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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS: PREP EXTRA

Poly's Gonzalez Has Upper Hand Against Elders

Baseball: Freshman limits El Camino Real to three hits over six innings in 5-3 victory.

April 07, 1998|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SUN VALLEY — In a game that featured only eight senior starters, it was the youngest player on the field who looked like a veteran.

Poly High freshman Abraham Gonzalez gave up three hits in six innings in a 5-3 victory over El Camino Real in a Kennedy tournament game Monday at Poly.

Although the hits Gonzalez allowed were doubles, the 6-foot right-hander handled most situations admirably until he tired in the seventh.

"He's really poised for a ninth grader," Coach Chuck Schwal said. "I just have to make sure I take care of his arm so I have him four years from now."

Gonzalez (3-1 with three saves), who threw 112 pitches before being replaced by Salvador Trujillo in the seventh, kept the Conquistadores off-balance with a good mix of fastballs, curveballs and sliders.

"I extended him over 100 pitches today, but he will have a week to rest," Schwal said. "He has real good mechanics, so I didn't feel bad about pushing him a little bit."

With Poly ahead, 5-2, Schwal removed Gonzalez two batters into the seventh. After the leadoff batter reached on an error and Gonzalez hit Jesse Dechter with a pitch, Trujillo walked Jared Maiden to load the bases with nobody out.

And just like that, the Conquistadores had the go-ahead run at the plate. But the Conquistadores were their worst enemy, running themselves out of the inning.

Matt Schwartz, who doubled in the first inning, hit a high chopper to shortstop Johnny Manuel. Dechter, who was at second base, started toward third but ran back to second. Manuel threw to second baseman Juan Guerrero, who touched the bag and tagged out Dechter for a double play.

The Conquistadores (5-6) took a 1-0 lead on a run-scoring double by Conor Jackson in the first.

Poly (8-2-1) tied the score, 1-1, on a single by Jorge Felix in the second and moved ahead, 2-1, in the third when right fielder Jesus Gallo dropped a fly ball with two out, allowing Manuel Flores to score from second.

El Camino Real pulled even, 2-2, in the fourth on Sean McElroy's double.

Poly answered in its half of the inning with four singles to score three runs off starter Ryan Gunches (1-1), who made his first start and allowed eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

With two out, Manuel singled up the middle to score Angel Espindola for the go-ahead run. After Trujillo walked, Flores' line drive to center scored two runs to give Poly a 5-2 lead.

"[Gunches] couldn't throw the curveball for a strike, so he was trying to get me with fastballs," said Flores, who had three of Poly's nine hits.

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