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College Digest

BASEBALL : Vatcher, Rapp Are All-Region Choices

May 21, 1987

Jim Vatcher and Tim Rapp of Cal State Northridge have been selected to the NCAA All-West Region team.

Vatcher, a senior outfielder, finished fourth in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. batting race with a .362 average. He also led the conference in runs scored (71), tied for first in hits (85), and was third in doubles (20) and home runs (15).

Rapp, a senior third baseman, finished the season with a .348 average and was second on the team with 51 runs batted in.

John Balfanz and Dan Penner were second-team selections. Balfanz, a junior first baseman, batted .308 with a team-high 16 home runs and 53 RBIs. Penner, a senior pitcher, was 10-8 with a 4.60 earned-run average. He had 122 strikeouts in 139 innings and nine complete games.

Lenn Gilmore, who batted .341, made the third team.

San Jose bound: College of the Canyons, following its emotional regional victory over Harbor, earned the right to defend its title in the state junior college championships. It is an eight-team, double-elimination tournament that which begins Friday in San Jose and concludes Monday.

Seeded second in the South behind Cerritos, Canyons (32-8-1) will open against Butte (29-13), the third-seeded team from the North, for the second straight year. The Cougars defeated Butte last year en route to the title.

Coach Len Mohney said he is leaning toward right-hander Jeff Ward (7-2) as his opening-game starter, saving Fred Riscen (9-3) for an expected second-round game with Sacramento City College (46-6), the North's top-seeded team.

Regional remnants: For the last decade, the Canyons-Harbor rivalry has been one of the most competitive. However, Sunday's games got so heated that it became ugly.

The benches cleared twice early in the second game when Harbor pitcher Jim Hudson threw inside on one pitch to Roger Nix and then hit him with the next delivery. Harbor relief pitcher Larry Brown was ejected after the benches cleared the first time for becoming vociferous from the bench. Hudson was subsequently removed by Hartbor Coach Jim O'Brien with 12-2 lead after four innings.

Hudson started the third game and threw high and inside twice to Mike Bible in the third. An angry Bible glared out at Hudson, who responded by mocking the hard-hitting catcher by sticking out his tongue, laughing and going through a series of gyrations on the mound. The Harbor crowd loved it and began getting on Bible. When Hudson stumbled after delivering his next pitch, Bible mimicked him in the batter's box, drawing the approval of the Canyons fans.

Bible eventually won the battle with his three-run, series-winning home run with two outs in the eighth.

Pete Kuld and Frank Halcovich were the starting battery for Canyons when the Cougars won the state community college baseball title last year. On Friday, they will be opponents when Pepperdine (46-10) and Arizona (34-24) meet at Tempe, Ariz., in the first round of the NCAA Division I West Regionals.

Kuld is batting .312 as the starting catcher for Pepperdine. Halcovich, a starting pitcher and part-time designated-hitter for Arizona, has a 6-6 record, a 5.47 earned-run average and a .333 batting average with 4 home runs and 30 RBIs in 123 at-bats.

Canyons' Bible has been selected Player of the Year in the Western State Conference. The freshman from Saugus High hit .520 in conference games. Joining Bible as first-team all-conference picks were five Cougar teammates--Andy Cutchall, Nix, Len Hokanson, Fred Riscen and Chris Zavatsky.

Other first-team selections included Mark Bowen of Pierce and Dan Russell of Moorpark. Len Mohney of Canyons was coach of the year.

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