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Phillies Sign Boldt, Credit Legion Play

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The coach bemoaned the fact that the pitcher who had just baffled his team was not drafted and was not expected to attend college.

The pitcher had just held the coach’s team, which averages nine runs a game, without an earned run for seven innings. The coach, Craig Sturges of the Conejo American Legion team, characterized the fact that there was little professional interest in the opposing pitcher as “a crime and a real shame.”

It seems that somebody was watching after all. Sean Boldt, a right-hander from El Camino Real High and the staff ace of the Woodland Hills West American Legion team, signed a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.

Boldt, 18, is scheduled to report Thursday to the club’s rookie-league team in Martinsville, Va., a member of the Appalachian League. Boldt graduated last month from El Camino Real, where he compiled a record of 6-3 with an earned-run average of 2.67 as a senior.

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He also was 6-3 this summer for Woodland Hills West. Perhaps his best Legion outing came Saturday, when Boldt held eventual Area 6 champion Conejo to four hits over seven innings. Boldt also was a starter last season for West, which won the state Legion title, and played on West’s Legion World Series championship team in 1989.

“I was hoping for this,” Boldt said. “I wasn’t planning on playing Legion this summer because I had a job. But I decided to give baseball my all and it worked out for the best.”

Boldt was passed over in the June free-agent draft but was signed based on his performance in recent American Legion play by Philadelphia’s area scout, Dave Sirak. Terms of the contract were not revealed.

“He definitely has a lot of potential as a pitcher,” said Sirak, who has scouted Boldt over his last five Legion starts.

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Sirak said an element of luck was involved in Boldt’s signing. Sirak said he called the Philadelphia organization to discuss signing Boldt and learned that a pitcher at Martinsville had just been promoted, creating an opening. Otherwise, Boldt’s signing this late in the season probably would not have taken place, Sirak said.

Sirak acknowledged that Boldt’s aggressiveness and competitive streak were instrumental in the signing.

Boldt was a standout defensive back for the El Camino Real football team and earned All-City Section 4-A Division honors last fall. He had a team-high three interceptions and played rover for a defense that allowed an average of 178 yards a game.

Boldt (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) is expected to start four games at Martinsville before the end of the season. Win or lose, it should be exciting for him.

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“I’ll do something,” Boldt said, laughing. “I may (hit) the first four guys, but you’ll probably hear about it.”

Things seem to happen when Boldt takes the field.

“He’s kind of an enigma,” said West Coach Don Hornback, who has known Boldt for several years. “He’s the kind of kid who could really make it big or he could flop. But they won’t find anybody that wants it more than he does.”


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