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Smith Anything but Mild-Mannered in 7-1 Win : High school baseball: Newbury Park's hero for all seasons stops Royal on four hits. Lamb has four RBIs.

April 24, 1993|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Keith Smith steps in and out of a phone booth every three months, then plays the Man of Steel for Newbury Park High.

Smith, a three-sport junior now wearing the hat of right-handed pitcher, took the mound and control Friday, throwing a four-hitter to lead the Panthers to a 7-1 Marmonte League victory over Royal at Newbury Park.

The victory kept Newbury Park (12-7, 7-1 in league play) in sole possession of second place, a game behind idle Simi Valley. Royal (10-8, 5-3), which managed only four hits Wednesday in a 4-0 loss to Simi Valley, dropped into a tie for third with Thousand Oaks.

Smith, an All-Ventura County quarterback who passed for 3,318 yards and 30 touchdowns last fall to lead the Panthers to their first league title in 11 years, appeared equally effective with his fastball.

Smith (5-2) scattered four singles and did not allow a hit after the fourth inning, retiring 10 of the final 12 batters he faced. He struck out two and walked four.

Senior shortstop David Lamb provided more than enough offense by driving in four runs. Lamb, who has signed a letter-of-intent for Pepperdine, hit a two-run home run in the first inning, added a run-scoring groundout in the fifth and had a run-scoring single in the sixth. The home run was Lamb's second this season.

Smith and Lamb also shined defensively. Lamb made a pair of flashy throws on the run and Smith snared two line drives. Newbury Park did not commit an error.

"I feel it was my best game," Smith said. "I kept the ball down and let my teammates make all the plays."

Smith went from quarterback to point guard, leading the school's basketball team in scoring (14.8 points a game) and assists (4.0). In February, Smith, who played second base last season, approached Coach Gary Fabricius with an itch to pitch.

"I coached him in football (as an assistant), so I know if he puts his mind to anything, he can do it," Fabricius said. "I didn't question his ability or his desire."

Smith yielded a run-scoring single to Maki Kramer in the fourth that cut the Panthers' lead to 2-1.

Lamb's groundout and a run-scoring single by Rich Adams gave Newbury Park a 4-1 lead.

In the sixth, Smith doubled with one out to begin a three-run rally. Shawn Adams and Lamb followed with run-scoring singles, and Lamb later scored on a passed ball.

Kramer (1-1) pitched well, yielding five hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Defending league champion Royal, which has lost infielders Mike Boggs, Joel Mellinger and Brian Del Monte to injuries in the past two weeks, suddenly finds itself in jeopardy of missing the playoffs.

"When you have team leaders out, that's someone the rest of the team is rallying behind," Royal Coach Dan Maye said. "We might have to take some of our players to a healer. Every day somebody gets hurt."

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