Helkowski Leaving Marks At Drexel

Posted: May 07, 1998

Despite an impressive high school baseball career on Long Island, N.Y., Dennis Helkowski wasn't sure how successful he would be at Drexel.

Helkowski quickly made a good impression on coach Don Maines, batting .355 as a freshman.

While the youthful Dragons (9-13 in the America East, 17-30 overall) haven't had a successful season, Helkowski, now a senior, is leaving his name in the university's record books.

Among the career .360 hitter's marks are runs scored (213) and doubles (55).

This season, Helkowski is hitting a team-high .402 (sixth in America East). He leads the conference in doubles (19) and stolen bases (18 in 19 attempts).

The Dragons host Delaware (22-2, 40-8 overall) in doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday (noon starts).

Delaware, led by Kevin Mench's school-record 31 home runs, has clinched its fifth consecutive regular-season conference title.

Helkowski, a co-captain, has been productive despite switching from second base to shortstop.

``It's pretty tough to play short every day,'' the 5-8, 170-pound Helkowski said. ``It's something I did for the team. Our shortstop, Ryan Lucas, moved from shortstop to third base.

``The season has been pretty disappointing, especially since it's my last year here. Our other co-captain, Lou Marchetti, and I took the burden on our shoulders to carry the team.''

Marchetti, a junior catcher from St. John Neumann High, is batting .308. He was a first-team America East selection last season.

An elementary education major, Helkowski did his student teaching this semester at Charles Drew Elementary School, at 39th Street and Powelton Avenue.

One of the enjoyable aspects this season for Helkowski has been working with Tom O'Connell. The retired Princeton coach has been a volunteer with Drexel. Maines was an assistant on O'Connell's staff at Princeton for two seasons.

Helkowski said O'Connell's ``a tremendous asset to our team. He knows every in and out of baseball. One game he wasn't there, I felt something was missing because during the games I talk to him about what's going on.''

RARE RECOGNITION Team equipment managers usually work in the background. The only recognition they receive is from appreciative players or coaches.

Allen Lumpkin, the Sixers' equipment manager, stepped into the spotlight last Saturday when he was honored at the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority ``Salute to African-American Men'' awards dinner at the Four Points Hotel in Cherry Hill.

Lumpkin was chosen for his ``outstanding achievement, leadership, dedication and commitment to sports and community service.''

Said Lumpkin: ``I was overwhelmed. A friend of the family nominated me. When I won, I was really stunned. I did not know the magnitude of the award and the dinner.''

Lumpkin, who began working for the Sixers in 1977 as a ball boy, obviously enjoys his duties. His responsibilities include dealing with the shoe companies and arranging ground transportation for the team on the road.

Lumpkin keeps in touch with many of the players who have passed through Philadelphia, including Charles Barkley, Rick Mahorn and Jeff Hornacek.

Lumpkin and his wife, Lea, have three children: Allen, 8; Taylor, 5; and Ryan, 2.

HAWKS HONOR MCKINNEY Jack McKinney, the former St. Joseph's, Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers coach, will receive one of the university's Alumni Association's highest awards on Sunday.

McKinney (class of '57) will be presented with the Hogan Award for ``exemplification of Christian principles and outstanding loyal service'' to St. Joseph's.

McKinney played for Jack Ramsay on Hawk Hill and then succeeded Ramsay when he moved on to the NBA. McKinney was Coach of the Year with the Pacers in 1981. He is now a manufacturer's representative for Ampro, a sportswear company.

FLEETING FAME When Terry Permar first heard the winning masters time at last Sunday's Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run, he thought his record was safe. Permar was clocked in 51 minutes 29 seconds three years ago.

Brendan Hilliard's winning time in the 19th annual 10-mile run incorrectly was announced as 51:47. However, on the overall results, the time was 51:28, an impressive sixth overall.

``After we left the stage, I said to my wife, `They called the wrong time,' '' Permar said on Monday. ``[Still] I left thinking I had the record. I was very happy all day.''

When Hilliard's recordbreaking time was confirmed, Permar shrugged and said, ``He had to have run a tremendous race to run that kind of time. I thought if the record made it through this year, it would last a while.''

Permar finished fifth among the masters (30th overall) in 54:21. Spaniard Cesar Perez, the masters winner in last year's Philadelphia Distance Run, was second in 52:18.

``That was definitely the best masters field ever assembled for the Broad Street Run,'' Permar said.

Permar and his wife, Kim, have two children: Sean, 17, and Lindsey, 13. Sean is on the tennis team at Pennridge High, where Terry coaches the cross country team. Lindsey is a seventh-grader who plays softball.

QUICK HITTERS The eighth annual Sports Trivia Night and Auction will be held May 14 at the Adam Kowalski Post, 133 Shurs Lane, in Manayunk at 7:30 p.m. La Salle basketball coach Speedy Morris and former Explorers star Lionel Simmons are scheduled to participate. Admission is free. Call (215) 482-5133 for details.

Legendary DeMatha High basketball coach Morgan Wootten, Delaware coach Mike Brey, Penn State's Jerry Dunn and Philadelphia Pharmacy's Bobby Morgan are instructors for the two-day Wilmington College basketball clinic beginning tomorrow night. For information, contact Wilmington coach John McCarthy (302 328-9441, extension 147).

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