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HIGH SCHOOL DIGEST

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK : Sylmar Pitcher Is Roman Numeral Conqueror

March 18, 1987

Olonzo Woodfin IV, Sylmar High's ace left-hander, is piling up strikeouts and pitching statistics at a frantic pace, even faster than his family hands out Roman numerals. In fact, Woodfin already has XLI strikeouts in three appearances this season.

That's 41 strikeouts, in numerals that most statisticians would use. Woodfin, a 6-4 junior, has recorded those in just 17 innings--of 53 outs, 41 have been by strikeout. Woodfin's earned-run average is a minuscule 0.39 and his record is 3-0. He has allowed just three hits and seven walks.

So it's no surprise, then, that Big O's Ks have been a knockout at Sylmar (4-0).

"The school is pretty excited," Woodfin said. "Lots of people have been talking about us. The attention the team is receiving is really nice."

The difference between last season--when Woodfin was 6-4--and this one can be measured in more than statistics. Woodfin's attitude on the mound has come around as fast as his curve. The pitcher credits Coach John Klitsner.

"I have a lot more concentration and poise. Mostly, it was Coach who helped with that. He said a lot of people would be watching me and I'd have to keep my cool. He said if I kept my cool I'd do a lot better. So far, he's right."

Thus far, Woodfin's fastball-curve-changeup selection has chilled the opposition. On Thursday, he will start against hard-hitting Poly, an East Valley League rival ranked No. 1 in The Times Valley poll. Last season, Woodfin was 1-1 against the Parrots.

"I've heard they've been hitting the ball pretty good," Woodfin said. "I'm going to just try to do the things I've been doing this season. We think we can beat them."

If Sylmar continues to play at its present level, few would be surprised if Woodfin IV records his IVth victory of the season.

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