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MIDWEEK REPORT / HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS UPDATE : His Nose Was Broken on a Hard-Nosed Play

May 02, 1996

You could say that Sylmar High second baseman Mario Rodriguez has a nose for the game.

Unfortunately, that nose is now broken.

On a fly ball against North Hollywood in the bottom of the eighth inning last week, Rodriguez tagged from second and dove into third. The tag came down on his helmet, driving his nose into the base.

"He came right up and said, 'My nose is broken,' " Coach Gary Donatella said. "I looked up and sure as hell there was blood, and swelling had already begun."

Although Rodriguez was pulled for a pinch-runner, he returned to the lineup Tuesday for the Spartans' next game.

"He's done a good job for us this year and I'd hate to lose him," Donatella said.

Baseball Notes

City Section

VALLEY PAC-8 CONFERENCE

East Valley League--North Hollywood (9-14) has won nearly twice as many games as last season and has a shot at gaining an at-large playoff berth if the Huskies can scratch out a couple more victories. . . . Meanwhile, Grant, 3-10 in league play and nine games out of first, is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in three years under Coach Jeremy Lawrence. Grant finished third last year behind Poly and Sylmar but gained an at-large berth. . . . Poly collected 42 hits in three games last week, second only to the 46 in three games by Reseda. Poly's Abel Salazar was eight for nine and Steve Guerrero went six for 10 with eight RBIs. "We've been swinging the bat well since we got back from Vegas," Coach Chuck Schwal said.

Mid-Valley League--Monroe has lost a lot in the way of team personnel in the last year, but that hasn't seemed to affect the Vikings' league standing. Monroe, which has only two returning starters, is a game behind first-place Reseda. The teams will play at Monroe today at 3 p.m.

NORTHWEST VALLEY CONFERENCE

North Valley League--San Fernando suffered a blow in its run for the City Section playoffs when it lost junior shortstop Alex Esqueda to academic ineligibility. Esqueda was hitting .327. . . . Kennedy's offense, which struggled at the start of the season, is beginning to resemble the one that set school records last year. The latest Golden Cougar to heat up is designated hitter Christian Bartlett, who had five RBIs in a 15-8 victory over San Fernando on Monday. Kennedy has scored 39 runs in its last three games. . . . Kennedy right-hander Jon Garland (6-1) lowered his earned-run average below 3.00 for the first time this season with five scoreless innings against Cleveland last Wednesday. . . . After a rough series against Kennedy, Cleveland bounced back with a 3-1 victory over Granada Hills on Monday. Jared Mills pitched his best game since undergoing lung surgery in March but left the game in the fifth inning after he was hit in the leg by a line drive. Mike Schultz finished up for his first save.

West Valley League--Chatsworth has arguably the most potent offense in the region. The Chancellors are averaging 8.8 runs a game. Leadoff hitter Mike Wexler, who had never hit a home run at any level in high school before a grand slam against El Camino Real two weeks ago, hit another home run last week against Taft. Frank Dipoma has gone four for five in two of Chatsworth's last three games, including a 15-3 victory over Birmingham on Monday. . . . After a month in which no clear-cut leader emerged in the standings, Chatsworth and El Camino Real have distanced themselves from Taft and Birmingham. Chatsworth holds a one-game lead over the Conquistadores. The teams meet Monday.

Southern Section

CHANNEL

Buena's league results break down to a 1-5 record at home and 5-0 on the road. . . . Ventura continues to enjoy its upset of archrival Buena last week when the Cougars squeezed in the winning run on a bunt by Thad Metz. "That was good for the kids, it lifted them up," Coach Dan Smith said. Ventura has improved its defense in recent weeks but Smith said the Cougars are all too often a weak-hitting outfit. "We give up too many runs early and can't produce enough of our own to get back in the game," Smith said. In a pleasant exception, Ventura scored seven runs in the seventh inning to beat Oxnard, 10-7, on April 19. The Cougars pulled out a 3-2 victory last Friday, again in the seventh inning, on a home run by Metz and a run-scoring triple by Marcus Tovar. . . . Hueneme's hottest player entering the week was junior Pedro Cervantes, who was hitting at a .476 clip in his last seven games.

FOOTHILL

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