Friday, April 01, 2005


In a time long ago (Mid February) and in a place right here (Blair Field), a team lost five games in a row. The five straight losses, (twice to USC, and thrice to Cal), seem like a distant memory this weekend as the back-in-the-polls Long Beach 49ers are pumped and proud after the series win over Fullerton and a cure-for-what-ails ya 18-3 in their last 21 contests. That would make the homeboys 18-8 overall, 20, 22, and 24 in the polls and determined not to overlook tonight’s offensive-minded horde of Highlanders from UCR.

As usual the first pitch will come from the laser left arm of the back-to-back Big West pitcher of the week Cesar Ramos (5-3, 1.70 ERA). Don’t tell UCR this but Niner catcher Chris Jones says that CR is extra tough at night at home because the lights aren’t so good. “Usually at night the ball looks like a big white dot but not here,” underscoring perhaps the reluctance of the City to up the amps. Ramos will face either James Simmons (3-1, 2.95) or lefty Jose Shaw (1-1, 4.35). We feel more certain that on Saturday our still undefeated but sometimes nervous Marco Estrada (5-0, 2.08) takes on the Highlander ace Hayley Winter (4-3, 1.58). The Sunday show will pit the newest Niner mound monster, Jared Hughes (2-2, 3.55 and a four hit CG in his last work), will oppose UCR’s Taylor Bills (2-4, 5.32). The visitors after 31 years under the steady hand of Century Club Hall of Famer Jack Smitheran, had a young intern ready to take over, if a mere 30 years is long enough to get ready. He is Doug Smith and his club has been up and down and comes in level at 12-12 on the season, having won four of six games. The beast of the Inland Empire is senior slugger Matt Cunningham, who earlier won BWC and national honors with a four homer week including two against USC. Braveheart also features Nick Salotti, .367 with eight doubles and 19 RBIs, and Aaron Grant, .349 with 18 RBIs. Winter (1.58) leads the Big West in ERA and righty Anthony Claggett has three saves.

FOOL’S DUST--What Hayley needs to realize is that if he stays on the same ERA track as he has against the Niner pitching he will lose the game1.58 to 1...inside joke...but one wit at the Coaches show said that to travel the road to Omaha the Beach boys will take the 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 routes…reminder that the next fun fundraiser is the Brian Stevens and gang Dirtbag Car Show Saturday April 16…room for cars, pre-73, and drivers any age, plus great chow, raffles and lots of Daisy Maes…back inside it looks like the men’s hoop sked will start at UNLV and Cal and then face in some order here and there Portland, Sac St., Cal Poly Pomona (ex.), LMU, Pepperdine, Cornell, Maryland-Balto County, San Jose…BWC brags six of the eight teams have RPIs 70 or greater, according to…this weekend CSUN visits SLO, Pacific is at UCSB and of course UC Irvine visits those wounded Titans at Fullerton...and all everybody but Pacific is .500 or better…away from boring stats, let’s use a Misty May quote...she and her Beach VB pals recently met with some inner city 8-11 year olds at a LA community center…so Misty tells Marcia Smith of the Register, “I remember when I was that young and skinny and had a little butt"…back to the past, so why did the Dirtbags struggle in Mid February?... don’t get defensive but it was the Tulo-less defense…LB fed the Cal Bears eight unearned runs in two games and 10 in the series…last year, the Niners gave up just 22 unearned runs all season…web whacks by CSUF on themselves…one Titan checked out a national sporting good chain and found six different styles of Long Beach Dirtbags cap and the only F word was for Florida….supposedly the Beach lids are the seventh most popular college hat sold chain wide…get your own embroidered gear from Dirtbag sponsor SoCal Sportswear in Downey…they print or sew on anything…last weekend the top ranked teams struggled…Georgia Tech 2-2, Tulane 2-2, LSU 2-2, Miami 2-2, Baylor 1-3 and best of all, CSUF 1-2…last add-Beach brass relishing the great business last weekend still got complaints…the fans now want the radio feed piped into the rest rooms so they don’t miss any of the on the field action while they are on the, er, ah—DR. DAN


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