WESTSIDE — Ron Kasparian has been at Westchester High since 1974. Dave Uyeshima is entering his 14th season at Hamilton. Jim Brink has spent 12 seasons at Harvard-Westlake, and Chuck Ice has been at Crossroads for 11.
Bill Erickson, a newcomer, relatively speaking, will have to wait until 1993 to celebrate his 10th anniversary at Beverly Hills.
If stability brings success, Westside baseball teams will again be a force in the Southland.
But a change may be afoot. Four schools--Bel-Air Prep, Brentwood, Fairfax and Santa Monica--will start the season with a new coach.
Here is a capsule look at how the schools with veteran coaches will stack up against the newcomers for the 1992 baseball season.
THE OLD GUARD
BEVERLY HILLS (19-9, 13-2 in Bay League)--After winning consecutive Bay League titles, the Normans will be rebuilding as they move to the Ocean League. All-Bay League pitcher Dean Styne returns after posting a 7-2 record and 1.43 earned-run average. John Beradino will move from first base to center field. Senior catcher Ben Alexander (.250) gives the Normans strength up the middle defensively. Third baseman Mike Rappaport and shortstop Matt Humiston are the top players from the junior varsity.
"I think the early part of the year we'll need to mature a little bit," Erickson said. "We'll learn to take our lumps, but after that, we should be OK."
CROSSROADS (21-7, 9-1 in Delphic League)--The Roadrunners, ranked fifth in the State A Division by Cal-Hi Sports, return several standouts. Their entire pitching staff returns, including Dan Ripoll and Richard Condon, both first team All-Southern Section 1-A Division players. Pitcher/shortstop Carl Abramson, catcher Craig Juda and second baseman Adam Polk are returning all-league selections. The Roadrunners have shared or won nine of 10 Delphic League titles and have been to the 1-A Division four times. Last year, Crossroads lost in the semifinals to Orange Lutheran. Look for them to contend for their third Southern Section title.
HAMILTON (14-13, 8-1 in Metro League)--The Yankees are another team deep with starting pitchers. Relievers Chris Kelly and Danny Green move into starting roles and will join Jeff Kast, the top junior varsity pitcher.
Third baseman Marcus Hilton, second baseman Robbie Vasquez and center fielder Seth Cooper are expected to carry the bulk of the offensive load. Shortstop Renaldo DeJesus, a transfer from Grant, will help stabilize the infield. Seniors Jorge Lizarraga, Albert Murcia and junior Arturo Manajarrez will battle at catcher.
Uyeshima, who coaches baseball and basketball, hasn't had much time to work with the team because the Yankees just finished their basketball season last week.
"I just walked off the basketball court," Uyeshima said. "We're not together yet. We'll be pretty solid once we get together."
HARVARD-WESTLAKE (9-15, 5-5 in San Fernando League)--Greg Peters, a quarterback on the football team, and Adam Richards are the veterans on the pitching staff. The infield consists of Brian Given at first, Don Camacho at second, Max Sank at shortstop and Richards at third when he is not pitching. Kevin O'Malley and Jon Schaeffer are battling for starting catcher. Ryan O'Meara is the only returning starter in the outfield.
"(We) won't have an overpowering pitching staff, but they will throw strikes," Brink said. "I think (our team) we'll definitely be improved in terms of depth."
WESTCHESTER (13-15, 10-8 in Western League)--Kasparian returns a veteran team, which lost to Van Nuys in the first round of the City 4-A playoffs. Third baseman Mike Hayes and shortstop Al Watson both earned all-league honors. Senior Tremayne Noles and sophomore catcher Rod Washington also are returning starters. Andrew Spencer and Jose Flores, both right-handed pitchers, are the only constants on a developing staff.
"Our pitching is average at best," Kasparian said. "If they throw strikes, the defense will carry us."
THE NEW GENERATION
BEL-AIR PREP (no record)--After not fielding a team last year, Bel-Air Prep returns under new co-coaches Tony Lawrence and Sam Parker. Infielder Michael Murphy, outfielders Dan Leskowitz and Marlon Ibarra are the top hitters.
Chris Wylie, the Bruins' top pitcher, is academically ineligible and will miss the first three weeks of the season. Sophomore left-hander Robert Luna and freshman right-hander Matt Rodezno lead a young pitching staff.
BRENTWOOD (5-14, 1-7 in Delphic League)--The Eagles spent 300 man-hours rebuilding their baseball field, and first-year Coach Norm Greenbaum hopes he planted the seeds of success.
The Eagles have five returning players and two are sophomores. Darrin Kawaoka, an all-league player, will be the ace of the staff and a starting third baseman. Center fielder Jeremy Milkin, catcher Greg Sommers, first baseman David Corletto and shortstop David Forst are good line-drive hitters and solid defensively.