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City Baseball Finals : Venice Defends 3-A Title Against Palisades Today

Times Staff Writer

With Coach Jeff Shimizu denying published rumors that he is a candidate for the head coaching job at Santa Monica College, Venice High School will shoot for its second straight City 3-A baseball title today against Palisades at 4 p.m. at Dodger Stadium.

The 4-A championship game will follow, with Kennedy of Granada Hills playing Banning in a rematch of the 1981 title game.

Venice has a 23-6 record and beat Palisades in two of their three Western League games this season, but Palisades, 19-5, got its victory, a 5-0 decision, in the third game with hard-throwing senior Ted Kaye (7-3) on the mound. Kaye figures to be the Dolphins’ starter today.

Venice is coming off a 12-run performance in the semifinals against Los Angeles, and its best hitter, Colin Franker, a returning All-City first baseman and 1985 Western League player of the year with a .531 average, seven home runs and 40 RBIs, is on a roll. He has hit three homers in three playoff games, one a booming 400-foot drive over the center-field fence in Friday’s game at West Los Angeles College.

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Franker is heading to the University of Hawaii on a baseball scholarship, but Shimizu, in his fourth year with the Gondoliers, said that he is not going anywhere, denying reports that he will replace Marty Berson as baseball coach at Santa Monica College.

“I know there have been a lot of rumors floating around, and I don’t know how they got started,” said Shimizu, who already is a counselor at the college. “That kind of talk is not fair to the coach there now. I will absolutely, positively be back at Venice next season.”

He did say, however, that last week he turned down Berson’s offer to become an assistant coach.

In the 4-A game, Banning, with a 16-10 mark, will play a Kennedy team that has won nine straight games on the way to a 17-5 record. Kennedy pitcher Eric Evans, a junior right-hander, has six of those nine victories and all three of the Golden Cougars’ wins in the playoffs. Overall, he is 11-2 with a 1.11 earned-run average.

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Kennedy’s road to the final wasn’t an easy one. Before the winning streak, the Granada Hills school had a 4-5 record in the Mid-Valley. The strong comeback allowed the team to finish second. Then, after defeating Reseda, 12-1, in the first round of the playoffs, the Golden Cougars beat fourth-seeded San Pedro in the quarterfinals, 3-2, and upset top-seeded Chatsworth in last Friday’s semifinals, 4-2.


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