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Westside Team Shines With Stars

June 22, 1995|SEAN WATERS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A power in football and basketball, St. Monica High finally became a playoff contender in baseball.

Led by slugging first baseman Carlos Casillas and manager Ernie Soto, the Mariners won the Camino Real League championship and went to the Southern Section Division V semifinals, the furthest advance in school history.

For their accomplishments, Casillas was named The Times' Westside Player of the Year and Soto was honored as The Times' Westside Coach of the Year.

University's Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl, meanwhile, was named The Times' Pitcher of the Year. He became the second player from University to receive a postseason honor. USC pitcher Javier Mejia won an award in 1992.

Here's a capsule look at the other members of The Times first team all-stars:

DION BATTEE

St. Bernard

Outfielder

The senior outfielder is making The Times' Westside team for the second time after being selected in 1993. Bouncing back from a sub-par junior season, Battee had a .402 batting average with 34 RBI, 15 stolen bases and an area-leading nine home runs. He became the 10th Viking in 10 years to be drafted when the Florida Marlins selected him in the 32nd round in last month's amateur draft. Battee is expected to play for Harbor College.

R.J. FRANCIS

Beverly Hills

Pitcher

Television star R.J. Francis gave an award-winning performance in his third season on the mound for the Normans. The senior had a 6-3 record, including a no-hitter, two saves and a 1.34 ERA. He had 69 strikeouts in 57 innings. In two key games against Mira Costa, Francis gave up two runs on three hits in 14 innings while striking out 16 batters. Beverly Hills won those game 6-0 and 5-2 as the Normans qualified for the Southern Section Division II playoffs. He set school career records for most strikeouts with 166, most innings pitched (153) and most wins (18). Francis plays Travor Whitsig on NBC's drama "Sisters." He is expected to play baseball at Saddleback College.

ALAN JACOBY

Beverly Hills

Outfielder

The speedy center fielder batted .457 and a .593 on-base percentage. Jacoby had nine doubles, three triples, 15 RBI, scored 29 runs and stole 26 bases in 28 attempts. Jacoby will attend UC Santa Barbara.

MERRELL LIGONS

Palisades

Infielder

The senior shortstop was named to the City Section 4-A Division all-star team. A third-year varsity player, Ligons was known for his good speed and range while fielding ground balls and for his bat speed at the plate. He batted .421 with four home runs and 27 RBI. He was drafted in the 50th round by the Kansas City Royals, and has been offered a scholarship to San Diego State. Ligons, however, is expected to play junior college ball, most likely at El Camino.

BRANDON PERNELL

St. Bernard

Outfielder

Selected for his all-around play, Pernell was the best hitter and pitcher for the Vikings. St. Bernard reached the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals. Batting third, Pernell had a .407 average with six home runs, 30 RBI and 21 stolen bases. As a pitcher, he had a 7-4 record with a 2.41 ERA. He is making his second appearance on the Westside area team. He also was named to the Southern Section Division I first team. Pernell, who was selected by San Diego Padres in the 19th round of the June amateur draft, gave up a baseball scholarship and signed with the National League organization.

DANNY RAGSDALE

Murphy

Infielder

A Times' all-Westside quarterback, Ragsdale also demonstrated his arm strength as a shortstop for the Nobles. After making the Westside second team in 1994, Ragsdale had a stellar senior season. Batting third, he had a .496 average with three home runs and 23 RBI for a team that finished last in the Santa Fe League. Ragsdale will play at Saddleback College.

WILLIAM REED

Westchester

Outfielder

One of the Westside's most dangerous power hitters, Reed had a .505 batting average with a school-record seven home runs and a school-record 38 RBI. He helped lead Westchester to the second-best record in the Coastal Conference and to the City Section Division 4-A playoffs where the Comets lost to Poly. He was one of three area players selected to the City 4-A all-star first team.

KIRK ROMO

University

Catcher

Making his second appearance on the Westside first team, the senior catcher was responsible for calling pitches for the Warriors' outstanding pitching staff. Also a football player, Romo was a tough roadblock during close plays at the plate. He batted .397 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

JAKE WILLENS

Brentwood

Infield

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