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March 23, 1995|MITCH POLIN


Peninsula High's Garry Poe has enjoyed plenty of success in the 29 years he has been coaching high school baseball, but the 1995 Panthers may end up ranking among his most memorable squads.

Peninsula is 5-0, including a 3-1 victory over rival West Torrance in the semifinals of the El Segundo tournament last week. Among their other victims have been highly regarded Royal and El Segundo.

"I know that we'll be able to play with anybody," Poe said. "I feel real good about that and we're pretty hopeful about things."

Peninsula has ample experience, with five starters returning from last season's 16-11 team that finished 12-0 in the Bay League. Among the top players are senior designated hitter Dan Secrist, senior outfielder Andy Jensen and senior pitcher Matt Melnick.

"The (seniors) have been looking forward to this season for a long time," Poe said.

Peninsula's biggest test will come when they meet perennial Southern Section Division I power Millikan in the El Segundo tournament championship on date yet to be determined at El Segundo Recreation Park.

They are also entered in the Fresno Easter Invitational on April 10-12 in Fresno that will feature many of the top teams in the state.

In the Bay League, the Panthers will receive strong competition from West Torrance, Torrance and Santa Monica, among others.


Many of the top seniors in the South Bay will close out their high school careers whey they compete in the South Bay Athletic Club's fifth annual South Bay All-Star Boys and Girls Basketball Classic Friday at South Torrance High.

The girls will play at 5 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. The event will also include a three-point shooting competition and a slam dunk exhibition.

Among the players in the girls game are three All-City 4-A Division selections: guards Julie Thigpen and Jenille Ramos of Banning and center Diane Bell of Carson. Banning forward Sharolunda Kennon will also play in the game.

Peninsula also has three girls competing in the game: guards Allison Fortner and Tracy Rosen and forward Kathryn Foster-Kedie. Other top players include guard Andrea Miller and forward Leah Santa of Redondo, and guards Yannick Clay of Inglewood and Devyn Johnson of Morningside.

Among the top boys competing are guard Milton Palacio and forward Leonard Butler, who helped lead Serra to the Southern Section Division IV-A finals and into the state Division IV tournament. Palacio averaged 24.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists; Butler had 17.2 points and 12.2 rebounds.

The boys roster also includes guard Ahmad Holmes of Redondo, forward Marcus Boyd of Peninsula, the Morningside tandem of guard Anthony McNair and forward Chris Croom, and South Torrance guard Derek Brown. Guards Ben Sanders of Westchester and Kenzie Weir of Centennial will also compete.

Tickets, available at the door, are $5 for adults or students 12 and older or $3 for children 11 and younger.


Junior defender Derek Larkins, who led the Peninsula High boys soccer team to the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals, has been named defensive player of the year in the division.

The Panthers, seeded second in the playoffs before losing to Redlands, also placed midfielder Robert Helm on the second team. Forward Matt Ely of West Torrance and midfielder Carter Hernandez of Inglewood also made the second team.

The largest contingent of boys from the South Bay was on the All-Division II team. Topping the list were midfielders Mike McElroy of South Torrance and Juan Saenz of Mira Costa, both first-team selections.

South midfielder Mark Duncan made the second team along with defender Lars Ensberg of Redondo and forwards Alex Rodriguez of Bishop Montgomery and Peter Ryan of Mira Costa. Third-team choices were defenders Ben Gifford and Walt Jang of South and midfielder David Gellner of Mira Costa. Chadwick midfielder Travis Putnam also made the second team in Division V.

Among the top girls selected All-Southern Section was South senior midfielder Simone Ferrara, who made the Division II first team. Ferrara will attend UC Irvine in the fall.

Other South Bay players on the first team were forwards Michelle Kallas of Bishop Montgomery and Kristi Witzman of Mira Costa. Defender Tricia Simons of Bishop Montgomery made the second team and forward Holly Harris of South was chosen to the third team.

In Division I, defender Corrin Sales of North Torrance and forward Wendy Yokoyama of Torrance were named to the first team. Forward Christina Stewart of West Torrance and forward Lois Willard of North were picked to the second team. In addition, Chadwick placed forward Paula Thorrington on the Division III second team and midfielder Sarah Parsa on the third team.


Encouraged by a strong offensive performance in four nonconference games last week, the Cal State Dominguez Hills baseball team is scheduled to return to California Collegiate Athletic Assn. play tonight and Saturday against Cal State Los Angeles.

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