THE COLLEGES : Ice Helps Moorpark’s Thomas Chill Foes

To opponents, Moorpark College pitcher Robin Thomas appears to have ice water in her veins. Actually, she only sleeps on ice--and that’s an element in her recent success.

It’s not some New Age, consciousness-enhancing gimmick but a treatment for a rib injury Thomas suffered in a tournament during spring break.

Strained muscles on the right side of her rib cage affect her follow-through and make it difficult to throw outside pitches, but Thomas registered shutouts in Moorpark’s three games in the Southern California regional and has a string of 22 scoreless innings.

“This morning when I woke up, I just spent an hour stretching,” Thomas said Sunday after beating Cerritos, 7-0. “It’s worth it.”


Thomas (27-6), a freshman right-hander, said she doesn’t expect her condition to improve markedly before the eight-team state finals this weekend, but Coach Will Thurston plans to have her pitch in every game.

“The tournament now is literally set up for one pitcher as long as you win your first ballgame,” Thurston said. “For us that’s great; we’ve been having one pitcher all year.”

Since Moorpark doesn’t have any spare pitchers, Thomas could use some spare ribs when the Lady Raiders open the double-elimination tournament with a 10 a.m. game against Sacramento City on Friday.

Making her points: She has starred in the relative anonymity of junior college competition this season, but Melanie Clarke has established herself as one of the top collegiate heptathletes in Southern California.

Clarke, a Valley freshman, scored 4,921 points in a meet at Mt. San Antonio last month to become Southern California champion. She will attempt to break the 5,000-point barrier in the state championships beginning Friday at Santa Barbara City.

The former El Camino Real High standout turned in best mark in five of the heptathlon’s seven events. She won the high jump at 5 feet 3 inches, the shotput at 36-4, the long jump in 17-11 1/2, the 200 in 24.6 seconds and the 800 in 2:22.0. In the hurdles she ran 15.4 and she threw the javelin 101-6.

Clarke’s effort in the Southern California championships would have placed her fourth in the Pacific 10 Conference meet. Cal State Northridge’s Lisa Gill won the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. championship with 4,936 points.

Scouting the Raiders: Football teams that were steamrollered last fall by Moorpark as it went 9-2 will be dismayed to learn that Coach Jim Bittner believes his 1990 team has more Division I-caliber players than any previous Raider team.

Chief among them is All-American running back Freddie Bradley (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), who has been drawing coaches in droves to spring football classes.

“We’ve had at least three or four four-year schools there every day looking at him,” said Bittner, who listed Colorado, USC, Arizona, Washington and Tennessee among the schools showing interest.

Others drawing Division I attention include tight end Tremmel Hamm (6-3, 230), wide receiver Peter Marine (6-1, 170), offensive guard Don Young (6-1, 295) and defensive tackle Ron Nielson (6-5, 225).

A battle also has begun to shape up at quarterback. Bittner said returnee Kris Dutra has the inside track but calls Dutra and newcomer Del Marine “almost like identical twins.” Johnel Turner from Oxnard High, whom Bittner expects to join the team, should make it a three-way battle.

Bittner said he also expects Bryant Taylor, Turner’s Oxnard teammate, to play for the Raiders next fall. Turner and Taylor combined for more than 4,000 yards rushing the past two seasons.

Better and better: A week after setting a school record in the long jump (25-10 1/4), Northridge freshman Chris Perry improved his best in the triple jump to 49-2 1/2 to finish second in the CCAA meet. Perry is seventh on the all-time Northridge list.

Staff writers Mike Hiserman, John Ortega and Brendan Healey contributed to this notebook.