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Wooley Stays to the End in Santa Ana Playoff Victory

May 09, 1998|STEVE KRESAL

Shaun Wooley broke new ground as a pitcher Friday when his complete game helped Santa Ana beat visiting San Bernardino Valley, 10-2, in a Southern California baseball playoff game.

It was the first time Wooley, a converted infielder, had pitched nine innings. He said his longest previous outing was seven innings as youth-league all-star.

But the left-hander worked with such ease Friday, it seemed as if he could have pitched until dark. Wooley (6-2) gave up four hits, struck out four and retired 12 of the last 13.

"That's one of the best pitched games we've had all year," Santa Ana Coach Don Sneddon said. Santa Ana was short on pitching early in the season so Wooley was used as a reliever. He moved into the starting rotation three weeks ago when Greg Young got sick.

Wooley has a fastball, curve and a changeup but relied mostly on the first two pitches. Art Cuellar homered on a first-inning changeup.

His ability to get his curveball over early in the count was the difference for Wooley. "I just finally put it all together," he said, "I'm new to pitching so I haven't mastered anything yet. My curveball is pretty much my money pitch. Without it, I'd only have one pitch."

Reggie Nelson got Santa Ana even in the first with a leadoff home run. Nelson finished with two hits, scored two runs and drove in two. Teammate Joe Urban had three hits and drove in three.

Michael Vento, who returned to the lineup after being out about a month because of a hand injury, had a triple, walked twice and scored three runs. Cory Williams, who went from second to ninth in the lineup because of sore wrist, added three hits and drove in a run.

Santa Ana (30-13) can close out the best-of-three series when the teams meet at 11 today at Santa Ana. If San Bernardino Valley (29-9) wins, a second game will follow 30 minutes after the first game.

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