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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Jack Is King of the Cassel

Baseball: Kennedy senior has grand slam, complete game in 11-8 victory over Chatsworth and brother Matt.

April 03, 1998|MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHATSWORTH — Big brother gets the bragging rights, for at least one day.

Kennedy High senior Jack Cassel hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, finished with three hits, drove in five runs and threw a complete game in an 11-8 victory over Chatsworth--and younger brother Matt--Thursday afternoon at Chatsworth.

The victory celebration will be short-lived. Weather-permitting, the Northwest Valley Conference rivals will play again today at 3 p.m. at Kennedy to make up a game that was postponed Tuesday because of rain.

With a 0.84 earned-run average, Jack Cassel figured to keep the Golden Cougars--ranked sixth in The Times' regional poll--close to the top-ranked team with his pitching. His .545 average also made him one of the best hitters in the region.

Cassel's double in the first inning off Ismael Marin helped give Kennedy (8-2, 5-0) momentum and a 3-0 lead.

The Chancellors responded with three runs, including an RBI single by Matt Fisher, in the bottom of the second inning.

But Kennedy proved to have too much offense.

By the time Cassel hit the home run of Scott Sellz in the sixth, giving Kennedy an 11-3 lead, the plate umpire had to hold back the rest of the Golden Cougars, who rushed to greet Cassel at the plate.

Despite trailing by eight runs, the Chancellors (9-1, 4-1) didn't go quietly.

Mike Kunes and Tom Morefield hit home runs on consecutive pitches to open the bottom of the sixth.

"I wasn't getting tired, I was getting lackadaisical," Jack Cassel said. "I guess I just wanted to make it close for coach [Manny Alvarado]."

In the seventh, Kunes hit a three-run home run and Chatsworth had runners on first and second base. But Cassel (4-1) had enough in reserve to get pinch-hitter Chad Redfern to pop up to the mound to seal the victory.

"This was a big game for him, so we wanted to let him finish it," Alvarado said. "His pitch count was still OK."

The individual battle between the Cassel brothers went to Jack. Matt, a sophomore designated hitter, hit three ground balls to third and walked.

"No question he got the best of me today," said Matt Cassel, whose average dropped from .519 to .467. "I just rolled over on three of them."

"I just tried to think of him as just another hitter, although he's a pretty good one," Jack Cassel said.

Cassel wasn't the only Golden Cougar with a big offensive game. First baseman Tim Arroyo finished with three hits, including two doubles, and scored three runs. David Hernandez had an RBI triple in the fifth inning that gave Kennedy a 7-3 lead.

"It's always the big question with us, are our bats going to show up?" Alvarado said.

Despite the rainout earlier this week and the potential for more rain this weekend, Chatsworth Coach Tom Meusborn kept his regular pitching rotation.

But Marin (2-1), the returning West Valley League player of the year, struggled for the second consecutive start, giving up seven hits and six earned runs in four-plus innings.

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