The LookOut sports

Santa Monica Sports Notes

St. Monica lost its final regular season baseball game to Serra, 4-3, after defeating the same team earlier in the week 4-2. The Mariners finished 6-6 in the Camino Real League and didn't make the playoffs.

Jack White was the team's third head coach in three years and felt the team made progress.

``We went through another transition but the kids adapted well,'' he said. ``We wanted to have some stability and play good baseball. I think we did that.''

Two years ago Coach Tim Layana was killed in an automobile accident. Eric Strand coached the team last year, then was replaced by White.

Pitcher Steve Hayes went 5-3 with a 1.67 ERA. Manny Guitterez was the second starter and did well. Second baseman Carlos Gonzalez batted .417 and stole 12 bases. Sophomore Matt Winkleman was the team leader in home runs with 3 and RBI with 19.

Shortstop Ben Agatep and centerfielder George San Martin led the defense.

White said Nick Du Val was probably the team's most improved player...

The Crossroads softball team began the CIF Division 5 playoffs with a 1-0 victory over Oak Park in 10 innings...

The Santa Monica High boys volleyball team won its CIF playoff quarter-final match from Lakewood 15-9, 15-7, 15-7.

The Santa Monica High boys tennis team defeated Long Beach Poly, 16-2 in the second round of the CIF Division 2 playoffs...

Crossroads Wins League Title but Loses in CIF Playoffs

By Mitch Chortkoff

Today, it's difficult for anyone associated with the Crossroads baseball program to be upbeat. The Delphic League champion Roadrunners, playing at home, were eliminated from the CIF playoffs in the first round with a 7-2 loss to Cerritos Valley Christian Friday.

But given time to evaluate their season the Roadrunners will be able to derive some pleasure.

A year ago the team underachieved and didn't make the playoffs. Coach Rudy Valentino departed to become an assistant at St. Bernard and batting coach Ruben Smiley was elevated to head coach.

Smiley was optimistic because he would inherit a team with talent.

``It's going to be interesting," he said.

The optimism was justified as the Roadrunners went 8-2 in league play. Pitcher Richard Beckert was league co-MVP.

Then came Friday'a game at Clover Park, where I saw the third batter in the contest drive one of Beckert's pitches over the right field fence.

Crossroads played pretty well at times. Beckert settled down and kept the Roadrunners in the game. They trailed only 3-2 beginning the seventh inning.

They completed a nifty double play in the sixth, which inspired Smiley to encourage his players to make the play a turning point.

``Go up there and swing the bat,'' he said. ``Do what you do. If you're a power hitter show us.''

But it wasn't to be. It was a day when the visitors' drives found holes in the defense and a day when Roadrunner balls that were hit sharply went right at defenders.

A day that can happen to anyone, but unfortunate when it happens in a single elimination tournament.

Highlights included two doubles a single and a stolen base by centerfielder Ben Higgins, who also made a spectacular, tumbling catch.

Andy Green drove in a run after Higgins doubled in the third. Green drove in the only other Roadrunner run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth after Adam Klein began the inning with a single.

In defeat there were some memorable moments. First, Valentino was there to greet the players he used to coach. Second, when the game ended the Roadrunners were given a standing ovation by their supporters. It was a salute recognizing a productive season, parents and friends cheering.

These were people closest to the players and a moment when winning or losing a game didn't matter.
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