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March 31, 1994|KIRBY LEE

BETTER THAN EVER

The Redondo High softball team breezed through Ocean League play with a 13-1 record last season to win its first league title in school history.

The Sea Hawks could be better this year.

Redondo, which won the Watts Summer Games title in June, is 9-2 and off to a 4-0 start in Ocean League play. The Sea Hawks won their seventh in a row, defeating host Mira Costa, 5-1, in an Ocean league game Tuesday.

"We didn't have high expectations last year because nobody knew about us," Redondo Coach Paul Collette said. "But this year there is a lot of pressure because everybody is gunning for us."

Pitcher Kerry Martin, the Ocean League's most valuable player, has shown no letdown from a freshman season.

The Southern Section Division III second-team selection has given up only one earned run and four walks in 64 innings and has an earned-run average of 0.11.

Martin, who is also batting .393, pitched a one-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Culver City in a battle for the Ocean League lead.

The sophomore has used a loss to eventual semifinalist North Torrance in the first round of the playoffs as motivation.

"I think there has been a lot of pressure on us, but our team is focused on going farther in the playoffs than we ever have before," Martin said. "I've just had to keep mentally tough and tried to remain confident that we can do well."

The Sea Hawks have been winning with more than pitching.

Last season, Redondo had only three home runs. Thus far, the Sea Hawks have hit 10 and have a team-batting average of .337.

Second baseman Mandy Chavez leads the way with three home runs and .538 average and first baseman Andrea Miller (.343) has hit two.

Chavez, Miller and Martin, along with catcher Jennifer Rios (.344), third baseman Leanna Evans (.321) and center fielder Suzanne McReynolds are among six returning all-league players for Redondo.

The Sea Hawks have also received a boost from junior center fielder Selena Fine, a transfer from Kennedy High in La Palma who is batting .382 and has seven stolen bases.

"This year's team is much stronger," Collette said. "We were a little starry-eyed and I think they realize they could do a lot better than last year. The whole experience has made us a better team."

HOMECOMING

As an assistant baseball coach at Cal State Northridge in 1991, Jody Robinson helped the Matadors reach the Western Regional championship game in their first season of competition in Division I.

Robinson, now the coach at Loyola Marymount, apparently has learned well from his season under Northridge Coach Bill Kernen.

The Lions hit three home runs and had eight extra-base hits in a 13-7 nonconference road victory over Northridge on Tuesday. It was Robinson's first victory in six games against Kernen.

Reliever Jesse Ibarra held Northridge to two hits over the final four innings. Ibarra gave the Lions a 9-5 lead with his 11th home run and had three runs batted in.

Freshman shortstop Mike Mirrizi had four hits, including a double, to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, and Mike Seal drove in four runs for Loyola (14-18).

BROTHER ACT

Catcher Robert Harris has helped the Cal State Dominguez Hills baseball team soar to No. 2 in the NCAA Division II rankings--the Toros' highest ranking ever.

His brother David Harris, a senior pitcher for Florida Southern, has done one better, leading the Moccasins (31-2) to the No. 1 ranking.

The elder Harris was the Division II leader in strikeouts last season. Earlier this season against Assumption College, he struck out 19 to come within two of the Division II record.

Robert Harris isn't doing badly himself. The junior transfer from Odessa (Tex.) Junior College is batting .279 and has driven in 13 runs in 29 games for Dominguez Hills (20-9).

Jesse Espinoza leads the team with a .379 average. Chris Miller and Ray Judy are batting .370 and .341 and share the team lead for steals with five. Jose Lara (.338), Eric Martin (.319) and Carlos Olmos (.313) are also batting above. 300.

Senior right-handers Aaron Charlton (2-2) and Bert Horn (5-1) have formed the nucleus of the Dominguez Hills pitching staff. Charlton leads the team with 42 strikeouts and two shutouts and Horn has pitched a team-high three complete games.

The Toros dropped to fourth in the Division II rankings this week after losing two of three games to Cal State Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday.

Keith Tripp had two singles and drove in three runs in a 10-3 victory over Concordia on Tuesday. Judy, Martin and Robert Harris also had two hits each to lead an 11-hit attack.

The Toros overcame a 3-1 deficit with six runs in the fifth inning. Junior left-hander Scott Veeder earned the victory to improve to 4-2.

Dominguez Hills plays a three-game nonconference series against Cal State Stanislaus beginning Friday.

NO HARD FEELINGS

Cal State Bakersfield became the first team to repeat as Division II basketball champion in 25 years Saturday, defeating Southern Indiana, 92-86, in Springfield, Mass.

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