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As Playoffs Near, Crespi Begins to Make Its Move

Mission: Celts remain tied for first place and fire on all cylinders in 10-0 baseball victory over Chaminade.


VAN NUYS — The Crespi High baseball team usually starts reaching peak form just in time for the Southern Section Division I playoffs.

It's happening again.

Marshall Plouffe, a junior right-hander filling in for the injured Tim Leveque, tossed a four-hitter and benefited from flawless defense and timely hitting as Crespi routed Chaminade, 10-0, Friday in a six-inning Mission League game at Valley College.

This was a breakthrough week for the Celts (18-5, 9-1 in league play), who had zero errors in a two-game sweep of the Eagles (15-6, 4-4). When the season began, ground balls were disasters in the making because of an inexperienced Crespi infield.

But sophomore shortstop Dale Legaspi and junior second baseman Brian Horwitz look like veterans after 23 games in their positions. Good defense and good pitching wins games, and that's what Crespi has begun to do.

"I'm very excited," Coach Scott Muckey said.

This was a blowout from the beginning, when Michael Jackson's two-run double in the first inning gave Crespi a 2-0 lead.

Virtually each time a runner was in scoring position, a Celt batter drove the runner in.

Matt Wilson had a run-scoring double. Legaspi had a two-run triple. Leveque had a run-scoring double and run-scoring single. Max Flaum had an RBI single and RBI groundout.

The Celts also made two double plays in support of Plouffe (4-1), who struck out three and walked four in the most pressure-filled game of his career.

In the fifth, with the bases loaded and two out, Chaminade had the region's RBI leader, Spencer Gordon, at the plate. But Plouffe got him to ground out.

"I was real happy," Plouffe said. "I was just trying to hit my spots. To 10-run a team as good as Chaminade, this is a great game for us."

How many teams could lose their No. 1 pitcher for three weeks and go 5-0 in league play?

That's what the Celts accomplished without Leveque, who is expected to return to the mound next Friday after resting his right elbow.

"If we can throw Leveque, we will, but it's really a plus for your third guy to come out and pitch like that today," Muckey said. "[Plouffe] is probably our best low-strike pitcher."

Flaum, Leveque, Jackson, Legaspi and Wilson each had two hits for Crespi.

Michael Nesbit contributed two hits for Chaminade.

Crespi is tied with Notre Dame for first place in the Mission League with two games to play against Alemany.

"Their defense was outstanding," Chaminade Coach Scott Drootin said. "They play like that, they'll be fine in the playoffs."

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