Stop the presses. The state record book needs retooling.
Pitcher Tim Thompson, a senior at Grace Brethren High, was thought to have set a state record with 56 career victories, but the total was reduced to 51 last week, leaving him tied for the record.
Thompson was stripped of four victories after a review by the Grace Brethren athletic department revealed he won eight games as a freshman, not 12, as was reported earlier this season by the school.
The Southern Section further reduced Thompson's total by disallowing a victory in the 1998 Division VI quarterfinals. In that game, Grace Brethren lost to Pacific Coast Christian but was later awarded a forfeit victory because Pacific Coast Christian used an ineligible player.
The Southern Section ruled last month that Thompson never should have received credit for the victory.
As a result of the changes, Thompson has the same amount of career victories as former major league pitcher Scott McGregor, who had 51 for El Segundo High from 1969-72.
"It's hard to accept," said Thompson, who led Grace Brethren to three consecutive Division VI championships. "I don't even know why or how, but there's nothing I can do about it. It's in the past."
So who's responsible? How was Thompson credited with four more victories than he earned as a freshman, and why didn't someone notice?
Scott Nandor, athletic director at the small school in Simi Valley, has accepted blame, saying, "It should have stopped at my desk." But Nandor doesn't keep stats for the baseball team.
Nandor said a problem arose in the transition to a new coach two years ago.
"We were working with unofficial records because in between the transition of the coaches, the scorebooks were lost," Nandor said. "We tried to do the best of our ability to recover statistics from Tim's freshman year. One thing I should have demanded was that our coaches call all the newspapers [to verify Thompson's record]."
Not everyone is satisfied with the outcome.
Thompson's father, Jim, an assistant coach the last four seasons at Grace Brethren, was particularly upset with the Southern Section's ruling to disallow his son's 1998 quarterfinal victory.
"You can't come in two years later and take a win away from someone," Jim Thompson said. "I hate to speculate and think [the Southern Section] just didn't want the record broken, but what can you say?"
Thom Simmons, spokesman for the Southern Section, said a pitcher cannot be given credit for a victory in a forfeit, based on national high-school rules.
"No one gets credited with a win or loss," Simmons said. "Why should you get a win because a team forfeited? We're sure sorry about that. But those are national federation rules."
Grace Brethren Coach Aaron Marcarelli said he would have given Thompson more pitching starts at the end of the regular season had he known Thompson's correct victory total. Thompson played third base for five consecutive games, missing a few starts.
"We could have pitched him in two or three more games at the end, but we rested him because we wanted him healthy for the playoffs," Marcarelli said. "It's too bad."
Thompson was 17-2 this season and has committed to Cal Lutheran. He plans to work out at Cal Lutheran this summer, preparing himself for the next level.
Two weeks ago, he pitched one inning in the Bernie Milligan All-Star Game, getting standouts Spencer Steward of Burroughs, Jason Kubel of Highland and Jamie Shields of Hart out in order.
"Most people said I had to prove myself, but I thought of it more as a job to do," Thompson said. "And I went out there and did the job."
Marcarelli, in his second year as coach at Grace Brethren, predicted Thompson would do the job in college.
"He did everything I ever asked him to do," Marcarelli said. "He's one of the better pitchers in the area and he's a kid who's going to do well at the next level."
Ojai is again making a splash in American Legion.
Comprised of players from Nordhoff, Buena and Santa Paula highs, Ojai is 10-0, including two victories over Oxnard, and appears on the way to at least matching its success of last season.
The team, which was called Ojai-Santa Paula, finished 27-7-1 last year. But the season felt incomplete when Ojai-Santa Paula lost to Valley Chatsworth, 12-11, in the Area 6 semifinals.
"We've experienced summer baseball before, and now we know what we want to do," said infielder John Hill, who batted .571 for Nordhoff last season. "We get along pretty well for not playing with each other during the season."
Two of Hill's teammates at Nordhoff--Scott Drew and Tony Lagos--are back on the Ojai team this summer, as are Nathan Pierce of Buena and John Reyes and Jacob Macias of Santa Paula.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
District 20 (18-and-under)
W L GB V.N. Notre Dame 8 1 -- Valley Chatsworth 6 1 1 G.H. Kennedy* 6 1 1 Quartz Hill 7 2 1 Studio City Sylmar* 5 2 2 V.N. Birmingham 7 4 2 Antelope Valley* 5 3 2 1/2 Calabasas 6 4 2 1/2 S.C. Campbell Hall 3 3 3 1/2 Woodland Hills East* 2 6 5 1/2 Panorama City Monroe 2 6 5 1/2 H.D. Rosamond* 1 5 5 1/2 Woodland Hills West* 1 5 5 1/2 Van Nuys 1 5 5 1/2 Sunland-Tujunga 3 8 6 Canyon-Saugus -- -- --
District 20 (17-and-under)
W L GB West Hills Chaminade 6 0 -- Canyon 7 1 -- Lancaster 7 2 1/2 Palmdale 7 3 1 Saugus 6 3 1 1/2 V.N. Notre Dame 3 5 4 North Hollywood 2 5 4 1/2 Q.H. Paraclete 3 8 5 1/2 LAB-Montclair 2 8 6 G.H. Kennedy 0 5 5 1/2 Quartz Hill -- -- -- Tri-Cities Highland -- -- -- Van Nuys Grant -- -- --
* one tie