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Cordeiro Bowls Over Simi Valley in Opener

Marmonte League baseball: He pitches five-hitter and hits two-run homer in 3-0 Thousand Oaks victory.

March 16, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SIMI VALLEY — Pitcher Chris Cordeiro of Thousand Oaks High throws so many strikes he could be mistaken for a bowler.

His performance Wednesday in the Lancers' Marmonte League baseball opener against Simi Valley was vintage Cordeiro.

The senior right-hander made 97 pitches, 70 for strikes. He struck out eight, walked one and pitched a five-hitter in Thousand Oaks' 3-0 victory at Simi Valley.

As if that wasn't impressive enough, he hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to break open a 1-0 game.

"He's such a clutch player," Coach Bill Sizemore said. "That's why he hits in the fourth spot. He always comes through. That's why he's Cordeiro. He's a freaking gamer. He has a heart the size of a lion."

Simi Valley (3-3) made the game close because pitcher Steve Westerfield tried to imitate Cordeiro. He walked none and scattered eight hits while keeping the Lancers (5-1) off balance with an effective curveball.

Even though the Pioneers had opportunities to score, Cordeiro would bear down and find a way to escape.

"I really just wanted to shut the door on them," he said.

No moment was more decisive than a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning. Consecutive singles with two out by Jeremy Scherwin, Winston Cuan and John Day left Cordeiro in a difficult situation. Up came Mike Nykoluk. The count reached 3 and 2.

"I wanted to make sure if he beat me, it was going to be my best pitch, so I just challenged him," Cordeiro said.

Nykoluk struck out on an inside fastball.

What a difference 11 days make. On March 4, Cordeiro gave up a sixth-inning grand slam to John Santor of Highland in a 4-3 loss.

Like any good pitcher, he ignored the past.

"It's a new day," he said.

One problem for the Lancers was lack of hitting. Sizemore is concerned Cordeiro's teammates are so confident in his pitching ability that they let up, thinking one or two runs will be enough to win.

"It seems when Chris pitches, we know he's going to give us a real good game and our guys sit back and let him do the work, which is disappointing," he said.

Simi Valley made a positive impression on the Lancers. Second-year Coach Joe Gordon is trying to re-create the tradition established by former coach Mike Scyphers.

Westerfield's pitching and solid defense kept the Pioneers close against the defending Marmonte champions.

"These guys play hard all seven innings," Gordon said. "They don't ever die. They have a great attitude."

Thousand Oaks plays Newbury Park on Friday, North Hollywood on Saturday, then gets to focus on a Wednesday game against top-ranked Westlake.

"That will be fun," shortstop Billy Lockin said.

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