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Crespi Nearly Completes Mission

Baseball: Celts beat Notre Dame, 10-4, to clinch tie for league title and can wrap it up by beating Knights again Friday.


VAN NUYS — It's beginning to look a lot like Crespi High in the Mission League.

With a 10-4 victory over Notre Dame on Tuesday at Valley College, the Celts clinched at least a tie for the Mission League title and put themselves into position to clinch the title with a victory Friday at Notre Dame.

Harvard-Westlake, an 8-4 winner over Chaminade on Tuesday, is the only team that can catch Crespi (18-4-1, 9-0 in league play). The surprising Wolverines (4-3 in league play) would need to win all five of their remaining league games, including a sweep of Crespi in the final two games, to take the league title.

"We're still not satisfied," said Crespi center fielder Andy Campanella, who had three hits, including a home run, and four runs batted in against Notre Dame.

"We want to win the title outright. We want to go undefeated in league. Nobody has done that in a while."

The last team to win the Mission League with an undefeated record was Crespi, which went 14-0 in 1993.

"As soon as we won our first league game we said, 'Let's not lose again,' " Campanella said. "We knew we could beat every team."

For Notre Dame, considered the league favorite entering the season, the loss was a devastating blow that took it out of the league title hunt.

The Knights (11-9-1, 3-3-1) were swept by St. Francis last week and have lost three consecutive league games. They are 4-6 since defeating Chatsworth in a Las Vegas tournament three weeks ago.

"Our backs are up against the wall now," Notre Dame Coach Tom Dill said. "We're not getting a whole lot of breaks lately. I'm telling the guys that we have to start making our own breaks."

Notre Dame out-hit Crespi, 12-9, but all the Knights' hits were singles and three were infield singles.

"You would think that with [12] hits we'd get more than four runs," Dill said. "We've just been having that kind of luck."

Campanella's two-out, two-run triple opened the scoring in the third. It was the first hit against Notre Dame's Ryan Stonerock (2-2), who walked Anthony Trejo and Christian Cardenas with two out in front of Campanella, Crespi's leading hitter and the region's top RBI producer with 38.

Notre Dame answered with two runs in the fourth, but Crespi broke the game open by sending 12 batters to the plate in a seven-run fifth inning. All seven runs came across with two out.

The 10-run outburst ended a mini-slump for Crespi, which scored only seven runs in its previous three games.

Mike Jackson (6-1) started for Crespi and allowed three runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks, but threw 101 pitches in 5 2/3 innings.

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