Tournament Forced to Take Spring Break : Baseball: Scheduling problems prompt cancellation of Thousands Oaks Kiwanis Easter event in 1991.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The 24-year-old Thousand Oaks Kiwanis Easter baseball tournament has been canceled for the 1991 season because of scheduling conflicts, tournament co-director Eileen Meinhold said Wednesday.

The 16-team tournament, which traditionally has drawn the area's top high school teams, ran into problems because spring vacations at many schools have been moved from late March to early April.

The tournament had been scheduled for March 25-27, but with the change in vacation schedules, many schools will be unable to participate in morning or early-afternoon games. Last season, the tournament was staged April 8-12.

Thousand Oaks High assistant coach Garth Marcus said Tuesday that the Lancers instead will compete in the 16-team Visalia tournament.

Only four of the 16 teams invited to the Thousand Oaks tournament said they could compete, Meinhold said. City Section Commissioner Hal Harkness said Wednesday that City Section teams will be participating in league games during the last week of March.

Two years ago, tournament organizers encountered a similar problem, but schools received permission to compete in the tournament, Meinhold said.

"It's really too bad because it was such a good tournament," Meinhold said. "But we'll be back (in 1992)."

City schools will begin a year-round calendar next July, eliminating the spring break.

El Camino Real and Montclair Prep (a Southern Section school) have competed in the tournament since the Kiwanis assumed sponsorship in 1979 and instituted the 16-team format. El Camino Real, which lost in the City Section 4-A Division final last year, finished third in last year's tournament.

"It was well-run and had some very good teams," El Camino Real Coach Mike Maio said. "Our group always looked forward to going out there."

Montclair Prep Coach Walt Steele, whose team won the tournament last year en route to the Southern Section Division IV title, voiced a similar sentiment.

"We're disappointed," he said. "Now we're looking for games."

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