You'll seldom find a baseball scout with a radar gun behind the backstop when Irvine High School pitcher Brian Snoddy takes the mound. Snoddy's fastball is average and his curveball is, at best, very average.
But the thin, 6-4 senior showed that he is a master of control in a 5-0 victory over Capistrano Valley Friday in South Coast League play. In short, Snoddy isn't shoddy.
Snoddy took dead aim at the Cougars, throwing a four-hitter and allowing only two walks for his sixth consecutive win. He has allowed five walks in 41 innings.
Snoddy's second shutout of the season kept the surprising Vaqueros in first place in the seven-team league with a 4-0 record and improved their overall mark to 11-6-1. Capistrano Valley (2-2, 9-5) had a seven-game winning streak snapped.
"He throws the ball over the plate," said Bob Flint, Irvine baseball coach, in explaining Snoddy's success. "He deserves all the success he has received this season. He suffered a groin injury during the football season and then missed most of the basketball season.
"Brian is a three-sport star who thought his senior year was going to be a disaster. Fortunately, he's making up for his misfortune in the other sports on the mound."
Irvine scored two unearned runs in the first inning, and Capistrano Valley wasted its only scoring opportunity in the fourth inning when Todd Kostoff missed a suicide squeeze bunt attempt and teammate Marcel Durand was thrown out in a rundown.
The Vaqueros sealed the win in the fifth inning as Rick Smetanica and Steve Habermehl hit back-to-back home runs. Both homers were major-league shots, with Smetanica's clearing the 390-foot marker in left-center and Habermehl's sailing over the center-field fence.
Both homers came at the expense of Capistrano Valley starter Scott Stark, who lost his first game in four decisions. Durand, who had two hits, was the only bright spot for the Cougars, who were playing without their top hitter, Nathan Call.
Call, who is hitting .464, was excused to compete in the Basketball Congress International tournament in Phoenix. He has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Brigham Young University next year.
"It was Nathan's decision, and it was a tough one," said Bob Zamora, Capistrano Valley coach. "He's played for (BCI Coach) Gary McKnight since he was 11 years old. But what happens if we miss the playoffs by one game? We missed him today."
Irvine was also missing its best player for much of the game. First baseman Bob Hamelin, who came into the game with five homers and 25 RBIs, was ejected in fourth inning after it was ruled he flagrantly tagged out Durand in the rundown.
In South Coast League action:
Mission Viejo 8, Laguna Hills 2--Bob Doran was 3 for 4 and Don Roberson had a bases-loaded triple to lead the Diablos at Mission Viejo.
Mission Viejo improved its league record to 2-1, 11-3 overall.
David Hori and Rober D'Amaino each were 2 for 3 for the Diablos. Junior right-hander Jack Bailey (4-1) pitched a complete game to get the win. He allowed five hits and struck out six.
Dana Hills 9, El Toro 1--Bryan Hatch (4-2) gave up five hits and benefited from a 14-hit attack by the Dolphins. David Lyon was 4 for 5 with two RBIs, Bill Lasher was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and John Gunderson was 2 for 4 with two RBIs for Dana Hills (2-1, 7-6).