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SIDELINES

Baldwin Lights Home Fire and Recruits Warm to the Idea

February 09, 1996

Aaron Arnold and Kenyatta Burris were headed for the state of Mississippi.

Until the Monroe High standouts caught a bad case of the Biloxi Blues.

Thanks to an eleventh-hour phone call from Cal State Northridge football Coach Dave Baldwin, Arnold and Burris chose CSUN over Alcorn State.

Baldwin connected with the duo on a conference call a day before they made their decision.

He pitched the local angle. It worked.

"He said if you stay here, your family and friends will be able to watch you play, kind of like a hometown hero," said Arnold, who quarterbacked Monroe to the City Section 3-A Division semifinals.

Burris, a first-team 3-A receiver, also liked what he heard.

"He said that we were local and could bring a lot of attention to the Valley," Burris said.

Whether they bring victories remains to be seen.

But Burris said he's ready.

"I want to play--bad," he said. "I'm a Matador now."

Hard-headed: First baseman John Olerud of the Toronto Blue Jays wears a helmet when playing defense. Maybe Ventura College pitcher Jeremy Pierce should do the same.

Pierce, a freshman right-hander from Ventura High, was drilled on the head by a throw from catcher Monte Moritz in a 5-4 nonconference loss to Harbor on Sunday.

The scary moment came when Moritz fired the ball toward second base during an attempted steal by Harbor, which had runners at the corners.

"[Pierce] was supposed to cut off the ball but he [tried to duck] instead," said Don Adams, Ventura coach. "The ball bounced all the way to our dugout and the runner scored from third."

But Pierce wasn't done flirting with disaster. Later, a line-drive foul nearly nailed him on the head at the on-deck circle.

"We are calling him Magnet Head," Adams said.

Shhh, Louie's listening: La Canada High boys' soccer Coach Lou Bilowitz says he's had few problems with his players' parents in nine seasons with the Spartans. That doesn't mean he's not aware of how they feel.

"I know when some of them are unhappy because I watch the films of our games and the parents all sit around Brian Andrus, who does the filming for me," Bilowitz said.

"Everyone sits around and says, 'Why is Louie playing him in that position? What is Louie doing? How come my son's not starting?' I hear all that. But the parents have been great. They've left me alone even though they're not all happy."

Following a pattern: Rich Rider, the men's basketball coach at Cal Lutheran, says it's happened like clockwork for the past seven or eight years.

His son, Jon, a 6-foot-3 senior swingman at Cal Lutheran, will shoot markedly better from the free-throw line in the second half of the season. Jon, who is shooting 80.4% from the foul line, has shot 85.2% from the stripe in his last seven games after making 70.1% of his attempts in the Kingsmen's first 13 contests.

"He did the same thing in high school and junior college," Rich Rider said. "He tends to shoot better in the second half of the season, especially from the free-throw line. I think his concentration goes up as the games get bigger and bigger."

If Jon Rider needs further motivation, he doesn't have to look far. His sister, Missy, a freshman on the Cal Lutheran women's team, is shooting 77.1% from the line.

Stats

Wednesday's 87-51 victory over NAIA The Master's College was the biggest for the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team since the Matadors competed in Division II and beat Texas College, 84-42, during the 1988-89 season. The victory against The Master's also marked the first time in four years Northridge had won back-to-back games.

Cal Lutheran point guard Dave Ulloa has moved into third on the Kingsmen's all-time assists list. Ulloa, a 5-9 senior from Hoover High, has 396 assists during his career to rank third behind Mike Webb (507 from 1973-77) and Mark Caestecker (485 from 1977-81).

Quotebook

"A victory in this program is a positive step. Who it's against makes no difference whatsoever."

--Cal State Northridge women's basketball Coach Michael Abraham, after his team's 87-51 victory Wednesday over Master's.

"I always lie to them and tell them we can win the whole thing."

--Santa Paula High boys' basketball Coach Tom Donahue, on prepping his team for the playoffs.

Things to Do

Valley College, Canyons, Moorpark and Pierce are hosting the Western State Conference baseball invitational today and Saturday. Games are at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at each school.

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team will host Cal State Sacramento in an American West Conference game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Matador Gym.

Contributing: Mike Bresnahan, Fernando Dominguez, Jeff Fletcher, Irene Garcia, John Ortega, Tris Wykes.

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