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HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK : Hazelton Volunteers for USC Job

Times Staff Writer

John Hazelton has decided to pass on some green for a while in hopes of reaching greener pastures.

Hazelton, who coached the Montclair Prep football team into the Inland Conference championship game last season, has joined the USC coaching staff as a voluntary assistant. He will help Foster Andersen with the defensive backs.

“I’m ecstatic to be involved in a program like this,” said Hazelton. “Since I attended USC and have grown up with the tradition, it’s a real thrill.”

Hazelton was graduated from USC in 1975 with a degree in physical education. He is excited about the new position even though he won’t be paid.

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“I’ve got a lot of investments and funds and so forth that will carry me for a year or two,” he said. “Naturally, the goal on my part is to become a full-time assistant.”

Hazelton, 34, said he has wanted to coach above the high school level for a long time and spoke to several universities at the conclusion of last season. He applied to USC two months ago and learned he would join the Trojan staff two weeks ago.

Hazelton coached at Montclair Prep in two separate stretches, first from 1971 to 1977, then from 1982 to this past year.

He was 19 in 1971 when he became co-coach with George Gianinni at Montclair Prep. The Mounties, who played eight-man football then, won the league title every year but once and reached the Southern Section final three straight years. They won the title in 1976.

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After leaving Montclair Prep in 1977, Hazelton served as the defensive coordinator at Crenshaw High for three years before becoming the coach of quarterbacks and wide receivers at Valley College.

He was with Valley in 1981 and 1982. In ’82, he also doubled as Montclair Prep’s head coach. By that time, the Mounties had gone to 11-man football.

Hazelton’s 1982 Montclair team won the Alpha League but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Tehachapi. And it was Tehachapi that ended Hazelton’s dream of a conference title last fall in the championship game, 17-7.

One of Hazelton’s players from that team, Alex DeHayward, recently signed a letter of intent to play for the Trojans.

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Had he not signed on at USC, Hazelton said he probably would have remained as coach at Montclair.

“I knew some day in my life I would have to leave a group that I was very close to,” Hazelton said. “Emotions ran high. It was a tearful departure.”

But Hazelton is happy to be heading for USC.

“One of the first football games I went to was the 1963 Rose Bowl,” he said. USC beat Wisconsin, 42-37, in that game. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

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Drew Kempf, all-league first baseman at Crespi, hadn’t been hitting like a seasoned veteran. Mired in a season-long slump, Kempf monkeyed with his grip and tinkered with his stance.

Pitches still looked like aspirin tablets, so Kempf took a drastic measure: He had his eyes examined.

In a nonleague game at San Marcos Tuesday, Kempf tried hitting with brand-new glasses strapped to his head. In three at-bats, he singled three times.

“We kidded Drew that with the glasses he looked just like his father,” Crespi Coach Mitch Fair said. “But, boy, they made all the difference in the world.”

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The aspirin tablets look to Kempf like beach balls now.

Simi Valley’s baseball team, which entered this season with great expectations, is off to a fairly slow start. With Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Florida’s West Orange in the Colonial High tournament in Orlando, Fla., the Pioneers are 10-3.

Not bad, but not comparable to last season’s 18-0 start.

Mike Scyphers, the Pioneers’ coach, thinks the team’s start this season could be beneficial in the long run.

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“We’re not where we’d like to be,” Scyphers said, “but that’s OK. Last year, we started out 18-0 and didn’t have anything left at the end of the season.”

After its blazing start in 1985, the Pioneers finished 24-5, losing in the second round of the Southern Section 4-A playoffs.

As for this season, Scyphers said: “I don’t think we’re playing as well as we can play. We’ve had some defensive lapses and there’s room for improvement at the plate.”

Scott Radinsky, the Pioneers’ No. 1 pitcher with a 90 m.p.h. fastball, could be one of the reasons Simi Valley is having problems on defense.

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It’s not anything Radinsky has done, it’s his presence. Scyphers said the team sometimes relaxes mentally when Radinsky, who has 66 strikeouts in 31 innings, is on the mound.

“With Scott pitching, there’s one or two fly balls, one or two ground balls,” Scyphers said. “And the rest are strikeouts.”

For all its problems, however, Simi Valley still has impressed several sportswriters.

In this week’s Southern Section 4-A poll, the Pioneers are ranked No. 1

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Add Simi Valley: Scyphers and his Pioneers received the red carpet treatment Monday night when they arrived in Orlando. Tournament officials greeted the Simi Valley contingent at the airport and ushered Scyphers and his wife, Sally, to their hotel in a limousine.

Scyphers was given the car for the rest of the night and explored the sights of Orlando in style.

Tournament officials honored the Simi Valley team before Tuesday’s game, and presented it with the keys to the city. Simi Valley is the only non-Florida team in the tournament and has become the toast of the local media. An Orlando television station did a feature story on the team and aired it during Tuesday’s 11 p.m. broadcast.

The presentation included an interview with Scyphers along with clips from the team’s 4-3 win Tuesday over West Orange. At the conclusion of the Pioneer portrait on television, the Simi Valley players spilled out of their hotel rooms into the hallway and staged a spirited celebration in which high-fives were exchanged all around.

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Were it not for leadoff walks, De Dow of the Canoga Park softball team would have two perfect games this season.

On Monday, Dow walked the first Granada Hills batter, then didn’t allow anyone else to reach base. She finished with 14 strikeouts as Canoga Park won, 11-0.

Two weeks ago against University, Dow gave up a base on balls, then struck out the next 21 batters. Canoga Park won, 9-0.

Dow is 5-0 on the season, striking out 72 batters in 30 innings. She has allowed only four hits and three runs all season. All of the runs have been unearned.

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It will be reunion time for Canyon football Coach Harry Welch when he joins up with Claremont’s Bob Baiz and Muir’s Jim Brownfield for the Shrine All-Star game. The three, who all won Southern Section Conference titles last season, will coach the South squad in the Aug. 2 game at the Rose Bowl.

Welch was a defensive back at Crespi High when the Celts went up against Fermin Lasuen High School in 1962. The coach for Fermin Lasuen (now Mary Star of the Sea) was Baiz.

“I was the 12th man on an 11-man squad,” Welch said. “I played wherever they wanted to hide a weak link.”

Welch had the misfortune that night of having to guard Fermin Lasuen’s top receiver, Haven Moses, a future player for Buffalo and Denver in the National Football League.

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Welch doesn’t remember the score of the game, except that Crespi lost.

As for Moses, “He ran circles around me,” Welch said. “Whenever they needed a big play, they went to him.”


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