Softball ace Sara Griffin of Simi Valley High thought she had seen the last of those extraordinary extra-inning games. Monday she found out she was wrong.
It took 22 innings and nearly four hours for Simi Valley to defeat Westlake, 2-0, in a Marmonte League game. For Griffin, it was a reprise. Last season against Thousand Oaks, she pitched 24 innings in a 0-0 tie called because of darkness.
"I never thought I would play another game like that," Griffin said.
To make matters worse, Griffin has suffered from a broken blood vessel in her pitching arm throughout the season and is under doctor's orders to "Advil, ice and rest it as much as possible."
Griffin iced her arm between innings late in the game Monday, but that did little to help combat the mental fatigue.
"After the 14th inning, I was like, 'What?. . . . Just pitch?. . . . OK.' "
Griffin (18-1), who scored the first run in the 22nd on a throwing error, struck out 19, allowing seven hits and one walk.
On the other end was Westlake's Kelly DeArman (11-12), who also lasted 22 innings only to lose on the unearned run.
EAST VALLEY LEAGUE
Some would call Sylmar lucky. Others might say the Spartans' comeback victory in the seventh inning against Grant on Monday is the sign of a resourceful team.
Given the chance to choose, Sylmar Coach Gary Donatella picked the former.
"We didn't deserve to win," Donatella said. "Grant outplayed us--totally."
Nonetheless, when Sylmar, the state's fifth-ranked team, had its back against the wall, the Spartans (22-3, 13-0 in league play) prevailed.
Trailing, 5-2, Sylmar scored four runs with two out in the bottom of the seventh. With a runner at third, Grant starter Tony Iovino walked one batter and hit another before walking in a run. Reliever Walter Rios hit Mario Cervantes with his first pitch to make the score, 5-4.
Jose Palacios' two-strike single drove in the tying and winning runs and Sylmar escaped with its third one-run victory in a row and extended its winning streak to 18.
WEST VALLEY LEAGUE
Timing Is Everything
Only a couple of weeks after the Marmonte League rescinded--to much applause--its much-publicized ban on postgame handshakes, a Reseda baseball player attacked an opponent during the postgame handshake Thursday.
After Reseda's Alonzo Arreola punched Chatsworth's Bryan LaCour in the stomach and knocked him to the ground after Chatsworth's 7-2 victory, Arreola was suspended for the remainder of the season by Coach Mike Stone.
Stone said Monday that the idea behind the handshake ban makes a certain amount of sense. "I've never seen a winning team have difficulty shaking hands, but the losing team--it's asking for something," he said. "Especially after football games, when players have been beating on each other for a couple hours and then have to go shake hands."
Arreola, a junior third baseman, was one of the Regents' top players. He finished his season hitting .454 with three home runs and 10 runs batted in.
Stone hopes the suspension will impress upon Arreola and the Regent players the severity of the incident.
"The worst thing is, it's a black eye to the sport of baseball," Stone said.
Arreola also plays football for the Regents, but City Section Commissioner Barbara Fiege does not expect that his football eligibility will be affected.
"It appears that Reseda High has handled it in a good manner," Fiege said.
Fiege said the City would review the incident when it meets in three weeks, a routine procedure in disciplinary cases.
Around the Leagues. . . .
* Freshman third baseman Tami Freedman of Montclair Prep has hit 11 home runs--two short of the Southern Section single-season record--and has hit homers in her past six games. She is batting .549 (28 for 51) with a .641 on-base percentage. She also has 18 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
* Rio Mesa's baseball team completed a worst-to-first turnaround when it clinched the Channel League title Monday. The Spartans (17-5, 10-2) were 4-10 in the league last season and finished last.
* Alemany's baseball team clinched a playoff spot last week and catcher Rob Glenn played a big role. In two games, the 6-foot junior went four for six with one home run and seven RBIs.
* Newbury Park pitchers have a 2.13 earned-run average and have held opponents to a .232 batting average.
* After the Camarillo baseball team overcame an 0-4 league start with five consecutive victories, the Scorpions lost their next three games, falling out of playoff contention.
Kennedy Cosgrove and staff writers Jeff Fletcher and Paige A. Leech contributed to this notebook.
Baseball Top 10
Rankings of Valley-area high schools by sportswriters of The Times:
Rk LW Team League W-L 1 1 Sylmar East Valley 21-3 2 2 Chatsworth West Valley 22-3 3 4 Newbury Park Marmonte 18-5 4 5 Hart Foothill 19-4 5 3 Poly East Valley 18-3 6 6 Crescenta Valley Pacific 15-5 7 7 Notre Dame Mission 16-5 8 8 Moorpark Frontier 19-3 9 9 Rio Mesa Channel 18-5 10 10 El Camino Real West Valley 17-5