How the heck did Glendale, a team that scraped its way into the Southern Section Division I baseball playoffs with a losing league record, manage to pull off the biggest upset of the first round, a 6-2 victory against two-time defending 5-A champion Millikan?
"There was nothing special about it," Coach Chris Axelgard said. "We just played better than they did. We weren't intimidated."
The day before the game, Axelgard had the Dynamiters drive down to Blair Field in Long Beach to look at--yep, look at--the field on which the game would be played. Axelgard wanted his players to be comfortable in the 3,200-seat stadium.
Did driving 45 minutes to look at a field really help?
"It sure didn't hurt," Axelgard said. "When your alternative is not playing again until next February or March, a 45-minute drive doesn't seem that bad."
The Dynamiters, who were tied with Crescenta Valley at 7-8 in league play and earned the final playoff spot because they won two of three games against the Falcons, were led by pitcher David Gantt, second baseman Brendan Barrett and outfielder John Lister.
Gantt pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits, striking out two and walking two. Barrett and Lister were each three for four. Axelgard said the team became more confident as the game went on.
"It was 0-0 after the first and we thought, 'Guess what, we're not behind yet,' " Axelgard said. "After the second, it was 0-0 and we said, 'Hey we're still not behind yet.' "
The Dynamiters also picked up steam by getting out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the fourth inning with a double play that went pitcher to home to first.
"We just never let them get started," Axelgard said.
Now that baseball season is over, David Lamb has a major-league decision to make.
Lamb, a slick-fielding, good-hitting shortstop for Newbury Park High, already has signed to play at Pepperdine.
However, professional scouts spent the season watching Lamb, and they liked what they saw. What they have to say regarding baseball's amateur draft in June has Lamb cocking an ear.
Lamb estimates he has been approached by scouts from about 15 major league clubs.
"They've come over to the house and stuff like that," he said. "They talk to my parents. They just want to know what it's going to take to get me out of going to Pepperdine."
Lamb is beginning to wonder about that one himself.
Before the season began, Lamb said that accepting a scholarship would help him to concentrate on playing ball. He led the Panthers in batting average (.413), home runs (three) and runs batted in (21). He also dazzled scouts and spectators with vacuum-cleaner fielding and slick, on-the-run throwing.
"A lot of (scouts) think that within four or five years, I could be playing major league baseball," Lamb said. "They say I have the tools to be a major league shortstop."
Choosing the best road is the rub. This much Lamb knows: He won't go pro unless he is made an offer he can't refuse.
"I'm going to just wait and see with the draft," he said. "It depends on what round and what team, too. It'll definitely have to be in the high rounds."
Talk about timing.
Hart senior right-hander Gary Stephenson picked a perfect moment to become stingy.
Stephenson pitched the first no-hitter of his career in the Indians' 4-0 win over Hueneme in the opening round of the Southern Section Division II playoffs. It was the Indians' first no-hitter in three seasons.
"I was pretty stoked," Stephenson said. "It was cool to do it in a playoff game. Every game in the playoffs could be your last, so you get extra motivated. Everything was going my way."
Hueneme Coach Reg Welker agreed.
"We had one long fly ball to center field and the guy caught it over his head," Walker said. "That was it. He's one of the better pitchers we've seen this year."
Stephenson (9-3) struck out five and walked one, lowering his earned-run average to 0.89. His no-hitter was the first for Hart since Kevin Foderaro threw one in 1990.
"I was really happy with the defense . . . the guys clutched-up behind me," Stephenson said. "(Shortstop) Aron (Miyata) turned a great double play and (center-fielder) Mike (Espy) made a super catch."
Said Hart Coach Bud Murray: "No-hitters are tough enough to get during the regular season. Gary did a great job to do it in the playoffs."
It was an unpleasant re-run. Make that very unpleasant.
Burroughs lost at Placentia Valencia in its opening-round Division II playoff game, 13-10. As has often been the case, the Indians failed coming from ahead.
Burroughs coasted to a 7-1 lead in the second inning, then fell behind, 13-7, before scoring three in the top of the seventh to make it close. The story line is not new to Coach Terry Scott, who announced earlier he would resign following the Indians' final game.
The Indians (13-13) needed one victory in the final week of the regular season to win the first Foothill League championship in school history. They lost three in a row--including one game to league basement-dweller Burbank, 1-0.
"Everyone thought the game was done and we started celebrating real early . . . champagne corks were flying everywhere," Scott joked. "Seriously, we still have to learn a lot about winning."
