Peninsula High's Garry Poe has enjoyed plenty of success in the 29 years he has been coaching high school baseball, but the 1995 Panthers may end up ranking among his most memorable squads.
Peninsula is 5-0, including a 3-1 victory over rival West Torrance in the semifinals of the El Segundo tournament last week. Among their other victims have been highly regarded Royal and El Segundo.
"I know that we'll be able to play with anybody," Poe said. "I feel real good about that and we're pretty hopeful about things."
Peninsula has ample experience, with five starters returning from last season's 16-11 team that finished 12-0 in the Bay League. Among the top players are senior designated hitter Dan Secrist, senior outfielder Andy Jensen and senior pitcher Matt Melnick.
"The (seniors) have been looking forward to this season for a long time," Poe said.
Peninsula's biggest test will come when they meet perennial Southern Section Division I power Millikan in the El Segundo tournament championship on date yet to be determined at El Segundo Recreation Park.
They are also entered in the Fresno Easter Invitational on April 10-12 in Fresno that will feature many of the top teams in the state.
In the Bay League, the Panthers will receive strong competition from West Torrance, Torrance and Santa Monica, among others.
COLOR, A NIGHT FOR STARS
Many of the top seniors in the South Bay will close out their high school careers whey they compete in the South Bay Athletic Club's fifth annual South Bay All-Star Boys and Girls Basketball Classic Friday at South Torrance High.
The girls will play at 5 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. The event will also include a three-point shooting competition and a slam dunk exhibition.
Among the players in the girls game are three All-City 4-A Division selections: guards Julie Thigpen and Jenille Ramos of Banning and center Diane Bell of Carson. Banning forward Sharolunda Kennon will also play in the game.
Peninsula also has three girls competing in the game: guards Allison Fortner and Tracy Rosen and forward Kathryn Foster-Kedie. Other top players include guard Andrea Miller and forward Leah Santa of Redondo, and guards Yannick Clay of Inglewood and Devyn Johnson of Morningside.
Among the top boys competing are guard Milton Palacio and forward Leonard Butler, who helped lead Serra to the Southern Section Division IV-A finals and into the state Division IV tournament. Palacio averaged 24.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists; Butler had 17.2 points and 12.2 rebounds.
The boys roster also includes guard Ahmad Holmes of Redondo, forward Marcus Boyd of Peninsula, the Morningside tandem of guard Anthony McNair and forward Chris Croom, and South Torrance guard Derek Brown. Guards Ben Sanders of Westchester and Kenzie Weir of Centennial will also compete.
Tickets, available at the door, are $5 for adults or students 12 and older or $3 for children 11 and younger.
Junior defender Derek Larkins, who led the Peninsula High boys soccer team to the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals, has been named defensive player of the year in the division.
The Panthers, seeded second in the playoffs before losing to Redlands, also placed midfielder Robert Helm on the second team. Forward Matt Ely of West Torrance and midfielder Carter Hernandez of Inglewood also made the second team.
The largest contingent of boys from the South Bay was on the All-Division II team. Topping the list were midfielders Mike McElroy of South Torrance and Juan Saenz of Mira Costa, both first-team selections.
South midfielder Mark Duncan made the second team along with defender Lars Ensberg of Redondo and forwards Alex Rodriguez of Bishop Montgomery and Peter Ryan of Mira Costa. Third-team choices were defenders Ben Gifford and Walt Jang of South and midfielder David Gellner of Mira Costa. Chadwick midfielder Travis Putnam also made the second team in Division V.
Among the top girls selected All-Southern Section was South senior midfielder Simone Ferrara, who made the Division II first team. Ferrara will attend UC Irvine in the fall.
Other South Bay players on the first team were forwards Michelle Kallas of Bishop Montgomery and Kristi Witzman of Mira Costa. Defender Tricia Simons of Bishop Montgomery made the second team and forward Holly Harris of South was chosen to the third team.
In Division I, defender Corrin Sales of North Torrance and forward Wendy Yokoyama of Torrance were named to the first team. Forward Christina Stewart of West Torrance and forward Lois Willard of North were picked to the second team. In addition, Chadwick placed forward Paula Thorrington on the Division III second team and midfielder Sarah Parsa on the third team.
MAKING THEIR MOVE?
Encouraged by a strong offensive performance in four nonconference games last week, the Cal State Dominguez Hills baseball team is scheduled to return to California Collegiate Athletic Assn. play tonight and Saturday against Cal State Los Angeles.
