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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | SOFTBALL NOTEBOOK

Rain Causes Flood of Changes at Hart

March 13, 2001|PAIGE A. LEECH

Moments after Coach Cathy Giordano of Hart High opened her eyes Saturday morning, before she could wipe the sleep from her face, she knew what she was in for.

"When your phone rings before your alarm goes off, you know it's going to be a long day," Giordano said.

The third-year coach, who was hosting a softball tournament, hit the floor running at 6 a.m. after finding out the four fields at Santa Clarita Central Park were mostly muddy and water-logged following Friday night's short, but productive, rain shower.

That's when Giordano's day became an endless "to-do list":

* Phone 15 coaches and alert them that all games were delayed two hours.

* Break into athletic director's office to obtain phone numbers for 16 umpires.

* Phone 16 umpires about delay.

* Deliver sand and chalk to the park.

* Alert 17 Hart players about delay.

Two teams arrived late, which caused further delays, and players were forced to withstand cold weather for hours in little more than shorts and sweatshirts.

Because Giordano couldn't supply 300 parkas, she did the next best thing: she ordered up a free hot dog for each player.

"It's the least I could do, for goodness sake," Giordano said Saturday.

"I try to accommodate everybody, but they're still unhappy because there's a lot of standing-around time. And it's not exactly warm today. I'm expecting snow any moment. It certainly feels like it."

*

Sure, Hart (4-0) is loaded. But it had another advantage in winning its own tournament Saturday:

Warmth.

When catcher Sara Dean found out that Hart had a three-hour wait until the championship game, she had only one question for her coach:

"Can we go home then and get warm?" Dean asked.

Giordano complied and many players bolted to fetch warmer clothing. Giordano even asked one father to go home to get a portable heater for the dugout.

*

In Thousand Oaks' defense, the Lancers just aren't the team they were a year ago.

Thousand Oaks (5-1) has committed eight errors in six games.

Last season the Lancers set a school record by committing just 19 errors in 32 games.

Although there are six returning starters from last year's 25-6-1 team, the Lancers have a different player at first and second bases and shortstop.

"The loss of Jenny Cochran is showing," Coach Gary Walin said.

Cochran, a junior shortstop, will miss the entire season because of a shoulder injury.

*

Royal (3-0), which finished 13-16 last season, is off to a fast start under the tutelage of first-year Coach Kelly Lovato.

Three pitchers have each notched a shutout to advance the Highlanders into the championship game of the Simi Valley tournament on Saturday.

Freshman Jordan McPherson, senior Tracey Stiller and sophomore Kirstie Kenton have allowed just six hits in 19 innings.

"We've never been in the championship game of the Simi tournament," said Lovato, a 1994 Royal graduate, "so we've already made history for our school."

Shortstop Michelle Newbold is batting .556 and second baseman Nicole Hartfield .455.

*

Sounds like catcher Jessica Gonzalez, one of two freshmen starting at Hueneme, has a bright future.

She is hitting like a veteran and Coach Nichole Victoria loves her enthusiasm.

"She's just a firecracker," Victoria said. "She reminds me of . . . me."

And that's a good thing: Victoria was a star catcher at Camarillo who went on to play at UCLA from 1991-94.

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