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Baltimore Signs ‘Unknown’ Gardena Outfielder

Baltimore Orioles scout Ed Crosby says Gardena High School outfielder Aman Hicks, who signed a contract with the club this week, reminds him of another left-handed hitter who hails from Southern California.

“I think he’s farther along than Lenny Dykstra was at his age,” said Crosby, referring to the New Yorks Mets outfielder and former prep star at Garden Grove High.

Although he would not discuss terms of the contract, Crosby said Hicks signed for “a substantial bonus.” Hicks will report to the Orioles’ rookie league team in Bluefield, W. Va., later this month.

The 5-7, 160-pound Hicks was a fourth-round draft pick after receiving virtually no pre-season publicity. He impressed scouts with his speed (4.1 seconds to first base), hitting (.526) and strong throwing arm.

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“He popped out of nowhere,” Crosby said. “I think someone saw him run down the first-base line and took notice.”

St. Bernard shortstop Royce Clayton, a first-round selection of the San Francisco Giants, and Redondo pitcher-shortstop Scott Davison, a fourth-round pick of the Montreal Expos, are still negotiating. Both players have baseball scholarships to USC.

"(The Giants) came up with a pretty substantial offer the first time,” Clayton said. “But I told them it wasn’t enough to lure me away from USC. It’s up to them now. I’m waiting to hear from them.”

Redondo Coach Harry Jenkins, who is handling Davison’s negotiations, has met twice with Expos’ officials. “We’re getting close,” he said. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game.”

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Redondo first baseman Tom Doyle was drafted in the late rounds by the Philadelphia Phillies and is considering an offer from Cal State Los Angeles, Jenkins said.

Kye Courtney, coach of Hawthorne’s recently crowned state champion boys track team, says the Cougars should be just as strong next year.

“Frankly, I think we’ll win it again,” he said. “We’ll have the No. 1 sprinter in the state returning.”

Hawthorne won the state title for the second year in a row and the fifth time in the last six years on Saturday by scoring 34 points in four events.

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Travis Hannah, who won the 400 meters and anchored the winning 1,600 relay, was the only senior who scored points for the Cougars.

Returning are junior Curtis Conway, runner-up in the 100 and third-place finisher in the 200, and sophomores Chris Alexander and Ishmael Del Pino, who joined Conway and Hannah on the 1,600 relay.

Another sophomore, Anthony Smith, took Del Pino’s spot in the relay during qualifying on Friday.

Courtney estimated that if Smith had replaced Hannah in the 1,600 relay, the team would have run 3:12.8, which still would have been good enough to win. Hawthorne ran 3:10.42 with Hannah on the anchor.

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“We’ll run 3:10 again next year,” Courtney said. “I think our hurdlers will be better, too. We’ll be tough to deal with.

“We have one big man (Conway). If we lose him, we’re dead.”

Asked if he worries about Conway, an all-CIF quarterback, getting hurt in football, Courtney replied: “I like him to play football. It toughens him up. It makes him respect the opponent instead of taking things nonchalant.”

Dave Weatherman, a former standout pitcher at West Torrance High and Cal State Fullerton, has replaced Chris Wibberley as the West baseball coach.

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Wibberley said he resigned because he couldn’t devote enough time to the job as an off-campus coach and because the Torrance Unified School District reinstated a player who was kicked off the team for disciplinary reasons.

“I felt that (the district) undermined my credibility with the players,” Wibberley said. “It’s a situation where the higher-ups didn’t back me on one of my policy restrictions.”

If his decision to suspend the player had not been reversed, Wibberley said he “most likely would have wanted to come back” for his third year at West.

Wibberley guided the Warriors to an 18-8 record, a second-place finish in the Bay League and a CIF 5-A playoff berth this season.

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Weatherman, a 1977 graduate of West, was the winning pitcher for Cal State Fullerton when the Titans captured the College World Series title in 1979. He was an all-CIF quarterback and all-CIF pitcher at West.

South Torrance baseball Coach Chris Scott learned the bad news last week. Jason Walton, the Spartans’ all-Bay League outfielder, will not return next season because his family is moving to Texas.

Walton, a junior, led the Bay League with a .492 batting average (31 for 63), including nine doubles, four home runs and 25 runs batted in.

PREP NOTES

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The Atlanta Braves will sponsor a free-agent baseball tryout camp at Serra High School on June 18. Sign-ups begin at 8 a.m., and tryouts will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We’re looking for talent,” said Serra baseball Coach Darren Fleming, a scout for the Braves. . . . The Morningside basketball team, trying to raise money so it can participate in the Iolani Tournament in Hawaii next December, is selling video coupon booklets for $10 apiece. More information can be obtained by calling the school at 419-0436. . . . Redondo (30-3) was the only baseball team in the CIF Southern Section to win 30 games this season.


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