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Chatsworth Finally Out of Miracles

August 23, 1999|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — After nearly a month of living on the edge, Valley Chatsworth lost its magical ways for pulling out victories.

The team made up of past and present Chatsworth High baseball players was defeated by New Brighton, Minn., 9-2, Sunday at the American Legion World Series, leaving Valley Chatsworth 0-2 in its four-team National Division bracket and eliminated from reaching Tuesday's semifinal round.

Valley Chatsworth had been 11-0 in must-win games during postseason play. But two weeks of sleeping in hotel rooms and living on the road may have finally taken a toll.

Valley Chatsworth's top pitcher, two-time City Section player of the year Mike Kunes, had to leave the mound in the second inning after complaining of pain in his lower back. Kunes said he felt stiffness in his back the previous two nights and ended up sleeping on his hotel-room floor.

Charles Kenny (10-1) replaced Kunes and gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, but the real downfall for Valley Chatsworth was its lack of hitting.

Left-hander Peter Wiedewitsch (7-0) of New Brighton limited Valley Chatsworth to seven hits. Valley Chatsworth briefly held a 2-1 lead in the third inning after scoring runs on a balk and run-scoring single by Scott Sellz.

For the second consecutive series game, Valley Chatsworth had little hitting beyond the top of its order. In two games, the No. 6 through No. 9 hitters were a combined two for 27, making it difficult to put together a sustained scoring threat.

"You need production one through nine, and we struggled," Coach Tom Meusborn said. "Scoring two runs, that's not how this team has been winning all summer."

Sellz contributed three hits in the cleanup spot, but there were few runners aboard to drive in.

New Brighton hit a pair of two-run homers and received four hits and five runs batted in from second baseman Bill Schneider, whose father, Buzz, played on the gold-medal winning 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

"I had to pick between baseball and hockey and I fell in love more for baseball," Schneider said.

Valley Chatsworth (40-9) will end round-robin play today with a game against Edmond, Okla. (42-5), also 0-2 in the tournament. New Brighton (62-4) and Brooklawn, N.J. (45-6) are both 2-0 in the National Division and have already clinched two of the four berths in Tuesday's semifinals.

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