As the El Camino Real High softball team's 73-game winning streak came to a devastating end in Wednesday's City Section 4-A championship game, seated in the stands at Cal State Northridge was a very conspicuous spectator.
Watching her former team being routed by Sylmar, 13-4, was Beth Silverman, once the Conquistadores' overpowering pitcher with a record of 38-0 over two seasons.
Deciding to attend the game wasn't easy for Silverman, who isn't exactly popular with her former teammates. At the insistence of the El Camino Real players, Silverman was dismissed from the team early this season by Coach Neils Ludlow after she reportedly cursed a teammate during a game.
"My friends who were going to the game asked me if I wanted to go, and I just didn't know," Silverman said. "Finally I said 'Why shouldn't I go?' It was supposed to be a good game and I enjoy watching softball."
It turned out to be a terrible game for El Camino Real, which was pursuing its fifth consecutive championship. Pitcher Jodi Iwafuchi was tagged for 16 hits and the Conquistadore defense committed a season-high seven errors.
"If we had lost by one run I would have laid awake at night wondering what I did wrong," Ludlow said. "But it was just a day when we got beat. Sylmar played a great game."
Would the outcome have been different if Silverman were the Conquistadores' pitcher?
"It might have been different," Silverman said. "I don't know. I know Sylmar is a power-hitting team. But I've been playing against those players since I was 10 years old. I feel that I know how to pitch to them--how to work around their batters."
Silverman, who will be a senior next year, might pitch again for El Camino Real. Iwafuchi has said that she would rather play another position and Ludlow has told Silverman that the door is open for her to return.
"Ever since he told me that, the thought has been in my mind," Silverman said. "I don't know what I'll do yet. I have a summer and a semester to think about it. Then I'll decide."
Decisions, decisions: Matt Gilmore and Mike Shwartzer, both of whom abandoned Taft's troubled baseball program for Reseda, had different levels of success this season.
Gilmore, a senior shortstop, batted .385 and has signed a professional contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Shwartzer, a junior outfielder, started most games but was only 5 for 40 (.125).
"He didn't help out the way we were expecting," Reseda Coach Mike Stone said. "But that's not to say that he won't next year."
Two Canyon players--Travis Regnolds and Jay Maltzman--who decided to forgo football last fall in order to concentrate on baseball, also enjoyed different results.
Regnolds batted .400, had a 7-4 pitching record with 121 strikeouts in 73 innings and will decide whether to attend Cal State Dominguez Hills or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Maltzman, who played first base, batted .170.
Add baseball: Van Nuys had a disappointing baseball season in the Mid-Valley League (1-14), but Coach Kenji Mochizuki is optimistic about next year because he loses only three players.
"I think the kids feel good about next season," said Mochizuki, who is not against a realignment of the leagues, which will be discussed by the City Section in the fall.
"We're going to look at the whole releaguing philosophy," City Section Commissioner Hal Harkness said. "We are definitely going to releague football and basketball for 1989, and other sports such as baseball may be affected as well."