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Prep Review : Cards Appear Stacked in Klesko’s Favor

If you’ve got about $9 burning a hole in your pocket, there’s an investment you might be interested in.

It’s a set of 23 cards of the top high school baseball players in the nation. Ryan Klesko, who played at Westminster High School and was drafted this summer by the Atlanta Braves, is part of the collection.

Manufactured by Little Sun of Monrovia, the cards are currently being sold only at Ball Four Cards in Milwaukee. Louie Marino, of Ball Four Cards, said business has been good so far.

“One lady bought 30 sets,” he said. “Collectors figure that if any one of these kids makes good, they’ll (the collectors) do all right. It’s like they’re buying property in Texas and hoping to strike oil. I mean can you imagine having Mickey Mantle’s high school card?”

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The Hut Drill, the synchronized warm-up drill that Servite High School’s football team has performed before each game for more than a quarter of a century, has changed.

Actually, it’s back.

Larry Toner, a longtime assistant at the school who returned this season to become head coach, has reinstituted what can be called Hut Classic--a return, he says, to the original drill developed by then Servite assistant George Dena.

“What people are seeing now is the drill as Dena set it up,” Toner said. “It got sloppy over the years. Coach Dena was a very meticulous man. After he left, it (the drill) went from a non-rhythmic cadence drill to a rhythmic one.”

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Dena’s drill placed a player in front of rows of players, and that player went through a series of movements--hands thrown to either side of the helmet, dropping to do one perfect push-up, for example. It was designed as a discipline in reaction and concentration.

But Toner said the drill had taken on the characteristics of a learned routine.

“It was never intended to be that,” he said.

He also said that it was never intended to be done after games, something that raised the ire of teams which had just been beaten by Servite. They believed the drill was rubbing their noses in the defeat.

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“It was never supposed to be something against the other team,” Toner said. “It was for the Servite fans and and outgrowth of our own preoccupation with discipline.”

If he sounds as if he likes the drill, he does. Toner, in fact, wrote a bit of poetry about it for the Servite program. A sampling:

” . . . Frozen motion. Swift strikes into the night. A command . . . action. A command . . . precision. A command . . . execution.”

Poetry of motion?

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Hut!

John Bailey is back playing football at Fullerton High. After going through spring drills with the team, Bailey, one of the top prep baseball players in Orange County, decided he would pursue his baseball career full time and told Coach Steve Nishimoto that he wouldn’t be with the team when the season rolled around.

“When he told me about his decision, I told him, ‘John, just be sure that you’re not going to have regrets about this 10 years from now or the first day of school,’ ” Nishimoto said.

That’s what happened.

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Bailey, a valuable and versatile part of the Fullerton team--he is a receiver, defensive back, punter and kicker--missed playing football and asked Nishimoto during two-a-day practices if he could come back.

Nishimoto brought the idea before the team, whose members voted to accept Bailey back.

One of the provisions for his return, according to Nishimoto, is that Bailey was not allowed to play in the Indians’ first two games. Which means this week is the week he returns.

Quotebook: With opposing views on Thursday’s football results:

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“We should have charged double for this game.”

--Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes after his team beat Servite, 45-21.

“This is the worst football game Woodbridge has ever played, bar none.”

--Woodbridge coach Gene Noji after his team’s 25-6 loss to Foothill.

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Although the boys’ portion of the Woodbridge Invitational cross-country meet Saturday was not set up to emphasize team competition--all boys’ races were run by class, freshmen against freshmen, sophomores against sophomores, etc.--one team showed that it has great potential even if it only opened three weeks ago.

That is Century High School’s freshman team, which scored 69 points--the lowest point total for any of the county boys’ teams in any division.

Century, which opened with freshmen and sophomores this fall, is coached by Jeff Davis and Frank Alvarado. Both came to Century from Santa Ana.

“Our kids have lots of enthusiasm,” Davis said, “but there’s not a lot of leadership. They can get real squirrelly sometimes.”

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One cross-country scheduling conflict that’s bound to cause problems this season comes Oct. 21, the date of both the Orange County Championships and the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational.

Mt. SAC, one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious cross-country meets, has traditionally been run on the third Saturday in October. But when the Southern Section decided to move its section finals up one week earlier than usual, Mt. SAC officials did not back up one week, as most other races did.

Many county coaches are confused by Mt. SAC’s refusal to budge. Last year, Mt. SAC featured about 30 teams from Orange County, most of which planned to return this year. But with the county championships on the same day, it seems that both meets will lose.


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