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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

No Cakewalk for Chatsworth

4-A: Monroe, without pitching John Ennis, gives top-seeded Chancellors a battle before falling, 9-7.

June 03, 1998|MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHATSWORTH — Even with their best pitcher playing first base, Monroe High was able to give top-seeded Chatsworth a scare in the City Section 4-A baseball quarterfinals.

But that's all it was, a scare.

Chatsworth survived a shaky first inning, scored six runs in the fourth and held off Monroe, 9-7, Tuesday before a standing-room-only crowd at Chatsworth.

The Chancellors (27-3) will meet fourth-seeded Kennedy for the third time this season in a semifinal Thursday tentatively scheduled at Pierce College. The teams split a series in March.

When Monroe ace John Ennis, a UCLA-bound right-hander who is 9-3, decided at practice Monday he would not pitch on three days' rest, the Vikings' chances appeared remote Tuesday.

But eighth-seeded Monroe (17-14-1) responded by playing one of its best games of the season.

"Right now I do [have regrets about not pitching]," Ennis said. "Hopefully five years from now I won't. But I couldn't ask us to do anything more than what we did. We showed we're more than what people think we are."

Ryan Ennis (2-3), John's junior brother, started and pitched well until the fourth inning. But after he was staked to a 4-3 lead, Ennis gave up four runs and was replaced by breaking-ball pitcher Jesse Madrid, who gave up run-scoring singles to Mike Kunes and Tom Morefield as Chatsworth took a 9-4 lead.

Monroe continued to battle. John Ennis hit a two-run home run in the fifth to cut its deficit to 9-6. Then the Vikings rallied in the seventh against Chatsworth ace Mike Kunes, who pitched in relief for the first time this season.

After striking out the first two batters, Kunes walked Adam Kaplan and allowed singles by John Ennis and John Mort. Suddenly, Chatsworth's lead was only 9-7 and the Vikings had runners on first and third.

"They wanted to win as much as we did," Chatsworth second baseman Danny Eisenberg said.

But Kunes got Rafael Arroyo to hit a ground ball to the mound, providing an easy end to a difficult game.

"This will be good for us, to have a tough game," said third baseman Matt Cassel, who had a two-run double in Chatsworth's fourth-inning rally.

Cassel and Eisenberg were playing out of position because the Chancellors have lost starting second baseman Kevin O'Hara for the season.

O'Hara, a senior who was batting .349 and had committed only five errors, broke the tip of a finger on his throwing hand at practice Monday. O'Hara underwent surgery Monday night and will be sidelined at least four weeks.

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