* THE PROVEN: Crespi will challenge Notre Dame for the Mission League championship. The Celts' strength is up the middle with center fielder Andy Campanella, shortstop Zeke Morrow, second baseman Anthony Trejo and catcher Tim Mathews. If junior pitchers Michael Jackson and Tim Leveque can throw strikes, beware. Westlake starts out with three players who rank among the best at their positions--shortstop Scott Dragicevich, third baseman Kevin Howard and second baseman Ryan Cope. If the Warriors expect to win the Marmonte title, pitcher Jeff Boyle must come through with a big season. Royal has an outstanding left-hander in Mike Byer, but the Highlanders must develop a No. 2 pitcher. Camarillo is 59-20 in three years under Coach Scott Cline. Shortstop Jay Caligiuri, catcher Joe Yingling and pitcher Shane Miranda lead the Scorpions. Crescenta Valley returns seven starters from its 15-8 Pacific League championship team. Outfielder Nathan Barber could become a pro prospect. Infielder Mark McCauley is one of the region's best sophomores. Burroughs could repeat as Foothill League champs behind shortstop Tommy Perez and pitcher Tony Sandoval. Palmdale is favored to win the Golden League championship behind first baseman J.J. Rosati.

* THE PROMISING: St. Francis first-year Coach John Noce impressed people in winter ball. His main task is finding some pitching to go along with a good hitting attack that includes catcher Jim Hemming and outfielders Andy Lopez and Matt Blaney. Moorpark, with seven returning starters, will try to end Calabasas' reign as Frontier League champions. Catcher Taylor Slimak and shortstop Wes Rasmussen lead the Musketeers. Rio Mesa is the team to beat in the Channel League. The Spartans have one of the region's best group of juniors with 6-4 pitcher Greg Ramirez, 6-3 catcher Isaac Romero and 6-2 first baseman Ernie Borjas.

* FAST FACT: Royal Coach Dan Maye is coaching his fourth Egan brother, Bobby. He previously coached Will, Brian and Brent.

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