Bay-Pacific League champion El Segundo will lead four South Bay teams in the American Legion District 19 baseball playoffs starting Saturday at Blair Field in Long Beach.
El Segundo (21-9), which won the Bay-Pacific title with a 10-0 record, meets La Serna, the fourth-place team from the Harbor League, at 1 p.m. Saturday. In other first-round games matching teams from the two leagues, Torrance plays Lakewood at 10 a.m., West Torrance meets Millikan at 4 p.m. and Peninsula draws Harbor champion Gahr at 7 p.m.
The double-elimination tournament continues through Thursday, with the winner advancing to the state playoffs Aug. 6-9 in Upland.
El Segundo has won two of the past three district titles, including last season when it was state champion. The team clinched the Bay-Pacific title Sunday night with a 10-7 victory over West. El Segundo first baseman Mike Poor hit two home runs in that game, and Tuesday he singled home Paul Bartolucci in the 10th inning to give the team a 2-1 victory over Hawthorne in a game that was suspended June 11 after nine innings and the score tied, 1-1.
"Poor has hit a ton of home runs," El Segundo Coach John Stevenson said. "He has about 27 between the high school and legion seasons."
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Poor led the area with 12 home runs and 45 runs batted in during the high school season. He will attend Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo in the fall along with El Segundo pitcher Dan Croxall. Croxall's brother, Rob, is a pitcher for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
West, which finished second in league play at 8-2, will be without two starters in the district playoffs. Outfielder Tom Baquero and catcher Tony Cosentino, both sophomores, will play for West Torrance's district champion Babe Ruth team in the state playoffs at Loyola Marymount.
"It hurts us," West assistant Mike Jenkins said, "but not having those guys would kill (the Babe Ruth team)."
From all indications, the 11th annual Slam-N-Jam National Invitational basketball tournament has been a success in its first year at South and West Torrance high schools.
The event, featuring many of the nation's top prep players, has attracted more than 200 college representatives, tournament publicist Ken Miller said. Among the coaches who watched Monday's game between Values for a Better America and New York Riverside Church Super Sophs at South were Roy Williams of Kansas, Norm Stewart of Missouri, Rollie Massimino of Nevada Las Vegas, Todd Bozeman of California and Brad Holland of Cal State Fullerton.
VBA, led by Mater Dei's sensational sophomore forward, Schea Cotton, held on to beat a talented Super Sophs team, 67-64. The Super Sophs, consisting of New York City's top juniors, were led by guard Kevin Morris, whose three-point shooting was impressive.
The championship game will be played at 8:30 tonight at South.
Inglewood High forward Paul Pierce has been chosen to a 10-player "Dream Team," representing the top seniors in the nation, by Blue Chip Illustrated. Here's how the magazine evaluated the 6-foot-6 Pierce: "People in the know on the West Coast are calling him the best blue chipper in a while, and that includes Jacque Vaughn and the O'Bannons. Pierce is built like Nick Anderson and shoots just as well. He's young for his grade, having just turned 16, but plays like a confident (Division) I player already. Imagine one of the top shooters in the country who can take it to the rack and throw it on you. He is the top player in California-NBA time."
Westchester High rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat Dominguez, 78-75, in overtime in the championship game of the Fairfax summer basketball tournament Sunday. The Comets rallied despite losing one of their top players, Ben Sanders, because of an ankle injury in the first half. Van Martin, a Dominguez assistant, said Westchester point guard Jason Hart was instrumental in the comeback. "We pride ourselves on our defense, but (Hart) penetrated and found the open man," Martin said. "We had to foul at the end of the game, and he made some clutch free throws." It was Westchester's first victory over Dominguez in three meetings this summer.
Teri and Chrissie Zartman, daughters of South Bay Spoilers volleyball club coaches Pat and Sharkie Zartman, won division titles at two beach tournaments last weekend. Teri Zartman of Hermosa Beach teamed with Kristin Siegel of Manhattan Beach to win the 10th-grade-and-under competition at the Manhattan Beach and San Juan Capistrano junior opens. Chrissie Zartman and Tracy Lindquist of Westminster won the eighth-grade-and-under titles at both tournaments.
Raymond (Tay) Brown, the former USC All-American tackle who died Saturday at 82, had family in the South Bay. His grandson, Tay Sneddon, was a standout lineman at South Torrance High a few years ago.