There's a certain smile that comes to Jeannine Battaglia's face when she talks about being part of the Golden West College women's basketball team.
She's happy, but she's also relieved--to be associated with a winner.
In three seasons of varsity basketball at Westminster High School, Battaglia's teams won 19 games. It took 20 games into her freshman season at Golden West for the Rustlers (28-1) to earn 19 victories.
"I was so used to losing that it was not that big a deal," Battaglia said. "I didn't really like it. But I would just go home after we lost and say, 'Oh well.'
"Here, I caught on to winning really fast. Once we were 5-0, I knew were we going to be good. It was great starting the season off on such a high note."
Battaglia, 5-feet 4-inches, played forward and some center at Westminster, averaging 19 points as a junior and 15 as a senior. Despite being a starting guard in the North/South Orange County All-Star game last spring, she wasn't recruited. In fact, she was the only starter on the South team not to get a scholarship to a four-year college.
Battaglia wasn't upset, though. She wanted to attend a community college anyway.
She starts at off-guard for Golden West and is second on the team in scoring with an 18.3-point average. Sophomore forward April Marion leads the team, averaging 23 points a game.
Battaglia practiced last summer at point guard but switched positions when Kim Takayama joined the team in September. Takayama, an All-Southern Section selection from La Quinta High School, sat out last season.
Battaglia's late switch means she has some things to learn.
"She is making a lot of mistakes," said Dave Stricklin, assistant coach. "But most of it comes from just not playing the position. She was a forward in high school and didn't have to handle the ball that much in the open court."
Adjustments aside, Battaglia is enjoying life on a winner.
"Some of the (four-year college) coaches at least know who I am now, and it feels pretty good," she said.
The Cypress Kiwanis Baseball Tournament, sponsored by Cypress and Fullerton colleges, opens today. De Anza plays at Cypress and MiraCosta plays at Fullerton. Both games are at 2:30 p.m. The eight-team double-elimination tournament ends Sunday with the championship game at 11 a.m. at Cypress.
The Rancho Santiago softball team, which has won the state championship the last two seasons, opens the 1987 season in its own eight-team double-elimination tournament Friday. The Dons play El Camino at Rancho Santiago at 9:30 a.m.
The championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, also at Rancho Santiago.
Community College Notes
Saddleback sophomore lineman Forrest Shepard (6-feet 4-inches, 345 pounds) signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to attend Idaho State. . . . Rancho Santiago remains first in the basketball poll this week, and the next five teams kept their rankings. Cerritos is second, Compton third, Ventura fourth, El Camino fifth and Saddleback sixth. Orange Coast is 10th. . . . Golden West sophomore linebacker Mark Ziegenhagen, who injured his knee in the Rustlers' last game, said he expects to redshirt next season but isn't sure where he will go to school. Cal State Long Beach is showing the most interest in Ziegenhagen, a second-team J.C. Grid-Wire all-American. . . . Orange Coast sophomore Joey James hit two home runs in the College of the Desert Tournament last weekend to become the career home run leader at OCC. James has 21, one more than Kevin Reimer (1983-84).