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Win Puts Cardinal One Short of 400 at Channel Islands


Thousand Oaks High baseball Coach Jim Hansen's aphorism is thus: "When you make a lot of little mistakes and errors, the only way to compensate for it is to score a lot of runs."

But for the Lancers, Hansen's words were better said than done Friday in a 5-2 loss to Channel Islands in a Marmonte League game at Thousand Oaks.

The teams combined for seven errors--four by Thousand Oaks.

Channel Islands senior left-hander Tajah Merrill (2-0) threw a three-hitter and struck out seven. He also scored during a three-run sixth inning that broke a 2-2 tie.

Don Cardinal, in his 25th season and the only baseball coach in Channel Islands' history, picked up his 399th career victory as the Raiders improved to 6-0, 2-0 in league play.

Cardinal will go for his 400th win today at home in the fourth round of the Westside tournament.

"Our kids are starting to believe that they are for real," Cardinal said. "We weren't picked to do anything this season, but we have real good chemistry and different guys have been doing different things on different days."

Thousand Oaks is 2-4 and 0-1.

With the score tied, 2-2, Tony Siegel, who relieved starter Adam West in the sixth with the bases loaded, walked home Jose Gastelum with the go-ahead run. Merrill and Mark Garcia, who had walked, scored from second and third on a throwing error by first baseman Keith Kim.

West (1-1), who threw a one-hitter in the Lancers' opener against Bellflower, drew the loss.

Channel Islands built a 2-0 lead, but Thousand Oaks evened the score with two out in the fourth.

Jim Chergey hit a solo home run and Jason Goldstein scored on a single by Brett Herman. Goldstein reached second on an errant throw by Channel Islands second baseman Ricky Estrada after Estrada fielded a ground ball.

"In the beginning, I didn't feel too good out there. But after about four innings, I started to feel comfortable." said Merrill, who transferred from Camarillo at midseason last season and has not pitched for nearly two weeks. "It took me a while to get used to the mound and get used to throwing."

Merrill settled down after allowing the runs, striking out Kirk Pederson to end the fourth and retiring the side in order in the final three innings. He struck out four in the last two innings.

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