Notebook / Sean Waters : Anderson Weighs No-Lose Decision on Baseball Future

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The final chapter in Matt Anderson’s scrapbook will not end with the Buena High baseball team’s semifinal loss to Hart.

The senior left-hander did not fulfill his dream of winning a Southern Section title, but there may be other championship games in his future.

The question is, at which level--college or professional?

Anderson, who already has signed a letter of intent to play for Cal State Northridge, was drafted Monday in professional baseball’s amateur draft. The Baltimore Orioles selected Anderson with the first pick in the fifth round.


Now Anderson must decide whether to continue his baseball career at the college level or in the minor leagues.

There are no guarantees that either route will lead to a major league career. Bud Anderson, Matt’s father, played four years in the Boston Red Sox organization and never reached the parent team before retiring in 1957. Anderson said he doesn’t expect his son to sign with the Orioles unless he gets a considerable signing bonus.

“If it’s a kiss and promise to play, they can forget it,” Anderson said. “I’ve been very up front with the scouts. Our family is college oriented. I’ve heard of teams offering a bonus to be put in a trust toward a future college education and that would be a consideration. But, I really couldn’t say how much of a bonus it would take.”

Anderson met with Orioles officials Wednesday.

Armed with rewards: No matter where Anderson winds up, he will have to pack an extra box for the awards he’s expected to receive.

Anderson, who played first base when not pitching, was among the area leaders in batting average (.465), home runs (seven) and runs batted in (31). He also posted a 7-1 record with a 1.50 earned-run average.

Fulfilling a promise: When the Buena softball team lost to St. Paul in last year’s Southern Section 4-A championship game, the players promised their coach they would return to earn the title that slipped away.


The Bulldogs (28-2) honored their guarantee by defeating Western, 1-0, in the final Friday at Mayfair Park in Lakewood. Pitcher Kim Maher hit the fourth pitch of the game over the center-field fence and pitched a one-hitter on the mound. She struck out seven and walked none.

“The kids made a statement to me and promised we would come back,” Coach Sharon Coggins said. “We usually never use the word winning when we talk about goals. But that was their goal from the start.”

Maher, a junior right-hander, was largely responsible for the Bulldogs’ success. Coggins points out, however, that three others also played key roles.

Kristi Bryant, who received a scholarship to Texas-Arlington, replaced Maher as the team’s starting shortstop and anchored an infield that handled an average of 10 ground balls a game. Sophomore Jennifer Henry switched from center field to catcher and helped the Bulldogs cut down on their errors behind the plate.

And Laurie Weidenheimer was rushed into a starting role midway through the season when Buena lost its regular third baseman to an ankle injury.

“There’s no doubt that Kim can hit the ball and she’s an outstanding athlete,” Coggins said. “She’s probably the best hitter I’ve ever seen and will ever see again. But we weren’t a one-player team.”


R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Coggins was singing a new version of an old tune at the championship game. She complained that softball deserves more recognition--and please spell the names right.

The Bulldogs picked up their Southern Section programs and found Brea-Olinda’s roster underneath the Buena team picture. The program also gave a brief description about how the Bulldogs reached the title game, but used the names of players from another team.

“I didn’t know what to say to my players,” Coggins said. “You’re lucky to get one chance to see your name in a CIF program. We win it, but we don’t get the recognition.”

You would think Coggins would get better treatment, especially since she’s the Channel League girls’ coordinator for the Southern Section.

Over in a Flash: It was bad enough that Fillmore lost in the Southern Section 1-A Division baseball championship game, but the way it was lost was discouraging.

Fillmore committed eight errors and allowed five unearned runs in a 10-7 loss to Beaumont on Friday at Blair Field in Long Beach.


Coach Tom Ecklund, who stresses pitching and defense in practice, was lost for an explanation.

“I don’t know what to say,” Ecklund remarked. “It was one of those games that every team experiences once a season. Unfortunately it happened to us in our final game.

“It wasn’t one kid. A lot of people made mistakes. I guess maybe the kids were too tight.”

It was the sixth title appearance for the Flashes (16-7) under Ecklund, but only the second time they have lost.

“When you lose the final game, it leaves you with an empty feeling,” Ecklund said. “It doesn’t reflect on one team’s overall season. We had a great year. No one expected us to do this well.”

More draft notes: Derron Spiller, a former Rio Mesa High player who was a relief pitcher at Ventura College in the 1989 season, has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Spiller, a left-hander, was drafted by the Cardinals out of Rio Mesa last year, but he opted to go to college. The Cardinals retained rights to Spiller for one year after selecting him in last year’s amateur draft.


“They wanted to start working with me on my mechanics and I thought I might as well go ahead and get that pro experience,” said Spiller, who will report to the Cardinals’ rookie camp in Peoria, Ariz., on June 16.

At Ventura, Spiller was used primarily in relief. He compiled a 2-0 record and a 3.14 ERA in 28 2/3 innings. He had 18 appearances.

“I hate to lose him, but that’s what we’re here for,” Ventura Coach Gary Anglin said. “I thought he made great improvement here and he would have been one of our starters next year.”

Spiller is one of four pitchers who were drafted last year but opted to play at Ventura.

College-bound: Catcher Steve Soliz of Rio Mesa High signed a letter of intent to play for Cal State Los Angeles.

Soliz batted cleanup for Rio Mesa, hitting .289 with 24 runs batted in.

Staff writer Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.