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BASEBALL

Cypress Leads the Charge During Spring Break Play

April 24, 2001|BEN BOLCH

Orange County baseball teams flexed some serious muscle during the spring break tournaments last week, when Edison, Aliso Niguel and Fountain Valley each won championships and a host of others reached title, consolation title or third-place games.

"It may be an exceptional year for Orange County baseball," said Cypress Coach Dave Lewis, whose Centurions took second at the National Classic.

Cypress was the surprise of the National Classic, but it was not the only county team to fare well. Esperanza, which lost to Cypress in a semifinal, took third place and El Dorado won the consolation championship.

Aliso Niguel defeated Marina, 9-2, to win the Big West Invitational, in which Los Alamitos finished third and Capistrano Valley rebounded from a first-round loss to win the consolation championship.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday May 1, 2001 Orange County Edition Special Section Part V Page 2 Sports Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
Baseball--The wrong team was credited with winning the consolation championship of the Big West Invitational in the April 24 Prep Extra. Irvine beat San Bernardino Cajon, 4-1.

Edison won its first tournament title since 1995 when it traveled to San Jose and took the West Coast Invitational. The Chargers defeated Mater Dei, 6-3, in the title game of a tournament that ranks with the National Classic in terms of prestige.

"There weren't any gimmes in this tournament," Edison Coach Dave Tallman said. "It was tough top to bottom."

Fountain Valley gave the Sunset League its second tournament title of the week when it won the Chino Don Lugo tournament with a 15-5, five-inning mercy-rule victory over El Monte Arroyo.

Like other county coaches whose teams put together impressive runs, Lewis hopes to use the experience as a springboard to success late in the regular season.

"We're a different team now than when we entered the tournament," he said, "because we proved to ourselves that when we play the right type of game, mentally and physically, we can play with anybody. We certainly built a lot of confidence, which is going to be vital in the stretch run."

Cypress (14-6, 5-4) has an immediate chance to capitalize on its success when it plays Empire League leader El Dorado (16-4, 7-2) twice this week. With a sweep of games Wednesday and Friday, the Centurions would tie the Golden Hawks atop the league standings.

Edison (13-6-1, 6-3) still has three weeks in which to catch Sunset League leader Esperanza (17-3, 8-1). The Chargers close the regular season with back-to-back games against the Aztecs. "Hopefully, this was a real turning point in our season," Tallman said, "and we'll follow through now."

THE HOT CORNER

There was no shortage of standout performances last week. Among them:

Edison pitcher/first baseman Joe Mozeleski, the most valuable player of the West Coast Invitational, contributed in every game. He drove in the winning run in the Chargers' first-round victory over Clovis, tripled in their quarterfinal victory over Morgan Hill Live Oak, pitched the seventh inning to record a save in their semifinal victory over Mountain View St. Francis and had a key hit in their championship victory over Mater Dei. . . .

Cypress left fielder Zack Swanson, the outstanding offensive player of the National Classic, went seven for 14 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and four runs scored. "He was the guy that really got us started for a lot of our rallies and was a catalyst for everyone else," Lewis said. . . .

Santa Ana Valley center fielder Robert Padilla went 11 for 15 in the Pride of the Coast tournament. "He was on fire," Falcon Coach Leon Smith said. . . .

Laguna Hills pitcher Daniel Miltenberger picked up his sixth win with an eight-inning complete-game victory over Atascadero. Miltenberger, who pitched a shutout against Aliso Niguel before spring break, allowed one run and now has a 0.78 ERA. . . .

Edison outfielder A.J. Martinez had the biggest heads-up play of the week when he scored from first base on an infield hit in the Chargers' victory over Mater Dei. Martinez, who was running on the pitch, reached second and continued to third on the infield hit. Then he came home when Monarch players, thinking the play was over, turned their backs and failed to cover home plate.

FLINT HERE TO STAY

Woodbridge Coach Bob Flint said he plans to stick around a while at his new post after spending the previous 21 years at Irvine.

"If I just wanted to go coach a baseball team, I would be an assistant," Flint said. "That way I could coach a year and then say, 'Ah, enough of that.' Or I could coach a year and take a year off and come back and do it again, which I could still do.

"But when you go to be a head coach, it's not a matter of a year. It's a matter of trying to get a program in place. And that takes time. I did not interview for this job with the intent of doing it for a year or two and getting out."

LOOKING AHEAD

Westminster (14-2, 6-1), which stands atop the Golden West League, plays second-place Tustin (12-8-1, 5-1-1) Wednesday at Tustin.

Also Wednesday, Irvine (14-5, 7-3) hosts Laguna Hills (11-9, 7-4) in a Sea View League game. The Vaqueros are tied with Aliso Niguel for the league lead, while the Hawks are a half-game behind in third place.

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