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Hoover Must Stop Sharts in 1st Round

Coach Bob Cooper, who has led Hoover to the playoffs in 11 of the past 13 seasons, will chose between right-handers Howard Mazei (2-1) and Sean Regan (6-5) when the Tornadoes play at Simi Valley in the first round of the Southern Section 5-A Division baseball playoffs Friday at 3 p.m.

“We don’t have any standouts,” Cooper said of his team, which finished third in the Pacific League with a 7-8 record and was 11-11 overall. “We’re not the team we’ve been in the past. We have a super tradition, but this season has been like riding a roller-coaster.”

Led by the overpowering Scott Sharts, Simi Valley (21-5) took its third consecutive Marmonte League title with a record of 10-2. Sharts, a senior pitcher-first baseman, has a Southern Section-record 32 career home runs and has 15 homers this season, one shy of the record. He is batting .513 with 7 doubles and 36 runs batted in.

As a pitcher, Sharts has a record of 8-0 with an earned-run average of 1.60.

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In other first-round playoff games Friday:

Riverside Poly (18-8) at Glendale (14-7): Glendale, which won the Pacific League with a record of 12-3, will look for offense from first baseman Brian Kneiding (.400), third baseman Jeff Sofro (.380), shortstop Swain Wukelich (.330) and catcher Dave Monarch (.330).

But Coach Chris Axelgard will rely on the pitching of Bob Moser (7-5) to advance the team past the first round of the 5-A playoffs. “We’ve gone as he’s gone,” Axelgard said.

Shortstop Randy Graves (.405, 7 home runs) and second baseman Ryan Cobb (.402 26 RBIs) lead Riverside Poly. Either Gary Adcock (7-2, 3.30 ERA) or Ben Blomdahl (4-2, 4.30 ERA) will start.

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Ontario Christian (10-10) at La Canada (11-9-1): Left-hander Dan Whisenat (4-2) will start for La Canada in the 2-A Division game and he believes the team will play with more consistency than it has shown. “We’re ready to change our attitudes,” Whisenat said.

On offense, Coach Gary Lievre will look to catcher Bill Koury (.435), designated hitter Randy Dorr (.338), and Whisenat (.327). La Canada finished second in the Rio-Hondo League at 8-7.


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