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BASEBALL : Rapp Performs Admirably at Bat, but as Fielder He’s Not Such a Hit

Tim Rapp possesses an appropriate name for a baseball player batting almost .400, but, unfortunately for Cal State Northridge, balls seem to ricochet off his glove just as fast as they do off his bat.

The senior third baseman has committed a team-high 20 errors in 39 games this season.

Rapp is still quite a way from equaling the school record for errors, however. Dave Williams, who played shortstop for the Matadors’ 1984 national championship team, holds that dubious distinction with 32 miscues in 55 games. He had an .895 fielding percentage compared to Rapp’s .869.

The school record for most errors by a third baseman is held by Doug Holloway, who made 30 in 56 games in 1972 for an .866 fielding percentage. Holloway made enough of an impression with his bat to earn All-American honors, despite his deficiencies in the field. He batted .379 and drove in 48 runs. Rapp, ironically, is batting .385 with 47 RBIs.

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Holloway and Rapp have one other thing in common--they were both football players. Holloway was a flanker and defensive back for Northridge. Rapp was a reserve quarterback for the Matadors one season after finishing an all-star career at Simi Valley High.

Average batters: Lenn Gilmore, Rapp and Jim Vatcher of Northridge are still in the running for the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. batting title with only two weeks left in the season.

Gilmore started the week second in the conference with a .377 average. Rapp was at .372 and Vatcher was at .354. Darren Nelson of Chapman led the conference with a .388 average.

In CCAA games, the Northridge players’ numbers are even more impressive. Gilmore was batting .390, Rapp .418 and Vatcher .394. As a team, the Matadors were batting .319 overall and .339 in CCAA games.

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Hit list: Vatcher and John Balfanz, who are tied for second in the CCAA with 12 home runs, are also tied for seventh on CSUN’s season home run list. Gilmore, who leads the conference with 21 doubles, is nine short of the Northridge record of 30 set by Dave Govea in 1982.

As a team, Northridge needs only eight more doubles and eight homers to set school single-season records in each category. The Matadors have 130 doubles and 87 home runs. The records of 137 and 94, respectively, were set in 1980.

Bible thumper: Mike Bible, catcher for College of the Canyons, is average nearly a run batted in every hit, which would be impressive enough if not for the fact that he’s batting .500. Bible, a freshman from Saugus High, has 61 hits in 122 at-bats--including 28 for extra bases--and 54 RBIs. He hit two home runs in Canyon’s 15-7 win over Glendale on Tuesday.

Bible is one of three Cougar players batting better than .400. Andy Cutchall is 55 for 123 (.447) and Roger Nix is 35 for 86 (.406).

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An interesting matchup could take place in practice if the trio were ever matched against pitcher Fred Riscen in simulated game conditions. Riscen, a transfer from Pierce College, is 7-0 with a 1.88 ERA and has 65 strikeouts in 61 innings.

Slide rule: Canyons felt the effect of a 7-6 loss to Pierce last Saturday, sliding from second to fourth in the Southland Community College Baseball Poll. Cerritos maintained its hold on the top spot and Orange Coast and L.A. Harbor vaulted past the Cougars in the rankings.

The loss was Canyons’ first in the Western State Conference this season after 20 wins and a tie. The Cougars couldn’t have been too shellshocked, however. Three days later they hit seven home runs against Glendale in a 15-7 victory that wrapped up the conference championship.

Canyons has won seven straight conference championships--three WSC titles (1981-82, 1987) and four Mountain Valley Conference titles (1983-1986).

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