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HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK : Taft Asks Parents to Confront Baseball Coaches Face to Face

Times Staff Writer

Taft High administrators have invited the parents of the school’s baseball players to meet face to face on Monday with coaches Art Martinez and Rolfe Rahl in an ongoing controversy pitting some players and parents against the coaches.

Martinez and Rahl have been criticized by a group of players and parents since early May, when a petition seeking the coaches’ ouster was circulated.

Eight of the parents met with Principal Ron Berz, assistant principal Larry Messenger and athletic representative Dennis Creed on Friday. Martinez and Rahl did not attend the meeting.

Messenger said Tuesday that the parents had reiterated their complaints against the coaches at that meeting.

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“This next meeting will give them a chance to confront the coaches face to face for the first time as a group,” Messenger said. “We’ll finally have everyone in the same place. We’re inviting all the parents, the ones who have been critical of him and ones who have been supportive.”

After Friday’s meeting, Matt Borzello, one of the parents, said a questionnaire would be sent to each player’s home, asking for comments on the performance of Martinez and Rahl.

In an incident that may be connected to the problems within the baseball program, the backstop area of Taft’s varsity field was defaced with graffiti over the weekend.

Messenger said an area around the school’s gymnasium was also vandalized. The graffiti was immediately painted over.

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Simi Valley’s boys basketball team, which finished second in the Southern Section 4-A playoffs, has adopted a low-key attitude to summer competition. That’s why Coach Bob Hawking was not surprised by the Pioneers’ 58-55 loss to Gardena in the third round of the L.A. Games.

“It’s early in the summer and we’re not attacking the win-loss situation the way we will during the year,” Hawking said.

Don MacLean, who led Simi Valley in scoring with 21.7 points per game last season, will leave Thursday morning for the Nike Athletes for Better Education camp at Princeton University in New Jersey.

The top 150 high school players in the nation are invited to the camp, which mixes a week of basketball with academics. MacLean is reported to have at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Said Hawking: “It tries to prepare the kids in terms of getting them ready for college.”

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MacLean will return in time for the Pioneers’ July 14 game against Cleveland in the Cleveland summer league. Last season, Cleveland was second in the City 4-A playoffs, losing to Crenshaw in the final.

Football fans won’t have to wait until Sept. 12 for a rematch between Canyon and Hart. The teams meet in the seven-on-seven passing competition of the L.A Games, playing in the quarterfinal round Saturday at 11 a.m. at West Torrance High’s field No. 3.

Last season, in the opener for both teams, Canyon defeated Hart, 6-3. Hart had a first-and-goal from the three-yard line with 1:08 left in the game but failed to score in three plays. It was the closest the Cowboys came to losing all season as they went on to a 14-0 record and their third straight Northwestern Conference championship. Canyon has won 38 consecutive games.

“It’s not a grudge-match type rivalry,” Hart Coach Rick Scott said. “But the intensity level rises about 50 to a 100% over what it normally is. The weird part is that the two schools are only five miles apart, and we have to drive 60 miles to play each other.”

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Granada Hills plays Muir at 10 a.m. Saturday at West Torrance High’s field No. 4.

Four Valley-area boys basketball teams have advanced to Saturday’s fourth round of the L.A. Games at El Camino College: Cleveland, Granada Hills, Taft and Westlake. In girls basketball, Simi Valley and Louisville have survived into the quarterfinal round.

The Alemany baseball team reached the quarterfinal round with a 9-8 victory over Arcadia. The Thousand Oaks softball team plays Mary Star after routing Palos Verdes in the first round, 10-2.

In girls volleyball competition on Sunday, Canyon faces Bassett and Burroughs plays Pioneer.

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Briefly

In the third inning of Saturday’s Bernie Milligan All-Star baseball game, Grant’s Rodney Beck faced Granada Hills’ Bob Allen with runners at first and third and two outs. “Come on, Rodney,” a fan yelled from the stands, “just like Dodger Stadium.” With that, Beck proceeded to strike out Allen. At Dodger Stadium two weeks ago, Allen was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Beck in the City 4-A title game, won by Grant, 5-1. Allen failed to get a hit off Beck in two at-bats in the Milligan game, making the co-MVP of the Mid-Valley League 0 for 5 against the Lancers’ right-hander this year. . . .

Four of the five other area high school players selected in the June draft have signed professional contracts. Rodney Beck, who led Grant High to the City 4-A championship this season with victories in each of Grant’s four playoff games, has signed with the Oakland A’s. Simi Valley pitcher Scott Radinsky signed with the Chicago White Sox, while teammate Dave Milstien signed with the Boston Red Sox. Infielder David Connelly of North Hollywood, who never played varsity baseball, signed with the San Francisco Giants. Camarillo shortstop Ken Sirak, who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves, has signed a letter of intent with Nebraska. Camarillo pitcher Travis Willis has accepted a full baseball scholarship to UC Berkeley. . . .

Granada Hills shortstop Greg Fowble has decided to honor his commitment to attend Arizona on a baseball scholarship. In April, Fowble signed a letter of intent with the national champion Wildcats, but was selected in the eighth round of the June free-agent draft by the Cleveland Indians. After considering a contract offer to play rookie league ball for the Indians, Fowble followed the advice of Granada Hills Coach Darryl Stroh and chose Arizona. The Wildcats didn’t hurt their cause by agreeing to upgrade Fowble’s scholarship from 85% to 100%. . . .

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Steve Gazzaniga has been named coach of the Agoura High girls volleyball team. Gazzaniga, 24, who played for Cal State Northridge in 1984-'85 and Valley College in 1981 and ’83, is currently a coach for the Southern California Volleyball Club. . . .

The 13 touchdowns and 91 points scored in Saturday night’s Ventura County All-Star football game are records for the 13-year event. East quarterback Dan Nagelmann, formerly of Thousand Oaks High, completed 26 of 38 passes for 482 yards and 7 touchdowns. Nagelmann, who took a trip to Hawaii following the game, will attend Moorpark College. Raider Coach Jim Bittner has Nagelmann slated to play wide receiver or defensive back. Following his all-star performance, Nagelmann deserves another look at quarterback.


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