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NOTEBOOK / ROB FERNAS : El Segundo Advances to American Legion District Final

July 28, 1994|ROB FERNAS

With a lineup stacked with South Bay all-stars, El Segundo's American Legion baseball team will attempt to win its third District 19/Area 4 title in four years today.

El Segundo, the only unbeaten team remaining in the double-elimination tournament with a 3-0 record, will play either Torrance or Gahr at 5 p.m. at Blair Field in Long Beach. Torrance and Gahr met Wednesday night, with the winner advancing to today's final.

A victory will give El Segundo the title, which it won last year and in 1991. If El Segundo loses, a second game would follow tonight to determine the champion.

El Segundo (25-9) put itself in commanding position Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory over Gahr. Phil Costello pitched a three-hitter and the team scored both of its runs in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Scott Albin and a run-scoring single by Mike Poor.

Costello's performance continued El Segundo's impressive pitching in the tournament. Bill Brown threw a five-hitter Saturday in a 9-1 victory over La Serna, and four pitchers combined on a three-hitter Sunday in a 19-1 rout over Torrance.

"The key has been our defense and our pitching," said Coach John Stevenson said, adding that the team has benefitted from a deep staff bolstered by the addition of Albin, an all-star pitcher from Redondo High.

"This is where the pitching depth helps out," Stevenson said. "It doesn't help too much in the high school season, but it helps out in these types of situations."

Stevenson said Dan Croxall, who has pitched only one inning in the tournament, will start today's game.

Offensively, El Segundo received a boost last week when Steve Rawson, an all-star third baseman from Redondo, joined the team. Rawson, who had been playing for the Mary Star Connie Mack team, is playing right field for El Segundo and had three hits Saturday against La Serna.

Shortstop Morgan Ensberg, another all-star from Redondo, had four hits, including a home run to center field, in El Segundo's 19-hit barrage Sunday against Torrance. Kirk Mayer also had four hits, and Paul Bartolucci had three.

The area champion advances to the state tournament Aug. 4-6 in Upland.

*

The 11th annual Slam-N-Jam National Invitational basketball tournament ended with an entertaining final last Thursday as New York Riverside Church edged Kansas City Blue, 56-53, at South Torrance High.

The near-capacity crowd included Kansas Coach Roy Williams, who hopes to sign Derek Hood, a 6-foot-8 forward from Kansas City's Central High. Hood was named all-tournament and recently was chosen one of the top 10 senior prospects in the nation by Blue Chip Illustrated. His list of potential colleges includes Kansas, Duke, Iowa, UCLA, Kansas State and Missouri.

New York Riverside Church continued its impressive play this summer--the team has won several prestigious tournaments--behind a strong front court led by 6-8 Vasila Estinov and 6-6 Tyrone Grout. Estinov won the Slam-N-Jam's three-point shooting contest and was named all-tournament.

Others on the all-tournament team included Mater Dei sophomore Schea Cotton, Fontana junior Corey Benjamin and seniors Paul Pierce of Inglewood, Jamar Reid of Carson, James Brown of Long Beach Poly and Tommy Prince of Dominguez.

The 6-5 Benjamin won the dunk contest, beating Hood in a dunk-off. Cotton was unable to defend his dunk title after being poked in the left eye during a game, an injury that required stitches.

One of the tournament's most remarkable players was Baltimore's Shawnte Rogers, a 5-5 point guard who has been called "Mugsy Bogues with a jumper." Rogers helped Baltimore rally for an 90-87 overtime victory over Washington, D.C., in the third-place game.

Rob Moore of South Torrance looked at home in the three-point shooting contest, finishing second to Estinov in a shootout after advancing through two rounds.

The tournament, played at South and West Torrance, attracted 57 all-star teams and more than 600 players from across the country.

Notes

Former Hawthorne High defensive back Omarr Morgan, The Times' 1993 South Bay Back of the Year, had two pass breakups, three solo tackles and two assists Saturday night for the South in a 7-7 tie with the North in the Shrine All-Star football game at Citrus College. The game featured many of the state's top 1994 graduates.

Amy Lundquist, starting center on the Loyola Marymount women's basketball team for the past two seasons, has transferred to DePaul. The 6-5 Lundquist, a junior, led the West Coast Conference in blocked shots and ranked second on Loyola in scoring and rebounding last season. She set an NCAA record for most blocked shots in a game with 15 against Western Illinois in 1992. Lundquist, from Frederic, Wis., reportedly wanted to attend a school closer to home. DePaul is located in Chicago. Lundquist's departure opens the door for Emily Hart, a 6-4 freshman from Sacramento, to become Loyola's center. The Lions were 7-20 last season.

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