Aaron Whitley claims to be 5-foot-7, a figure that can be disputed quicker than one can grab a measuring stick. No one, however, can dispute the numbers Whitley produces as a Simi Valley High athlete.
Whitley, a junior, appears too fragile to be a wide receiver. But he averaged nearly 12 yards a reception for Simi Valley's football team last fall.
As the No. 2 hitter for the baseball team, Whitley is supposed to spray line drives, draw walks and steal bases.
Yet Tuesday against Crespi, he hit a 340-foot triple that led to the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. In his next at-bat, Whitley hit a 360-foot home run that gave the Pioneers the eventual winning runs in a 6-4 nonleague victory at Pierce College.
The two-run homer was the second this season for Whitley, who Simi Valley Coach Mike Scyphers says is stretching the facts when it comes to his height.
"(Whitley) is lying," said Scyphers, who claims to be 5-8. "He's 5-6. I'm two inches taller than he is."
The only measurement that mattered was the 360-foot mark in right-center field. Whitley cleared it on a 1-1 pitch from Phil Aghajanian (2-1) with two out in the seventh, extending Simi Valley's lead to 6-2.
Simi Valley (4-1), ranked No. 1 in The Times' regional poll, overcame two errors that led to two unearned runs in the seventh for No. 2 Crespi (4-1).
Simi Valley took a 2-0 lead in the third on Jason Alcala's run-scoring triple and Ryan Briggs' run-scoring groundout. Crespi, which wasted leadoff doubles by Victor Seper in the second and fourth and left three runners in scoring position through four innings, ended Bill Scheffels' shutout bid in the fifth with consecutive doubles by Jeff Suppan and Dan Arnold. Crespi tied the score, 2-2, when a Simi Valley error allowed Arnold to score with two out.
Whitley, who was three for four, led off the sixth with a triple and Kevin Nykoluk (two for three) singled him home to give Simi Valley a 3-2 lead. With two out, Britten Pond doubled and scored on two errors, extending Simi Valley's lead to 4-2.
After Whitley's two-run homer in the seventh, Scheffels (2-1) withstood Crespi's rally in the bottom half of the inning. Scheffels, a sophomore right-hander, allowed only one earned run and benefited from three double plays.
Whitley's power surge didn't hurt either.
"He's more of a hit-and-run type guy who also can go the other way," Scyphers said of Whitley, who is 11 for 17.
"But any power he wants to possess is fine with me."