It was game time, but the umpires were nowhere to be found.
So the members of the Newbury Park High softball team were forced to sit and wait for the start of their game against Thousand Oaks.
“I was talking to someone,” Newbury Park Coach Richard Intlekofer said, “when all of a sudden the kids, who are sitting on a ledge just outside the dugout, start doing the wave. and they were doing it well.”
The wave routine lasted until Newbury Park played Royal two weeks ago in an important Marmonte League match-up.
Intlekofer had finished warming up the outfielders and started hitting grounders to the infielders.
“I looked out and the rest of the team is in center field forming a pyramid,” the coach said. “I’m sure the other teams think we’re a bunch of flakes.
“But it shows that, even though they take it seriously, they allow themselves to have fun.”
And the Panthers have had a great deal of fun this season.
They enter the Southern Section playoffs Thursday as the third-seeded team in 4-A. The Panthers, 11-1 in league and 20-6 overall, open with a home game against Buena.
Intlekofer likes his team’s chances for the championship.
“We’ve seen most of the top teams and played against most,” he said. “It looks real even. We’ve got a shot.”
The Panthers lost to top-ranked Ocean View, 1-0. They also lost to Cypress, San Marcos and Righetti, all top-10 teams.
Newbury Park also has defeated Righetti, San Marcos and Westminster, which finished second in the Sunset League to Ocean View.
The Panthers’ strength is pitching.
Debbie Dickmann, a junior, is 11-4 with an 0.35 earned-run average. She pitched a perfect game against Westminster and a no-hitter against Camarillo last week.
Delores Decker, also a junior, is 9-2 with an 0.87 ERA. She also has a no-hitter to her credit.
Karen Westphal, an All-Southern Section shortstop last year, leads the team in hitting, batting .430 from the third spot. Robin Blair, a junior second baseman and the No. 2 hitter, is batting .320. Lead-off hitter Stacy Frydenberg, a sophomore third baseman, is at .290. The No. 4 hitter, Dawn Hatmaker, is at .280 after hitting .350 in league.
“We are a predominantly young team,” Intlekofer said. “We have only three seniors, so we’re in pretty good shape for the next several years.”
The Panthers upset Hart in the second round of the playoffs last year, 1-0, in 12 innings. Dickmann went the distance on the mound and collected the game-winning hit, defeating Hart’s Samantha Ford. It was the Indians’ only loss of the year.
When Simi Valley beat Newbury Park, 2-0, two weeks ago, it snapped the Panthers’ league winning streak at 32. Still, the Panthers were able to win their third straight league championship and sixth in seven years.
Hart football Coach Rick Scott said Tuesday that quarterback Brent Spurlin has decided to transfer and play at Granada Hills next season. As a junior, Spurlin guided the Indians to an 8-1-1 record and the Foothill League championship.
He missed most of Hart’s playoff loss to Thousand Oaks because of an injury and was replaced by Jim Bonds, who threw 20 touchdowns and led the sophomore team to a 10-0 record.
Spurlin and Bonds were expected to battle for the starting spot in spring practice, which began Monday. Spurlin did not show up Monday and told Scott of his decision Tuesday.
“I was going to try and make the decision by the end of spring, but now the decision has been made for me,” Scott said.
John Barrett had some big shoes to fill when he took over as Notre Dame’s baseball coach this season.
About 32 shoes to be exact.
The Knights went 27-1 last year, reaching the semifinals of the playoffs. They were ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section most of season, as well as earning USA Today’s No. 1 national ranking for a good part of the year.
But 16 players from that team graduated. Adding to Barrett’s dilemma, the junior varsity team went 4-16.
“I thought it was a rebuilding year,” said Barrett, who replaced Jim McDowell.
In a rebuilding year, the Knights constructed another Del Rey League championship. They went 9-3 in league and 15-5 overall. They open the playoffs Friday at home against Thousand Oaks.
“The key to our season has probably been our ability to stay in ball games,” said Barrett, who played shortstop at Notre Dame from 1974 to 1977. “We’ve been in eight one-run ball games and won six of them.”
The Knights also won five of six one-run games in league. In four of those six games, they won by scoring in their last time at bat.
“It’s very exciting,” Barrett said of the league title. “Last year’s team was 27-1, so there was a lot of pressure in what people expected. It made all the sacrifice and hard work pay off.”
Scott Cline, who quarterbacked the Camarillo football team to a Southern Section championship, enjoyed another banner year for the baseball team this season.
Cline finished the regular season with an astounding .507 batting average, collecting 36 hits in 71 at-bats.
The senior led the Scorpions in home runs with 10 and runs batted in with 27. At one point in the season, Cline homered in seven consecutive games.
“I feel real comfortable at the plate,” said Cline, selected as The Times’ Valley Back of the Year after directing the football team to a 13-1 record.
Cline and Charlie Fiacco, who hit .424 and went 6-0 on the mound, were the main reasons Camarillo won the Marmonte League championship, edging out highly ranked Simi Valley by a game.
The Scorpions (10-2 in league, 18-7 overall) open the playoffs Friday against the winner of today’s wild-card game between Muir and Culver City.
Cline and Fiacco, who will both play baseball for UCLA next year, bat third and fourth in the lineup.
“In the years past, Charlie has built a reputation as a power hitter,” Cline said. “So I’m getting pitches that I wouldn’t be if I was batting fourth.”
But now it’s Cline whom opponents are pitching around. He has been walked twice in each of his last three games.
Cline, who has played shortstop throughout his career at Camarillo, said the Bruin coaches are considering moving him to third base.
One thing Cline is not considering is trying out for the UCLA football team.
“I think my last football game will be the one at the Coliseum,” Cline said, “and my last pass will be the one for the winning touchdown.”
Cline’s final pass, a nine-yard toss on fourth down to Gary Litten with 2:41 left, gave the Scorpions a dramatic 16-14 over Ventura for the Coastal Conference title.
Since Cline did not receive the scholarship offers he expected in football, he decided to stick with baseball in college.
Still, the experience of winning a football championship is helping Cline on the baseball diamond.
“It’s been like a dynasty here,” Cline said. “For two years in a row, we’ve won the football, baseball and basketball (league) titles. The seniors know what it’s like to win.”
Hart softball pitcher Samantha Ford will challenge former Dodger pinch-hitting star Manny Mota in a hitting contest tonight before the Dodgers-Cubs game. Mota responded to a challenge in The Newhall Signal, which offered $1,000 to charity if the major league record-holder for most career pinch-hits could get a hit off Ford. . . . Fred Williams, Agoura’s baseball coach and an assistant football coach, will become the school’s athletic director in 1986. Next year, Williams will become the assistant A.D. to Gene Werkheiser, who has served at the school for 40 years and wants to ease his workload. Williams, who will give up all his coaching duties by the time he is the A.D., will not coach the baseball team next season. . . .
Kenny Devore, a sophomore on the Westlake tennis team, was named the Marmonte League’s most valuable player after leading the Warriors to the league title. Devore went undefeated in singles play, not losing a set against league opponents all season. . . . Scott Cogert of Saugus set a school-record this season by collecting 38 hits in 23 games. Cogert broke the mark of 36 set last year by Rod Muranchanian, who was the co-MVP of the Golden League. If Cogert maintains his batting average of .452 throughout the playoffs, he will set a school record. He is being pushed, however, by teammate Chris Joy, who is hitting .451.