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Schultz Has Grown-Up Credentials

City 4-A: Cleveland pitcher impresses scouts, throws one-hitter against Sylmar in 3-0 first-round playoff victory.

May 21, 1997|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

RESEDA — Mike Schultz is too tall to stay in the shadows, and is throwing too hard to remain a secret.

With major league scouts bunched around the backstop, Schultz made his latest pitch for the June draft, throwing a one-hitter to lead Cleveland High to a 3-0 victory over Sylmar on Tuesday in the first round of the City Section 4-A Division baseball playoffs at Cleveland.

The 6-foot-7 senior right-hander struck out nine, walked two and allowed only a single by Jose Acevedo in the fourth. He has won five in a row, including a no-hitter against San Fernando and a 1-0 victory over Kennedy and projected first-round pick Jon Garland.

Schultz's fastball was clocked at 87 mph and scouts see plenty of room for improvement. And plenty of time: He doesn't turn 18 until November.

"I'm getting strong and I'm maturing into my body," Schultz said. "I'm pitching with confidence. It's at the point where I know I can do it."

Surprisingly, Schultz has received little attention from college recruiters despite carrying a 3.0 grade-point average and having scored about 1,000 on the Scholastic Assessment Test. However, Cal State Northridge pitching coach Tim Montez watched Tuesday's game and left impressed.

"I'd love to play baseball professionally, that's my goal in life," Schultz said.

Although he has played four seasons on the varsity, Schultz is a late bloomer. He also plays basketball--he led the area with 127 blocked shots and averaged 10.8 rebounds this year--and dividing his time kept him from reaching his pitching potential.

"He hasn't done a lot of throwing in the off-season," said Gary Schultz, Mike's father. "With basketball, it's been a juggling act."

Schultz won't be a first-round pick like Garland, but he might be a middle-round bargain. He lowered his earned-run average to 1.56 and has 101 strikeouts and 28 walks in 81 innings.

"The first time the scouts came out, I was hesitant and I think he was too," Cleveland Coach Steve Landress said. "Now he's relaxed."

Schultz (7-3) loosened up after walking the leadoff Sylmar batter. He struck out the next four batters and never allowed a runner to reach third base.

Cleveland (16-11) scored two in the second on consecutive run-scoring singles by Vince Zuniga and Dan Bengsten and added another in the third on a run-scoring single by Jared Mills.

Justin Savitt stole three bases for Cleveland, which had eight hits against Acevedo (5-5).

Acevedo's single put runners on first and second with two out in the fourth, but Mario Pacheco bounced out to third. Sylmar (15-12) had two runners on in the sixth after two errors, but Schultz struck out Acevedo and got Pacheco to fly out.

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