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HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL : Simi Valley Shows a Little Power, 7-1

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Shortly after Simi Valley High’s 7-1 Marmonte League baseball victory Wednesday at Channel Islands, Tim Nykoluk was mulling what he considered a silly question.

Did he know his sixth-inning home run was gone when it left his bat?

“Look at me,” the Pioneers’ slender second baseman said. “I’m not really a power hitter. Every ball I hit I don’t look for it to go out.”

But this home run, a two-run shot to center field, shouldn’t have come as that much of a surprise to Nykoluk, who is 5 feet 10 and 140 pounds “soaking wet and wearing combat boots,” he said.

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This home run was hit only about two feet farther than a third-inning line drive he hit that bounced off the top of the fence for a double.

Simi Valley Coach Mike Scyphers wasn’t surprised with Nykoluk’s show of power.

“He’s got some pop if he gets his pitch,” Scyphers said.

That was the key for Simi Valley. Pioneer hitters spent most of the game “getting their pitch.”

Channel Islands starter Kenny Long (1-3) was constantly behind in the count.

“When you don’t get the curveball over, guys are going to sit on the fastball,” Channel Islands Coach Al Tarazon said. “Simi Valley is a very good hitting team and they did that.”

Simi Valley (9-2, 3-0), which took sole possession of first place by beating the only other team that entered Marmonte League play without a loss Wednesday, had eight hits. Nykoluk, who had three runs batted in, and No. 9 hitter Robert Gonzalez were the only Pioneers with two hits.

But much of the Pioneers’ damage was done without even swinging the bat.

Long walked seven hitters and hit one. And even when he was getting the ball into the strike zone and past Simi Valley’s hitters, bad things happened. The Pioneers scored two runs because of dropped third strikes by Raider catcher Armando Magallanes.

Channel Islands (4-6, 2-1) also had problems when Simi Valley hit the ball.

The Raiders made five errors, including one in the seventh inning when Simi Valley’s Dan Schwartz stole second base and no one covered the bag, allowing an otherwise-perfect throw to sail into the outfield.

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By contrast to all that went wrong with Channel Islands, Simi Valley was errorless in the field and starter Casey Vermette (3-1) walked only one batter in six innings.

“If we can throw strikes and not walk people and play catch, we are going to be successful,” Scyphers said.

* HIGH SCHOOL ROUNDUP: C11

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