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Westlake-Royal Has the Arms to Make Pitch for Area 6 Title : Legion: McClure can trot four quality starters to the mound and back them with several others.


One prediction about the American Legion baseball Area 6 playoffs is fairly safe: The team that pitches the best will win.

That's why Westlake-Royal Coach Mike McClure likes his team's chances. McClure boasts a four-man rotation with a 19-1 record and a 1.42 earned-run average. McClure's four starters are Phil Derryman (3-1, 2.26), Jay Kenny (6-0, 1.52), Maki Kramer (4-0, 1.21) and Todd Singleton (6-0, 0.96).

"We felt since the beginning of the season that if we could effectively use the seven or eight legitimate high school pitchers we have, we are going to have an advantage over most teams," McClure said.

Pitching and endurance will be the keys in the four-day, double-elimination tournament, which runs today through Sunday at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium. The winner could play as many as six games on its way to a berth in next week's Southern California finals in Upland.

Camarillo (25-7) meets St. Bernard (14-5) in the tournament opener at 10 a.m. Valley North (19-8) will play Arcadia (30-7) at 2 p.m. and Westlake-Royal (25-5-1) will face Westchester (16-7) at 6 p.m.

Westlake-Royal, which won the District 16 title, is led offensively by center fielder Scott Morris (.397), second baseman Kevin McClure (.431) and left fielder Bryan Fernandez (.398).

Valley North, which won the District 20 tournament despite being the 10th-seeded team, is better known for its offense, but right-hander Jim DeBiase (5-1, 1.79), left-hander Ray Daryabigi (3-2, 2.29) and right-hander Fred Farzaneh (3-1, 3.68) have pitched well.

The team's top hitters are first baseman Tony Montiel (.447, 29 runs batted in), shortstop Bryan LaCour (.377), Daryabigi (.380) and catcher Brandon Murphy (24 RBIs).

Camarillo, the District 16 runner-up, includes players from Rio Mesa, Camarillo and Moorpark highs. Left-hander Richard Soliz (5-1), and right-hander Dan Martinez (6-2) are the team's best pitchers.

The top threats at the plate are a trio of Camarillo High players--shortstop Nathan Kaup, second baseman-catcher Rodell Desamparo and outfielder Matt Buttell. Third baseman Eric Flores and first baseman Fernando Barajas are also top hitters.

Arcadia swept a doubleheader Sunday from defending Area 6 champion Claremont to win the District 18 title. Right-hander Jason Cly (6-1, 3.56) pitched 12 innings Sunday, picking up both victories, so he is unlikely to pitch until Friday at the earliest, Coach Chris Possemato said.

Arcadia's other top pitchers are right-hander Josh Oder (4-1, 2.46) and left-hander Greg McClelland (6-3, 1.97).

But the team's best all-around player is probably first baseman Pete Paciorek (.453, six home runs, 32 RBIs). Paciorek, drafted by the San Diego Padres, was the Southern Section Division IV player of the year this spring at San Marino High.

Westchester, which has won three consecutive District 24 titles, is similar to Westlake-Royal in that its strengths are pitching and defense, Coach Todd Frelinger said.

The starting pitcher today will be either right-hander Rob Green (4-1) or left-hander Richard Sturm (5-1). Green, a 1993 graduate of Loyola High, pitched this spring at Creighton University.

The team's best hitters are center fielder Dana Harrison, who has signed to play at Long Beach State, and first baseman Doug Espinoza. Both graduated this spring from St. Bernard High, but they play for Westchester because the St. Bernard Legion team uses only players returning to school.

St. Bernard's top player is right-handed pitcher Brandon Pernell (5-0), who is likely to start today. Pernell was an All-Mission League pick for the Vikings.

Leadoff hitter Nick Norton (23 stolen bases), center fielder Dion Dattee (.327, four home runs) and catcher Oscar Martinez are St. Bernard's top offensive threats.

Play Ball!

* What: American Legion Area 6 playoffs. Six teams compete in a double-elimination tournament. The winner advances to the Southern California finals next week at Upland.

* When: Today through Sunday.

* Where: UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium.

* Today's schedule: Camarillo (25-7) vs. St. Bernard (14-5), 10 a.m; Valley North (19-8) vs. Arcadia (30-7), 2 p.m.; Westlake-Royal (25-5-1) vs. Westchester (16-7), 6 p.m.

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