3 walks, 5 RBI, and
excellent work behind the plate earned him the regional MVP.
Rightfielder Jim Paciorek went 4 for 5 in the final game, with a homer
and 5 RBI. First baseman Tim Miller hit .429 during the regional with 4 RBI
and 9 total bases. Ontiveros came on in relief for a win and a save in the first
two games. Clinton pitched seven shutout innings in the second game. Elam
went the distance in the third for the victory. And on and on. Michigan outhit,
outpitched, outfielded, and simply overmatched its opposition. It was a
performance that would have seemed inconceivable two short months ago.
Incredibly, it's a performance that may be repeated next week. It is
becoming more and more apparent that this Michigan club will not be
intimidated or overmatched by anyone. The trip to the double elimination
World Series in Omaha is more than just the joy ride many would expect it
to be for a surprising young team.
They are flying to Omaha with four strong pitchers (Clinton, Dawson,
Ontiveros, and Elam), with the bats of Foussianes, Hlool, Wagner, and
Paciorek, and with solid glove-work up the middle by Greg Schulte in center
field, Tony Evans and Jacobson at short and second, and Hool behind the
And they are flying to Omaha with the best college baseball coach in the
country for the 1980 season. A coach who has refused to make predictions all
season. A coach who still refuses to make predictions.
"I don't know how we'll be at Omaha. We're seeing nothing but winners
there, jpst like ourselves .
That must leave a pretty sweet taste fi your, moutIbuldd;

In an official statement to be released
today at noon, the University will an-.
nouncethe withdrawal of its hockey"
team from the Western Collegiate
Hockey Association (WCHA).
The resignation will go into effect
prior to the 1981-82 season, at which
time the Michigan icers will join the.
Central Collegiate Hockey Association
(CCHA). Notre Dame will join the
Wolverines with a simultaneous notice
of transfer to the CCHA today, in-
creasing the seven-team league to nine
Canham indicated that the decision
reflected a combination of financial
considerations, and a desire to exploit
the natural rivalries that membership
in the CCHA will provide. The CCHA in-
cludes four teams in Michigan
(Western Michigan, Ferris State, Lake
Superior State, and Northern
Michigan), and three in Ohio (Bowling
Green, Ohio State, and Miami).
"The decision was fifty-fifty between
it (the CCHA) being a sensible league,
and a money decision," said Canham.
"We'll have a greater opportunity to
play against our natural rivals and at
the same time conserve costs so we can
balance our hockey budget and thus
stay in 'business'.
"It costs us $10,000 to play at Den-
ver," Canham added, and that's non-
sense. It just doesn't make sense
anymore. At home, Ohio State will out-
draw Denver. We don't draw flies when
Denver comes here."
IN A LETTER of formal resignation
to the WCHA, Canham said he was
"sorry the league did not look at expai-
sian when the opportunity presented it-
self several years ago." At that time,
Canham advocated a WCHA-CCHA
merger that would have created two
geographically alligned divisions.
A statement by CCHA commissioner

Fred Jacoby echoed Canham's
reasoning and expressed pleasure at
the two-team defection. "The addition
of institutions with the stature of
Michigan and Notre Dame, will add a
further degree of credibility to the
league and will make it one of the finest
hockey-playing conferences in the
nation. The geographic closeness of the
schools not only will heighten interest in
the games, but will keep travel costs as
a reasonable expense."
Prior to confirmation of the decision,
Notre Dame Athletic Director Moose
Krause had said, "Botht Notre Dame
and Michigan have been investigating
the possibility of competing in a more
geographically compact league than
the WCHA and our entrance into the
CCHA should accomplish that goal,"
Notre Dame's hockey program has
been in dire financial straits for the
past several years.
Michigan Tech and Michigan State,
currently members of the WCHA, may
follow suit and jump leagues. If this oc-
curs, the WCHA would be reduced to six
member schools-Wisconsin, Min-
nesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Colorado
College, Denver, and North Dakota.
New basketball coach Bill Frieder
hired his first assistant coach yester-
Don Sicko, a former Detroit high
school coach, met the approval of the
Board in Control of Athletics.
Sicko, 33, coached in the Detroit
-Catholic League for 12 seasons before

MAY 29 HAPPY HOUR 3-8 p.m.-"Two-fers" "SEMBLANCE'
MAY 3A-31 HAPPY HOURS Fri. & Sat. 3-8 p.m.- "Two-fers"
SUN-MON. "ALL the pasta you can eat for only $2.50"
HAPPY HOUR Mon. 3-8 p.m.-"Two-fers" .

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