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Hart Begins Title Defense With Ace in the Hole

May 16, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Jamie Shields is back. Will Hart High follow him to the front?

With their ace pitcher rounding into shape, the Indians begin defense of their Southern Section Division II title. Hart (21-5) is seeded No. 2 and hosts Lancaster (15-10) in a first-round playoff game Friday.

Shields, who missed more than two months because of a back injury, pitched 6 1/3 innings Friday against Burroughs, his longest stint of the season. He also hit a three-run home run in Hart's 6-3 victory.

Shields was 11-0 last season. He is 4-1 this season.

Crescenta Valley (16-8), the 1998 Division I champion, plays at Camarillo (22-6) on Friday. The winner likely will meet No. 4-seeded Bishop Amat in the second round.

In other Division I matchups, Mission League champion Crespi (23-3-1) will play Friday at Valley College against the winner of a wild-card game between Long Beach Wilson and Alta Loma, and Oxnard (18-7) plays at Sunset League champion Los Alamitos.

In Division III, No. 3-seeded Westlake (22-3) hosts Temple City, with a potential second-round game at Calabasas (14-9). The Coyotes upset Westlake last year in the first round.

Notre Dame (15-9) usually competes in Division I, but this season chose to remain in Division IV, its enrollment classification. The Knights open at Mayfair.

In Division V, three of the top four seeded teams are from the region. Top-seeded St. Bonaventure (17-4), No. 2-seeded Village Christian (15-5) and No. 3-seeded Lancaster Desert Christian (19-2) host games Friday.

Grace Brethren (19-4), the two-time defending Division VI champion, was seeded No. 1 and is the only team in any division with a first-round bye.

*

It appears Jason Kubel has found his home-run swing.

The sweet-hitting outfielder slugged three home runs last week and four the previous week for Highland. Of his last eight hits, seven have been home runs. The other was a double.

"You can't be any hotter than he is," Coach Mike Van Cheri said of Kubel, who has 14 home runs. "Everything he hits is a line shot. He's not hitting fly-ball home runs. He's hitting monster shots. He's killing the ball."

Good timing, too.

Highland (19-6) hosts Channel Islands (13-11) in a wild-card game today.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFF PAIRINGS

All game times 3:15 p.m.

WILD-CARD ROUND

Today

Division II

Channel Islands at Highland

Division II

Royal at Canyon

Division IV

Santa Paula at Oak Park

Division V

L.A. Baptist at Villanova Prep

Brentwood at Flintridge Prep

*

FIRST ROUND

Friday

Division I

Oxnard at Los Alamitos

Channel Islands/Highland at Lakewood

Crescenta Valley at Camarillo

Long Beach Wilson/Alta Loma at Crespi

Division II

Sultana at Palmdale

Royal/Canyon at California

Damien at Ventura

Westminster at Thousand Oaks

Lancaster at Hart

Division III

Temple City at Westlake

Calabasas at Paso Robles

Burroughs at South Torrance

Division IV

Santa Paula/Oak Park at Gladstone

Notre Dame at Mayfair

La Canada at Nordhoff

Chaminade at Lompoc

Division V

L.A. Baptist/Villanova at St. Bonaventure

Brentwood/Flintridge Prep at St. Anthony

Vasquez at Cerritos Valley Christian

Kern Valley/Aquinas at Campbell Hall

St. Margaret/Ontario Chr. at Village Christian

Division VI

Grace Brethren-bye

Highland Hall at Thacher

Rolling Hills Prep at Faith Baptist

Granada Hills Hillcrest Christian at Viewpoint

First Lutheran at Cuyama Valley

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