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Merrill, Former Baseball Coach at Newbury Park High, Dies

November 04, 2000

Jay Merrill, who coached Newbury Park High to a Southern Section baseball championship the year the school opened, has died, apparently of a heart attack, at his home in Las Vegas. He was 67.

Merrill was coach at Thousand Oaks High in the 1960s before starting the program at Newbury Park in 1968, where he coached until 1979. He also coached softball and football, and officiated basketball before retiring as a teacher five years ago.

"He never had a bad day," said Greg Smith, who pitched at Thousand Oaks High under Merrill.

Merrill's sons, Verne and Jayson, and his grandson, Cameron, starred at Newbury Park in several sports.

Merrill is also survived by his wife, Becky, daughters Deena and Crista, and stepchildren Gary and Gina.

Memorial services are pending.

FOOTBALL

* Montreal running back Mike Pringle, formerly of Kennedy High and Cal State Fullerton, is a finalist for the Canadian Football League's most valuable player award.

Pringle leads the CFL with 1,732 yards rushing and a league-record 19 touchdowns with one regular-season game to play. He was on pace to surpass 2,000 yards for the second time in three seasons, but he missed a game recently because of an injured shoulder.

Pringle is the only CFL player to surpass 2,000 yards, rushing for 2,065 in 1998 with Montreal when he won his second most valuable player award.

He also was MVP in 1995 with Baltimore and runner-up in 1994.

SOCCER

* Glendale Adventist will play Armenian General Benevolent at 10 a.m. today at Whittier Narrows Recreation Center in the International League boys' playoffs.

Thousand Oaks Hillcrest Christian plays Southwest Academy at 10 a.m. at Whittier Narrows.

The winners meet at 2 p.m. for the championship and the losers play at 2 p.m. for third place.

VOLLEYBALL

* Tryouts for the Thunder Volleyball Club are scheduled for Sunday at Pierce College.

Prospective players for the 14- and 16-and-under teams will try out from 1:30-4 p.m., with 18-and-under players to try out from 3:30-6:30 p.m.

For players under 18, a parent or guardian must sign a waiver form.

Information: Tuong Nguyen, (818) 343-4736.

MOTORSPORTS

* Ron Hornaday Jr., formerly of Palmdale, has found employment for 2001 with a bigger racing legend than seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt.

Hornaday will compete next year in a Winston Cup car owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, it was announced Friday.

Hornaday won 25 races and two NASCAR Craftsman Truck series championships in five years before moving up to the NASCAR Busch Grand National Division for Earnhardt this year.

Hornaday, who has won two Busch races and is fifth in the standings, lost his 2001 ride with Earnhardt because of a sponsor's decision,

* Greg Pursley of Newhall finished second to Garrett Evans of Ardenvoir, Wash., by .312 seconds Friday at Phoenix International Raceway in the season-ending Albertson's/Osco 125 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour race, which was shortened to 100 laps because of darkness.

Sean Woodside of Saugus, defending NASCAR Winston West series champion, was 14th.

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