North Carolina Newspapers

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Tar Heels fall to Fresno St.
Loss was first of
the postseason
BY POWELL LATIMER
SPORTS EDITOR
OMAHA, NEB. No one can
adequately explain exactly how
Fresno State continues to win ball
games. Its best tw-o pitchers are
injured, and on paper its lineup is
nothing more than average.
But somehow, the ultimate
underdogs willed their way to anoth
er unexpected victory this time at
the expense of North Carolina in the
College World Series.
Fresno State opened the game
in similar fashion to that against
LSU, with two massive homers
sandwiching a three-run UNC
inning. First, Ryan Overland put
a shot over the
left wall in the
second inning.
Following
UNC’s three-
BASEBALL
Fresno St. 5
UNC 3
run inning off an RBI triple from
Tim Fedroff, an RBI double from
Kyle Seager and an RBI single
from Chad Flack, Steven Susdorf
blasted another solo shot over the
right wall.
And through it all, the gritty Adam
Warren was battling his way through
four innings of work. Warren gave up
nine hits but only allowed four runs,
and when he left the mound, UNC
was only one run behind.
But Fresno State out-gritted
Warren's performance with a gutsy
bullpen that employed five separate
pitchers in the win.
‘For a depleted pitching staff, they
pitched pretty well tonight,” UNC
coach Mike Fox said. “Everybody
that came out of the bullpen, they
matched up when they needed
to in the middle of the game, and
their relievers got it done. We just
couldn’t get a big hit.”
For most of the night, UNCs
offense was an exercise in futility.
The Tar Heels racked up 11 total
hits but couldn't score after their
three-run fourth inning and left 10
runners on base.
In the fifth inning. UNC left the
bases loaded after Fresno State pulled
some strategic pitching substitutioas.
bringing in Kris Tomliason to inten
tionally walk Tim Federovvicz to load
the bases and face down Seager. then
trading him for Holden Sprauge one
batter later to face Chad Flack. The
result saw Seager strike out swinging
and Flack fly out to right field.
In the bottom of the sixth, UNC
was on the verge of collapse.
Following a Ryan Graepel error
Beijing deserves attention, too
Picture being brandished
with a gold medal while
dressed in your country’s
colors standing atop a podium
embossed with the number
one in the midst of thousands
of fans with five interlocking
multi-color rings and a burning
torch in the background. It is
the pinnacle of athletic achieve
ment to be an Olympic gold
medalist.
But does anyone in the United
States even care if an American
or an athlete from another coun
try is winning?
As I see it, the blunt answer
would have to be no.
The Olympics are a big deal, no
matter if we choose to recognize
it or not. The event is designed
to bring together nations in the
name of competition and unity .
Either we have forgotten this, or
we neglect to appreciate it.
The summer games are barely
six weeks away, but I hear no talk
of “Beijing ’oß*
Instead there are conversa
tions about an NFL season
looming in late September or
a college basketball season tip
ping-off around Veteran's Day.
We speculate almost a half year
away, while the indubitably larg
est worldwide sporting event is
just around the corner. Frankly,
the lack of interest is demeaning
to the athletes.
Have U.S. athletes not deliv
ered in the past?
The reality is, in fact, quite
the opposite. Since the inaugu
ral modem Olympics in Athens
in 1896, the United States has
medaled a total of 2,197 times
including 897 golds. Russia (the
former Soviet Union) stands as
the country with the second most
medals earned of all time, having
earned 1,122 total medals and
only +4O golds.
Call me crazy, but that’s domi
nation.
A plausible reason for disaf
fection would also be if the
United States as a whole was
in a down year athletically, not
expected to have the medal haul
that we, as a nation built on
the instant gratification that is
bred with winning, have come
to expect from our modern day
gladiators.
• Jfc I
AP PHOTO/ERIC FRANCIS
North Carolina's Mark Fleury survives a pickoff attempt at second base by Fresno State shortstop Danny
Muno in UNC's second College World Series game June 17 in Omaha, Neb. UNC fell to the Bulldogs 5-3.
“We swung at a lot of balls ... Even in the
last inning we swung at a couple pitches
... we just didn't walk enough."
