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Pierce's Birkins Delivers for Scouts

November 23, 2000|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ

Left-hander Kurt Birkins of Pierce College knows a good opportunity to make a pitch when he sees one.

Birkins, an All-City pick at El Camino Real High in 1998, threw two solid innings in a scrimmage against a team of Cuban and Venezuelan players trying out for major league scouts at Chatsworth High on Tuesday.

About 40 scouts flocked to the field to watch the main attraction, third baseman Andy Morales, who hit a home run, double and single to help Cuba defeat the Baltimore Orioles, 12-6, in an exhibition game at Camden Yards last year.

Morales is one of the latest Cuban players to defect in recent years.

Pierce Coach Bob Lofrano agreed to the post-tryout, four-inning scrimmage. It was held at Chatsworth because the Pierce field was reseeded recently.

"We've done that kind of thing for the last 10 years," Lofrano said. "We've always had the Cuban guys [at Pierce]. They're fun. We enjoy the opportunity to scrimmage them."

Birkins, who was drafted as an outfielder by the Baltimore Orioles in the 33rd round in June even though he spent last season as an assistant at El Camino Real, shared the stage.

"I looked at all of the scouts and I said, 'Hey, Birk, this would be a good time to pitch,' " Lofrano said. "He can throw in the high 80s to 90 [mph]. I think he really opened up the eyes of the scouts."

As a draft-and-follow player, Birkins is locked to the Orioles until a few days before the next draft. If he doesn't sign with Baltimore before then, Birkins would be up for grabs in June.

Or he could choose to make good on his commitment to play for UC Irvine in 2002.

ANTELOPE VALLEY: Going into a game against Riverside on Wednesday night, the women's basketball team was 4-2 under new Coach John Taylor. The Marauders didn't get their fourth victory last season until the 10th game.

MOORPARK: One more victory and the women's volleyball team can book hotel reservations in Stockton for the state championships on Dec. 1-3 at Delta College.

The No. 3-seeded Raiders (20-1) host No. 6-seeded Orange Coast (18-6) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a Southern California regional second-round match, with the winner advancing to the state Final Eight. . . .

The Raiders are hosting a men's basketball tournament Friday and Saturday sponsored by cable television provider Adelphia.

Glendale, Irvine Valley and San Bernardino Valley round out the field.

A youth clinic featuring coaches and players from the tournament teams is scheduled for Saturday morning at Moorpark. Youngsters who attend the clinic will receive passes to tournament games.

VENTURA: The Pirates (17-3), seeded No. 4, host No. 5-seeded Irvine Valley (18-3) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a women's volleyball second-round match of the Southern California regional.

The winner advances to the eight-team state championships on Dec. 1-3 at Delta College in Stockton.

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