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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | AMERICAN LEGION NOTEBOOK

Bumgarner Is Not About to Let Case of the Blues Get Him Down

June 24, 1998|TRIS WYKES and MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

With his Woodland Hills El Camino Real team scheduled to play 26 regular-season games in 30 days, Coach Rob Bumgarner wasn't about to let a lack of umpires postpone a game against Van Nuys Grant on Friday.

After waiting 15 minutes, Bumgarner, with his opponents' blessing, drafted assistant Mike Sidoti to work the plate and a recent El Camino Real High graduate known only as "Sugi" to work the bases.

The 11-1 rout by Woodland Hills El Camino Real went off without incident and into the books as an official game.

"There were a few debatable third strikes but they went both ways," Bumgarner said. "Mike just threw on an extra set of catcher's gear and went for it and we paid the kid $20."

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Alemany does not have a team in District 20 this season after it was not asked back by Commissioner Mel Swerdling. The program has instead placed a team in the local Palamino League.

Swerdling said Alemany Coach Tim Browne did not adhere to the 18-player limit during Legion games, playing more than 20 on some occasions.

Said Browne: "[Swerdling] thought I was worried about developing younger kids and not playing graduating seniors, which was the whole point. Let's just say I'm not disappointed with the outcome at all."

Swerdling said other problems were Browne's frequent failure to submit official Legion paperwork and his team not wearing Legion patches on its uniform sleeves.

"If you won't recognize the organization by wearing the patch then you have no business being in it," Swerdling said. "I go through hell with all this stuff every year."

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In a three-week span, Scott Sellz has gone from being little more than a relief pitcher to becoming Valley Chatsworth's most indispensable player.

The No. 3 pitcher for Chatsworth High most of the season, Sellz, a junior, was pressed into service as the designated hitter when the City Section playoffs began.

The plan lasted one game, when second baseman Kevin O'Hara broke his finger. As part of an infield shift, Sellz became the first baseman in the semifinals and played that position in the Chancellors' loss to El Camino Real in the final.

When Valley Chatsworth began Legion games last week, Sellz played catcher.

Although he hadn't played behind the plate since junior varsity, Sellz caught all last week while Loren Devries recovered from a knee injury.

"I played right field once, but it wasn't for me," Sellz said. "I'm not fast enough, but catching came back to me pretty quickly. I'll do anything to play."

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Poly finished behind Sylmar and North Hollywood in the East Valley League because of a horrific slump midway through the season, but North Hollywood Poly is faring better this summer. Eight starters are batting over .300, led by Alberto Flores at .545. . . . Adam Kaplan of Panorama City Monroe pitched a no-hitter Sunday in a 10-0 victory over Sunland-Tujunga Verdugo Hills.

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