NORTHWEST VALLEY CONFERENCE
Darren Angel has some unfinished business to attend to. Check back again this time next year and again in 1995.
Angel, a sophomore at Granada Hills and one of the best junior players in Southern California, won the City Section individual golf title Monday and led the Highlanders to the team crown.
Angel said he plans to win three individual titles before he is through. He trailed by five shots Monday with 11 holes to play, yet won by two shots over Art Weiner of Taft.
Angel fired a second-round 74, the low round of the 36-hole event.
"It's something I expect to do," Angel said. "I feel I should win three. If I don't, it'll be a real disappointment.
"I don't even want it to be close over the next two years."
In the old days, it was T-ball.
Then it became tee-ball.
Angel and Scott Golditch of Taft, who finished third in the individual competiTion, used to play on the same T-ball baseball team as 7-year-olds.
Golditch was the shortstop and Angel was a pitcher. The pair fired the two lowest scores of the day Monday in the second round of the City championships and played in the same foursome Wednesday during the first round.
VALLEY PAC-8 CONFERENCE
If there were awards for the conference's finest, they would go like this:
* Conference champion: It's a tie. Sylmar and Monroe both finished 15-2 in conference play and split in head-to-head competition.
* Biggest turnaround: North Hollywood. The Huskies finished 2-20 in 1992. This year North Hollywood had an 11-11 regular-season mark and clinched an at-large playoff berth. Next season could be even better: The Huskies will lose just three players to graduation.
* Most improved: Canoga Park. The Hunters were 4-52 in 1990-91-92. Canoga Park, which finished 6-15, eclipsed that win total in one season.
* Longest win streak: Sylmar. The Spartans are riding an eight-game streak.
* Batting champion: Monroe's Jorge Dorado hit a conference-high .485. His teammate, John Shellabarger, finished a very close second at .484.
* Big-time slugger: Poly's Bobby Iglesias, who slammed four homers, twice as many as anyone in the conference. Iglesias also led the Conference in runs batted in with 25.
* Cy Young Award: Sylmar's Carlos Velazco (10-1), a junior transfer from Hamilton, allowed eight earned runs in 63 innings (0.89 earned-run average).
What, Calabasas nervous?
Despite a team devoid of playoff experience, the Coyotes cruised to an 8-0 win over Santa Maria St. Joseph in their opening-round Division IV playoff game at Calabasas. Co-Coach Scott Drootin was not surprised by the one-sided victory.
"Well, (St. Joseph) probably felt we would have the jitters because we were making our first trip, but we knew the guys would be ready," he said. "We tried not to focus on it being our first playoff game. We were fresh, but we got in there and battled."
Calabasas (15-5-1), which won iTs first FrontiEr League title this season, was again led by junior Josh Morton.
Morton (8-3) pitched a two-hitter for his third consecutive victory and lowered his earned-run average to 0.79.
"His curveball was working the best it had all year," Drootin said. "His fastball was all over the place."
The walks eventually did stop.
However, not until the damage was complete.
Moorpark pitchers Richard Hernandez and Brian Garrettson combined to walk 13 batters in the Musketeers' 13-12 Division IV playoff loss to Santa Ynez in eight innings last Friday at Moorpark. Hernandez started and walked seven. Garrettson walked six.
Moorpark (14-9) trailed, 10-2, at the end of three innings but fought back and actually led, 11-10, entering the top of the seventh.
Santa Ynez tied the game in the seventh and scored twice in the top of the eighth on two hits and four walks.
"There we were three outs away from a (playoff) win but we just couldn't get it done," Moorpark Coach Dave Rhoades said. "You shouldn't win when you give up that many runs and walks."
Comebacks have been frequent at Fillmore.
However, Coach Tom Ecklund is tired of living on the edge.
The Flashes trailed Maranatha, 4-0, in the fifth inning before winning, 5-4, in the opening round of the Division V playoffs at Fillmore. The scene was a familiar one for Tri-Valley League-champion Fillmore.
"We've been doing that all year and it really bothers me," Ecklund said. "We're a better ballclub than that. We have to stop putting ourselves in that situation."
The Flashes' one-two pitching punch is swinging smoothly. Senior right-handers Jaime Duran and Louie Garza are each 7-2. Duran has a 2.32 earned-run average and Garza has a 2.13 ERA.
Staff writers Steve Elling, Jeff Fletcher, Vince Kowalick, Paige A. Leech and Jason H. Reid contributed to this notebook.