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Quartz Hill, Chaminade Are Pitching In to Replace Stars

March 03, 2000|DAVE DESMOND

Big shoes to fill, lots of feet.

Life after Jodie Cox and Maureen LeCocq begins on Saturday for Quartz Hill High and Chaminade.

Both teams will try to replace their graduated stars with stables of talented, promising and unproven arms.

Both teams are optimistic about a future without Cox, The Times two-time player of the year, and LeCocq, the two-time pitcher of the year.

"We're not looking at it as one girl has to fill in," said co-Coach Coy Ray of Quartz Hill, who relied on Cox to lead the Rebels to four consecutive Golden League titles and the Southern Section Division II championship in 1998. "We have a whole team of pitchers this year and I think we'll be OK."

Amanda Ricker, Amber Hilblom, Kellie Cox and Rachel Glascock begin in a dead heat to replace Cox, now at Cal State Fullerton, who was 70-20 with a 0.77 earned-run average in her career, and batted .472 with 29 home runs and 110 runs batted in.

The Rebels, ranked No. 10 in the region, open Saturday with Hart tournament games against No. 6 Westlake and Santa Monica.

At No. 8 Chaminade, freshman Ashlee Freeman and sophomore Christina Lupacchini have been impressive during the preseason and will each start a game Saturday during a nonleague doubleheader at Division I powerhouse Santa Ana Mater Dei.

"I think they give us tremendous balance," Coach Steve Harrington said of the hard-throwing Freeman and Lupacchini, a finesse pitcher. "We're trying to create our own identity."

Freeman might be the region's top freshman pitcher and has been clocked in the 63 mph range, Harrington said. She was impressive last week in a 0-0 scrimmage against No. 4 Newbury Park.

She said she feels no pressure to measure up LeCocq, now at Stanford, who was 70-26 with a 0.44 career ERA and led the Eagles to the Division IV title last season.

"Nobody is expecting me to be Maureen LeCocq," the right-hander said. "I'm just hoping that my pitching can help the team do well."

"Her shoes are big ones to fill, but I think we'll be just fine," said Lupacchini, who was 2-3 with a 1.65 ERA last season when LeCocq was sidelined by an injury.

*

The cornerstones of Chaminade's infield have kidney stones.

First baseman Lindsey Weinstein might miss the Eagles' season-opening doubleheader at Mater Dei on Saturday because of the ailment, which has become all-too-familiar at Chaminade.

Last season, during its run to the Southern Section Division IV championship, shortstop Courtney Whale battled kidney stones.

"I'm calling them our rockheads," Harrington said.

*

Quartz Hill is high on first baseman Jennifer Curtier, a left-handed freshman.

"She can flat-out hit the fire out of the ball," Ray said.

Curtier's emergence came at the perfect time. Junior Andrea Cabriales, who had started at first base the last two seasons, decided not to play softball this year.

*

Second baseman Kim Koral of Harvard-Westlake has committed to Harvard.

As a junior, Koral batted a team-best .417 for the Wolverines.

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