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Cal Lutheran Coach Wary of Giant-Killer

Kennedy Cosgrove and staff writers Fernando Dominguez, Mike Hiserman, Paige A. Leech, Theresa Munoz and John Ortega contributed to this notebook

Cal Lutheran is ranked second among NCAA Division III baseball teams, but Coach Rich Hill isn’t taking anything for granted in the Kingsmen’s opener today against Christ College in Irvine.

Area baseball fans might recall that it was tiny Christ College that knocked off Cal State Northridge, a Division I opponent, in Northridge’s opener last year.

“I was there, watching,” Hill said. “We saw that whole thing unfold. It was unbelievable.”

Pat Norville, Cal Lutheran’s ace left-hander, will start against Christ College. Norville will go the first three innings with three or four other Kingsmen pitchers splitting the rest of the workload.

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Being big and strong is one thing, and being a power hitter in baseball is another. Ben McEnroe, who plays center on the Cal Lutheran football team, learned the hard way.

McEnroe won a lottery to get the chance to hit 10 batting-practice pitches at Cal Lutheran’s annual Midnight Madness baseball practice last Saturday.

It was billed as a home run-hitting contest. Perhaps it should have been called dribbler’s derby.

“He never hit a home run,” Hill said. “The fans were all over him.”

But did he come close?

No, not even close.

“Well, I think he might have hit the fence on two hops once,” Hill said.

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UNCERTAINTY

Cal State Northridge women’s basketball Coach Kim Chandler is coaching in an unusual, tenuous situation.

Chandler, 27, was hired in December, 1991 after Janet Martin was forced to resign. Chandler was an “emergency hire,” an interim coach, and her contract expires at the end of this season.

Northridge currently is conducting a standard job search, accepting applications from around the nation, and Chandler, 6-30 as the Matador coach, is required, as is any other candidate, to formally apply.

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Chandler said she has not yet reapplied but plans to.

“It is kind of awkward,” Chandler said. “You don’t know what the future holds. You can only control so much in a coaching situation--look at (recently fired California men’s basketball Coach) Lou Campanelli.”

TOUGH LUCK

Amy Marks is hoping her luck holds. The Northridge junior has made it through the first four weeks of the tennis season, a milestone considering her history.

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Two years ago, Marks missed the season because of a knee injury. Last season, she suffered a broken collarbone in a freak accident after her first match.

Intent on catching the last few minutes of a Northridge men’s basketball game, Marks and her teammates drove directly from their match at UC Irvine to the Northridge campus.

After the game, Marks stood on the first row of the bleachers, socializing.

A casual friend came over, tried to carry her over his shoulder against her wishes and accidentally dropped her on her head.

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For eight weeks, her right arm was pinned against her chest, and she didn’t swing a racket for four months.

Marks, who Northridge Coach Tony Davila calls the team’s best athlete, is determined to avoid injury this season. She did not ski over the winter and has given up roller-blading.

Marks is 6-1 at No. 5 singles.

IS IT GONE?

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Northridge senior Missy Cress looked like a veteran home-run hitter last week against UC Santa Barbara.

In her first plate appearance of 1993, Cress ripped a 1-and-1 pitch over the left-center-field fence. It was the Matadors’ first of the year.

For Cress, it was the first of her career.

“After I hit it, I thought it was a double,” Cress said. “I was almost at second base when I realized. . . . I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never hit one over the fence in my life.

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“I did not know how to behave. I was all, ‘Please don’t fall down.’ ”

DEBUT NO. 2

Two years ago, Amy Windmiller threw a no-hitter for Fresno State in her collegiate softball debut.

Last week, in her first game for Northridge, Windmiller tossed a one-hitter to help the Matadors beat UC Santa Barbara, 4-1. But Windmiller, a junior transfer from Sacramento City College, wasn’t completely satisfied.

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“I was really nervous,” Windmiller said. “I tried to overthrow. . . . I tried to throw strikes hard and you can’t do that.”

Windmiller struck out nine.

LOOKING FOR THE DEUCE

Valley men’s basketball Coach Jim Stephens, who plans to retire after this season, needs two more victories to reach 600 in his 31-year high school and college coaching career.

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And if the Monarchs (7-19, 2-5 in division play) can at least match their results from the first go-around with their next three opponents, Stephens will reach the magic number.

Valley will travel to Canyons tonight and to West L.A. on Wednesday before ending the season at home against Glendale next Saturday.

The Monarchs beat Canyons, 96-82, on Jan. 27 and West L.A., 56-50, three days later. Both games were at Valley. They lost at Glendale, 74-71, on Feb. 3.

CSUN’s Collins Eligible to Return

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Cal State Northridge women’s basketball player Alana Collins, who sat out the Matadors’ two most recent games because her academic eligibility was in question, received a grade change in one of her courses and will be eligible to play the remainder of the season, Coach Kim Chandler said Friday.

Collins, a freshman forward, is second on the team in rebounding (5.9 average) and sixth in scoring (4.8).


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