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Notebook / Ray Ripton : Roadrunners Run Up Football--Game Scores in Cruising to Baseball Title

June 06, 1985|RAY RIPTON

There is no truth to the rumor that baseball Coach Chuck Ice of Crossroads School has been interviewed to succeed John Hadl as head football coach of the Los Angeles Express.

Ice's Crossroads team ran up what looked like football scores in the CIF Small Schools Division playoffs and won the school's first CIF baseball championship last weekend. The Roadrunners ran wild in the title game, limiting Woodcrest Christian to what looked like a safety in an 18-2 rout.

Crossroads won its other playoff games by scores of 20-1, 35-2, 15-4 and 20-3. Only the first score would give you a hint that this was baseball, although Canadian pro football has a method of scoring one point called a rouge .

Though Crossroads ran roughshod over most of its Small Schools opposition, the baseball team will remain in the CIF Delphic League and the Small Schools division for the next two seasons. The CIF's biennial releaguing took place before the baseball championships.

Except for a couple of players who had graduated, Ice's team was essentially the one that lost last year's championship game to Newport Christian, 8-7. Crossroads was a strong team then--and much stronger this year, even though its ace pitcher last year, Matt Sklamberg, picked up an elbow strain this season and didn't pitch for a month and a half.

Sklamberg last year was co-player of the year in the Small Schools Division and co-player of the year in the Delphic League with Crossroads first baseman Tom Weber.

Ice thinks the reason that his team had such an easy time in the playoffs this year was that "the division was much weaker and we were much improved."

The team may have to do a lot of improving next year; Ice loses seven seniors, most of them named to All-Delphic League team.

The graduates include all-league first-teamers Sklamberg and Weber, who have played varsity baseball since they were freshmen, in Ice's first year at Crossroads, and three who have played since they were sophomores: Steve Furchner, a pitcher-outfielder who was the Delphic League player of the year this season; second-team all-league second baseman Jordan Matter and first-team all-league pitcher-shortstop Doug Pitkin. The other two departing seniors are all-league first-team outfielder Mike Czarnetzki and outfielder Adam Pfahler.

But Ice will have a strong nucleus of returning players. They include junior pitcher-utility man Noah Rosen, who was 11-0 and had five saves on the mound this year and last year set a CIF record with eight saves. Rosen was first-team all-league this year along with junior catcher-outfielder John Drimmer, who batted .429 this year.

Others coming back are freshman third baseman Nicky Satriano, all-league second team; sophomore outfielder Chris Melaten (a .375 hitter), sophomore third baseman Carl Distefano, a regular until he missed more than a month with a shoulder injury, and junior starting catcher Cliff Hughes.

Ice also has outstanding candidates from the junior varsity, including left-handed pitcher Mike LeBuffe, sophomore infielder Todd Marshall, catcher Eddie Lemple and outfielder Steve Solomon, whose brother Mike starred in baseball for Hamilton High School and Cal State Northridge.

Lemple and Solomon came up to the varsity for the playoffs and did well, Lemple going 5 for 7 at the plate with 3 runs batted in and Solomon hitting 3 for 6 with 4 RBIs.

The returnees and the newcomers could give Ice another powerhouse, and the coach was asked how he felt about a state tournament for high school baseball, which would give Crossroads a new world to conquer.

Said Ice: "I think it would be very interesting and very good for baseball in the state. The problem is that baseball finishes so close to graduation, and it would be tough to fit the playoffs into the schedules of individuals."

Brentwood School baseball players named to All-Delphic League teams are infielder Ian Lennard and outfielder Mark Hamilton, both first-team selections, and second-teamers Mike Kadish, a pitcher, and Steve Joyner in the infield.

Pepperdine teams in nine scholarship sports had a combined record of 224-91, a .711 winning percentage, during the 1984-85 school year. The men's volleyball team won conference and NCAA championships and four other teams won conference titles (water polo, basketball, baseball and tennis).

Six of the teams made the nation's top 20 this year, and four were in the top 10.

Since the fall of 1976, Wayne Wright's first year as Pepperdine's athletic director, the teams have a record of 1,631-877.

This year seven Pepperdine squads qualified for NCAA playoffs, including Coach Nina Matthies' women's volleyball team, which was 6-25 in 1983-84 but 24-15 this past season.

Six swimmers from Coach Rick Rowland's men's team qualified for the NCAA championships. Tennis player Kelly Jones, who won the NCAA doubles title in 1984 with partner Jerome Jones (no relation), won the national doubles title again this year, this time with Carlos DiLaura.

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