Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Forget the buffo box office done by Spiderman 3 last weekend, in this space the hit flick is Batman 49, starring the suddenly sizzling Dirtbags who in the distant past, say March, were struggling to get hits let alone runs. Case in point, on March 23 the Beach was batting an anemic .269 with a record of 12-8 and 110 runs scored.

After Sunday the Niner numbers were .291 batting, a record of 30-14, and 280 runs scored. In addition while the offense went up the team ERA dropped from 3.67 to 3.39. With those offensive and defensive improvements, plus some wobbles by formidable foes like Fullerton and Riverside, the Batman 49ers are all alone at the top the Big West Conference leaderboard.

Now if you expect head coach Mike Weathers to be able to explain his club and their end of season surge forget it. “Right now I just try to get out of the way. The bats have come alive and we are getting production up and down the order.” And what about this weekend at old nemesis UC Santa Barbara, a club that has beaten the Beach in seven of the last nine meetings and 14 of the last 21? “That’s an historical issue and I guess I really just don’t believe in history.”

The bit of history that Weathers does believe is that last year his team might have fallen one game, one inning, or one at bat from earning a post-season invite. The numbers (29-27) just didn’t add up even though LB wiggled its’ way into second place. With number 30 already in the W column and an outrageously high RPI, around or under 10, the national experts are not just talking getting in but even hosting a regional.

Getting to that point meant handling a Cal Poly team held in high esteem after beating Irvine two of three in March and sweeping Fresno State the previous weekend. Celebration however will have to be put on hold because the Fullerton wobble mentioned above, losing two of three at home, came from the very same Gauchos that LBSU will visit this weekend. Hopefully this movie will also have a happy ending.

END DUST—Chronically short of healthy players, the 49er softball team wraps of its season at home with a Friday doubleheader and a Saturday 1 pm contest. Unable to reach that 30 win plateau as did baseball, the series with UC Santa Barbara will be the last of the Coach Kim Sowder’s first year.

Tennis on the other hand already has won seven in a row plus the Big West title and is already in Fresno ready for Saturday’s match with #20 Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The team is led by sophomore Hannah Grady, the Big West Player of the Year, plus three others who have all conference honors, Stephanie Bengson, Katy Williams and Jessica Weeks.

Missing however will be their senior captain Sandra Rocha, who owns the school’s all-time win mark. She played well at the BWC championships but, according to sources, “opted for shoulder surgery this week on a season long standing micro tear.”

So who is coming for Regional hot dogs? Depends on who you ask. Rivals.com says Fresno State, Pepperdine and Oklahoma State, Sebaseball.com has LB versus Fresno State, UCLA and Wake Forest, and the Baseball America guess is UCLA, Oral Roberts and Manhattan coming to Blair…So far the polls are warming up to the Beach, Collegiate Baseball at 16, Rivals at 19, College Baseball Writers at 20, BA at 22, and ESPN/Coaches at 23…

Finally, we make our own visit to the NCAA regional hosting crystal ball. Despite the inadequate lighting for TV games, Blair Field and LBSU have in the past run great regionals in a big and comfortable ball park. Now that the host is also deserving, and with the flop at Fullerton, poor records for the area PAC 10 teams, and too small facilities for any of the West Coast conference contenders, we expect the bid to be awarded. That’s the good news, but after last weekend’s lackluster attendance (the season average is 1461) getting backsides in the blue seats remains an issue…last add, if you aren’t already on the 5 South you can catch tonight’s CSTV game live at Pete’s at the Beach…I recommend the Thai satay--DR. DAN


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