Paraclete High plays its home baseball games at Rawley Duntley Park in Quartz Hill and practices on an on-campus field. However, the team was unable to conduct workouts for nearly a week because its practice field, which is located near a natural wash, was flooded.
“There were six inches of water on the infield,” Coach Andy Gavel said. “You could have Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers singing ‘Islands in the Stream’ on the pitching mound. I could bring my world history class out there to witness the flooding of the Nile.”
After the rains had subsided, a muddy infield also presented problems. “It prevented us from working on sliding technique. If a kid doesn’t go headfirst, he doesn’t go anywhere. He’s a beached whale,” Gavel said.
Add rain: With the first- and second-round games of the El Segundo and Westside baseball tournaments postponed because of rain, many of the surviving teams are tentatively penciling in their dates for the championship rounds.
Five area teams kept March 1, 2, 6 and 8 open for the El Segundo tournament and 18 teams kept March 1, 2, 5, 8 and 9 free for Westside games. Now, the surviving teams will be forced to squeeze in tournament contests between league games.
El Segundo tournament officials said the teams in the consolation round “will have to choose a mutually agreeable date to play the game.”
The championship semifinals of the Westside tournament will take place later this month and no date has been set for the championship game. In the Westside’s Red Division, Chaminade was scheduled to play Rio Mesa on Wednesday in one semifinal but that game was rained out. In the other semifinal, Channel Islands will play host to Hueneme on March 23.
On Saturday, Notre Dame will travel to San Pedro for a Blue Division semifinal, but no date has been set for the Canyon-St. Bernard semifinal.
Going home again: When Thousand Oaks competes in the Visalia Invitational from March 25-27, it will mark a homecoming of sorts for Coach Jim Hansen.
One of the 16 teams competing is Mt. Whitney, from which Hansen graduated in 1955 after an all-star pitching career. In 1957, Hansen was the most valuable player at College of the Sequoias, which won the state championship. The catcher on that team was Jim Garret, who now is the head coach at West Tulare, which also will compete in the tournament.
“I have a little anxiety because I want us to make a good showing,” Hansen said. “Visalia has always been a great baseball town and they take their baseball very seriously. I sure want us to play well.”
Bourne, again: Travis Bourne played first base for Kennedy’s 1989 City 4-A championship team. His younger brother Troy is a senior pitcher-first baseman this season. David Bourne, a sophomore, is the starting catcher for the Golden Cougars.
But wait, there’s more. Much more. According to Kennedy Coach Manny Alvarado, there are seven Bourne offspring--all of them boys. “There will be Bournes at Kennedy long after I’m through,” Alvarado said.
A pox on our defense: Without pitching and defense, San Fernando baseball Coach Steve Marden says it will be a long season.
“We can make maybe one a game, but any more than that and we’re in trouble,” Marden said about errors.
Over the Tigers’ first four games, defense generally was absent and the team proved him correct--San Fernando split its first four decisions.
The Tigers committed 19 errors in four games. Last season, for instance, San Fernando made a mere 21 errors over its 17-game Northwest Valley Conference schedule.
The return of two sidelined starters, third baseman Alfredo Hernandez (chickenpox) and catcher Jose Nunez (sprained ankle) should shore up the team, Marden said. Their bats won’t hurt, either. Nunez started at first base last week against Cleveland and had three hits.
Coaching corner: A pair of former All-City players have joined the coaching ranks of Northwest Valley Conference teams.
Frank Serna, who four seasons ago as a sophomore right-hander was named to the All-City team, is a pitching coach at his alma mater, San Fernando.
Pete Redfern, a former All-City pitcher from Sylmar High, is coaching pitchers at Chatsworth. Redfern, who played at USC and for the Minnesota Twins, coached the Chatsworth American Legion team last summer.
Injuries: Alemany, expected to start slowly because of a lack of experience, hit a bump in the road in its first two weeks of play.
Senior second baseman Tom Anderson will be sidelined for two to three weeks because of a hairline fracture of the ring finger on his throwing hand. Starting right fielder Chris Gallagher will be out two to three weeks because of a severely sprained ankle.
Bright days ahead: Notre Dame is enjoying some youthful energy, sophomore pitchers Chris Leveque and Chris Garza helping the Knights to a 3-0 start.
Leveque, in particular, has been effective. The left-hander is 2-0 and has yet to allow an earned run.
“He has a lot of poise,” Coach Bob Mandeville said. “He handles his head really well out there and that’s the key to his success.”
Winning despite loss: The Simi Valley softball team swept a doubleheader Saturday, beating Dos Pueblos, 7-0, and Burroughs, 7-2, without the help of ace pitcher Heather Santiago.
Santiago (10-6, 0.64 earned-run average last season), sustained a pulled quadriceps before the season and will not return for a few weeks.
However, Santiago’s absence set the stage for freshman right-hander Sara Griffin, who threw a one-hitter against Dos Pueblos in her debut. Griffin also went two for three with two runs batted in.
Add debut: Alemany sophomore pitcher Tanya Ortiz (1-0) handled her first career start like a veteran last week, throwing a no-hitter to beat Burbank, 6-1.
Toughening up: Burbank Coach Dave Johnson expected his team to struggle during its preleague schedule, but that was according to plan. Burbank lost a doubleheader to Righetti and has beaten Hoover and Alemany. Johnson purposely upgraded the schedule to include tougher competition.
“A typical Burbank team is 3-0 or 2-1 at this point,” Johnson said. “It’s nice to have a good record, but you don’t know anything about the team because you are never tested. The intent of the preseason is to learn your capabilities.”
Mike Glaze and staff writers Steve Elling, Kirby Lee, Paige A. Leech, Brian Murphy and Jeff Riley contributed to this notebook.