Sports Briefs

Posted: Monday, June 12, 2000

Area ballclubs faceoff with Anchorage teams

Both the American Legion Post 20 Twins baseball team and the Soldotna Big League softball team tangled with squads from Anchorage Sunday.

Soldotna swept East by scores of 12-3 and 24-23. Meanwhile, Post 20 split a pair of games with Dimond, winning 9-2 and losing 7-6.

A full report is not available in today's Clarion due to time constraints. A full report will be available in Tuesday's Clarion.

U.S. soccer tops Mexico

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Now comes the hard part for the U.S. soccer team: qualifying for the World Cup.

''I think this team is ready,'' Cobi Jones said Sunday after the United States beat an understrength Mexican team 3-0 to win soccer's U.S. Cup for the first time since 1995.

''I think we're going to continue to grow. I think we're ready to go into the first stages and I think we're going to get better and better through the qualifiers.''

Brian McBride scored in the 33rd minute, and Frankie Hejduk and Ante Razov added goals in the final 12 minutes as the Americans (4-2-3) continued their recovery from a last-place finish in the World Cup two years ago. It was the final tuneup for the United States before it starts qualifying for the 2002 World Cup with a July 16 game at Guatemala or Antigua.

Rocker earns save in Richmond's 4-1 win

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- John Rocker recorded his first save since being sent to the minors, striking out three -- including Randall Simon -- in the ninth inning Sunday as the Richmond Braves beat Columbus 4-1.

Rocker was greeted by a mixture of boos and cheers when he came in to pitch, and again when the game ended.

Simon was the first batter Rocker faced, and the reliever struck him out on three pitches. Simon swung at a high fastball for strike three.

A day earlier, Simon -- referred to as a ''fat monkey'' by Rocker in the offseason -- got a chance to visit with his former Atlanta teammate.

Rocker faced four batters, giving up a single to Tom Wilson. Of his 20 pitches, 14 were strikes. In his first minor league outing, Rocker struck out the side in a 10-5 win against Toledo on Friday night.

Yankees sign Gooden to minor league deal

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees are giving Dwight Gooden yet another chance.

The 35-year-old right-hander, 10 victories shy of 200 in the major leagues, has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.

''We still feel like he has something left in his arm,'' Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said Sunday. Stottlemyre coached Gooden with the Mets and the Yankees.

Gooden, released by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays two weeks ago, told The Sunday Record of Hackensack that he was ''totally blown away'' at the opportunity to pitch for the Yankees again.

''George Steinbrenner is giving me a chance, and I'm going to make the most of it,'' he told the paper.

Steinbrenner gave Gooden a chance before. The right-hander joined the Yankees in 1996 after missing the 1995 season because of a drug suspension.

''They love him here,'' Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. ''there are certain guys that New Yorkers always love. Doc is one of those guys. It seems like wherever he is he is always popular here.''

Gooden threw the ninth no-hitter in club history May 14, 1996, against the Mariners. He went 20-12 with a 4.58 ERA in two seasons with the Yankees, but left following injuries and personal differences with manager Joe Torre.

Gooden was 2-3 with a 6.86 ERA for Houston and Tampa Bay this season. He is 190-110 with a 3.51 ERA for his career.

But the Yankees, who might have to put Ramiro Mendoza on the disabled list, have little risk in signing Gooden because the Devil Rays will pay the bulk of his $500,000 salary.

Gooden will spend at least a week working at the club's minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., and will go to Triple-A Columbus when his arm strength is back.

''We want to get him into shape and maybe he can provide us a little insurance,'' Stottlemyre said. ''You never know when you are going to need some more pitching.''

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