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Thursday, May 7, 1998

Rattlesnake boxers compete in Lubbock

PECOS, May 7 -- Four members of the Pecos Rattlesnakes
boxing team competed in the Seventh Annual Lubbock
Invitational Tournament this past weekend, with one coming
away with a victory in his Junior Olympic Division match.

Fighting at 85 pounds, Christopher Hernandez defeated
Edward Mejia of Amarillo in his bout, Rattlesnakes coach
Jaime Marquez said.

"Edward was a little stronger than Christopher, but Chris
had speed and he won all three rounds for the decision,"
Marquez said.

For the other Pecos fighters, Christopher Gil lost his bout
at 125 pounds to Bernardo Pena (129) of Abilene; Chris Lara
(151) was beaten by Paul Diaz (156) of Lubbock, and Joe
Angel Hernandez (132) lost to Patrick Kelly of Garden City.

"Christopher (Gil) got out-powered and that caused him to
retire early," said Marquez. "Diaz had the reach enough to
defeat Chris (Lara)."

He added that Kelly "was taller and real fast and more
experienced than Joe Angel, and he retired early.

"But all of them had good, tough fights, which is what I
prefer them to have," Marquez said, adding the team's next
fights would be next month in Odessa.

Wood does `20K' run through Astros

AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO, May 7 -- Kerry Wood's fastball was buzzing through
the strike zone at speeds up to 100 mph. His curve was
dipping at the last second. His slider? That was even more

Swinging or looking, the Houston Astros were simply
overmatched by a 20-year-old right-hander in just his fifth
major league start.

``It's the best game I've ever seen pitched. I'm just proud
to have been there to watch it,'' Chicago Cubs manager Jim
Riggleman said.

Wood struck out the side in the first, and he never stopped.
He finished with 20 strikeouts, a first for a National
League pitcher and tying Roger Clemens' major league record.

Wood also allowed just one hit.

``I couldn't imagine ever doing this, to tell you the
truth,'' Wood said after one of the most dominant
performances in major league history as the Cubs beat the
Astros 2-0 Wednesday.

``It's special to strike out that many, regardless of who
has done it,'' he said. ``It hasn't settled in, and I'm
still in awe a little bit.''

Wood (3-2), who will turn 21 on June 16, tied the record set
by Clemens against Seattle on April 29, 1986, and matched by
Clemens against Detroit on Sept. 18, 1996.

``I think it's awesome,'' Clemens said from Anaheim, Calif.

``He's got a really good idea about how to pitch, or he
wouldn't be at this level right now, as young as he is.''

Clemens, who was 23 the first time he fanned 20, and Nolan
Ryan, whose No. 34 Wood wears on his back, are fellow Texans
and the pitchers who have inspired Wood most.

``You don't teach that kind of arm, it's just there,'' Cubs
pitching coach Phil Regan said. ``He has a nice easy
delivery. His fastball just jumps and they can't react to

In his first complete game in the majors, Wood fanned the
Astros 3-4-5 hitters -- Jeff Bagwell, Jack Howell and Moises
Alou -- in all three of their at-bats. He walked none, but
hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.

``It's not fair to compare him to Nolan,'' Biggio said.
``The kid's got good stuff, but leave comparisons alone.
Today was his day. He had everything working. Plus it was
the first time we faced him.''

Astros manager Larry Dierker, a former major league pitcher,
did make a comparison.

``He reminded me of the first time I saw Ryan,'' Dierker
said. ``By the time the ball left his hand, it was in the
mitt. Only that time, Ryan was wild. This kid wasn't wild.''

If not for a third-inning single off third baseman Kevin
Orie's glove by Ricky Gutierrez, Wood would have had a

``He'll probably pitch a few no-hitters. His stuff is the
real item,'' Dierker said. ``What he throws is clearly
distinguished from what the rest of the league throws.''

With the fans chanting ``Kerry, Kerry'' in the last inning,
Wood fanned pinch-hitter Billy Spiers on a 1-2 pitch leading
off for his seventh straight strikeout. Biggio then grounded
to shortstop on a 1-0 pitch. Wood got No. 20 by fanning
Derek Bell on a 1-2 pitch and was mobbed by his teammates.

