The LookOut sports
Santa Monica Sports Notes

The L.A. City defeated the CIF, 10-4, Sunday in the annual Westside Classic Game at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Billy Johnson, James Dunn and Steve Hubbell of St. Monica played for the CIF, as did Andre Monroe of Santa Monica and David Weiner of Crossroads.

Sergio Corona's home run triggered a five-run first inning for the City team, which never trailed...

Liane Sato has become girls volleyball coach at Santa Monica High. She's a former star player at Samohi who went on to UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State and played for the U.S. Olympic teams in 1988 and '92.
Sato replaces Eileen Corliss, who resigned...

Armanda McGrew pitched a no-hitter as the Yankees defeated the Angels, 11-1, in the semifinals of the Santa Monica Little League Girls Softball Major Division playoffs.

The Yankees will be in the championship game tonight at 5 at Marine Park against either the Angels or Diamondbacks.

In the Minor Division championship game the Marlins will play at Stewart Park at 5 p.m. against either the Blue Jays or Angels.

Samohi pitcher Jonas Swyer has been invited to Team One, a gathering of the 120 best senior-to-be prep baseball players in the nation. The event will be held next weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla. After returning for a few days at home, Swyer will attend a baseball camp at Stanford...

By Mitch Chortkoff

Exclusive: Crossroads Baseball Coach Explains Two Seasons of Turmoil

Monday, June 14 --- Rudy Valentino would like to continue as Crossroads School's baseball coach and it is possible he will.

However, after Valentino told Athletic Director Chuck Ice and the players at midseason that he would not come back, the job was opened up to interviews.

When Valentino changed his mind and asked to stay he was put into the pool of candidates and will go through an interview like anyone else seeking the job.

Valentino admits there have been two years of turmoil in the progam. He was the center of controversy in a beanball incident during a playoff game last season. This season's talented team lost nine of its first 10 games.

In an exclusive interview with The Lookout, Valentino tells his story.

``I've brought this on myself,'' said Valentino. ``I became very frustrated with the kids this season. It's the toughest bunch of kids to reach that I've coached.

``There's too much outside influence. It reached the point that before league play began I told the players I wasn't coming back. I thought it was best for the program.

``I think it shocked them. But some players asked me to reconsider. I stepped back and evaluated myself. I'm strict, a disciplinarian. Probably in ways my situation is like Terry Collins with the Angels. I have a tendency to get into people's faces and kids would tell parents I was humiliating them.

``So I changed and things got better. At the end of the season I told Chuck I wanted to return but he said I should talk to the school Principal because he had already opened it up for interviews.

``I'm going forward guiding the team through its summer schedule. If another coach is hired I'll turn it over to him.''

Valentino explained his role in the beanball incident, which occurred in an 11-1 loss to Kern Valley last season in the CIF semifinals.

``It was a close game for awhile and then they broke it open,'' he said. ``When they were far ahead a player laid down a bunt. I thought they were showing us up.

``We had a sophomore pitcher and I suggested he throw behind one of their hitters. Don't hit him. I would never try to hurt an opponent. But just let him know we didn't appreciate what they did.

``The pitch was behind the hitter. Nobody was hit or hurt. But afterward the opposing manager said he didn't order the bunt and I told him he should control his players better than that.

``A reporter asked if I'd handle the situation the same way next time and I said I would. This made headlines in the Kern Valley paper and Chuck wasn't happy about it.

``Well, that's the way I am. No opponent is going to show up my players.''

Valentino, who has been the Crossroads coach the last three seasons, goes back a long way with Ice. Both men previously coached at St. Monica.

Ice said that Valentino has a chance to keep his job despite reports in recent weeks that the coach would be replaced.

``He wants to stay now and he'll be considered along with others,'' said Ice. ``At this time I will say he's one of the leading candidates.''

Valentino says Crossroads will have a strong team in the next two years.

``There's good talent,'' he said. ``The team should compete for the league championship next season and most players are underclassmen. In two years the team should be even better.''

However, three coaches have tried to live up to the standards Ice established when he guided the team. None have been able to succeed.

At Crossroads, a private school, parents get pretty involved. The school asks for donations, and it's not uncommon for some parents to give according to the playing time their students receive.

``Yeah, some parents use that tactic,'' said Valentino. ``But I don't play those games. With me, the best players play.''