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Matchup Falls Short as Coach Pulls Plug

Baseball: Garland's dominance obscured by Douglass' early exit in Kennedy's 6-1 victory.

March 08, 1997|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — Turns out Jon Garland and Sean Douglass are not the first human clones.

Sure, both are 6-foot-5 1/2, 200-pound senior right-handers who throw 92 mph, wear eyeglasses and probably will become wealthy after the June draft.

But differences were noted Friday at Pierce College by the estimated 50 scouts who followed their every move in a San Fernando tournament game. And the primary difference was the way Douglass was employed by his Antelope Valley High coach.

Garland pitched five no-hit innings to lead Kennedy past the Antelopes, 6-1, before a crowd that filled the stands, lined the base lines and stood more than 10 deep behind home plate.

However, the widely anticipated duel between the area's top pro prospects lasted all of 45 minutes.

The first inning went as expected: Garland struck out the side on 10 pitches. Douglass struck out two and got Garland to pop out in foul territory.

The second inning went as expected: Garland struck out the side after walking a batter. Douglass allowed two ground-ball hits and a walk, but exhibited poise by pitching out of the jam.

Garland had a rocky third, but survived when a shoestring catch by right fielder Adrian Perez stranded two runners.

Antelope Valley took the field, and to the dismay of the scouts--and Douglass' parents--Jeremy Holiday (0-1) took the mound.

"I was shocked," said Laura Douglass, Sean's mother.

In Coach Ed t'Sas' view, the game was no more important than the doubleheader Antelope Valley plays today against Crescenta Valley. He has only four pitchers and needs Douglass to throw on consecutive days.

That thinking riled scouts, who value Douglass' arm more than Antelope Valley's won-loss record, which happens to be 0-1.

"If he were my son I'd strangle the coach," said one irate scout, adding that he believes Douglass needs at least one full day's rest after his 38-pitch outing.

T'Sas politely disagrees.

"I've got to look at the whole picture of our season," he said. "I've been around Sean for four years and know our team. If that doesn't go with [the scouts'] plan, I respect that. But I can't listen to everyone's grumbling."

Kennedy (1-1) promptly scored three runs in the third, and added one in the fifth and two in the sixth.

Garland (1-0) continued to dominate, striking out nine, walking three and allowing no runs. Upon his exit, the scouts hanging on every pitch saw no reason to hang around. The place couldn't have cleared out more quickly had a stink bomb been lobbed into the stands.

Douglass singled in the sixth against Wes Crown for the Antelopes' only hit. Garland had three of Kennedy's 11 hits.

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