``I had no idea how many I had going into the last three
innings. After the first inning, I knew I had three and I
lost track after that,'' Wood said, citing his slider as his
main strikeout pitch.

``I wasn't really worried about the strikeouts, I knew it
was getting up there. It was just one of those days where
every thing you throw is crossing the plate. It just felt
like I was playing catch.''

Wood said he didn't have good stuff warming up. And he was
working with catcher Sandy Martinez for the first time,
making his performance even more remarkable.

``We were on the same page. Every sign he put down I already
had the grip in my glove,'' Wood said. ``It felt like we
could have gone out there with no signals.''

Wood struck out the side in the first, fifth, seventh and
eighth innings, and fanned two each in the second, fourth
and ninth, and one each in the third and the sixth.

``I'm going to give most of the credit to the fans,'' Wood
said. ``They were in it the whole game. My adrenaline was
racing. Definitely I think that is what got me through late
in the game. I was worn out, I was tired.''

Wood broke the NL record of 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning
game, held by Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver and David Cone.

Wood, who struck out every batter at least once, broke the
previous rookie record of 18, set by Bill Gullickson against
the Cubs on Sept. 10, 1980.

The major league record for an extra-inning game in 21 by
Tom Cheney for Washington against Baltimore in a 16-inning
game on Sept. 12, 1962.

Shane Reynolds (2-3) pitched an eight-hitter and struck out
10, Houston's season high.

Chicago went ahead in the second when Mark Grace doubled and
scored on Henry Rodriguez's sacrifice fly. Jose Hernandez
added an RBI groundout in the eighth.

Armstrong puts shots in Bulls' eyes

CHICAGO, May 7 (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls stood around,
waiting for Michael Jordan to save them once again.

It didn't happen. And the Bulls have Jordan's former
backcourt mate to thank.

B.J. Armstrong scored eight of his 10 points in the final
period, including the game-sealing jumper with 17 seconds
left, as Charlotte rallied to beat Chicago 78-76 Wednesday

As Armstrong's 17-footer went in -- right in front of
Chicago's reserves -- he turned toward his old teammates,
pumped his fist and started woofing at them. The Bulls could
only stare back in silence.

And Armstrong, who played on Chicago's first three
championship teams of the decade but was left unprotected in
the 1995 expansion draft, wasn't about to let the moment go.
He was still yapping at Scottie Pippen after a timeout.

``Some people may be shocked with his attitude and some of
his gestures, but give him respect,'' Jordan said. ``He
motivated his team and won a game, a big game for them.''

A big game? Try a huge game. Charlotte's victory evened the
Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece, with Game
3 on Friday in Charlotte. The Bulls have now lost Game 2 of
the conference semifinals for a second straight year.

After a dismal showing Sunday in which they shot just 36
percent, the Hornets looked to be headed for another bad
night after the first three quarters. Glen Rice, a big
scorer who has a history of trouble at the United Center,
was 4-of-12. Anthony Mason was 5-of-12. Charlotte was
hovering around the 35 percent mark.

Trailing by eight midway through the fourth quarter, coach
Dave Cowens turned to his reserves for help. Armstrong and
Dell Curry didn't disappoint him. Curry sparked a 9-0 run
with a 3-pointer with 6:46 left, and his follow-up jumper
gave Charlotte a 64-63 lead.

Curry scored 13 of his 15 in the final period.
Lakers 92, SuperSonics 68

In Seattle, Shaquille O'Neal got even with Sonics coach
George Karl, who criticized the Lakers center's high elbows
and hip-hop moves in the paint. O'Neal scored 20 of his 26
points in the first half and had 10 rebounds and four
blocked shots before leaving with 4:20 to play and the
Lakers ahead by 21.

Eddie Jones added a career playoff-high 23 points, and Nick
Van Exel had 16 for the Lakers, who played without
19-year-old All-Star Kobe Bryant, who missed the game
because of the flu.

Vin Baker had 13 points and Gary Payton and Sam Perkins 12
apiece for Seattle, which was held to a franchise-low
postseason scoring output.

The 68 points were the fewest given up by the Lakers in a
playoff game.

Games 3 will be held at Inglewood, Calif., on Friday.

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