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NOTEBOOK

Westlake Coach Still Up After Late Slide

May 19, 1999

Five consecutive losses is not the kind of momentum anyone would expect from a playoff-bound team.

And it's certainly not the kind of streak any coach would relish.

Unless, of course, you're Barbara Jordan, in her first season at Westlake High.

"I know this sounds crazy, [but] I like where my team is at," Jordan said.

"I'm being honest. Where we are with our hitting, attitude and team spirit . . . yeah, I'm happy about it."

Westlake (18-9), which dropped out of first place in the final two weeks of Marmonte League play, lost its last three league games and four of five to finish third at 7-5.

With three losses in the Thousand Oaks tournament, Westlake has lost seven of nine.

Quite a skid considering the Warriors' impressive 16-2 start.

But Jordan, who made a name for herself as a feisty outfielder at Cal State Northridge, thinks she has found a silver lining.

"If it was a ride straight to the top, everybody would get on it," Jordan said. "My team has not peaked yet and they know it."

There couldn't be a better time for that to happen than in the next two weeks.

Westlake, in the Southern Section playoffs for the first time since 1995, will travel to Calabasas for a first-round Division III game on Friday.

"We have a plan and we're going to stick to our plan," Jordan said.

*

Hueneme (13-11) is another team making its first postseason appearance since 1995 with a first-year coach.

The last year Nichole Victoria was a head coach, she led Camarillo to the Division I championship game against Mater Dei in 1996.

A victory over Arroyo (15-6) on Friday in a first-round Division II game would be the Vikings' first playoff victory in the 1990s.

*

Highland (17-10) will host Valencia (12-14) today in a Division I wild-card game and a rematch of two games earlier this season.

Highland, second in the Golden League, defeated the Vikings, No. 3 entry from the Foothill League, 5-4, at the Hart tournament and 5-3 in a nonleague game.

"Beating a team three times in the same season can be tough," Coach Glenda Potts of Highland said.

The winner will travel Friday to fourth-seeded Rancho Cucamonga for a first-round game.

*

Anyone who attended the senior proms of Newbury Park and Nordhoff highs might have noticed.

But it's doubtful anyone besides Cindy Muran of Newbury Park and her date from Nordhoff knew she wore the same dress to both proms on consecutive weekends.

Some girls might be embarrassed by that fact, but not Muran, who is headed to Northwestern on a softball scholarship.

"She was quite proud of it," Coach Pete Ackermann said. "She got it on sale.

"The money she saved she can use as spending money at Northwestern."

*

No team in the region made a more dramatic comeback this season than Thousand Oaks, which won its last nine Marmonte League games to claim a co-championship with Newbury Park.

The Lancers started 1-2 in league play and it appeared they would be a long shot for a ninth consecutive playoff berth. But once they got rolling, the Lancers turned their season around.

"We played really well in the games that counted," Coach Gary Walin said. "And our kids played well down the stretch."

Thousand Oaks (20-8) has won 12 of 14 games. One of two losses in its tournament was to Hart, 1-0, when Thousand Oaks was without five starters because of prom commitments.

*

Joe Pitillo has resigned as coach at Canoga Park.

Pitillo, who was 23-29 in three seasons, said he is stepping down to follow the career of his daughter.

Jenny Pitillo, the Hunters' All-City pitcher, will graduate next month and hopes to play in college, although she has not decided on a school.

"Wherever she goes, I want to watch her," Joe said. "And, if I'm coaching, I can't do that."

*

Providence obviously has lofty goals.

"CIF CHAMPIONS" is written across the top of its preseason roster.

It won't take long to find out if the Pioneers, Liberty League champions, have what it takes to make a run at the Division V title.

They host perennial section power Paraclete in the first round on Friday.

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

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