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The Colleges : Glendale’s Wekerle Nears Record With Bruising Displays at the Plate

When Glendale College third baseman David Wekerle steps into the batter’s box, there appears to be some confusion over whether he is the hitter or the hittee.

In 17 games, Wekerle has been hit by a pitch seven times. On two of those occasions he was not awarded first base because the umpire ruled that he made no attempt to avoid the ball.

According to Glendale Coach Steve Coots, no Vaquero player has been hit by more than five pitches in a season--a total Wekerle already has equaled.

Wekerle’s left elbow is particularly vulnerable and has fallen victim to three fastballs.

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“I just try to stay in on the ball,” said Wekerle, who bats right-handed. “They tail in more than I think they will.”

Against Mt. San Jacinto, Wekerle was tagged on the elbow and helmet and had to duck another pitch in his third at-bat.

Wekerle prides himself on his ability to maintain composure.

“I’m not the type who’s going to go out there and deck the pitcher,” he said. “I think it’s just bad luck.”

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Tough to bear: Scott Cline’s injury-plagued college baseball career took another turn for the worse two weeks ago when the UCLA senior suffered a broken finger while trying to steal a base against Arizona State. He will be out of action for at least two more weeks.

It was the fourth major injury Cline has suffered since arriving in Westwood out of Camarillo High.

Cline, who was coming off his second knee operation, broke the middle finger on his left hand while sliding headfirst. He was batting .357 with 11 runs batted in at the time.

Cline’s injury was the latest setback in what has been a slow start for the Bruins (6-12 overall, 0-6 in Pacific 10 Conference) play. UCLA will play host to USC on Friday in the first of a three-game series.

There have, however, been a few bright spots for the Bruins.

Senior Charlie Fiacco, also from Camarillo High, seems to be making a successful transition from the outfield to second base and is batting .354. He also leads the team with 12 RBIs.

Freshman Joel Wolfe, a high school All-American and the City Section 4-A Division Player of the Year from Chatsworth High, is playing first base and batting .352. Wolfe has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games and is 10 for 10 in stolen-base attempts.

Freshman Adam Schulhofer, an All-City player at Canoga Park, is 1-1 as a relief pitcher with a 3.97 earned-run average, and former high school teammate Mike Kerber, also a freshman, doubled in his first college at-bat earlier this week against Iona.

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Another lulu in Honolulu: The locale may have changed from the mainland to the islands, but the Cal State Northridge men’s volleyball team continues to drive Coach John Price coconuts with its play.

Tuesday night in Hawaii, the Matadors lost a five-game Western Intercollegiate Volleyball Assn. match to the second-ranked Rainbow Warriors, 15-4, 11-15, 11-15, 15-7, 15-10.

The loss dropped Northridge to 6-9 overall and 2-9 in conference play. Hawaii improved to 12-4 and 6-3.

“We’ve been playing great for two weeks,” said Price, whose team will meet Hawaii again tonight. “It’s getting pretty frustrating.

“Ever watch a football game and it looks like one team is killing the other team, but at the end of the game the team you thought was winning ends up losing, 14-10? That’s what it was like against Hawaii.”

Statwatch: The Glendale College baseball team already has (15) home runs, one more than the team hit last season. And the Vaqueros have at least 20 games still to play.

Paul Hugasian and Art Chute have each hit four and John Bojanac has three.

Add statwatch: Ray Sabado, a sophomore shortstop for Valley, went two for five against Oxnard on Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Sabado, who has hit in every game he has played this season, is batting .386.

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E. J. Pape, Valley’s leading power hitter, has seven home runs and 25 runs batted in.

Turning point: Coach Rich Hill said that Cal Lutheran’s 2-1 win over Pepperdine in a nonconference baseball game Feb. 15 gave the Kingsmen a “big lift.”

Apparently, Hill was right: Cal Lutheran built on that success and is now riding a seven-game winning streak.

Hill credits pitching and improved defense for the turnaround after a 2-3 start.

After committing 17 errors in its first five games, Cal Lutheran made only one in the next 27 innings.

“Combine that one error with our pitching and they have been doing an outstanding job lately,” Hill said.

Lopsided schedule: Occidental track Coach Bill Harvey says that his team is having problems finding comparable competition.

Division III Occidental is 0-2 against Division I schools, 1-1 against Division II and 3-0 against schools within its division. In each of their wins, the Tigers have more than doubled their opponent’s score and in each of their losses, they have had their score doubled.

“It would be nice to have a barn-burner where everybody gets all fired up,” Harvey said.

Haven’t we met before?: The Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team will play Florida Atlantic in the opening round of the four-team NCAA Division II West regional Friday at Cal Poly Pomona.

If 14th-ranked Northridge (21-8) gets by the Owls (21-7), the Lady Matadors figure to meet third-ranked Pomona, which will play Cal State Hayward (13-14) in the other opening-round game.

A Northridge-Pomona match-up would be the fourth meeting between the teams this season. Pomona has won twice, including last Saturday’s 75-62 win in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. tournament final that gave the Lady Broncos their eighth consecutive conference title.

Pomona Coach Darlene May, whose teams have won 13 conference titles during her 15 years with the Lady Broncos, is predicting another meeting with Northridge.

“Oh, I don’t think there’s any question,” May said. “The sad thing is if the NCAA sent them to one regional and us to another, we’d both win it.”

The winner of the West regional will meet the winner of the Great Lakes regional in the quarterfinals on either March 17 or 18 at a site to be determined.

Now that would raise a racket: The Occidental tennis team played host to North Carolina State on Monday and lost, 9-0. But Brian Newhall, who doubles as the Tiger basketball coach, wants another shot at the Wolfpack.

“I’m trying to schedule them for hoops next season,” he quipped. “We’ll go there or we’ll host them. I’m flexible.”

Still searching: Two days after his team lost to American River, 80-56, in the final of the state tournament, Valley women’s basketball Coach Doug Michelson still was unable to explain the collapse.

“American River played its best game of the season,” Michelson said. “That, in combination with Valley having a lot of players perform below their best, cost us the game.”

Valley’s reserves were limited to only 11 points against American River. After coming off the bench to score 20 points in Valley’s semifinal victory over Fullerton Sandrine Rocher was held to one point in the final.

Wake-up call: Despite an inconsistent start, the Cal State Northridge golf team is shooting for an appearance in the NCAA Division II championships, which will be played this spring at the Lake View Country Club in Erie, Pa.

However, Northridge Coach Jim Bracken says that his team needs to pull things together if it hopes to secure one of the two District 8 invitations to the championships.

“They’ve all kind of been struggling with their games,” Bracken said of the team members. “I told them if they don’t wake up pretty soon, they’re going to be reading about it (the championships) in the paper instead of playing in it.”

The Matadors, who finished eighth in last year’s national championships in Osage Beach, Mo., will play in the Cal State Stanislaus Invitational at Turlock Country Club on March 27-28. The tournament is the first of three District 8 qualifying tournaments.

Senior Pat Boyd sank a 20-foot birdie putt Tuesday to win the individual title at the Cal State Sacramento Invitational at Rancho Murietta Country Club in Folsom.

Boyd is the top player on a squad that also includes redshirt senior Tim Hogarth, senior Scott Humphries, sophomore Sang Hyun and freshmen Roger Metz and Roger Makemson, who are from Alemany and Taft highs, respectively.

Staff writers Gary Klein, Ralph Nichols and Sam Farmer contributed to this notebook.


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