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PREP SOFTBALL 1995: PREVIEW : This Time, Fullerton Hoping It Won't Need Late Rally

March 14, 1995|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

FULLERTON — When Fullerton won the Southern Section Division II softball title last year, it did so by beating the fourth-, first- and second-seeded teams in the playoffs. The Indians did it despite having a 14-11 record going into postseason play. They did it by practicing to rock 'n' roll. And now they go into the 1995 season with nine returning starters--including the designated hitter--with high hopes and a heavy burden.

Here's a slice of life from the team that appeared to have nothing but instead had it all.

The Leader

Shortstop Deborah Hargrave works hard and makes the same demands of her teammates. She has to if she's going to be the leader she wants to be. She knows her role, and knows she shouldn't panic.

"Everyone expected us to have a good team last year and we put pressure on ourselves, and that led to our not doing too good," Hargrave said. "This year, I think we can deal with that pressure, ignore it and just play the game."

Fullerton got off to an unimpressive 6-11 start before winning 12 of its final 14 games.

"We know we have pressure on us but I know a lot of people who don't give us the credit," Hargrave said. "A lot of people think we were lucky. We would just like to prove ourselves. I think we're still underdogs.

"We're motivated by that."

The Quiet One

Angie Fancuberta keeps things bottled up. But she admits pitching the Indians to the championship last year was "one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I draw inspiration from that."

Apparently, she needs a lot of inspiration.

"It hasn't really changed my life, but when I think about it, it gives me a really good feeling inside," Fancuberta said. "When I'm sad, it makes me happy to think about that game. I get sad a lot. I have a lot of things on my mind--things that happen. Things I'm not going to tell you about."

The Perfectionist

Marianne Emigh is the Associated Student Body commissioner of student activities, a member of the ecology club, a varsity volleyball and soccer player. She is taking honors English and U.S. history and Latin III and has 2 1/2 to three hours of homework nightly. She's 30 minutes late for practices on Mondays and Wednesdays because she's taking a trigonometry class at Fullerton College. Her grade-point average is 3.95.

She got a clutch two-run single against top-seeded Covina Charter Oak that helped send Fullerton to the championship game last year, another line on a resume that seems to grow daily.

"Before the season, I made sure it was OK with (Coach Scott Weber) and everyone on the team to take the trig class at the college," she said. "And they give me a hard time. They say, 'Why the heck are you taking that class?' "

It's testament to how much she demands of herself.

"On the field, she's normal," Hargrave said. "She's not like a brain or anything."

The Question Mark

The only difference in the lineup this year is Amy Scott, a non-starter last year who will play second base. It's her position to lose. She's also left-handed, which makes for tricky double plays. And she worries about her backhand, among other things.

"I get really nervous, like I have to do good," Scott said. "There's always that thought in my mind that I'm not going to do as good as (Annette Martinez) did. But I try to think of the positive things."

The Recruit

Kiki McAulay has great speed, a pretty good arm, a decent bat and a free college education on the horizon. She's looking at Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State. She will be a second baseman or outfielder in the future, but she's a catcher right now.

She will bat left-handed this year to try to increase her on-base percentage. And if everything works out, fine.

"Of course we want to win league, but if we don't get to the finals, it won't be the end of the world," McAulay said. "We've already experienced the greatest feeling together."

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