Garcia Ends Everything He Begins


Ricardo Garcia will be the starting pitcher today for Hueneme High, which travels to Newhall to play Hart in a Southern Section Division II first-round playoff baseball game.

Surprise, surprise.

Garcia was the starter Tuesday in Hueneme’s 9-0 wild-card win over San Luis Obispo, and he was the starter in the regular-season finale against Ventura.

Garcia started the game before that. And the game before that. And the game before that.

Garcia (5-feet-9, 150 pounds), a durable and determined senior right-hander, will be starting for the Vikings for the sixth consecutive game.


“The guy is not tired and he doesn’t have a sore arm,” Hueneme Coach Reg Welker said. “If the kid couldn’t pitch, I wouldn’t put him out there. He’s a battler.”

And a workhorse.

Garcia (7-3, three saves) has appeared in 19 of the team’s 25 games, pitching 86 2/3 innings. He has appeared in the past seven games and has logged 10 innings--the maximum weekly allowance under Southern Section rules--in each of the past three weeks.

Garcia was doubly effective down the stretch as Hueneme (14-11) won seven of its final eight games to finish 9-5 and edge Buena for third place.

In his last six decisions, Garcia is 5-1 with a 1.08 earned-run average and has held batters to a .193 batting average. For the season, his ERA is 2.26.

Wear and tear? It has belonged to opponents.

“My arm is doing OK,” Garcia said. “I sit down and get my rest. After the game, I ice it down and then I’m fine.

“I’m anxious to pitch. The coach asks me, and I’m glad to do it to help out the team.”



As baseball season ended for Oxnard and Ventura, so too ended the high-profile high school careers of Larry Bumpus and Derek Swafford.


Bumpus, a three-year, three-sport athlete for Oxnard, and Swafford, an All-County tailback who rushed for 1,193 yards and 18 touchdowns last fall for Ventura, played out the season as outfielders for sputtering teams.

“It’s been fun while it lasted,” said Bumpus, who started at point guard for the varsity basketball team. “But now it’s time to move on.”

The future of both appears to be in football.

Bumpus will attend Oregon State as a quarterback, Swafford will attend Northwestern as a running back. Both received scholarships.

But they also plan to play baseball in college.

“I prefer football, but I want to play baseball too,” said Bumpus, who rushed for 887 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall.

This spring, Bumpus batted .302 for the Yellowjackets (8-13), who finished tied for fifth with Ventura at 5-9.

Swafford batted .333 with 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts. Ventura finished 10-15 overall.



Ryan Hankins can count on one batting glove the number of home runs he has hit this season at Simi Valley.


Hankins, a senior third baseman for the Pioneers, has homered at home against Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Agoura and Royal.

All of which is somewhat surprising, considering the cozy confines at Simi Valley. And the fact that Hankins, who slugged four home runs last week, including a school-record three in a game at Channel Islands, leads county players with 12 homers.

The left-field fence at Simi Valley, only 300 feet from home plate, has long been one of the area’s shortest porches. One reason Hankins has hit only a third of his homers at home might be because Simi Valley has played only about a third of its games there.

The Pioneers (23-3), who play host to Loyola today in the opening round of the Southern Section Division I playoffs, have played only eight home games.

Regardless, Hankins prefers hitting on the road.

“The ball doesn’t really carry there,” Hankins said of Simi Valley. “I like hitting away from home. You can see that I do.”

Last week, Hankins raised his runs-batted-in total to 50 this season, breaking the school record of 46 set by Shaun Murphy in 1985. . . .


Junior Keith Smith of Newbury Park is one double shy of tying the school’s single-season record of 10, shared by Lloyd Wood (1985) and Dan Smith (1988). Newbury Park (17-8) will play host to Bell Gardens in a Division I opener today.

Freak injuries continue to plague Royal. The Highlanders (15-9) will open the Division I playoffs today at Hoover without reliever Maki Kramer and outfielder Bryan Fernandez.

Kramer, a junior right-hander, suffered a broken bone in his throwing hand last week in an off-campus fight. Fernandez, a senior, suffered a twisted right ankle stumbling down a flight of stairs.

Earlier this season, Fernandez injured his left ankle in a mountain-biking accident.

“He has his ankle in a brace,” Coach Dan Maye said. “And then he shows up to practice with his other ankle in a brace.”

Royal has survived injuries to first baseman Brian Del Monte (broken hand), shortstop Joel Mellinger (stretched knee ligaments) and third baseman Mike Boggs (sprained ankle).

