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The High Schools : Judgment of Unrepentant Stone Panned

Although Reseda Coach Mike Stone defended his actions in the wake of this week’s forfeiture of a baseball game to Monroe, his judgment has been criticized by Reseda Athletic Director Dimitri Vadetsky and Monroe Coach Kevin Campbell.

Umpire Ted Comerford ordered the forfeit with the score tied, 6-6, in the top of the eighth inning of Tuesday’s Mid-Valley League game when he ruled that Reseda pitcher Tony Valdez faked an injury to force a pitching change.

Stone, who admitted that he instructed Valdez to feign the injury, said that ruse was his only option after Comerford refused to allow him to change pitchers.

The umpire later admitted that he erred in refusing Stone’s request. He ruled that Reseda had willfully violated the rules of the game when Valdez put on a spirited acting display. Said Stone of Valdez: “He made Dustin Hoffman look like a beginner.”

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But Stone also said that he would do it again if put in the same situation, a statement that Vadetsky finds objectionable.

“I don’t know if Mike told the kid to fake the injury, but I told him if he did, that shouldn’t have occurred,” the athletic director said.

Reseda has filed a protest, arguing that Comerford could not judge whether Valdez’s injury was legitimate.

Campbell disputes that assertion. “It was so obvious. Their coach went out before the pitch and told him something, and the kid kind of grinned. He rolled around on the ground and their whole bench is laughing,” Campbell said.

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Reseda also got the last laugh on the diamond, defeating Monroe, 5-3, Thursday in another Mid-Valley League game.

Pioneer road show: As much as his team’s three consecutive Marmonte League championships, Mike Scyphers prides himself on the amount of road work his baseball team does.

When a Simi Valley athlete joins the baseball team, he is assured of at least one major trip. In the past four years, the Pioneers have traveled to tournaments in Las Vegas and Florida. On Thursday, they concluded play in the Serra tournament in San Mateo.

“The trips have become part of the program,” Scyphers said. “We pride ourself in the schedule we put together.”

A first-class schedule helps the team in league play, the Pioneers’ coach said. But that’s only one purpose.

“It may sound like a cliche but we become a family on the road,” he said. “We develop camaraderie and togetherness when we get on the road for a week. . . . The other night about 20 of us shot pool and had a great time.”

The fun has continued on the playing field where the Pioneers (12-1) won the Serra tournament championship with a 12-1 victory over St. Francis of Mountain View.

Add Simi Valley: The most impressive site for Scyphers at the tournament are the batting cages at Serra High, alma mater of Gregg Jefferies of the New York Mets. After Jefferies signed a professional contract, he donated $20,000 to build the cages at the high school.

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“They’re awesome,” Scyphers gushed. “For a high school facility to have two cages like that right along the field is impressive.”

Scyphers has an eye for batting cages: He runs his own batting cage business in Camarillo.

Working from down under: Once again, Crespi Coach Scott Muckey has transformed an ordinary overhand pitcher into a sneaky side-armer.

Last season it was Dan Carroll. Carroll rebounded from a rocky start to post a 12-3 record after he dropped down to the side. Carroll led the Celts to a share of the Del Rey League title.

This season’s project is junior Pat Bennett, listed on the Crespi roster as a third baseman and catcher. That, however, was before the submarine lessons.

“The emergence of Pat Bennett has been a real plus for us,” Muckey said. “No one seems to get a real great piece of him. I just have to be sure not to overuse him.”

Bennett is 1-0 with a save and has allowed three earned runs in 14 2/3 innings.

One day you’re up . . .: Chatsworth’s Rich Aude last week enjoyed what Coach Bob Lofrano called “a career day” against Canoga Park.

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Aude, a senior third baseman, was four for four, including two home runs.

Two days later against the same opponent, Aude was 0 for four, including two strikeouts.

Zero for two: For the second time in two weeks, Crespi’s Russell White and Hawthorne’s Curtis Conway failed to meet as scheduled in the 100 meters at an invitational meet.

White, who placed eighth in the 200 meters at last year’s state championships, won the 100 in 10.88 seconds at the Northridge-Alemany Relays at Cal State Northridge on Saturday, but the Hawthorne coaching staff prohibited Conway from competing because he missed practice Friday.

Conway, the runner-up in the 100 in last year’s state championships, ran 10.86 to win that event at the Spartan Relays at Rio Mesa on Mar. 4. White was expected to run, but instead took a trip to Berkeley.

Injury report: J. D. Choy, Chaminade’s second baseman, is expected to be sidelined for another two weeks because of a strained right elbow, Coach Steve Costley said.

Choy, who stole bases in 1988, strained his elbow when he dove back to first base in the opener against Rio Mesa, but he played in several more games before taking himself out of the lineup.

Steve Roberts has replaced Choy and may have won the starting job, according to Costley.

“He’s played very well there,” Costley said. “J. D. may have a hard time getting his job back.”

Staff writers Tim Brown, Vince Kowalick, John Lynch and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.


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