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Notebook /Sean Waters : Santa Clara Tandem Strike Quickly in Baseball

John Lorenzana has learned to be patient waiting for Kasha Clemons and Kwinn Knight to show up for baseball practice at Santa Clara High.

It is not that Clemons and Knight pose discipline problems for the Saint coach. On the contrary, they are two of the best athletes in the school and three-sport varsity lettermen--which takes a great deal of discipline.

Clemons and Knight missed nearly a month of baseball practice to compete for the school’s state champion basketball team. But two days after the Saints won the CIF 2-A title, Clemons and Knight were in baseball uniforms. The pair combined for four hits, all for extra bases, to lead Santa Clara to a 19-4 victory over South Seuier (Utah) on Monday in the International Friendship tournament in Oxnard.

Clemons, a third baseman, had a double and a triple and Knight, a shortstop, had two doubles and turned two double plays.

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“That’s half of our starting infield,” Lorenzana said. “We didn’t have any returning starters in the lineup until they showed up. It really shows when they’re not in the lineup.”

Lorenzana said it will take another three weeks before Clemons and Knight play up to their capabilities.

But he has time to wait. The Saints (2-3) don’t begin Frontier League play until April 11.

Add Saints: High-percentage shooting and suffocating defense provided the blend for Santa Clara’s state basketball championship.

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The Saints shot 52% from the field this season and four starters shot better than 50%. They were John McGill (59%), Shon Tarver (57%), Bubba Burrage (55%) and Art Santana (53%). Reserve center Foster Cole shot 61%.

Santa Clara (27-3) won by an average score of 76-52 and held opponents to 39% shooting from the field. The Saints outrebounded their opponents 1,077-799.

“The underrated thing was our defense,” Coach Lou Cvijanovich said. “That’s been our cup of tea for 30 years.”

Staff report: Coach Tom Ecklund might have yet another candidate to replace Willie Leighton as the ace of the Fillmore pitching staff.

Leighton, a freshman at Moorpark College, posted a 15-0 record and a 1.46 earned-run average while leading the Flashes to the Southern Section 1-A championship last season.

In his first start, Brad Edmonds pitched Fillmore to a 9-1 victory over St. Bonaventure last Friday. The senior right-hander allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out six.

Although he may never match Leighton’s statistics, Edmonds could be the answer to Fillmore’s pitching concerns.

“We’re still flipping coins to see who will be our No. 1 or 2 starters,” Ecklund said. “We’re not even certain about any of our pitchers.”

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Bill Alonzo, Chad Van Winkle, Steve Palmer and Tony Cervantez are the other candidates.

A plague of errors: Errors continue to hamper Ventura County teams and Nordhoff is no exception. The Rangers committed 10 errors in two games last week.

“The errors are killing us,” Coach Mark Capritto said. “We get two outs in an inning and the opposing team would score two or three runs on four errors. I wish I knew a cure. We’re fortunate it’s still preseason.”

Hard way to learn: Moorpark College Coach Ron Stillwell has repeatedly stressed the importance of bunting to his baseball team. Maybe now the Raiders will listen.

A failed bunt attempt in the 12th inning of a Western State Conference game against Ventura College last week cost Moorpark a win.

The Raiders had runners on first and third base with one out when Kris Kaelin, an all-Western State Conference first baseman, struck out on an attempted squeeze bunt and Darin Furlong was caught off third base for a double play.

Ventura rallied for five runs in the 13th for an 11-6 victory.

“You see so many bunts misplayed and that usually is a bigger play than most people think,” Stillwell said.

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Staff writer Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.


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