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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Five Errors Put Westlake Down, Out

May 27, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

COVINA — Losses aren't any harder to swallow than the one Westlake High was force-fed Friday by Charter Oak in a Southern Section Division III quarterfinal game.

Five Westlake errors--the last on a hard grounder that shortstop Jeff Dragicevich couldn't handle on the game's final play--contributed to a 6-5 Charter Oak victory in nine innings that left the third-seeded Warriors (24-4) stunned.

"It's depressing," said right-hander Tyler Adamczyk of Westlake. "We're a better team. We just didn't play our best game today."

Adamczyk (9-1) pitched well in 2 2/3 innings of relief, stranding the winning run in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings.

But in the ninth, Charter Oak (22-7) loaded the bases with one out and Kurtis Bragg's smash got past Dragicevich, allowing Lance Escalera to score from third.

The loss was the first for Adamczyk in his high school career. The Warriors, ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation part of the season, sat in lengthy silence after the final out.

"I thought we should have gotten out of that," Adamczyk said. "I've been in a lot tougher situations before. We should have beat them."

Westlake was in position to do just that after tying the score, 3-3, on Michael Nickeas' solo home run in the sixth inning and scoring twice in the seventh with the benefit of five walks, four of them consecutive.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Chargers placed runners at first and third with none out against starter Jesse Kozlowski.

Adamczyk took over pitching and allowed two runs before ending the threat with consecutive strikeouts of Joey Hendricks and Marco Manrique.

In the eighth, Adamczyk escaped again with an inning-ending double play after the Chargers placed runners at first and second.

"Our guys left it all out on the field," said Coach Chuck Berrington of Westlake. "We've got to be proud of what we accomplished this year. The guys brought Westlake to national prominence. But things happen."

Kozlowski and senior left-hander Justin Mangini waged a formidable duel, both working into the seventh.

Escalera (6-1), the fourth pitcher for Charter Oak, retired Westlake in order in the eighth and stranded runners at first and third in the ninth.

Two Westlake errors in the fourth inning allowed the Chargers to score two runs and take a 3-2 lead.

The rally began when center fielder Jonathan Contos was unable to handle Manrique's deep fly.

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