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Westlake Suspends Baseball Players

May 18, 1999| From Staff Reports

Three Westlake High baseball players, including two starters, were among five students suspended last week for allegedly vandalizing the Thousand Oaks High baseball field.

The players did not participate in a Marmonte League game Friday against Simi Valley and are not expected to play the rest of the season.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department is investigating, with charges pending against the juveniles, Sheriff's Deputy John Wright said.

Athletic Director Lou Lichtl of Thousand Oaks said derogatory words were spray painted onto the field and graffiti was written on several sign boards. The incident occurred May 11, one day after Westlake forfeited a baseball victory over Thousand Oaks for violating a Southern Section rule by allowing a player in its dugout who had been ejected from the previous game.

Lichtl said Thousand Oaks students have been advised not to retaliate.

Westlake Coach Chuck Berrington declined comment. Phone calls to Westlake Principal Curt Luft were not returned.

Westlake hosts Burroughs at 3:15 p.m. today in a Southern Section Division III wild-card game.

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Crescenta Valley was unseeded last season when it won the Southern Section Division I championship.

This year, Crescenta Valley (20-4) and pitcher Jordan Olson (9-2, 0.96 earned-run average) won't be able to sneak up on opponents. The Falcons are seeded No. 4 in the Division I playoffs and will open against the winner of a wild-card game between Downey and Rowland.

Wild-card games are today, with first-round games Friday, all starting at 3:15 p.m.

Notre Dame, ranked No. 1 in the region by The Times, must play a wild-card game because it lost a coin flip with Crespi to determine which Mission League co-champion would receive the league's No. 1 entry in the Division I playoffs.

Notre Dame will host Arroyo Grande today, with the winner playing at Marmonte League champion Thousand Oaks on Friday.

League champions Crespi, Camarillo (Pacific View) and Highland (Golden) also will host first-round games against wild-card winners.

In Division II, Foothill League champion Hart (22-4) was seeded No. 2 and will host Arroyo. Unseeded Canyon (13-11) hosts San Marcos.

In Division III, Frontier League champion Calabasas (12-12) was seeded No. 4 and will host the winner of the Westlake-Burroughs wild-card game.

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A vote of Pacific View League principals altered the order of finish in the league baseball standings, making second-place Oxnard the No. 3 entry and third-place Rio Mesa the No. 2 entry for the Southern Section playoffs.

The principals voted, 3-2, to penalize Oxnard because Coach Dan Garcia did not notify Rio Mesa that it was in violation of a Southern Section rule before a league game May 3 at Oxnard. Rio Mesa was forced to forfeit an 11-7 victory because a Spartan player who was ejected from the previous game was in attendance.

In a letter to the Southern Section, league President Tony Diaz wrote that Garcia, "who had prior knowledge of the violation prior to the start of the game, should have mentioned it" to Rio Mesa Coach Rich Duran.

Garcia's omission, Diaz wrote, was not in the spirit of "sportsmanship and fair play."

However, Garcia said Monday he was not aware that Rio Mesa had broken any rules until after the game.

"I don't care who they have in their dugout before a game," Garcia said. "I didn't know about it until [an Oxnard] parent told me [after the game]."

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Crespi pitcher Tim Leveque, who injured his right elbow on April 14, pitched an inning in a victory over Alemany on Friday and is gradually coming back.

Leveque, who has signed with Michigan, could pitch more extensively in the playoffs.

"We're hoping," Coach Scott Muckey said. "The more we win, the more time we have to heal him."

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Palmdale right-hander Matt Harrington strained a muscle in his pitching elbow Friday and is doubtful for the playoffs, Coach Lance Pierson said.

Harrington (8-2), who left in the fourth inning against Highland, has consulted two doctors.

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Forget the Dirty Dozen. Faith Baptist is winning games with only nine players on its roster.

The Contenders (16-5, 11-1) defeated Pilgrim, 57-0, May 11, though their 2-1 victory over Grace Brethren the previous day was equally important because it clinched a share of the Heritage League championship.

Staff writers Mike Bresnahan, Paige A. Leech and Eric Sondheimer contributed to this notebook.

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