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NOTEBOOK

Coaching Staff Enjoys Long-Running Reunion

April 21, 1999| From Staff Reports

Spring is a perfect time for class reunions.

At Simi Valley High, there's a 10-year reunion that happens every day on the softball field.

Three members of the class of 1989 are members of the Pioneers' coaching staff.

Denise Watkins, who played at Cal State Northridge, is a varsity assistant; Chrissy Oliver, who played at Oklahoma State, is the Pioneers' junior varsity coach; and Jaquie Cirualo, who played at Moorpark College, runs the freshman program.

"It's really exciting," said Coach Suzanne Manlet, who is 347-108 with five Marmonte League championships and one Southern Section title in 20 seasons at Simi Valley.

"My dream is to some day turn the program over to one of my former players. But that isn't until I'm old and gray, and I'm not there just yet."

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Stephanie Martinez of Burbank is batting only .222, but it's a loud .222.

She is six for 27, but has four home runs and a double.

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Each of El Camino Real's 12 victories have come by shutout, including the last seven in a row.

The Conquistadores (12-2), ranked No. 7 in the region by The Times, have allowed only six runs--three each to No. 1 Quartz Hill and No. 8 Hart.

But the pitching of right-handers Ashley Redlin and Stephanie Frasco and a solid defense aren't the only things attracting attention.

The Conquistadores' new yellow shorts are quite popular.

"Yeah, with bees," All-City shortstop Cara Blumfield said. "The bees love our shorts."

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Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest of La Reina continues to suffer from back pain resulting from an auto accident a month ago.

Vandergeest, who batted .512 with 31 runs batted in last season, has struggled at the plate since her return to the lineup.

To make matters worse, Vandergeest, who is batting .270, slipped while rounding first base and fell on her left thumb last week.

"She feels kind of snake-bit right now," Coach Don Hyatt said.

Vandergeest does her best to conceal her injuries from the coaching staff and continues to pester Hyatt to put her back at catcher. She was used as a designated player last week, but don't expect that to last.

"She couldn't stand that," Hyatt said. "We've got to get her back on the field because she's driving us crazy."

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Junior Erin Voeltz of Westlake has been a force in the Marmonte League since her freshman year. But nothing before approaches her performance this season.

With 137 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings, Voeltz has increased her strikeouts by 3 1/2 per game and 1.66 per inning.

"I've told her, 'You can't live on one pitch alone,' " Coach Barbara Jordan said. "I think she understands that now."

Voeltz (12-2), a right-hander whose pitch selection and placement seems to improve with each appearance, has cut her earned-run average in half from last season to 0.51.

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Calabasas (8-2-1, 4-0) is dominating the Frontier League, having outscored four opponents, 36-3.

With only one senior, the Coyotes should be the team to beat next season as well.

Calabasas' only losses were to El Camino Real and Kennedy, teams with a combined record of 25-4.

Santa Paula (7-4, 4-1), which hosts Calabasas on Thursday, is the only other team with a winning record in Frontier play.

Staff writers Dave Desmond and Paige A. Leech contributed to this notebook.

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