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TOURNAMENT

Kunes Loads Up, Then Unloads

April 04, 1999|ERIC SONDHEIMER

LAS VEGAS — Feeling energized after making six trips to the buffet line the night before, Mike Kunes of Chatsworth High hit a two-run home run in the first inning to set the tone in the Chancellors' 12-3 victory over Sylmar and All-City pitcher Ivan Hernandez on Saturday at Eldorado High.

The Chancellors (10-2) wiped away the memory of a 15-3 loss to Bonanza on Friday and finished 3-1 in the Bishop Gorman tournament.

"We got slaughtered [Friday] night," Kunes said. "We got pumped up today for Hernandez, had a good approach and did what we had to do."

The Chancellors scored four runs in the first inning despite Hernandez throwing fastballs between 88 and 91 mph. Chad Redfern's two-run triple followed Kunes' home run.

Sylmar (9-2) closed to within 4-3 with two runs in the second inning, but right-hander Scott Sellz (3-0) of Chatsworth wouldn't let the Spartans get any closer. He struck out eight, walked four and scattered six hits on a cold, windy and overcast morning.

Chatsworth broke open the game with a three-run fifth that featured run-scoring singles by Kunes and Sellz.

But the real excitement came in the top of the seventh when the plate umpire ejected Hernandez after he hit shortstop Matt Fisher with a pitch.

Coach Gary Donatella of Sylmar vigorously protested. The two players exchanged comments earlier in the game, but Hernandez insisted he was not trying to hit Fisher.

"Give me the ball again," Hernandez said. "I'm willing to go right now. They don't intimidate me."

The two schools played several times in winter ball looked at the game Saturday as a trial for the playoffs.

"We're not a team that can get into a slugfest," Donatella said.

Hernandez held the Chancellors hitless in the second, third and fourth innings.

Sellz again provided Chatsworth with a big boost. He's the No. 2 pitcher behind Kunes, but no one is treating him as a backup.

"Sellz has become a real good prospect," Kunes said.

Added Donatella: "I always thought he's done a good job.

"If he's a No. 2 pitcher, some team would like him to be their No. 1. He's a competitor."

So is Kunes, City player of the year last season who is bound for UCLA. He pitched a five-inning shutout with 10 strikeouts on Thursday night.

He has become more comfortable at the plate since Coach Tom Meusborn elevated him to No. 2 in the batting order.

As an eater, he's also a champion based on how much he devoured at a buffet on Friday. Ribs, roast beef, turkey, shrimp, chicken--he was a nonstop eater, which might earn him the nickname, "Six-Plate Kunes."

Sylmar finished 2-2 in the tournament, but the future looks bright.

Freshman shortstop Jamie Mah is handling the pressure of varsity competition.

Sophomore pitcher Greg Ramos is 3-0 and Hernandez, despite a 2-2 record, is feeling good and throwing hard.

Ahead for the Spartans are tough East Valley League games against Poly and Grant.

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