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Hoover's Dishington Excited About Draft


Excuse Nate Dishington if he gets excited each time his phone rings today.

Hoover High's senior catcher will be staying home from school, waiting to learn whether he has been selected in major league baseball's amateur draft, which begins today and runs through Saturday.

"I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what is going to happen," Dishington said. "I'm trying not to get overanxious."

Dishington, one of a handful of area high school, college and junior college players who likely will be drafted this week, soared on scouts' lists with a strong finish.

"He's made himself a lot of money the past few weeks," one area scout said.

In Hoover's first-round playoff victory over Royal, Dishington doubled twice, tripled and homered. He was seven for seven in two playoff games. Dishington, a left-handed batter who also has a strong arm, finished the season batting .528 with 10 home runs and 45 runs batted in. He was named Pacific League player of the year.

What scouts also see in Dishington that they might not in other area notables such as Crespi right-hander Jeff Suppan, Montclair Prep infielder Brad Fullmer and Newbury Park shortstop David Lamb is what scouts call "signability."

Suppan (UCLA), Fullmer (Stanford) and Lamb (Pepperdine) have signed letters of intent to play baseball in college, meaning major league teams must dig deep into their wallets for the bonus money that would coax the players from their college commitments.

Dishington, also the Tornadoes' quarterback, has signed to play football at Fresno State. He said the Bulldogs were planning to delay his enrollment until the spring of 1994, then decide whether they will redshirt him for the 1994 season, meaning he might not play in a game until 1995.

It's also unclear whether Fresno State coaches will allow him to play baseball.

Dishington, Suppan, Fullmer and Lamb are the most-certain draft picks from the area. In the latest issue of Baseball America, Fullmer is rated the nation's 37th-best prospect, ahead of Lamb (57th) and Suppan (73rd).

Other potential late-round selections from the high school crop are Simi Valley right-hander Trevor Leppard (University of San Diego), El Camino Real shortstop Dan Cey (California), Crespi catcher Casey Snow (Cal State Long Beach), Simi Valley catcher Kevin Nykoluk, Thousand Oaks first baseman Clint Harris, Thousand Oaks outfielder Jamal Nichols and Hart right-hander Gary Stephenson.

Cal State Northridge likely will have at least four players selected, all in the later rounds. Senior third baseman Andy Small, who hit .332 and led the team with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs, is considered the best prospect. Senior catcher Mike Sims, a defensive specialist who had a 19-game hitting streak and finished with a .338 average, is also expected to be chosen, along with junior pitchers Keven Kempton (10-4, 3.99) and Marco Contreras (8-4, 3.98) and senior right-fielder Greg Shepard (.345, 64 RBIs).

Junior left-hander John Bushart (10-4, 4.38) is borderline. His stock fell dramatically because of tendinitis that bothered him for much of the second half of the season.

Among the top players from the area's junior colleges is Ventura's Mike Muncy, drafted last season by the Royals, who lost his rights when they failed to sign him by last Thursday. Muncy, who has signed with Texas Tech, stole 27 bases and hit .373 with a 22-game hitting streak for the Pirates this season.

High school players drafted who attend four-year colleges can sign until they begin their first college class before the drafting team loses the rights to them. College juniors can sign until they begin another academic term.

Junior college players have until a week before the 1994 draft to sign.

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