Monday, March 28, 2005

Notes on the Back of a Busted Basketball Bracket

We start with good numbers and bad numbers such as the 6,624 fans that came to Blair for the Fullerton baseball series. That animated audience included scouts and execs from the latest of the LB based pro franchises, the Long Beach Armada. The bad is that in the past the new franchises based they business they think they will do on this unique and passionate local rivalry. Check the crowd count next weekend when 12-12 UC Riverside comes in and you’ll see what I mean. Selling seats is tough.

As to the results, it was the fourth series win for the Dirtbags over a Top 15 team and taking nothing away from the complete game work of Cesar Ramos in game one the oohs, ahhs and high hopes for the future seemed to center on the much anticipated arrival of Jared Hughes in game three. Hughes was a virtual cult hero as a prep but never quite got his game going in college. At Santa Clara he started six times for the Broncos as a freshman with a 4.79 ERA and 0-1 record in 20.2 innings, giving up 21 hits, walking 13 and fanning 12. At LBSU he came in Saturday allowing 13 runs in his last three starts and on the year had walked 14, gave out more doses (9) than the flu clinic at the senior center and generally messed up.

But they there was the knowledge that Hughes was drafted in the 16th round by the Devils Rays in 2003, was 14-9 as a prep, 5-0 in the CIF playoffs, etc. Oh yes, there is no quit in this kid or his talented pitching coach Troy Buckley and out of the blue, well let Jared tell you himself. “I realized that it was the mental things. I didn’t have to strike out everybody; the guys behind me play great.” And for a 6-7 power pitcher very much in the mold of Jered Weaver that is an epiphany that may be the key to the Niner’s post-season hopes. Welcome aboard.

SPRING DUSTING—the Friday night game with CSUF was a mess. The contest took 4 hours 21 minutes, with the two teams combining four errors, 10 hit batters, three wild pitches, seven walks, 22 left on base and a fight in one of the luxury boxes had more hits between a couple of senior citizens than the players on the field. The ten hit batters was the second most in the history of the NCAA, maybe it was that full moon.

Nice and neat however is the scorecard of the winner of the Oregon Duck Invitational, 49er Kay Hoey who is now ranked No. 20 in the nation and along with her team resumes play this weekend at the Fresno State Invitational. Another winning entry is LB tennis who’s lively assistant coach Hally Cohen starred at Purdue so she and the team off this weekend to play at Purdue, Notre Dame and Illinois-Chicago.

On the softer side Meredith Cervenka heads with her team to snowy Utah State this weekend as the all time winningest pitcher in LBSU school history with 67. ”She’s the most competitive kid I know, she’d like to pitch every game” sayeth her skipper Pete Manarino and he should know. Manarino is just seven wins shy of 800 in his career and will get the mark in the next home-stand against CSUN or CSUF.

Last add bases. Only one Big West team has a losing record after a pretty tough slate of non-conference opponents and now everybody can beat up on each other. For the formerly top ranked Titans, losing the series at LB raised and with only three wins in their last seven games, doubts are creeping in. For the Beach, they are relishing the notoriety, and even the complaints. Complaints you say, yeah the fans now want the radio feed piped into the rest rooms so they don’t missing any of the on the field action while they are on, well other things.—DR. DAN

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