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Clark Has La Quinta's Number

March 05, 1994|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LA PALMA — There will be many Garden Grove League baseball coaches happy to see Chris Clark finally leave Kennedy, but none happier than La Quinta's Dave Demarest.

"He's beaten us four times," Demarest said. "I think I'll probably be at his graduation."

Unfortunately for Demarest, Clark's graduation isn't for another three months. In the meantime, the two-time all-league pitcher will spend his Wednesdays and Fridays haunting Demarest and the rest of the Garden Grove League.

"He's a super kid, a class act," Demarest said. "He really seems to get up for us."

Not that he doesn't get up for other teams, but two of Clark's seven victories last season came against La Quinta, which lost only six games, one of them in the Southern Section Division III final.

All of Clark's victories over the Aztecs have come against their ace, Jim Livernois, who went 13-3 last season and was named The Times Orange County player of the year.

"I guess it's the enthusiasm of both teams that seems to bring out the best in both teams," Clark said. "Maybe we're throwing a little harder than usual."

And even when he isn't at his best, Clark somehow finds a way to beat La Quinta.

"He's not a big kid, but he throws hard," Demarest said. "He's just a competitor. He beats us with his best stuff and when he doesn't have anything. He beat us 3-2 (in 10 innings) and, the whole game, he never had his slider. We came into the game hitting everything in sight, but we couldn't do anything against him."

Kennedy Coach Chris Pascal said some of the things Clark does are unexplainable.

"He's not the biggest, fastest or strongest kid, but he beats you," Pascal said.

Clark beat opponents on the football field in the same way. He didn't have a rifle arm, but he used his athleticism and his smarts to lead Kennedy to the Division VII semifinals.

However, Clark's smarts, determination and ability haven't been enough to attract any college coaches. Professional scouts and coaches can't seem to get past his 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame and his 82-m.p.h. fastball.

"I haven't had a nibble on him," Pascal said.

Clark said he hasn't heard much from Division I college football coaches either, but he isn't surprised.

"I take it in stride," said Clark, who sees himself as a college safety rather than a quarterback. "It would be harder if I didn't know why. I understand. I think I'll get to where I want to be, it just might take me a little longer."

But the future can wait. For now, Clark is only concerned with beating La Quinta two more times and leading Kennedy to the league title. And Pascal said there isn't much doubt who the team leader is.

"About the middle of last season, Chris became more of a presence," Pascal said. "He got on guys a little, but Chris can do that because most of the time, he's working his tail off."

It's that work ethic that Pascal says will eventually pay off for Clark.

"He'll end up playing somewhere and he'll be successful," Pascal said.

1993

IN REVIEW

Highlights

La Quinta came within an out of winning the Southern Section Division III title, but Ronnie Hall's single gave Tustin a thrilling 3-2 victory. . . . The loss in the title game was one of the few low points for La Quinta pitcher Jim Livernois, The Times Orange County player of the year. He finished 13-3 and had a 2.10 earned-run average. Livernois, who also plays center field, hit .376 with a homer and 19 runs batted in and had a team-high 13 stolen bases. . . . Kennedy and Rancho Alamitos also made the playoffs, but both were beaten in the first round. Kennedy tied for the Garden Grove League title, beating La Quinta twice along the way.

Standings

League Overall School W L W L Kennedy 11 3 17 10 La Quinta 11 3 25 6 Rancho Alamitos 9 5 17 7 Garden Grove 7 7 14 8 Santiago 7 7 11 14 Pacifica 6 8 11 15 Los Amigos 4 10 5 18 Bolsa Grande 2 12 5 18

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