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Confident Buena Takes Role of Channel League Favorite

March 22, 1997

Channel League baseball is considered better than it has been in three seasons and Buena High, last year's fourth-place finisher, is picked to win the title. Bulldog Coach Stan Hedegard has high expectations for his team.

"I told them, 'You guys have been picked to win the league [title] and you need to rise to the occasion,' " Hedegard said. "There's no point in hiding it from them."

Buena, which missed a Southern Section playoff berth last year on the last day of the regular season, returns seven starters and 11 lettermen, led by pitchers Ricky Helland, David Arroyo and Matt Foster.

Kurt Probosco has moved from catcher to left field and Mario Robledo, last year's center fielder, is now a reliever.

"He's my Goose Gossage-type closer, minus the goatee," Hedegard said of Robledo.

Buena's main question mark is at shortstop, where sophomores Poncho Ortiz and Paul Shirey are battling for a starting role in their first varsity season.

"We'll see what happens," Hedegard said. "They've got similar numbers. Maybe we'll just flip a coin."

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