Jamal Nichols and Clint Harris of Thousand Oaks came up short in bids to eclipse school records this season.


Nichols, a senior outfielder, stole 37 bases, one shy of the single-season record set by Ryan Kritscher in 1991. Harris, a senior designated hitter who batted .529, had 37 hits, two shy of the school record set by Kurt Stillwell, now with the San Diego Padres, in 1983.


Simi Valley is not expected to name a replacement for Coach Stan Quina until at least Wednesday, Athletic Director George Ragsdale said. Applications will be accepted through today by the Simi Valley Unified School District.



Maybe they can compare checking accounts over dinner when the game is over.

When Buckley faces Orange Lutheran today in the first round of the Southern Section Division V playoffs, the coaches will have plenty in common.

Orange Lutheran Coach Jeff Pressman, who formerly coached at Montclair Prep, founded and once owned the Valley Cardinals Baseball Camp. Buckley Coach Rick Weber later bought the camp, and has since resold it. They remain close friends.



Valery Calkins of Thousand Oaks and Alexis Larsen of Harvard-Westlake shared a bond last weekend at the Southern Section swimming championships. Both posted excellent times and both were one-upped.

The catch was, Larsen one-upped Calkins.

In the Division I finals, Calkins posted the second-fastest high school time in the nation this year in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:51.01.


Larsen set a Division III record in the 200-yard individual medley Friday in the preliminaries, swimming 2 minutes 6.13 seconds.

Moments later her mark was broken by Ginny Farmer of San Luis Obispo (2:05.76).

So Larsen took an unintentional measure of revenge the next day.

She swam the 500 in 4:50.07, at the Division III finals, passing Calkins and Washington’s Leslie Mix for the fastest prep mark in the country this year.


About face.

Forward march.

Chaminade pulled off an impressive turnaround this season under first-year Coach Dave Desmond, and next year looks even better.

In 1992, Chaminade was 4-22 and finished last in league play at 1-11. This season, the Eagles improved to 13-13 and tied for fourth in the league at 6-8. Only two players from among the team’s eight position players are graduating this year.

“Our feeling is that we’re really excited for the seniors who suffered for so long,” Desmond said. “As far as the underclassmen go, we know we still have work to do because we don’t want to viewed as an average team next year.”



What’s a good glove worth? Plenty.

Palmdale (18-4-1) played 12 games this season without committing an error, Coach Kent Bothwell said. Palmdale finished second in league play and earned a Southern Section Division III playoff berth.


Meanwhile, Antelope Valley’s defense didn’t exactly set the High Desert afire.

The Antelopes, who lost their last four games to miss the playoffs by a game, committed at least one error in each of their 21 games game and committed multiple errors in 19.

Coach Ed t’Sas said Antelope Valley allowed an average of 3.9 unearned runs a game--and he hasn’t even added up the total number of E’s committed by his team.

The coach is still reeling.

“I’m still in shock,” t’Sas said Tuesday. “I still can’t believe it. What happened?”

In a word: losses.

Antelope Valley was on top of the world two weeks ago. The hard-charging Antelopes were 8-3 in league play and needed just one victory over their final four games to earn a playoff berth as the third-place team.

But they lost all four--and scored a mere nine runs over that stretch. The Antelopes averaged 9.2 runs before tailing off down the stretch.

“We needed one win to make the playoffs and I think everybody was thinking league title,” t’Sas said. “I preached and preached and preached that this was nothing, that we still had work left to do.”

A disconcerting end, no doubt about it. Antelope Valley (8-13, 8-7) took two of three games from every team in the league except Palmdale, which recorded a three-game sweep. . . .


After entering last week with three losses in a row, Quartz Hill needed two victories to win the league crown.

Outfielder-pitcher Freddy Coleman was up to the task. In a 7-2 win over second-place Palmdale, Coleman was the winning pitcher, doubled twice and drove in four runs.

In a win over Burroughs of Ridgecrest, he was five for five and drove in five runs to lead Quartz Hill to its first outright league title. . . .

The season of Antelope Valley third baseman Eric Cole ended last week a loss to Highland, but he posted offensive marks that match up with almost any player in the region.

A senior, Cole batted .480 with 10 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 34 RBIs. All were team highs.

Highland, a team that swung some big bats, might have possessed the biggest boppers in the area.


Burly seniors Jim Reel and Tim Pennell displayed considerable power this year.

Reel is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, while Pennell is 6-4, 240.

They entered the week batting .423 and .424.

Kennedy Cosgrove and staff writers Steve Elling, Jeff Fletcher and Vince Kowalick contributed to this notebook.