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Playoffs a Hairy Time for Conquistadores

4-A CAHMPIONSHIP / EL CAMINO REAL VS. CHATSWORTH: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Dodger Stadium

June 10, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

If El Camino Real High players look a little scruffy at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, blame it on superstition.

The players have vowed not to shave until they lose during the playoffs. They're 3-0, and All-City outfielder Woody Cliffords is on his way to growing a beard--sort of. But the dedicated Cliffords didn't even shave for last Saturday's senior prom.

Of course, there are a couple of El Camino Real players who couldn't shave if they had to, most notably junior first baseman Brian Somoza.

"You couldn't tell if he shaved or not," Conquistador Coach Mike Maio said of Somoza.

No word yet if Chatsworth players are prepared to challenge the Conquistadores in the beard department. At least Coach Tom Meusborn has the edge over Maio with a mustache.

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Going on history, the chances are good the City 4-A final will be decided by one run.

This is the fourth City final between El Camino Real and Chatsworth during the 1990s. In 1990, Chatsworth won, 3-2. In 1993 and 1994, El Camino Real won both times, 7-6.

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How good is Chatsworth's offense? The Chancellors' team batting average is .390. Five players have 35 or more runs batted in--Tom Morefield (46), Matt Fisher (45), Matt Cassel (42), Danny Eisenberg (37) and Mike Kunes (37).

There are six hitters batting above .400. Outfielder Bryan Gant is 27 of 30 in stolen bases.

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For the first time since 1975, Valley teams will be City 4-A and Southern Section Division I baseball champions in the same season. Granada Hills and Hoover did it in '75. Crescenta Valley won the Southern Section Division I crown Saturday.

Chatsworth (29-3) is ranked No. 9 nationally by USA Today. Crescenta Valley (25-3-1) is No. 11.

Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres said his players would love to play the City 4-A champion.

"Our kids asked yesterday about it," Torres said. "I said, 'There's no more.' "

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