Although the Venice High School baseball team is undefeated through eight games in the Western League, Coach Jeff Shimizu has cautioned his players about today's game against second-place Westchester at 3 p.m. at Westchester.
"Westchester will come out very intense and they'll make it a close contest," Shimizu said.
The Gondoliers exploded for 13 hits in beating Westchester (6-2 in the league) two weeks ago, 8-7. Shimizu is wary of Westchester, which had 11 hits in that game, including two home runs, a triple and two doubles.
Western League defending champions, the Gondoliers have a strong cleanup batter in first baseman Colin Franker (.576 average) who has knocked in 40 runs. Franker, who was named to the All-City first team last year, leads the league with six home runs.
Other top Gondolier hitters are left fielder-pitcher Chico Garcia (.407 average, 28 RBIs), third baseman John Barba (.381 average, 18 RBIs) and right fielder Carl Jackson (.357 average, 12 RBIs).
Shimizu said pitcher John Vega (1.00 earned-run average) will start.
Last week the Gondoliers beat Palisades, 3-0, and Crenshaw, 15-3.
Venice will host last-place University at 3 p.m. Tuesday.