When Calabasas plays Agoura Tuesday in the Frontier League opener, the game will be the battle of betting beer buddies.
Agoura third-year Coach John Crow used to save his beer bets for the junior varsity football season when he faced Bob Wade and the Calabasas JV team. Now both coaches can add the baseball season to their list of friendly bets.
Wade joins the five-man fraternity of Frontier League coaches after coaching the softball team for three seasons. He replaces Art Borgquist as Calabasas' head baseball coach.
"We've been coaching JV football against each other for years and the winner always buys the first round," Crow said. "He'll do a class job with the kids. I think they'll have a good chance of finishing second."
Wade likes his chances in the Frontier League, but thinks Agoura has the better team.
"I think Agoura has a better pitching staff and I picked them to finish ahead of us," Wade said. "I know Crow and his assistant, Gary Gray, and they're both quality coaches."
Said Crow: "Sounds like a cat-and-mouse game. He probably wants me to spot him a few runs."
You can bet on it.
COACH: John Crow, 3rd season
LAST SEASON: 4th in league at 4-8;
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore third baseman Brian Smith has started the season with 7 hits in his first 12 at-bats and already has 8 runs batted in. He is also a capable pitcher and Agoura needs pitching. He gave up 2 earned runs in 5 innings in his first start against St. Bonaventure. Pitching was a weak spot for the Chargers last season and seniors Jeff Ritter (2-5 and 4.47 earned-run average) and Scott Heflin (2-2, 5.53 ERA) hope to have better seasons. Heflin, who reinjured his shoulder in football, has been moved to short relief and will play right field when he is not pitching. Returning shortstop Mike Maggiora has 11 hits, including a home run, in his first 14 at-bats.
OUTLOOK: Crow went undefeated in league play his first season and then suffered a losing record last year. For Agoura to rise back to the top of the league, Ritter and Smith will have to pitch consistently.
COACH: Bob Wade, 1st season
LAST SEASON: 3rd in league at 5-7;
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Wade inherits a team that consists of nine returning lettermen and plenty of hitters. Senior Chris Bernie led the team in hitting with a .455 batting average but played in only 8 games. Outfielder Ceo Wimmer (.407), first baseman Kevin Menteer (.380 and 4 triples) and Glenn Hansen (.300) make up the heart of the lineup. The pitching remains a big question mark. None of the returning starters had an ERA under 4.00. Senior pitchers Glenn Hansen (1-2, 4.29 ERA), Duane Dennis (0-0, 5.48 ERA) and David Anzivino (2-2, 7.30 ERA) will try to improve those numbers. Junior Dan Glassman, who posted a 6-2 record and 2.37 ERA for the junior varsity, is expected to crack the starting rotation.
OUTLOOK: Wade believes Calabasas can finish anywhere from second to fourth in the Frontier League depending on how well the pitching staff does. "The key to our success will be the ability of the upcoming JV pitchers to be effective at the varsity level," Wade said.