Kozlowski Stays Unbeaten; Simi Valley Remains Alive


Meet the Simi Valley High baseball team's starting rotation: Kary Kozlowski.

Kozlowski, a senior right-hander, started the Pioneers' 7-0 victory over Santa Monica in the second round of the Southern Section Division I playoffs Tuesday.

He also started Simi Valley's first-round victory over Alemany last week. And he'll start against top-seeded Fountain Valley in the quarterfinals Friday.

"He is hotter than a firecracker now and he is going to pitch," Simi Valley Coach Russ Stephans said. "We are not going to lose with other guys."

Kozlowski (8-0) pitched four scoreless innings, giving up two hits, striking out four and walking none. After Simi Valley took a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth, Stephans pulled Kozlowski in favor of Nathan Celusta.

Celusta pitched well too, striking out four in two hitless innings. Jeff Weaver pitched the seventh, striking out two.

Simi Valley (20-6) has won six in a row since the suspension of Coach Mike Scyphers pending police and school district investigations into possible financial and disciplinary improprieties. His absence doesn't seem to have hurt the Pioneers, who are wearing black caps as a tribute to Scyphers.

"Obviously six in a row speaks for itself," Kozlowski said. "We are playing pretty well right now, playing pretty loose."

Simi Valley scored all the runs it would need in the fourth inning. Tim Nykoluk tripled to drive in two and two scored on an error.

In the fifth, junior first baseman Jeff Michael blasted his third home run of the season, a booming shot to left field. Michael was the only player in the game with two hits.

"I don't care who we play next," Stephans said. "It's not an issue. If we play like we have the last four or five games, we'll be all right."

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