Monday, April 23, 2007


Stockton, California is not the end of the earth but I think you can see it from there. I know that on the map Stockton is just 83 miles inland from San Francisco, 45 miles south of our state capital, Sacramento and within two hours of Stockton you will find Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, the wine country and other diversions. This April weekend however you will find a lot of 49er athletes staying in Stockton on an important field trip that will go a long way in determining if they will still be playing in June.

Through an oddity in Big West scheduling, both LBSU baseball and softball play at the University of the Pacific and both squads need to win their series to stay in the hunt for post season play.

The baseball bunch (23-14 but with just two losses in the conference) need to take advantage of the host Tigers who are a toothless and winless 0-9 in the Big West. That means the Beach is in the top four of a league that usually never sends more than three teams to post season so there is both a clear and present danger an opportunity. Lose to the last place team and get into a deep hole or win and keep the pressure on and the RPI up. Games are Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Meanwhile, Kim Sowder’s Sweethearts of Swat are 7-5 in Big West softball after winning the series against first place Fullerton two weekends ago and sweeping Riverside last weekend. Pacific checks in at 7-2 in conference and some experts say that the winner of this series should finish in the top three and historically (but not always) three teams get NCAA invites. Softball plays a double header on Saturday and a single game on Sunday.

BACK UP DUST—While the softball gals had an easy weekend, after a routine Friday night the baseballers had to work and work in what you could call “Midday in the Ballpark of Good and Evil”. Playing a UC Davis team that brought a lineup of unknown soldiers to town, the Niners had to watch the Aggies jump out to a 4-0 lead Saturday afternoon and hang on to win 6-4. On Sunday UCD had a 3-1 lead but this time the Beach bats came alive and 17 hits later the Niners won the game 9-6 and the series 2-1.

The best news of the weekend happened to Dwayne Larson. He is the guy that hangs the letter “K” on his box seat fence to salute each strikeout a 49er pitcher gets. Larson has been on dialysis for over two years awaiting a new kidney. On Friday his wife Karen said they found “a perfect match from a donor in her twenties. The match is as good as if he was receiving it from an identical twin”. Maybe you too can be a twin, consider adding “donor” to your driver’s license.

Now if that Stockton drive is over your gas budget Jenny Hilt Costello and her #2 seeded women’s tennis team welcomes you to find your way to the BWC championships this weekend…her booster prez says, ”just hop on 10 to Palm Desert, exit Washington, turn right and go 3 miles and look for a 10,000 seat tennis stadium on your right at Miles Ave”…on Friday the Beach will wax CSUF then actually get a workout by practicing among themselves. Saturday onward will be tougher but the net gals have the hardware to prove it can be done.

We close today with a hoop scoop of sort for the good-news-hungry 49er fans. New head coach Dan Monson and his lone assistant Vic Couch are involved with small group workouts, limited to four players at a time. Not a scheduling problem since at this time they only have five kids in the program. So while the smaller guys have their own session, seven footer Andrew Fleming works out with just the coaches. Insiders say that Monson thinks that the little-used big guy (29 minutes all last season) “will be very good before he leaves”. How soon does “good” arrive? Another source said, “In the week we have been working him out he has gotten better every day”. Now that’s more good than evil.—DR. DAN


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