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Fishman's Effort Worth Wait for El Camino Real

Conquistador senior right-hander who didn't get into final three years ago makes most of chance.

May 29, 1997|DAVID WHARTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Shaun Fishman wasted no time making his mark on the City Section 4-A Division championship game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.

The El Camino Real High senior came to bat as a designated hitter in the second inning and drove the first pitch he saw into right center for a single. Three batters later, he scrambled home on a wild pitch.

He finished as the winning pitcher in the Conquistadores' 13-11 victory over Banning and was selected most valuable player of the tournament after earning the victories in relief in all four playoff games.

But early in the final, his impatience was understandable.

Three years ago, Fishman was a freshman pitcher on an El Camino Real team that played Chatsworth for the title. As Chatsworth rallied to tie the score, 6-6, in the seventh inning, Fishman got the call to warm up, his heart racing.

"It was thumping like crazy," he recalled. "It was a total adrenaline rush."

Part of him wanted the chance to play in Dodger Stadium. Parted of him wanted to see his friend, former teammate Randy Wolf, finish his senior year a winner.

Wolf, who watched from the stands Wednesday, recalled thinking: "I'm not coming out."

Wolf held on for a 7-6 victory in nine innings and Fishman never got into the game.

But he came away with experience that he could share with his current teammates as they faced the specter of playing a championship game in a big league ball park.

"As soon as you step onto the field, take a couple of seconds to look around," Fishman told them. "See the green grass, the smooth infield. Enjoy it."

Then he told them: "Keep up your intensity."

He demonstrated as much in his first at-bat. And that was just the start of things.

With a 7-5 record and a 3.09 earned-run average, Fishman inherited Wolf's role as the Conquistadores' ace this season. But having worked five innings in a 9-6 semifinal win over Chatsworth on Tuesday, he did not get the start against Banning.

It wasn't until the third inning, with his team losing, 9-5, that Fishman finally took the mound at Dodger Stadium.

Again he wasted no time, retiring the first 10 batters he faced, five of them by strikeout, as El Camino Real rallied to take a 12-9 lead in the sixth.

Like Wolf had done before, he suffered through a shaky seventh, giving up two walks and two singles as Banning pulled close.

Like Wolf, he survived, getting the last batter on a foul pop.

After a three-year wait, Fishman flourished in the limelight.

Wolf could hardly act surprised.

"He had a good arm even as a freshman," said the former Conquistador, now an All-American at Pepperdine who will be a high pick in next week's major league draft. "It was pretty obvious that he was going to do well."

All it took was a little time.

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