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Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 5, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba Bl FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2002 MI Sports OOT A SPORTS Call in results toll-free within Manitoba to 1-877-786-5786 or locally to 571-7443 before ll p.m. You can fax us at 727-0385. E-mail: sportsCflbrandonsun.comKlapp gives Cloverleafs a big hand When you play for the best team in a league and have been the best player on that team, you are bound to attract some attention. Such is the case for Tom Klapp, who arrived in Brandon with little fanfare in May, but is making a strong case to win several Manitoba Senior Baseball League awards. Klapp, a fine second-year baseball player at Valley City State University in North Dakota, took the advice of teammate Bryan Swaenepoel of Souris this spnng and decided to join the Brandon Cloverleafs of the MSBL. “It’s hard to say no to Swanny,” Klapp laughed. “He’s kinda big.” The 20-year-old, Elkford, B.C., product was expected to offer versatility to an already-strong team, but no one could of expected the kind of impact he would have immediately. With six games remaining in the season, Klapp has compiled a tremendous 8-1 pitching record and has contributed offensively while playing third base and centre field when he is not on the mound. Klapp is one of the primary reasons why the Cloverleafs are 14-4 and have already clinched a playoff spot this season. He is a definite MVP candidate and is a shoo-in for the top pitcher award. He has been the top rookie as well, although that league award is reserved for Manitoba-bred players. “In my opinion, he is the MVP,” said Cloverleafs assistant coach Ryan Potter, who also happens to be Klapp’s primary catcher. “I would certainly say he is one of the top guys in the league right now. He’s just been a great pick-up for the Cloverleafs.” Klapp put together a great year at Valley City State, going 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 40 innings. He allowed just 30 hits and only five walks and struck out 40. Meanwhile, he was also the starting third baseman and he hit .337 with a home run and IO RBIs in a short season. Swaenepoel, who catches for Klapp at Valley City, talked his battery partner into coming to Brandon and it has been a pure success story. Klapp’s numbers have been similar to the ones he amassed in college. He has a 2.70 run average, has struck out 56 batters and has allowed 57 hits and only 11 walks in 64-plus innings. He’s also batting .271 while playing every day and has scored 13 runs and driven in seven. Klapp leads the Cloverleafs in at-bats with 81. He was named a first-team all-star last weekend and was the MSBL’s player of the week for June 24-30. “I didn’t expect to come in and do the things I’ve done, but it happens when you play on a good team and have guys who support you,” said Klapp, who lives in Portage with his aunt and uncle and works at a car dealership. “I think, if anything, the hitting is better here than it is in college, but I feel really good out there. I don’t know about 8-1, but I have been feeling like I should win every time out.” So what is it that has helped Klapp become the first eight-game winner in the MSBL since Shane Moffatt in 1997? “I'd have to say he is really hitting his spots,” Potter said. “He changes speeds and he’s got great movement on his fastball and his curve. He’s got three pitches he can use at any time. When a guy gets run support, it helps out, but he has won a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games as well.” “He’s been the best pick-up we’ve ever had in recent years,” said Cloverleafs player/manager Jamie Waddell-Hodgson. “He’s an easygoing guy, he contributes all over the field. You couldn’t ask for a better player.” SEE ‘BALDUR’ — PAGE B2 TODA Y'S FEA TURED EVENTS;_ In The City — SENIOR BASEBALL — Ora Dental Marlins host the Oak River Dodgers in MSBL action at Westbran Stadium. 7p.m. In WESTMAN —    _ SENIOR BASEBALL — Ora Dental Marlins travel to Killarney for an MSBL date with the Lakers. 7 p.m. On Television —    _ FRO GOLE — Second round of the Women’s U.S. Open 11 a.m. (TSN); opening round of the Canadian Senior Open 12 noon (Sportsnet); second round of the PCA Tour’s Western Open. 3 p.m. (TSN) fro tennis — Men’s semifinals from Wimbledon. 12 noon (NBC) major league baseball — Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees 6 p.m. (Sportsnet) CEL FOOTBALL — Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Winnipeg Blue Bombers. 7:30 p.m. (TSN) TBS WYMAN Covering the Bases Last line of defence COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN Steve Zutz of the Northwest Wildcats tries unsuccessfully to jam the puck past Manitoba Wheat Kings goaltender Cam Birrell during midget action yesterday at the Keystone Centre. The Wheat Kings beat the Minnesota-based Wildcats 4-1 as round-robin action at the Sports Excellence AAA Hockey Challenge continued yesterday at ail four city arenas. For yesterday’s results, please turn to Page B3.In BriefCanadian fla<» bearer conics full circle TORONTO — This summer’s Commonwealth Games represent more than just a chance to compete for wrestler Daniel Igali. For him, it’s the end of a long journey that started in 1994 in Victoria. The Nigenan-born freestyle wrestler first came to Canada for the Victoria Commonwealth Games to compete for his homeland. He never returned to Nigena and now makes his home in Surrey, B.C. “It’s the Games that brought