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BETWEEN THE LINES | HIGH SCHOOLS

Sylmar Goes Up to 4-A in Basketball

April 30, 1998

Another dream came true this week for Bort Escoto, the boys' basketball coach at Sylmar High.

Sylmar, the defending City 3-A champion, was moved up to 4-A. The Spartans switched places with Monroe, which asked to be moved down a division.

Since taking over at Sylmar in 1994, Escoto has achieved three of his four goals: Sylmar installed a wooden gymnasium floor last year, won the 3-A title and now has 4-A status.

What's left on Escoto's wish list? Winning the City 4-A title, of course.

"Everyone thinks I'm crazy, but that's OK," he said.

No Valley team has won a City 4-A championship since the City was divided into 4-A and 3-A divisions in 1976.

Ceremony: Crespi High will have a gym dedication Sunday at 4 p.m. to honor Paul Muff, former basketball coach and athletic director. Muff served at the Encino campus from 1976 until his death in 1994. Major renovations have improved the gym's floor, lights, scoreboards and appearance. A new sign will be put up, "Alumni Memorial Gym," in honor of Crespi alumni.

BASEBALL

Time to change: Three games into the East Valley League season, Poly is at a crossroads and Coach Chuck Schwal knows it.

The Parrots have played solid defense and pitched effectively to win two games against Sylmar and one against North Hollywood, but Poly has only 11 hits in 25 innings of league play. Poly lost twice to the Spartans and tied the Huskies on Monday.

"Our inexperience from last year is carrying over," Schwal said. "Right now, we're doing a good job of pitching and defense, but we're not making the right adjustments on hitting."

Salvador Trujillo, one of three Poly seniors, said Poly will come around.

"We'll be all right," Trujillo said. "We play good defense, we pitch well, we will start hitting."

Slump: More than one Marmonte League baseball coach made a preseason prediction that Newbury Park would win the league title. Instead, the Panthers began the week 9-9 and 2-6 in league play.

Coach Curtis Scott said while his pitching has been fairly strong, it has been undermined by a lack of timely hitting and solid defense.

"When we hit the ball well as a team, we win," Scott said. "We're capable of getting 10 hits a game but we haven't been doing that."

Scott said lack of depth is another problem.

"We have 13 guys and the same nine play almost all the time," he said. "As a coach it's nice to be able to switch the lineup when guys aren't pushing themselves. But I don't have that luxury."

Mystery: Ventura High's Mike Anderson entered the week with four home runs but only seven runs batted in, confounding Cougar Coach Dan Smith.

"I don't even know what to say about that," Anderson said.

TRACK AND FIELD

Father knows best: The slightest changes in approach, form and equipment can have huge consequences for pole vaulters. Hoover junior Bridget Pearson gets a helping hand in her decisions from her father, Chris.

Because Bridget's personal coach, Anthony Curran, cannot travel to each of her meets, Chris, a doctor who participated in boxing, crew and track and field among other sports in his youth, helps critique each trip down the runway.

At the recent Mt. San Antonio College Relays, where Pearson, the defending state champion, placed fourth, Chris watched each of his daughter's attempts from the front row of the stands and used shouts and seemingly complex hand signals to confer with her.

"She signals in what she perceives to be the problem and I signal back," Chris said. "Then we think for a while and try to come up with a solution. You may cover 80 or 90 feet on a run but a [foot] one way or the other in your approach can make a difference."

VOLLEYBALL

Staying home: It doesn't seem like much of a dilemma, really.

Go to Hawaii? Or stay in Southern California and watch your former players on television instead.

Crespi High Coach Alvin Lamarre, who coached two Princeton men's volleyball players when they were in high school at Brentwood, is opting for the latter.

Princeton is in the NCAA Final Four, which begins today in Honolulu, but Lamarre will stay put and coach Crespi against Notre Dame on Friday.

"I'd never forgive myself if I go and my team ended up losing," Lamarre said.

SOFTBALL

Sleeping with the enemy: Camarillo second baseman Alana Mendoza was scheduled to sleep over Saturday at the home of travel ball teammate Lindsey Weinstein, Chaminade's third baseman.

The pair had a travel team practice the following day in Lake Elsinore.

Weinstein threatened to revoke the invitation, however, during the third inning of Chaminade's 4-1 loss to Mendoza and Camarillo if she scored.

Mendoza didn't score.

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