MIKE FOX, UNC HEAD BASEBALL COACH
his first of the NCAA Tournament
reliever Rob Wooten loaded the
bases by hitting one batter and
walking another. But the Tar Heels
managed to piece together a strike
out. a fly hall to Dustin Ackley and
a ground out, again to Ackley, to
escape from the jam.
“We had them in a corner more
than once, and we took some at
bats like we were the ones with the
problem." FSU coach Mike Batesole
said. "We didn't finish some innings
today like I’d like us to."
Despite numerous failed opportu
... * *
CODY WILLIAMS
SPECIAL TO THE OTH
But, that is hardly the case
this year.
U.S. athletes are favored to
win gold in eight events includ
ing basketball, softball, women's
beach volleyball and a predicted
sweep of men’s swimming events
all competitions that receive
the most glamorous coverage by
the media and draw the most
interest from the sports-watch
ing public.
This doesn’t take into con
sideration the many silver and
bronze contenders for the U.S.
We are gunning for that number
one spot just like always.
When push comes to shove. I
believe there is a single cause to
this jaded America.
The people don't see the
purity in the sports. With dop
ing rampant in almost every
instance of athletic competition,
I can’t even say I blame the pop
\ hours
- Moo-Sii II JOam II3OF*
Sports
nities to score, Fresno State managed
somehow, some way to cobble
together five runs on 13 hits, despite
leaving 12 runners on base. That all
started with first baseman Danny
Muno, who reached base five times
with three hits and two walks.
“We couldn't get their leadoff
hitter off the base." Fox said. “He's
red-hot, and every ball he hits
finds a hole. He kind of gets them
started, and they do what they
need to.”
For the final innings. North
Carolina found themselves in an
illation. Marion Jones, a former
UNC-Chapel Hill student and
star two-sport athlete, was once
the most prolific female track
competitor, possibly in U.S. his
tory. Now, after the revelation
of multiple doping offenses to
prepare for the 2000 Sydney
Olympics, she has become an
outcast in the women’s track
world.
American Justin Gatlin once
won an Olympic gold medal in
the 100-meter dash. Now he faces
what appears will be a lifetime
ban from world track and field
after testing positive for perfor
mance enhancing drugs not once,
but twice.
And so, as the torch continues
to make its way to Beijing and
the pomp and circumstance of
the opening ceremonies draw
closer, 1 fear that the dreary tale
will carry on.
As we see the number of
“enhanced" Olympic athletes rise,
the trust of Americans, along
with their interest, will continue
declining until the “Friends" re
run receives more American view
ers than the Olympic games.
Contact the Sports Desk
at Sportsfa unc.edu
unfamiliar position this postsea
son: playing from behind. The Tar
Heels struggled and pressed and
swung on pitches out of the zone
until they had no outs left.
“We don’t play well when we re
behind," Fox said. “I don’t know
why.
“Tonight I thought we swung
at a lot of balls ... Even in the last
inning we swung at a couple pitch
es ... we just didn’t walk enough.
The strike zone was small for both
teams and we didn’t take advan
tage of that."
Contact the S/xirts Editor
at sports@unc.edi
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THE Daily Crossword Edited by Wayne Robert Williams
ACROSS
1 Day like today 7
9 Cousins ot canvas
backs
15 Rump
16 Trunks
17 Bar-code readers
18 Reparations
19 Field ot Jets
21 "Peace Train" singer
25 Cobra's cousins
29 Japanese port
30 your heart out!
31 Wide shoe width
32 Ankle injury
34 Sleep letters
36 Beach bird
37 Comes to rest
39 Tenor Pavarotti
41 First name in myster-
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63 Coetzer of tennis
64 Mechanical music
makers
65 Bronco-busting events
66 Activity periods
DOWN
1 '6os radicals
2 NRC predecessor
3 Chorus syllable
4 Decorative vase
5 Raccoon distinction
6 Tractor maker
7 Make it big
8 Sure, honey
9 Headliners
10 Italian resort lake
11 Fight venue
12 Sailor's org
13 Whale group
14 Serpent's sound
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42 Hunter ot tilms
44 Gum flapper
45 Half an
Afncan tty?
