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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

High School Notebook

April 10, 2001|PAIGE LEECH

The first-round returns are in and it's unanimous: Thousand Oaks is a shoo-in to win another Marmonte League title.

The Lancers (11-1) took a two-game lead over second-place Moorpark with a 5-1 victory last week.

Although the first round of league play is complete, it's anybody's guess who will finish second and third and earn playoff berths.

"Thousand Oaks is a step above everybody else," Moorpark Coach Geoff Combe said.

"Anybody can beat [any one] of those other six teams in league. So if you fall asleep, you're going to find yourself in trouble."

In Combe's first season, it appears Moorpark is wide awake.

Moorpark is making a strong turnaround after finishing 1-11 in league last season.

"We're OK," Combe said. "We've got to carry it over for the next half [of league play] and then it will be a good turnaround."

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Thousand Oaks is taking its game the farthest this season--somewhere in the ballpark of 3,000 miles to the Kissimmee tournament in Orlando this week.

Coach Gary Walin is hoping the Lancers will play as well as his 1996 team, which last made the trip to Orlando.

Thousand Oaks lost to Naples, 1-0, in the championship game of the tournament in 1996. Naples went 36-0 that season and was ranked among the nation's top three teams.

Pitching will again be key for the Lancers, who will play four games in three days beginning Thursday.

It also might be Thousand Oaks' weak link.

Ace Nicole Angelo is suffering from a lingering virus and a sore arm the past few weeks.

"We have to get Nicole better," Walin said. "That's not her out there. Her pitching is all guts right now."

Freshman Megan Spehar has performed well as the backup. Spehar (3-0) has allowed six hits and 10 walks, and has 20 strikeouts in 21 innings.

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Spehar and Newbury Park's Chrissy Zappia, may have occasional control problems, but they are the only Marmonte League pitchers who have not allowed a run.

Zappia (6-0), who has struck out a league-high 64, has allowed 10 hits and 23 walks in 45 innings.

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