Manny Mota, all-time leading pinch hitter who at 41 finally has retired to the L.A. Dodger coaching staff, had his moment in the Oval Office yesterday and maybe with more clout than Yaz or Brock. President Carter congratulated Mota for being, among other things, "a fine representative of your people," the Dominican Republic -- to which Mota responded by telling the president "about what happened in the Dominican with Hurricane David (and) the biggest favor he can do to my country right now, the special way he can help, is the United States buy more sugar from my country" . . .

While Maryland's Dale Castro had no opportunities againist Kentucky or Penn State, Air Force's Jim Sturch -- with three successes againist Navy -- beat him to the punch of tying the NCAA record of 11 consecutive field goals made; Castro is on hold at 10 to 10 . . . Steve Mitchell, who followed fellow Dunbar (D.C.) High quarterback Corny Greene to the Big 10, was shifted this year by Indiana Coach Lee Corso from backup QB to starting free safety. Can he cut it? Only to the tune of UPI Midwest defensive player of the week. The 6-foot, 178-pounder had 15 tackles, eight solo; made a diving end-zone interception, broke up another pass, saved two TDs, in a 3-0 win over Wisconsin. That sets up this week's Hoosier date with Greene's alma mater Ohio State as a Big 10 first-place showdown . . . Buckeye Coach Earle Bruch has one-upped predecessor Woody Hayes by closing practices, already, this early in the season . . .

And after Texas-Okalhoma this week, ABC-TV's national college football telecast Oct. 20 will be Southern Cal at Notre Dame, 12:30 half of a twin bill, other half to be determined . . .