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AROUND THE LEAGUES : Stroh May Become Old Yeller to Bring Team’s Bad Play to a Screeching Halt

After last week’s 6-5 loss to Kennedy High, Granada Hills Coach Darryl Stroh jokingly said he may change the low-key approach he thus far has used to motivate his team.

“I don’t know what the problem is,” Stroh said. “I haven’t been yelling at these kids. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I should start yelling at them.”

On Monday, Stroh received a phone call on campus and was asked whether he would put his vocal chords into action.

“Well,” Stroh began, but then was drowned out by boisterous students in the adjoining locker room. “Just a minute.”

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Pause.

Stroh turned to the locker room and raising his voice above the din screamed, “Hey!”

Silence followed.

“OK,” Stroh said, laughing. “Yes, if that’s what it takes to get our guys playing like they’re capable, I may have to yell a little.”

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White out: Imagine walking into Pauley Pavilion and seeing the Bruins wearing pastel blue, or sitting in the Coliseum and watching the Raiders come out in white jerseys. Sound strange? Well, that’s the feeling Hart baseball fans will get if they attend the Burbank game at Hart on Friday. The Indians are 0-3 in their white home uniforms. But in their New York Yankee-style gray road uniforms, the Indians have won seven times, including preseason scrimmages. Hart Coach Doug Murray said his team will wear its gray “roadies’ for the rest of the season. “I always try to do things in sync,” he said. . . . The high school baseball season is under way and with it the inevitable griping over plastic cleats. Chatsworth Coach Bob Lofrano registered his complaint after Rex McMackin (.389) sufferred a sprained ankle last week when he slipped on home plate. Lofrano, who said he never has favored plastic cleats, claims McMackin would have avoided injury had he worn metal cleats, which were banned three years ago. “All McMackin can do is DH, he can’t even play the outfield,” Lofrano said. . . . Mike Kerber will return to Canoga Park’s lineup as the designated hitter this week, but that still won’t solve the problems of the team’s pitching staff, which has been decimated by injuries and academic ineligibility.

Crazy eights: Kory Kozub, a 14-year-old sophomore on Simi Lutheran’s softball team, is the eighth child in her family. She was born on Aug. 8, turned 8 on 8-8-80 and plays center field, which--for all you fans keeping score--is position No. 8. What number does she wear? You guessed it. . . . With upset wins over St. John Bosco and Alemany last week, Crespi and Notre Dame served notice that the balance of power may have shifted in the Del Rey League. Or maybe the league simply is balanced. St. John Bosco and Alemany finished 1-2 last season; Crespi and Notre Dame--both of which have first-year coaches--finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in league last year. “Nobody expected them to lie down for us,” Alemany Coach Jim Ozella said. “With new coaches sometimes the kids believe they’re playing for a miracle worker.” . . . The way Crespi beat St. John Bosco in nine innings last week was close to a miracle. Trailing by one run with two outs and nobody on in the seventh, St. John Bosco pitchers walked three straight batters, then balked home the tying run. “I’m not even sure what the balk was,” Crespi Coach Scott Muckey said. “But I sure wasn’t going out there to argue.” Crespi scored the winning run in the ninth when Matt Arnold stole home with two outs and an 0-2 count on the batter. . . . Although Newbury Park outhit Simi Valley, 13-5, last week, Simi Valley won after Newbury Park pitcher Rob Teasdale overthrew third base twice on pickoff plays in the same inning. “Their third baseman wasn’t even breaking for the bag,” Simi Valley Coach Mike Scyphers said.

Stealing as a science: Providence has stolen 45 of 46 bases in eight games this season with the help of assistant coach Dana Saraceno, who is the brother of head coach Marc Saraceno. Dana Saraceno, who played at Pepperdine, clocks every Providence player’s time from first to second in practice. Before games, while the opposing pitcher is warming up in the bullpen, Saraceno uses a stopwatch to mark the time between the start of the pitcher’s stretch and when the ball reaches the catcher’s glove. Saraceno also times the catcher’s throw to second base. If the combined time is under 3.5 seconds, the Providence runners will be moving. Steve Ross leads the team with 12 steals. . . . Moorpark (1-3) has been outscored, 31-18, in its three losses and Coach Mario Porto says his players’ lack of baseball experience is the main reason for the slow start. In one recent game, Porto told a runner on first not to let the other team get a double play. “I told him to break the two,” Porto said. “He thought I said, ‘Break for two,’ and tried to steal second and got thrown out.”

A different round ball: Highland Hall baseball players must have thought they had their seasons mixed up last week when Gary Gray of Granada Hills, the City Section 3-A basketball Player of the Year, showed up as a last-minute replacement umpire in the team’s 8-1 win over Viewpoint last Tuesday. Three days later, Larry White, an assistant basketball coach at Cleveland, was behind the plate for Highland Hall’s 8-3 loss to Verbum Dei. “They both did a good job,” Highland Hall Coach Dave Desmond said. “They know what they’re doing.” Had Desmond been dissatisfied with Gray’s performance, it’s unlikely he would have said much. Gray stands 6-9 and weighs 230 pounds. . . . After graduation took most of the starters from last season’s City Section 4-A championship team, Grant Coach Tom Lucero predicted that 1987 would be a rebuilding year. As expected, Grant has struggled, losing four of its first five East Valley League games. But Lucero, now in his 13th season at the school, has survived the peaks and valleys of Valley baseball before.

Said Lucero: “This is a competitive league, and I still think the team that wins it will have four or five losses. And there are still the midseason grade checks.”


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