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Pacifica Tennis Reaches Playoffs for the First Time

May 07, 1996|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For the first time in Pacifica's 31-year history, the boys' tennis team is in the Southern Section playoffs. It's the first time in 10 years they are not in last place in the Garden Grove League. The Mariners clinched third place last week with a comeback victory over Santiago, which had been tied with Pacifica for third.

Pacifica (11-7, 10-6) trailed 7-5 after two rounds, but won four of the last six sets and won the match, 78-77. The difference this season?

"We made it a team sport this year," first-year Coach Richard Berman said. "Our motto was 'One team, one effort.' We had a large number of people come out this year and that helped give us some depth."

Berman played at Pacifica from 1986 through 1990 and in those days, he said the Mariners had some decent individual talent.

"We've always had individuals, but never teams," he said. "We have no USTA-ranked player and we have no one on the team with more than three years of experience. It's taken a lot of hard work, but our goal all year was the playoffs."

The playoff pairings will be announced today. Berman is expecting to face the top-seeded team, probably defending Division II champion Palm Desert, in the first round.

*

Troy outfielder Chad Elliott will end his baseball career Thursday by playing all nine positions in the Warriors' home game against Buena Park.

To accomplish the feat in the scheduled seven innings, Elliott will play each outfield position in the first inning, then play a different position each subsequent inning. Adding to the difficulty is Elliott being left-handed. However, he has a left-handed catcher's mitt, and caught some junior varsity games as a freshman.

"I've never done this before except in drills and scrimmages," Elliott said. "But Coach [Dane Ilertsen] mentioned doing it as a fun little thing and I thought 'Why not?' "

Elliott figures third base will be the hardest position for him "because of how quick the ball gets to you and because I've never played there before."

Elliott, 18, is a three-time All-Freeway League pick and has a .336 career batting average. He has not missed a game for Troy--a stretch of 76 games.

*

The Santa Margarita golf team, already one of Orange County's most powerful, has an extra advantage at 9 a.m. today in the Southern Section Southern Regional.

The competition, from which the top three teams will advance to the Southern Section team championship May 13, is being held on the very tough north course at Coto de Caza, where Santa Margarita plays most of its home matches.

The Eagles (17-1, 9-1), the runaway winners of the Sea View League, won the Southern Regional last year at El Toro Marine Base by six strokes over eventual section champion Valencia.

The Southern Regional, which features the top teams from Orange County, except freelance Sunny Hills, is usually the strongest of the five regionals. The section champion has come from the Southern Regional four of the last seven years.

* Staff writers Martin Beck and Mike Terry contributed to this story.

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