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There is No Need for Hart to Get Well Soon

High school baseball: With key players sidelined, Indians (5-1) rout Canyon, 15-3, in league opener.

March 18, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CANYON COUNTRY — On a day Hart High looked beatable, the Indians still routed Canyon, 15-3, in their Foothill League opener Friday at Canyon.

Here's the scary part: The Indians are 5-1 without injured pitcher Jamie Shields, who's at least two weeks away from playing. He was 12-0 and hit 11 home runs last season.

They're 5-1 without outfielder Matt Friedrichsen, who hit 11 home runs last season but had his first at-bat Friday after recovering from a broken hand.

And they're 5-1 even though leadoff hitter Ryan Haag, who had 50 hits and a .485 batting average last season, is hitting .211.

"People aren't feeling sorry for us," first-year Coach Jim Ozella said.

But Foothill League teams better not waste the opportunity to defeat the weakened Indians, because in another month, there probably won't be another chance.

Shields, who has been relegated to cheerleading duties while waiting for a strained muscle in his back to respond to therapy, finally voiced optimism that he'll be returning, buoyed by an MRI exam that proved negative earlier this week.

"I'm coming back with a vengeance," Shields said. "I should be better within two weeks."

Credit Hart's players for not making excuses while their big guns heal.

"If we can win without Shields, we can do 10 times better with him," outfielder Bill Susdorf said.

Against Canyon (4-3), the Indians defeated left-hander Chris Seddon, the only Foothill pitcher to own a victory over them last season.

Seddon didn't have much support. Seven of the eight runs he allowed in four innings were unearned. The Cowboys' defense collapsed with six errors.

Susdorf inflicted plenty of damage, hitting two doubles and a single while pitching two scoreless innings of relief.

Marke Horvat hit a two-run home run and a two-run single.

Pitcher Eric Posthumus (3-0) scattered eights hits in five innings.

A seven-run fifth inning by Hart broke open a 3-3 game. Thirteen batters came to the plate in the inning. Once Seddon was removed, the Indians knew Canyon was finished.

"I just remember last year he shut us down and nobody hit the ball," Susdorf said. "We thought if we could hit him and knock him out, their team might lose confidence."

Ozella keeps asking other players to step up, but he's doing his best to get his standouts back.

Friedrichsen played despite having only one day of batting practice in the last month.

"I'm kind of rushing him, but we need him in the lineup," Ozella said. "We're trying to get stabilized."

Next up for Hart is a Tuesday showdown with Valencia (5-0) and Jeff Green, a former Hart pitcher.

"He's friends with a lot of us and every time we face him, the friendship ends and we go for each other's throats," Susdorf said.

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