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HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK : Loophole Enables Unseeded Poly to Play Host

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So much for seedings.

The Chatsworth High baseball team, the defending City Section 4-A Division champion, was seeded fourth in the playoffs, which continue today with the quarterfinals.

It seems logical that the fourth-seeded team should be granted the home site when its foe is unseeded. That will not be the case today when Chatsworth visits Poly at 3 p.m.

Chatsworth, the West Valley League champion, originally was scheduled to be the home team. The site was changed Thursday, however, when it was pointed out to City officials that the Parrots shared the East Valley League title with Sylmar.

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Poly entered the playoffs as the No. 2 representative from the East Valley based on head-to-head competition with Sylmar. But, according to City rules, when two league champions--or co-champions--square off in the playoffs, the team with the best conference record plays at home.

Chatsworth was 13-3-1 in Northwest Valley Conference play; Poly was 15-2 in Valley Pac-8 Conference play.

“I think it’s something that needs to be looked at,” Chatsworth Coach Tom Meusborn said of the home-site selection criteria. “Otherwise, it gives both teams in that league (Sylmar and Poly) a big advantage.”

Man for two seasons: Howard Levine is probably best known as the boys’ basketball coach at Grant. He has taken the Lancers to the City 3-A semifinals in two of the past four seasons.

After Levine’s golf team won its first City title Wednesday, that could change.

“Wouldn’t you know it,” said Levine, whose basketball teams have averaged 19 victories over the past four seasons. “We win a golf title before we win one in basketball.”

Saturated praise: The loquacious Grant coach might have been a little caught up in the moment Wednesday when his enthusiasm reached a high-water mark.

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As Levine handed out trophies to his newly crowned City champions, he termed Josh Siegel’s second-round 72 “one of the greatest athletic performances in Grant history.”

He was just getting warmed up. As he presented a medal to sophomore Elise Kimm, who finished second in the girls’ individual competition, he called Kimm “the best sophomore athlete I’ve ever coached.”

Still on top: St. Bonaventure, which at one point had fallen into last place in the Tri-Valley League standings, secured its third consecutive league title with a 1-0 victory last week over Oak Park on a two-hitter by Jeff Wright.

The Seraphs (12-8, 8-4) have won eight of their past 10 games entering the Southern Section 1-A Division playoffs.

Close call: St. Bonaventure’s win placed the Seraphs in first place at 8-4 but created confusion for the runner-up position. Moorpark, Oak Park and Carpinteria all finished with 7-5 league records.

League officials used each team’s record in head-to-head competition to determine the league’s second and third representatives.

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Moorpark was designated No. 2 with its 4-2 record--3-0 against Carpinteria and 1-2 against Oak Park. Oak Park, which could have won its first league baseball title with a victory over St. Bonaventure, grabbed the final playoff berth with a 3-3 mark. Carpinteria was 1-4 and missed the playoffs.

Hot hitter: Antelope Valley catcher Jack Cox (.317 batting average, 14 runs batted in) played a big role in the Antelopes’ run to the Golden League title.

Antelope Valley (12-9, 10-5) won four games in a row to claim its first league title in three years, and Cox batted .545 (six for 11, two home runs, three RBIs, and seven runs) during the streak. He also walked three times and was hit by two pitches during that stretch for an on-base percentage of .688.

“Jack widened his (batting) stance a while ago and it’s starting to pay off,” Coach Ed t’Sas said.

Double duty: Tom Watson of Oak Park has divided his time between the baseball and golf teams.

The senior qualified for the Southern Section individual golf championships next Monday and is batting .350 for the baseball team.

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Because of a baseball-team policy that restricts players from starting if a practice is missed, Watson must play in a reserve role. He had a pinch-hit, bases-loaded double in a win against Bishop Diego.

Mr. Clutch: Hart has been involved in two extra-inning games this season, emerging victorious in both on game-winning hits with two out by Keith Halcovich. Halcovich hit a two-out single to drive in the winning run in the Indians’ 7-6 victory over Alhambra on Friday. In a 10-inning game against Burbank, the 6-foot-6 senior tripled in the go-ahead runs in a 5-2 victory.

Wait till next year: Notre Dame started its season with six consecutive wins and designs on a Mission League title, but the Knights ended their season with a 13-13 tie with Crespi and missed the playoffs.

Anybody looking for omens could see that the final score of Notre Dame’s final game represented a season marred by strange fortune and weird occurrences. At St. Paul, Notre Dame staged a two-out rally in the top of the seventh to take a lead, then saw it fizzle when St. Paul scored two in the bottom of the inning to win.

At Bishop Montgomery, Notre Dame fell behind, 12-1, then scored 12 runs in one inning to take a 13-12 lead. The Knights lost that game with two out in the seventh, 15-14. And Notre Dame led Crespi, 10-3, surrendered 10 runs in the fifth inning, then rallied back to tie the score in the seventh with two out and force extra innings. Appropriately, the game ended in a tie.

Staff writers Steve Elling, Kirby Lee, Brian Murphy and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.

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