When the results of Tuesday's labor vote of the United Teachers of Los Angeles are tallied today, coaches of City Section playoff teams might face a different kind of decision on strikes and walks if the vote calls for a walkout: Do they cross the picket line and stay with their teams or do they honor the strike, leave the team, and join their fellow teachers?
Either way, somebody's going to lose.
"I've decided to stay because we've worked too hard and too long for this," Sylmar Coach John Klitsner said. "Our goal all season was to reach the playoffs, and now that we're here, I have to see it through. As long as we're alive in the playoffs, I'm staying. It's a matter of priority for me, and right now my main priority is these kids and this team."
"I really hope it doesn't come to that," Poly Coach Jerry Cord said. "I've got plenty of other things to worry about. I think it's too early to start talking walkout."
The union is seeking a 14% salary increase, but L.A. Unified has offered an 8% pay raise.
The splendid bunter: Part-time infielder Ricardo Banuelos' contribution in Canoga Park's 4-1 victory over Chatsworth last week isn't something that shows up in a linescore, but there was no mistaking the magnitude of the 5-7, 125-pound infielder's part in the win. With no outs in the fifth inning and runners on first and second, Banuelos was sent in to pinch-hit for Juan Soriano, who had failed in two attempts to bunt the runners over. "I was scared," Banuelos, a junior, said of the 0-2 situation. "I had one chance to get it on the ground in fair territory. If it's foul, I get yelled at. And I'm probably out." Probably? Banuelos executed the sacrifice on the first pitch. One batter later, Aaron Marks homered to left to give Canoga Park the lead for good. "He may be 1 for 14 as a hitter, but he's the best bunter we've got," Coach Doug MacKenzie said. "It took a lot more guts on his part than it did on mine to put him up there."
Granada Hills plays Banning today in a first-round playoff game at Banning. The last time the teams met was in a 1985 playoff game that Granada Hills lost on an errant pickoff throw. Banning enjoys doing 'The Worm'--an exhibition of excitement that is performed while lying on one's back with hands and feet flailing in the air. "We try to stay away from letting what the other team does affect us," Stroh said. "They do 'The Worm' and all that stuff but if that's what's going to beat us, we shouldn't even be there."
Dressed for success: A career record of 17-0 might cause some pitchers to feel pressure, but not Montclair Prep's Scott Hauser (9-0). Hauser, a senior right-hander, said that his undefeated streak keeps him motivated. "I don't feel like I'm going to lose," he said. "I'm not cocky but I always feel like I'm going to win." Hauser credits a good arm and a good wardrobe for his success. "I've worn the same undershirt the last two years in the games I've pitched," he said. "It's funny because the shirt is too small for me now but I still wear it.". . . Most teams are lucky to have one superior pitcher, but coaches fortunate enough to have two good pitchers face problems of their own in the playoffs. Some City Section coaches are juggling their staffs to match up their best pitcher against the strongest potential opponent. However, San Fernando Coach Steve Marden isn't one of them. "It doesn't do you any good to save your No. 1 pitcher for Friday if you're collecting uniforms on Thursday morning," Marden said. "Sure he'll be well-rested--to fold up his uniform and put it in a box. That's a hell of a second-guess to go through."
Departing words: Players are able to ignore taunts from opposing teams most of the time, but there are occasions when heckling draws a response. Providence pitcher Jeff Cirillo demonstrated that in the sixth inning of Providence's 9-1 win over San Jacinto on Friday. With two outs and a man on third, the home-plate umpire called a balk on Cirillo, who disagreed with the call and appealed to the first-base umpire, prompting laughter from a San Jacinto player. When Cirillo responded to the laughs, the first-base umpire kicked him out of the game. Cirillo claims he only said, "What's the score?" The umpire, however, booted him for castigating the reputation of the opposing coach's mother. . . . Cirillo says he's feeling the pressure as he chases the Southern Section single-season record for runs batted in. Cirillo drove in one run Friday to bring his total to 55, three shy of the record of 58 set this season by Scott Davison of Redondo. Davison had no RBIs in Redondo's eight-inning, 6-5 loss to South Hills on Friday. "It's haunting me," Cirillo said. "It's driving me crazy. It's almost a bad thing."