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Diamond Vision

April 24, 2001

Erik Boal

The mere mention of the word senior around this time of year confronts

us News-Press reporters with the harsh reality that there are only a few

more weeks left in the regular season, and for some local athletes, their

high school careers.

When the L.A. City Section playoffs begin for Verdugo Hills High on

May 8, the aforementioned weeks then get whittled down to days.

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Then, CIF Southern Section playoffs commence May 16 for area softball

teams and May 18 for local baseball squads, with the grim possibility of

every game being the last for many talented seniors.

So with no disrespect intended to the number of talented baseball

players who will graduate in June, here is a friendly reminder to go out

and watch some of the standout senior softball players in their last go

around before it is too late.

Topping the list of course is the area's best player on the area's

best team, Crescenta Valley senior pitcher Meredith Cervenka.

When it comes to discussing local pitchers over the past decade and

the word "legacy," the Long Beach State-bound right-hander has

established herself as one of the best to ever step in the circle.

Starting today at 3:15 p.m. at Montrose Park against Arcadia, Cervenka

has only six more Pacific League games before the Division II playoffs

begin.

Since Cervenka arrived at CV, the Falcons are 34-0 in league contests,

and seem strong favorites to once again go undefeated this year.

Although she has given up three runs this season, the three-time

News-Press All-Area Player of the Year is still gunning for an unblemised

0.00 earned-run average, and more important a CIF title.

Another individual who will take her talents to a Division I school is

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy first baseman/catcher Lacey Smale.

Enjoying another season of a .400-plus average and a .700-plus

slugging percentage, the smooth-swinging left-hander has just six more

Mission League games, of which the Tologs realistically need to win five

to make the playoffs.

Smale has definitely thrived on being a big fish in a little pond, but

once she arrives at Santa Clara in the fall, the 2000 first-team All-Area

selection will be more than ready to swim with the sharks.

Despite having never competed in a postseason contest -- a trend she

hopes to reverse this year -- Smale has earned All-CIF honors twice,

including a first-team selection last season.

La Canada will have a tough task filling the right side of its infield

next season following the departure of first baseman Heather Fowlie and

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