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BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: MARCIAL GETS OVERLOOKED AGAIN.

Byline: Heather Gripp Staff Writer

Many of Southern California's top high school baseball players gathered in Long Beach Tuesday trying to earn a spot in next month's Area Code Games. Robert Marcial was not invited.

Marcial was disappointed but not too surprised about the snub for his sport's biggest national showcase. The incoming senior shortstop from Cleveland High of Reseda is arguably one of the region's best all-around players but is used to being overlooked.

The lack of attention is part of what makes him so good as he continually strives to do more in hopes of being noticed.

``That's what comes along with being the underdog,'' Marcial said. ``I guess I'm kind of used to it.''

He's long tried to impress scouts with his hitting. The first team All- City player was one of the Cavaliers' most consistent hitters en route to the City Invitational division title this spring and is again one of their top hitters during the summer Valley Invitational Baseball League, which began playoffs Thursday.

Marcial is learning his speed can be just as impressive. He stole a City- best 32 bases this spring and was timed at 7.0 in the 60-yard dash at last week's Best of the West showcase.

``I've set out to have more stolen bases,'' Marcial said. ``I'm fast and I try to use that to my advantage.''

Although scouts are slow to appreciate Marcial's skills, the Cavaliers are not.

``He's solid at short, he does everything for us,'' Cleveland coach Joe Cascione said. ``He's really making a name for himself.''

--Ideal schedule: West Hills Chaminade begins District 20 American Legion playoffs today at San Fernando. And it could be the easiest part yet of Chaminade's schedule.

Although it is a 'B' team consisting of players 17 and under, unusual scheduling had Chaminade play 17 of its 22 games against 18-and-under 'A'teams.

Such a schedule pleased the Eagles, who opted to play its varsity players at the younger level while their freshmen and graduated players competed on the 'A' team. The decision was made to allow Chaminade to have most of next year's team play together without being required to use graduated seniors.

Playoff dates were also taken into consideration because Chaminade has four candidates to play in the Area Code Games, which are scheduled for the same week as the Legion 'A' state tournament. The 'B' state tournament, which Chaminade played in last year, is the following week.

Getting to play so many games against the higher division was a bonus as Chaminade got to face the tougher competition it prefers in preparing to defend it Mission League title.

Even without hot hitting third baseman Cody Haerther, who is too old to play on the 'B' team, Chaminade was one of the district's most dominant teams at either level.

``We're lucky,'' coach Scott Drootin said. ``It's the best of both worlds.''

--One of the big boys: Highland sophomore Kent Wulf is spending the summer among older standouts.

Last week he was at the Best of the West showcase and this week his travel team, the Southern California Indians, went to New York for the Collegiate Wood Bat World Series.

Wulf, usually a shortstop, plays center field for the Indians, a team that includes recent graduates such as Palmdale's Dana Eveland and Highland's Fred Rico, as well as college players, including Jason Gorman of Cal State Northridge.

Wulf also made the cut for the final round of Area Code Games tryouts.

--Odds and ends: Golden League MVP Art Ortiz, who hit a region-best 15 home runs for Lancaster this year, will attend College of the Canyons along with cousin and fellow Eagles slugger Tony Ortiz. ...

Seth Kay of Highland earned an academic scholarship to USC and plans to walk on for the baseball team. ...

Chris Valaika of Hart of Newhall and Jason Dominguez of Chatsworth are head,ed to Houston for the final round of trials for the USA Youth National Team beginning Saturday.

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Cleveland High's Robert Marcial was not invited to the Area Code tryouts despite a stellar junior year

Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 20, 2001
Words:691
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