The Toros (14-9-1, 4-6 in CCAA play), ranked No. 12 in the NCAA Division II by Collegiate Baseball magazine, will visit Cal State L.A. at 7 tonight and the teams will play a doubleheader at noon Saturday in Carson. The Toros are third in the CCAA behind UC Riverside and Cal State San Bernardino.
In defeating Westmont and taking two of three games from Stanislaus last week, Dominguez Hills scored 21 runs and boosted its team batting average to .245. Senior outfielder Nate Jones, a transfer from Chico State, went four for 11 against Stanislaus to improve his batting average to .333.
Pitching has been the Toros' strength. They have a 2.40 earned-run average, led by senior starter Scott Veeder, who is 2-0 with an 0.96 ERA, and senior reliever Tony Velasquez, who is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA and seven saves.
Another top pitcher was junior Adam Hoyman, who improved his record to 2-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.76 with a decision in the team's 8-0 victory over Westmont last week.
ON THE RISE
The much-improved Cal State Dominguez Hills women's softball team will try to match its win total of last season when it plays host to Cal State San Bernardino in a California Collegiate Athletic Assn. doubleheader at noon Saturday.
The Toros (13-4, 1-1) swept a nonconference doubleheader from Azusa Pacific, 4-1 and 5-1, in their only games last week as sophomore pitcher Tamara Sagert earned the decision in both games. Sagert is 12-3.
Among the offensive leaders for Dominguez Hills is junior shortstop Kim Guerrero, who had four hits in the doubleheader against Azusa Pacific. She went three for three and drove in two runs in the second game against Azusa.
IT WAS NO VACATION
The Loyola Marymount women's softball team is closing in on a school record for most wins in a season.
The Lions (12-22), who struggled to a 3-8 record on a trip to Hawaii last week, need three victories to match their school record of 15 wins set in 1988.
Loyola plays three games in San Diego on Saturday, including a doubleheader against the University of San Diego and a single game against Santa Clara, and will play host to Santa Clara for a doubleheader at noon Sunday.
The Lions have been led by sophomore shortstop Anne Spahn, who has a .363 batting average, and junior third baseman Stephanie Fryar, who batted .324 and had seven runs batted in during the team's trip to Hawaii.
The Loyola Marymount women's tennis team is on its way to one of its best seasons ever.
The Lions (14-6) already have their most victories since garnering 17 in 1991 and have an outside shot at the school's all-time record of 22 wins set in 1987.
Perhaps even more encouraging is that six of the 10 players on Loyola's roster are freshmen. Leading the way is freshman Mara Colaizzi, who has a 22-4 record in match play.
The Lions play host to Santa Clara at 1 p.m. today, Oregon at 10 a.m. Saturday and Westmont at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Loyola Marymount junior first baseman Andy Collett ranks among West Coast Conference leaders in several departments.
Collett leads the conference in home runs with seven and is second in RBIs with 26 and hits with 33. Collett, who has a .320 batting average, is also among the 50 players listed on the ongoing Smith Super Team selected by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assn.
Loyola (5-21, 0-8) will be trying for its first conference victory when it plays host to San Francisco (11-11, 3-3) for three games. The teams play a single game at 2 p.m. Friday and a doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Applications are being accepted for the Ford/Pele Soccer College Scholarships for graduating high school seniors, high school graduates enrolling in college and college students who participate at the Pele Soccer Center in South El Monte.
Ten $1,000 scholarships will be awarded based on financial need, grade-point average, soccer skills and community service. Applications are with high school guidance counselors, soccer coaches and soccer organizations.
The deadline is April 3. Information: (818) 369-8693.
* Registration is under way for the Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Department's spring 16-inch slow-pitch softball leagues for men and women. Play begins in May. Organizational meetings are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for men's teams and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for women's teams at Joslyn Community Center, 1601 Valley Drive.
The cost is $425 a team, including a $50 refundable forfeit fee. Registration is at the department office, 1400 Highland Ave. Information: Charlie Saikley at (310) 545-5621, Ext. 321.
* The Southern California Over-the-Line Softball League is conducting registration for an over-the-line tournament for men's, women's and high school teams April 1 in Manhattan Beach.
The cost is $40 for men's or women's teams, or $25 for high school teams. Teams are guaranteed at least four games. Information: Russ Johnson at (310) 866-8685.