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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Notre Dame Thrown for Loss by Acheatel

Baseball: Sophomore right-hander pitches five strong innings in El Camino Real's 5-3 victory.

March 04, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — Pitcher Greg Acheatel of El Camino Real High is only a sophomore, but he sensed the challenge Friday of having to pitch against a nationally-ranked Notre Dame team loaded with top hitters.

"Scary sums it up lightly," he said. "That's the one game I had to work harder than I had in my life.

"Any ball left over the plate ended up 400 feet on the roof of a house."

Acheatel never backed down in five innings of the San Fernando Valley tournament game, battling on every pitch and enduring whatever the Knights could offer.

He turned over the ball to junior Corey Brown, who responded with two shutout innings of relief to preserve the Conquistadores' 5-3 victory at El Camino Real.

"Greg Acheatel and Corey Brown came up gigantic," Coach Bob Ganssle said. "That's a great hitting team. Every single guy in that lineup is scary to pitch to."

Acheatel said classmates were predicting a slugfest.

They were right, in a way.

By the second inning, two balls had hit the fence and three went over. There were five home runs in the game.

El Camino Real (2-0), ranked No. 4 by The Times, more than held its own in the hitting department. Sean McElroy and Jason Kort hit home runs in the first inning to give the Conquistadores a 3-0 lead. Polo Gomez added a home run in the sixth.

Chris Dickerson and James Rivero hit home runs for Notre Dame (0-1), but the Knights were frustrated by leaving runners in scoring position.

Acheatel, a 6-foot-4 right-hander who has an improved curveball, made big pitches at critical moments.

He struck out USC-bound Jonathon Brewster in the fourth inning with two runners on and the Conquistadores leading, 4-3.

In the fifth, he was saved by center fielder Nick Teslik, who made a diving two-out catch of Robbie Reyes' line drive with two runners aboard.

"Teslik is unbelievable," Acheatel said. "He bailed me out of four jams [Friday] and a couple the other day."

Teslik, a transfer from Crespi, enjoyed beating his former Mission League rivals.

"I love it," he said. "My favorite thing to do is beat Notre Dame."

McElroy, Kort and Beau Savage each had two hits for El Camino Real, which won two games this week without using its No. 1 pitcher, Josh Deneau, who has a sprained ankle.

"This gives me an opportunity to develop some pitching depth," Ganssle said.

"We have no misconceptions what Josh can do. When the time is right, he can come back."

Notre Dame's pitching is considered questionable at best, but Matt Kohan limited the Conquistadores to one run and three hits over the final three innings.

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