Former major league outfielder

Mel Hall

was sentenced to 45 years in prison yesterday in Fort Worth, Texas, after being convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl and sexually abusing or inappropriately touching three girls.

Hall, 48, looked skyward and swayed back and forth as the verdict was read. One of his two daughters who testified on his behalf during the punishment phase sobbed as the reality of the sentence set in.

Jurors reached the verdict on the punishment after about an hour of deliberating. They took about 90 minutes Tuesday to convict Hall on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. He must serve about 22 1/2 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

After the verdict was announced, prosecutor Kim D'Avignon read a brief statement on behalf of the 12-year-old victim and other of Hall's accusers.

"We believe that the verdict does on some level show that the jury understood," D'Avignon said. "They looked in these girls' eyes and said this is worth 40 years and we agree with them."

The defense had argued in the sentencing phase of the trial that Hall was a good man who mentored a lot of athletes and had a lot of good still to do.


* The University of Alabama plans to appeal a ruling by the NCAA Committee on Infractions that forced the football program to vacate 21 wins.

* UCLA sophomore forward Drew Gordon has partially torn the patellar tendon in his right knee during tryouts for the U.S. team that will play in the Under-19 world basketball championships. There were no immediate details about his prognosis, the school said.

* University of Pittsburgh linebacker Adam Gunn's team suspension is over because police have dropped charges against him. Gunn had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing for running away from Pittsburgh police officers outside a nightclub. Defense lawyer Tim Dawson says his client issued a formal apology.

* Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said he has reinstated his son and two other redshirt freshmen who were suspended in April following an alcohol-related incident.

Philly File

* Johns Hopkins righthander Chez Angeloni, a product of La Salle High, has signed a free-agent contract with the Red Sox. He went 5-3 this season with better than a 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (48-14)

* West Philadelphia lineman Nikoli Norman has committed to Wesley College (Dover, Del.) for football.

* Murrell Dobbins Tech catcher Terrell "Mouse" Barringer, also a quarterback, has committed to Bloomfield College, in New Jersey, for baseball.

* Tom Dougherty will be switching leagues and schools next basketball season, moving on from coaching Chichester, in the Del Val League, to taking over at Strath Haven, which plays in the Central League. Dougherty will be replacing Steve Lewis, who guided Strath Haven to the District 1 Class AAA finals and a 15-12 record last season, and will now be an assistant coach at defending state Class AAAA champion Penn Wood.

Sport Stops

* Delaware Park has received safety accreditation from a newly formed consortium, making it the fourth racetrack to be approved this year. Delaware Park joins Churchill Downs and Keeneland in Kentucky and Belmont Park in New York as accredited tracks.

* Defending champion Rafael Nadal and top-ranked women's tennis player Dinara Safina were seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon, which opens Monday. *