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Red-Letter Week for Batesole, Matadors

Signings: Coach lands Hernandez from Sylmar, expects to get six other baseball recruits.


Sending a message that Cal State Northridge's baseball program is back on solid ground, Coach Mike Batesole is expected to sign seven high school players to letters of intent this week, a dramatic reversal from last November when uncertainty in the program's future resulted in no signings.

Among the recruits is Ivan Hernandez, an All-City pitcher from Sylmar High. He committed to Northridge on Wednesday, the first day of the signing period, and plans to sign on Friday.

Hernandez, whose fastball has been clocked at 90 mph, was 11-2 with a 1.95 earned-run average last season.

"It's close to home and the program is on the rise," Hernandez said of the Matadors.

Baseball and three other Northridge men's sports programs were eliminated in June of 1997 because of budget and gender-equity concerns. Two months later, the sports were reinstated.

Batesole is negotiating a five-year contract extension and Northridge administrators seem committed to building a new baseball field.

Batesole awarding seven scholarships in November is unusual, because it forces him to make talent judgments months before the players' senior seasons. But he decided the players are worth the risk.

"The reason I wanted to do this is these kids won't be there in April," he said.

Other players from the region signing with Northridge are infielder Wes Rasmussen of Moorpark, outfielder Chris Testa of Palmdale and pitcher Kameron Loe of Granada Hills.

Three Matador recruits are from outside the region--pitcher Bill Murphy of Riverside Arlington, outfielder Daylon Monette of Fontana A.B. Miller and infielder Wes Frederic of Norco.

Murphy, a left-hander, is part of an Arlington team that could be ranked No. 1 in the state.

Pitcher Scott Rice of Royal committed to Arkansas, whose pitching coach is Tim Montez, a former Montclair Prep and Northridge assistant.

In girls' basketball, Jaline Bradley of Channel Islands is expected to sign with UCLA. She is one of the quickest guards in the state.

Christen Roper, a 6-foot-5 center for Nordhoff, signed with Hawaii.

UC Santa Barbara's men's basketball team was set to sign three players from the region, 6-11 J.J. Todd of Chaminade and guards B.J. Ward and Nick Jones of Santa Clara.

Cindy Muran, an All-Marmonte League softball player from Newbury Park, is visiting Northwestern this weekend and could sign with the Wildcats.



Here's a list of Valley and Ventura County athletes who are expected to sign letters of intent this week.


NAME HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE BOYS' BASKETBALL Rafael Berumen Simi Valley New Mexico Gilbert Arenas Grant Arizona Chris Williams Notre Dame Missouri-K.C. J.J. Todd Chaminade UC Santa Barbara B.J. Ward Santa Clara UC Santa Barbara Nick Jones Santa Clara UC Santa Barbara GIRLS' BASKETBALL Damaris Hinojosa Moorpark Pepperdine Jaline Bradley Channel Islands UCLA Christen Roper Nordhoff Hawaii BASEBALL Mike Kunes Chatsworth UCLA Tim Leveque Crespi Michigan Kameron Loe Granada Hills CS Northridge Wes Rasmussen Moorpark CS Northridge Chris Testa Palmdale CS Northridge Ivan Hernandez Sylmar CS Northridge Kevin Howard Westlake Miami Ryan Ayers Newbury Park San Francisco Scott Rice Royal Arkansas SOFTBALL Maureen LeCocq Chaminade Stanford Jodie Cox Quartz Hill CS Fullerton Melinda Moulden Crescenta Valley Michigan Meghann Reiss Alemany Wisconsin BOYS' VOLLEYBALL Billy Strickland Harvard-Westlake Stanford Will Curtis Harvard-Westlake Stanford


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