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No-Lose Situation for L.A.

Maccabi Games: Softball team is 59-0 with most games ending early because of mercy rule.

August 04, 2000|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jacque Lucero couldn't have asked for a more promising coaching assignment.

Seems unlikely that Lucero can fail in her first coaching job considering she has inherited a softball program that is undefeated in 59 games over the last 12 years.

At least that's the attitude Lucero is taking.

"It's not that we're pompous, it's just that L.A. has always been the team to beat and I don't think they'll ever lose," said Lucero, a 1992 graduate of Canoga Park High.

When it comes to the Maccabi Youth Games for Jewish athletes, 13-16 years old, no other softball team in the country can match Los Angeles, nine-time defending gold medalist.

Lucero, 26, formerly Jacque Stafford who played in the Maccabi Youth Games in 1988 and 1990, will coach Los Angeles in a six-team tournament in Richmond, Va., Aug. 13-19.

It's as if the Los Angeles team need only show up to record victory.

"Because of the caliber of California softball, I have every confidence in this team," Lucero said. "We have the advantage of playing year-round softball that other states don't have."

About 75% of the victories have come by the mercy rule, according to Sandy Silverman, head of the Los Angeles delegation.

The mercy rule can end a game after three innings if a team leads by 10 or more runs. But the game will continue if both teams waive the option.

"We can have a girl hit the ball off the fence and I'll stop her at second base," Silverman said. "We want to play."

Silverman recalled a game against a team from Minnesota in 1990 where Los Angeles led, 33-0, after three innings.

"And I'm holding my team back," he said.

With such a history of domination, it's a wonder the Los Angeles girls keep coming back.

"We go for the experience, not for the competition," Lucero said.

Softball became a Maccabi sport in 1988. The Games were held every two years before becoming a yearly competition in 1994.

In each of the nine years of competition, the softball team has never lost and has been threatened only once.

At the games in Detroit in 1998, Long Beach held a 1-0 lead for six innings. But Los Angeles scored twice in the top to seventh and held on for a 2-1 victory in the gold medal game.

A year later, there was a gold medal rematch between Long Beach and Los Angeles and the affair was much more one-sided, 6-0.

The games have grown from 2,500 athletes in 1988 to nearly 6,000 this year.

Athletes must pay for their own air fare, food and uniform, and are housed with other athletes by host families.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Maccabi Youth Games

LOCAL COMPETITORS

Games are scheduled through Wednesday in Tucson; Aug. 13-19 in Richmond, Va., and Cincinnati.

BASEBALL--(15-16 at Tucson) Josh Gaer, Woodland Hills; Matt Green, Calabasas; Glen Greenberg, Calabasas; Aaron Levin, Calabasas; Ryan Malleus, Northridge; Jesse Michel, West Hills; Daniel Millman, Encino; Brad Schultz, Bell Canyon; Brett Wexler, Calabasas; Adam Weg, Encino.

BASEBALL--(15-16 at Cincinnati) Ryan Asher, Calabasas; Josh Bernstein, Calabasas; Seth Binder, Oak Park; Jonathan Bobrow, Bell Canyon; Jason Brown, Stevenson Ranch; Craig Cohen, Newhall; Jason Glushon, Encino; David Hoffman, Calabasas; John Henry Jacobs, Winnetka; Landon Lerner, Tarzana; Justin Segal, Calabasas; Jacob Tepper, Studio City; Brian Trump, Calabasas.

BASEBALL--(13-14 at Richmond, Va.) Ian Feldman, Saugus; Daniel Hirsch, Calabasas; David Kass, Encino; Sam Kussin-Shoptaw, Northridge; Jeremy Ozen, Encino; Henry West, Tarzana; Jordan Wolff, Woodland Hills; Adam Zucker, Valley Village.

BOYS' BASKETBALL--(13-14 at Cincinnati) Adam Davis, Calabasas; Jason Selzer, Chatsworth; Kevin Taban, Encino; Michael Testan, Oak Park; Roman Veytsman, Woodland Hills.

BOYS' BASKETBALL--(15-16 at Richmond, Va.) David Gale, Sherman Oaks; Charlie Kranzdorf, Tarzana; Will Sheslow, Agoura; Craig Weinstein, Tarzana; Todd Wolfson, West Hills; Robbie Wizenberg, Studio City.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL--(At Tucson) Lauren Drell, Chatsworth; Ashley Finkel, Tarzana; Nicole Meyberg, Encino; Alexandra Novak, Agoura Hills; Jamie Rauchwarler, Oak Park; Jamie Schwarzbach, Northridge.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL--(at Richmond, Va.)--Caitlin Pincus, Chatsworth; Ilana Richman, Ventura; Rochelle Snyder, La Crescenta; Joelle Trowbridge, Valley Village.

GOLF--(at Richmond, Va.) Brad Dyne, Calabasas; Jeff Gabriel, Hidden Hills; Dustin Gale, Hidden Hills; Drew Kravis, Calabasas; Greg Moss, Sherman Oaks; Max Wright, Agoura.

BOYS' SOCCER--(at Cincinnati) Adam Bergman, Studio City; Aaron Croutch, Encino; Andy Dubin, Calabasas; Andrew Felder, Encino; Jeff Friedman, Chatsworth; Jared Goldstein, Bell Canyon; Joseph Gordon, West Hills; Evan Hassan, Encino; Max Haymer, Encino; Jonathan Kaminski, Bell Canyon; Noah Lane, Van Nuys; Jimmy Lansing, Sherman Oaks; Craig Levy, Woodland Hills; Ryan Murphy, Studio City; Sean Turner, Sherman Oaks; Sean Wachtel, Encino.

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