46 Fella
48 French city
known tor
textiles
49 Collectors'
groups
51 Sportscaster
of note
53 Bonaparte's
last battle
55 Piercing in
tone
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THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2008
Graepel’s glove
shines at just
the right time
Shortstop sees
new plate success
BY POWELL LATIMER
SPORTS EDITOR
There’s only one starter on this
year's North Carolina team with no
experience in Omaha. Neb. Only
one player green behind the ears
in Rosenblatt Stadium.
It's the rangy No. 24 shortstop in
the middle of the field.
The one making all the plays.
Ryan Graepel, UNCs postseason
shortstop, is fast becoming one of
the biggest success stories of this
year's NCAA Tournament.
Getting his first start in the Cary
Regional. Graepel instantly solidi
fied UNC's infield defense which
has given up an average of only four
runs per game in the postseason.
Part of that statistic is due to
Graepel’s glove, which gets on just
about everything that comes his
way, and another part to his throws
dead-on without fail.
“He’s a great defensive player,
he’s one of our best guys out in
the field, and now he's starting to
pick it up at the bat and he's just
becoming a great player," catcher
Tim Federowicz said.
“He's doing everything he needs
to do, he's not making any errors,
and he’s getting all the routine
plays done."
Graepel has zero errors in the
postseason and only one in the last
four months, and he takes a sort of
pride in making that simple, but
vital, 6-3 play to first base.
He also has developed a chem
istry with second baseman Kyle
Seager. with whom he shares a pen
chant for making the simple plays.
“It’s one of those things where a
lot of the times we don’t even have
to talk to each other, we know what
each of us is gonna do in certain
situations." Graepel said.
“We feel really comfortable with
each other in the middle. I think
that's really helped the team out a
lot. being strong up the middle, in
big situations down the stretch."
20 Pentium manufactur
ers
21 Pampers
22 Badmouth
23 Mini-pie
24 Flat fish
26 Within view
27 Roberts of "Bonanza'
28 Spanish gentlemen
33 Bottom line figure
35 Dnnking cup
36 Shinbone
38 Weasellike mammal
40 John C. and Rory
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Ryan Graepel
has been
inserted into
the starting
lineup to shore
up the middle
infield.
The two now constitute an
iron-clad middle infield, but
while Seager's hitting prowess has
been well-documented all season,
Graepel has just recently been find
ing his groove.
He has three multi-hit games in
the postseason, and, as he contin
ues to start, his swing puts more
and more balls into play.
“I'm starting to feel like I’m get
ting into a little bit of a rhythm at
the plate, getting more at-bats has
definitely helped," Graepel said.
“Coming in for spot defense and
to pinch hit every now and then,
it was tough for me to get into a
rhythm."
But his defense still takes prior
ity, epitomizing the same things
that coach Mike Fox preaches
seemingly every press conference.
“Mainly in the field is where my
job is. any base hits or anything like
that is a bonus I think coach Fox
would tell you that as well." Graepel
said.
“I was put out there to play
defense, and that’s the main thing
I'm posted on right now. Don’t get
me wrong. I don't mind getting hits
at the plate either."
So for the time being, the least
experienced starter on North
Carolina’s team is the one play
ing with the most moxie. Despite
his play in the regional earning
him interviews surrounded by TV
cameras (an experience he called a
“whirlwind"), he remains focused
on those same simple throws to
first base for easy outs.
“It’s still kind of a whirlwind,
but I just try to take it one day at a
time and so far things have worked
out."
Contact the Sports Editor
at sports@ unc.edu.
Letters from abroad
UNC student Caroline Fisher
writes about Singapore's charms.
Set* pg. 8 for story .
Stiff competition
Yields for the Morehead-Cain and
other merit scholarships see private
competition. See pg. 5 for story.
Anew addition
UNC has purchased University
Square See pg. 1 for town and
University reaction.
Heartland hardball
As the Tar Heels continue to
battle in Omaha, the DTH has com
plete coverage Ixxik up for story.
Summer jams
Local star Jenks Miller and rock
heroes The Hold Steady release
new albums See pg. 6 for reviews.
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43 False charges
47 Singer Holiday
50 Pigs
51 Book of maps
52 Soft dhnks
54 Ray of "Battle Cry"
55 Patriotic men's org
56 Med care grp.
57 Cool!
59 _ -disant (so-called)
60 Worldwide workers'
grp
61 Delivery vehicle
62 Snaky character
9
    

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