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AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL / JEFF FLETCHER : Desperate Redfern Found Fast Relief From Persuasive Infielder

July 27, 1994|JEFF FLETCHER

Six games in six days can deplete a pitching staff. Or, as was the case with Valley North, it can expand a staff, too.

With last week's District 20 playoffs requiring Pete Redfern to wring every possible inning from his pitchers, the Valley North coach looked to Danny Martin. Martin was a utility infielder who offered his pitching services to Redfern in the past--in American Legion play and at Chatsworth High--but Redfern never took him up on it.

Until last week.

"I sent him down to get loose one day and I watched him and he looked like he was throwing good, so I said, 'What the heck. Give it a shot,' " said Redfern, a former major league pitcher.

Martin, a recent graduate of Chatsworth, made his first pitching appearance, in Legion or at Chatsworth, on Thursday against Sun Valley. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings and picked up the victory.

"He looks like he's got a heck of a hook," said Redfern, referring to Martin's curveball. "I don't know what he was throwing out there, but he did a heck of a job."

Martin pitched each of the next two days. He finished the playoffs with a 2-0 record. He allowed one run in nine innings.

"It looks like I found a relief pitcher," Redfern said.

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On to Area 6: The six teams that will compete for the Area 6 championship this week at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium are set.

Camarillo, which includes players from Camarillo, Moorpark and Rio Mesa highs, will face St. Bernard, from Playa del Rey, in the first game Thursday at 10 a.m. Valley North, of Chatsworth, will face Arcadia at 2 p.m., and Westlake-Royal will meet Westchester at 6 p.m.

The double-elimination tournament concludes Sunday, with the winner advancing to the Southern California finals in Upland.

Camarillo, incidentally, is the same team that has been called Rio Mesa, but Coach Ron Regalado prefers the name Camarillo because that's where the Legion post that sponsors the team is located.

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Who's on first?: During the playoffs, Van Nuys East's Justin Bunch was thrown out stealing first base. Sort of.

With Bunch at first, another runner at third and Rich Igou at the plate, Bunch took off on a hit-and-run play. Igou tipped the pitch, but it went straight into the catcher's glove. The umpire signaled foul-tip, but said the runner could advance because the ball was caught.

In an apparent misunderstanding, Bunch trotted back toward first base. Woodland Hills West pitcher Justin Balser alertly threw to first baseman Craig Carlton, who tagged Bunch for what would have been the first out.

But the home-plate umpire then awarded Bunch second base, explaining that he was deceived by the foul-tip signal.

After a 10-minute argument, Igou hit a three-run home run on the next pitch.

*

He's back: Actually, Area 6 Commissioner Charlie Hatfield never went away.

He planned to retire his position at the end of the year because he wanted to return to coaching.

"I was going to (retire), but I got a call last week that said, 'Guess what? You've been nominated (to be commissioner) for three more years,' " Hatfield said.

Hatfield can reject the nomination, but figures to take it and leave the coaching to others. "I'm 73 years old," he said. "I'm getting too old to handle these kids anyway."

*

The bigger they are . . .: Antelope Valley South started the District 20 playoffs as the top-seeded team. Two games later, South was the top-seeded team whose season was over.

"We were very disappointed," Coach Mike Eberhardt said. "I think our biggest problem was we got to where we were with our hitting and in that last game, it just never made it to the ballpark."

Antelope Valley South hit six home runs during its 13-12, 12-inning defeat to Woodland Hills West on Wednesday, but managed only three hits in a 4-1 setback to Encino Thursday that knocked the team from the playoffs.

South played until 10 the night before against Woodland Hills West, and with the drive back to Lancaster, most players didn't get home until midnight, Eberhardt said.

"We're not using that for an excuse, though," Eberhardt said. "Encino is a good team and their pitching did quite well."

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All-Stars: The fifth annual North-South All-Star game will be played Tuesday at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium. The game matches players from the northern and southern halves of Southern California. The dividing line cuts through the South Bay.

Local players selected to the game include Van Nuys South's Aaron Amitin, North Hollywood's Tyler Atwood, Woodland Hills West's Justin Balser, Antelope Valley South's Eric Cole and Chris Tapia, Newhall-Santa Clarita's Aaron Dean and Lucas Solomon, Westlake-Royal's Phil Derryman, Valley North's Jim DeBiase, Encino's Brad Farlow, Verdugo Hills' David Gantt, Camarillo A's Nathan Kaup, Granada Hills West's Jim Landress, Camarillo B's Mike Muller, Palmdale's Chris Paxton, Mission Hills' Jon Tucker and Newbury Oaks' Andy Wilson.

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