Playing its seventh game in five days, using a pitching staff depleted by three significant injuries against one of the top-hitting teams in the district, Van Nuys Notre Dame shut out Newhall Saugus Hart, 7-0, in the American Legion District 20 final Sunday night at Burroughs High.
Van Nuys Notre Dame advances to the area playoffs, which begin Thursday at UCLA and Birmingham High.
Austin Bryant and Ryan Cowsill combined on the eight-hitter against Newhall Saugus Hart, which had averaged more than 10 runs a game in its five playoff games entering Sunday.
"It's a great feeling, especially against a great hitting team like that," said Cowsill, who was credited with the win.
Cowsill relieved Bryant after Bryant used up his 12 innings of eligibility in the fourth inning. Cowsill (7-1) allowed five hits and struck out 11 in his six innings.
The right-hander was the losing pitcher in a 18-6 loss to Newhall Saugus Hart Friday night, when he allowed eight runs in five innings.
Ryan Stonerock, one of the team's top starters, and Phil Polanco, the top reliever, have combined to pitch only 9 innings because of injuries. Joel Kirsten, another starter, has also had limited action.