me where I am and feel that I should pay homage to it,” Igaii said yesterday after he was named flag-bearer for the Canadian team at the July 25-Aug. 4 Games in Manchester, England. Igali made Canadians proud during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney when he laid a Maple Leaf flag on the mat and kissed it after winning the gold medal. He was the first Canadian to win Olympic gold in wrestling. Igali was a logical choice, given his special connection with the Games. Canadian PressThome’s streak ends at Yankee Stadium NEW YORK — Jim Thome to the nl^te with the ba«;ps JW,rrw -    - I loaded in the seventh inning, his seven-game homer streak on the line and the game within reach. Yet the Cleveland slugger couldn’t come through in the big moment, ending his run one game shy of the major league baseball record and as the Indians’ losing streak stretched to five games. “You like for them to last, but they don’t go on forever,” Thome said after going 0-for-3 with a walk in Cleveland’s 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees. Thome failed to tie the major league record, falling short of the mark reached by Ken Griffey Jr. when he was with Seattle (1993), Don Mattingly of the Yankees (1987) and Dale Long of Pittsburgh (1956). “With the bases loaded, you don’t want to go at him tentatively,” reliever Mike Stanton said of the seventh inning at-bat. “The key to that was to get ahead of him.” Associated PressMurray’s bat red-hot DELORAINE — Marlin Murray knocked in seven runs with a homer, two doubles and a single as the Melita Beavers upended the Deloraine Royals 11-8 last night in Southwest Baseball League action. Murray’s outburst helped Chad Yeomans pick up the pitching victory over Trent Cassan. Cassan led the Deloraine offence with a grand slam. Brandon SunNo Webb of intrigue at this year’s Open By Doug Ferguson Associated Press HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Karrie Webb was so lost in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open that she felt like she had never seen Prairie Dunes. Juli Inkster played like she owned the golf course. Twenty-two years after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Prairie Dunes, Inkster birdied four of the first six holes and finished with a 3-under-par 67, giving her a share of the lead with Laura Diaz and Shani Waugh. Lone Kane of Charlottetown finished the day tied for fifth, after shooting a 69. “It’s always important to have a good first round just to get yourself in the ball game,” Inkster said. Webb is already headed for the showers after a swift and shocking collapse. Trying to become the first woman to win the Open three straight years, Webb had her worst round since joining the LPGA Tour in 1996, a 9-over 79 that left her hopeful only of making it to the weekend. “I’m pretty shocked,” Webb said. “It was totally out of the blue.” The result is not without precedent. Five years ago, Annika Sorenstam was going for her third straight Women’s Open title when she opened with a ll and missed the cut. History is still on the line at this Open, only now it shifts to the 42-year-old Inkster, who has a chance to become the oldest champion. Fay Crocker was 40 years, 11 months when she won in 1955. Inkster relied heavily on her short game and wasted little time laying down the challenge to Sorenstam, who played in the same group. “I feel like I’m off and running,” Inkster said. Sorenstam felt like she was running in place. Three straight bogeys on the back nine dropped her back to even-par 70 — not a bad day, but the Swede was expecting more because of the benign conditions in the morning. By late afternoon, the sun began to bake the greens and a blustery wind made scoring even more difficult. None of the 75 players who teed off in the afternoon managed to break par, leaving only six players in the 60s. Kim Saiki had a bogey-free 68, while Kane and Catriona Matthew of “Tm pretty shocked. It (79) was totally out of the blue.” TWO-TIME DEFENDING CHAMPION KARRIE WEBB ASSOCIATED PRESS Karrie Webb tries to extract her ball from the deep rough yesterday. Scotland were at 69. Sorenstam was among eight players at even-par 70, while 16-year-old Aree Wongluekiet and 45-year-old Beth Daniel were in a large group at 71. Dawn Coe-Jones of Lake Cowichan, B.C., shot a 2-over 72 and is tied for 28th. Angela Buzminski of Oshawa, Ont., finished with an 8-over 78, and A.J. Eathorne of Penticton, B.C., was at 12-over 82. Prairie Dunes played five strokes over par. Fifteen players failed to break 80, including Nancy Lopez, who had an 81 to start her final Open. Se Ri Pak, who won the LPGA Championship on a difficult course last month, bogeyed three of her first seven holes and closed with two straight bogeys in a round of 74. She was paired with Webb. Both headed to the range. Webb had an 8-over 79 in the LPGA Championship five years ago. Her previous worst score in a U.S. Open was a 7-over 78 at Blackwolf Run in 1998. The crushing hole for the 27-year-old Aussie was the par-3 4th, where she hit into a bunker, blasted over the green and into waist-high weeds, had to drop back into the bunker after declaring it unplayable, and walked off with triple bogey. Inkster didn’t drive the ball particularly well, but a perfect pace on her putts allowed her to seize control early and stay there on a hot and humid day. “Hopefully, we didn’t see the tamest day,” Inkster said That might be asking for too much. She tees off in the afternoon today, and could find an entirely different course. ;