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SPRING HIGHLIGHTS : Speakes Slides Over Sylmar to Keep Poly in First, 6-2

The biggest play of the day in Poly High’s showdown at home Tuesday against Sylmar wasn’t an extra-base hit, spectacular catch or a crucial strikeout. It was a slide.

Things were pretty quiet in Poly’s dugout until Joe Speakes broke up a double-play attempt in the second inning. His slide not only startled Sylmar second baseman Art Monreal, but it gave the players on the Poly bench a chance to sneer and call out a cynical greeting: “Welcome to Poly.”

Poly, which is in first place, was ignited after Speakes’ impression of a bulldozer and rolled over Sylmar, 6-2. The victory improved Poly’s East Valley League record to 10-2, 12-4 overall. Sylmar is 7-5, 8-7 overall.

Poly right-hander Ray Palafox (7-2) gave up seven hits, struck out nine and walked three.

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With Poly leading, 2-0, in the third inning, Tim Hunt and Speakes hit back-to-back doubles for the only earned run of the game against sophomore Alonzo Woodfin (4-2). Poly added another run in the third and added two more unearned runs in the fourth. Sylmar committed five errors.

In the sixth inning, Poly’s Danny Gil tried to break up another potential double-play at second base. The home plate umpire ejected him for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the damage had already been done.

Sylmar Coach John Kitsner wasn’t about to let his players off the hook after the game.

“This was the weakest performance I’ve ever seen for a Sylmar team playing against Poly,” Kitsner said. “We went out on the field like it was no big deal. When we were down by five runs we had back-to-back runners get picked off first base. Then the next batter hits a triple. It looked like it just didn’t matter to the players.

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“Maybe it’s a sign of intimidation. We played scared out there. That’s the first time I’ve ever said that about Sylmar.”


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