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Weekend Digest was compiled by Steve Elling

Larry Middleton, a former Taft High and Valley College basketball standout, has passed the first series of tryouts in a bid to join the newly formed International Basketball Assn. all-star team.

The IBA is a league for players 6 feet, 4 inches or under. The league will begin play next summer, but the all-star team will begin a world tour in September.

Middleton was among a group of six players selected from a tryout held last weekend at Morningside High in Inglewood. He will join 30 finalists Aug. 10 in Fresno, where the roster will be reduced to 10.

Jack McDowell, a 1984 graduate of Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks and an All-American right-hander from Stanford, has signed with the Chicago White Sox and will report to the organization’s rookie league team in Sarasota, Fla.

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McDowell, who was a member of the NCAA championship team at Stanford last season, is a former Southern Section 4-A Player of the Year. In three years at Stanford he was 35-13 with a 3.58 earned-run average. He was the fifth pick overall in last month’s amateur draft.

Betsy Visniski, 22, of Thousand Oaks won a gold medal in the solo synchronized swimming event at the U.S. Olympic Festival in North Carolina on Sunday. Visniski won with a total of 177.600 points, beating Tia Harding of Florida by 8.35 points.

The Conejo Valley Little League 13-year-old all-star team has outscored eight opponents, 113-33, in advancing to the section final, which will be played at 11 a.m. Saturday at El Rio Park in Oxnard.

Having won area and district titles, Conejo Valley defeated Studio City/Toluca Lake, Goleta Valley and Mission Hills by a combined score of 53-15 this week in the section tournament.

Burbank High basketball Coach Russ Keith has left the school to take the varsity position at San Diego Fallbrook High.

Keith, who had a 108-56 record in his seven-year career, led Burbank to four Foothill League titles during his tenure, including the last three.

Six Valley-area field hockey players have been selected to the U.S. men’s team that will compete in the Pan American Games in Indianapolis next month.

Mohammad Barakat and John Spencer of Moorpark, Tommy Hoang and David Wisner of Westlake Village and Mike Lee and Alvin Pagan of Simi Valley will compete in the Games, which run Aug. 7-23.

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Joey Speakes, a Times All-Valley and All-City outfielder from Poly High, has signed with the San Francisco Giants.

Speakes batted .476 with 5 home runs and 27 runs batted in for the Parrots, who were defeated by Canoga Park in the City 4-A championship game. Speakes, who was drafted in the fourth round in June, reports to the rookie league team in Pocatello, Ida.


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