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NOTEBOOK

Reluctant Coach Balks at Team's Mark to Dye For

April 20, 1999| From Staff Reports

With the victories come the spoils. And bleach-blond hair.

Before the season, Lancaster High Coach Doug Martin promised to dye his hair if the Eagles (10-5, 5-2) started Golden League play with a 5-0 record.

The mission was accomplished, but Martin has been waffling. He is, after all, getting married Saturday.

"He's kind of backing out," pitcher Steve Payte said. "I don't think we can talk him into it, but we're trying to."

Martin defends himself by stating the obvious: "Honestly, I didn't think we'd make it [to 5-0]. Everything will be taken care of, though. After the wedding."

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Hoover is keeping pace in the Pacific League thanks to pitching from an unlikely source.

Junior right-hander Josh Head, who played on the junior varsity team last season, is 4-0 with a 2.27 earned-run average for the Tornadoes (10-5, 4-2).

Head will pitch today against Crescenta Valley (14-1, 7-0), ranked No. 1 in the region by The Times.

"It'll be a good challenge for him," Hoover Coach Jim Delzell said. "We'll see what happens. We'll give him a shot."

Rudy Barcena, a senior right-hander, has also been productive for Hoover with a 3-0 record and 1.73 ERA.

"Between those two guys, we're doing pretty well," Delzell said. "We've gotten more out of them than we expected."

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Watch out for smack talk and dirt flying today when Chatsworth (13-2, 6-0) hosts El Camino Real (13-3, 6-2) in the first of three regular-season West Valley League showdowns.

These schools have set the standard for City Section baseball rivalries in the 1990s. Four times this decade they have met for the City championship at Dodger Stadium. Five times they have met in four games in a season.

"They're the games we practice for," said shortstop Conor Jackson of El Camino Real. "I can't wait to play them. The thing is, we're all really good friends. I've known [Chatsworth players Matt] Cassel and [Matt] Fisher forever. Everybody knows everybody and that's what makes it so fun."

The last time the teams met, El Camino Real upset top-seeded Chatsworth, 5-2, in 10 innings at Dodger Stadium.

The pitching matchup today is expected to be Mike Kunes (5-1), the City player of the year last season for Chatsworth, against either Adam Sperling (2-0) or Josh Deneau (3-1). On Thursday at El Camino Real, it will be Scott Sellz (4-0) for Chatsworth against Ryan Gunches (5-0).

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Security should never be a problem at Newbury Park games. Greg Lamb, the Panthers' first-base coach, is a California Highway Patrol officer. John Marsden, the third-base coach, is an LAPD officer. And Bob Hamer, whose son, Joey, is the catcher, is an FBI agent.

All they need is someone with the CIA.

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It's early in the Alpha League season, but the newcomer, Paraclete, and the old-timer, L.A. Baptist, meet today at L.A. Baptist in a game that already has league championship implications.

Paraclete (10-5), in its first year of Alpha League play, has participated in the San Fernando and St. Paul tournaments in an effort to be better prepared for its move up from the High Desert League.

"As far as baseball-wise, this is a much higher-quality league," Paraclete Coach Steve Hagarty said. "Village Christian has been beating people, L.A. Baptist has been beating people. We think this is a better baseball situation for us."

L.A. Baptist (12-2, 2-0), which has won five of the last six league titles, is expected to start Evan Regenstreif (5-0).

Scott Swenson allowed only one earned run in 16 innings but, because of a shoulder injury, cannot pitch for another three weeks. He will be the Knights' designated hitter today.

"If our kids come out and play good, it's going to be a great game," L.A. Baptist Coach Mark Hubbard said. "If not, we're going to get embarrassed."

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Staff writers Mike Bresnahan and Eric Sondheimer contributed to this notebook.

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