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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Celebrating Title With Ceremony

Division VI: Oster and Stephenson miss graduation, receive diplomas after Grace Brethren wins title, 3-1.

June 06, 1998|MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — Winning the Southern Section Division VI baseball championship wasn't the only highlight to a memorable day for Robby Oster and David Stephenson.

Fifteen minutes after the final out of Grace Brethren's 3-1 victory over La Verne Lutheran Friday at Blair Field, Oster and Stephenson, the Lancers' only seniors, received their diplomas, making up for the graduation they missed in Simi Valley.

The ceremony came as a surprise to Oster and Stephenson, who received their diplomas wearing caps, gowns and full baseball uniform.

"I had to think about [missing graduation] a little bit," Stephenson said. "But I realized if I missed this game, I would have regrets, either way it turned out."

Any second thoughts disappeared as Grace Brethren (23-2) won its first section title in any sport.

Jackson Beauchamp, Tim Thompson and Danny Buckley held the Trojans (18-3) to four hits.

Thompson (14-0) struck out six batters, allowed only a single and was chosen player of the game.

"My arm is a little soggy right now," Thompson said. "I'm feeling tired."

Buckley led off the game with a double and later scored on a ground ball by Thompson.

In the bottom of the second, Shawn McClain led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeremy Humphries.

Chris Delaplane led off the third with a single, took third on a double by Thompson and scored on a single by Beauchamp.

Fourth-seeded La Verne Lutheran (18-3) put together its only rally in the third inning, stringing together three doubles. But the Trojans managed only one run because Mike Thomas was caught off second base after his double scored Paul Christman.

"We don't usually make those kind of mistakes," La Verne Coach Mike Miller said. "We just ran ourselves out of it."

After Thompson ran out of innings because he pitched a complete game Tuesday, Buckley struck out the side in the seventh.

The title capped a tumultuous postseason for Grace Brethren. The Lancers were seemingly eliminated in the quarterfinals by Pacific Coast Christian.

But Grace Brethren was reinstated by forfeit because Pacific Coast Christian pitcher Andy Collup made too many appearances and went past the maximum 30 outs last week.

Grace Brethren Coach Dan Pierce resigned after the quarterfinal loss, but when the Lancers were reinstated, assistant Jim Thompson was asked to take over.

Pierce watched the championship game from the stands.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Division V Final

* Linfield: 2

* Kern Valley: 1

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