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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Stonerock Makes the Sun Set on Chaminade, 4-3

Baseball: His home run gives Notre Dame the victory right before game is about to be called for darkness.

March 21, 1998|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SHERMAN OAKS — The sun was setting and it appeared that for the second time in four days Chaminade High and Notre Dame would finish in a tie in a baseball game.

Just before Notre Dame's Ryan Stonerock stepped to the plate with two out in the seventh, Knight Coach Tom Dill was informed by the plate umpire that the game would be called because of darkness after the inning.

But Stonerock wasn't about to let the sun set on the Knights, not while he still had an at-bat.

The left-handed cleanup hitter hit a towering home run to right field to give Notre Dame a 4-3 victory Friday in a Mission League game at Notre Dame.

"I was just looking for a pitch to drive and I got it," Stonerock said.

Stonerock got all of Nate Dunlap's 3-1 fastball and drove it at least 30 feet beyond the breakaway fence in right field, 310 feet away.

With the game tied, 3-3, two out and nobody on, the pitch seemed a bit risky, given Stonerock's reputation as the best hitter on Notre Dame's squad.

Turns out it was just a big mistake.

"That pitch wasn't even supposed to be in the strike zone," Chaminade Coach Scott Drootin said. "And it ended up over the plate."

The second matchup between the two teams had less offensive punch than the first game, which ended in a 6-6 tie. But at least this one had a winner.

Chaminade (3-2-1, 0-1-1), which had runners at first and second and one out in the bottom of the eighth Tuesday when umpires called the game because of darkness, picked up where it left off three days ago.

The Eagles scored two runs in the first as Stonerock struggled to control his curveball.

Chaminade loaded the bases on a error, a single and a hit batter and then waited patiently for Stonerock to throw a strike.

With the bases loaded and one out, Stonerock, a senior left-hander, walked in two runs, issuing consecutive walks to Bobby Berger and John Higashi (two for two).

"My shoulder felt fine. My arm just felt kind of dead," Stonerock said.

Stonerock was pulled in favor of Ryan Cowsill, who got out of the inning on a strikeout and ground out.

In the second, Chris Martinez of Chaminade hit his sixth home run, an opposite-field shot to left to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

Notre Dame (4-2-1, 1-0-1) tied it in the fifth, getting a little help from a fly ball lost in the sun and a balk to score three times.

Phil Polanco (2-0), the Knights' third reliever, got the victory.

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