Brad Bierley may be the last word in the coaching axiom that the best thing about underclassmen is they become upperclassmen. The Pepperdine University senior now owns nearly every career baseball record at the school and will take possession of two more shortly.
Bierley has had a solid college career out of Rolling Hills High but his power explosion has been unexpected this season. Says a Pepperdine spokesman, "I think even he's kind of surprised. It's like 'When will it end,' but so far it hasn't ended."
Indeed, Bierley had a seven-home-run weekend recently and hit two more in a double-header Saturday against Loyola Marymount to go with a double Friday--his first extra base hit in conference that wasn't a homer. The 6-2, 190-pound outfielder came into the week with 25 homers in 51 games--the school career record was 22 and the season record was 11--to go with team highs in batting (.367), hits (73), runs batted in (64), runs (53) and slugging (.804). Add in 25 stolen bases, 5 doubles and 4 triples and flawless outfielding and there's little doubt who will be the West Coast Athletic Conference player of the year.
Bierley has Pepperdine career records in homers with 33 (breaking the record of 22 by Bob Helsom out of El Segundo), triples (15), RBIs (162) and runs (164), and is second in games played (215) and hits (211). He needs three games and seven hits to break those marks.
One theory for Bierley's emergence is his shift to the outfield from third base where he set another team record last year--22 errors. Whatever the reasons, Bierley has blossomed. His decision to turn down an offer from the St. Louis Cardinals last year appears sound. Bierley may lead the fourth-ranked Waves to the college World Series, and his market value may go up as dramatically as his statistics.
The South Bay sports wedding of the year will take place May 17 when Irish track star Monica Joyce marries Fred LaPlante, USC women's track coach. The two Hermosa Beach residents planned to marry May 18 but discovered that the Pepsi Invitational Meet is being held that day, so they moved up the wedding to accommodate the meet.
Joyce, 27, a former San Diego State star, has a strong track background but has been running--and winning--most of the major road races in the area in the past few years. She ran in the Olympic 3,000 meters for Ireland last summer.
Signings: Loyola Marymount University Coach Dave Snow has signed four baseball players for next year--high school star Robert DeJardin of Mater Dei and junior college transfers Mark Stomp and Fred Tuttle from Orange Coast College and Jim Bruske from Antelope Valley.
DeJardin, an infielder for the CIF's top-rated team, batted .450 as a junior and is hitting .386 in leadoff this year. Stomp, a left-handed pitcher, is 5-4 this year and was 4-0 as a freshman at Orange Coast. He was Angelus League player of the year two years ago at Mater Dei. Tuttle, an outfielder-first baseman out of Ocean View High School, hit .345 for a freshman at Orange Coast and is hitting .290 this year. Bruske is batting .404 with four homers and 29 runs batted in for Antelope Valley as an outfielder and as a pitcher is 5-0 with three saves and 85 strikeouts in 54 innings.
At Cal State Dominguez Hills, basketball Coach Dave Yanai has signed three Southland prep standouts: Darrell Gordon of Morningside, Tony Thomas of Fairfax and Anthony Blackmon of Wilson.
Gordon, a 6-3 guard, was named most valuable player in the Pioneer League in leading the Monarchs to the CIF 3-A championship. He averaged 16 points. Thomas, a 6-5 forward, was The Times' Westside player of the year and led Fairfax to the City 3-A title, averaging 17.5 points and 6 rebounds. Blackmon, a 6-6 center, averaged 19.8 points and 19 rebounds to lead Wilson to the City 3-A semifinals. He earned all-City first-team honors.
The Toros also signed two star women, point guard Sheri Martin from Cerritos College and center Lecia Codrington from Los Angeles City College. The 5-6 Martin from Downey High set a Cerritos record with 13 assists in a game and shot 81% from the free-throw line for a career mark. Codrington, 5-11, averaged 14.4 points and 12.1 rebounds. Sh is a graduate of Marshall High.
Chuck Codd, an all-CIF soccer player at South Torrance High, has signed a letter of intent to attend North Carolina State on a full scholarship. Codd, a midfielder, is on the junior national team and has been selected a youth All-American and a high school All-American by the National Coaches Assn. and was named to the Adidas All-American team this week.
Codd will be on display June 29 as one of two Californians in the East-West Soccer Classic for high school stars. The game will be played at West Point in New York. Codd is one of the first West Coast players to be recruited by an Eastern power and came to the school's attention as a member of the junior national team.