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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Chatsworth Lefties Right On

March 10, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHATSWORTH — After four games, Chatsworth High's three left-handed pitchers are making Coach Tom Meusborn feel as if he's the manager of the Atlanta Braves.

All Meusborn does is pick the starter, hand him the ball and sit back. The Chancellors are 4-0 with four complete games by three left-handed pitchers.

"It sure helps to have left-handers," Meusborn said. "I don't think clubs see that many lefties. I've never had three lefties on a staff."

Sean Richards, a junior, won his second game, allowing five hits while striking out six in the Chancellors' 12-1 victory over Newbury Park in a Westside tournament game Thursday halted after five innings because of the 10-run rule.

Chatsworth finished with 11 hits. Brian Levinson had a run-scoring single in the first, a run-scoring single in the second and a run-scoring double in the third. Jacob Ball hit a two-run home run. Sophomore Ryan Barba hit a two-run double.

The Chancellors moved into the Blue Division championship game against Calabasas (3-0-1) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Redondo High.

With only one returning starter from the team that won the City Championship last year, Chatsworth wasn't expected to dominate this early in the season. But the pitching staff is doing just that.

"They don't understand they're not supposed to do this well," pitching coach Matt LaCour said. "They just throw."

Richards, the No. 1 pitcher on junior varsity last season, has excellent movement on his pitches and throws his curveball for strikes.

His major obstacle against Newbury Park was a first-inning collision with first baseman Ball.

The first batter of the game, Jared Buckley, hit a pop foul. Richards caught the ball as the 200-pound Ball rammed into his chest.

"[Ball] should have been playing outside linebacker," Meusborn said.

Richards stayed on the ground for close to five minutes, touching his nose, stomach, leg and mouth.

"It hurt everywhere," he said.

But he went back to the mound and took care of the Panthers (1-1). He didn't want to surrender the ball and that seems to be the attitude of the Chatsworth staff.

"When we give them the ball, we don't want it back," LaCour said.

Most left-handers are considered a little wacky, but Richards and Ball (1-0) don't compare to the crazy one of the staff, sophomore Joe Guntz (1-0).

"I don't know if we're normal, but Joe is out of control," Ball said.

Guntz is expected to start against Calabasas.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

LEFTY POWER

Three Chatsworth left-handers have thrown four complete games:

*--*

Pitcher,Rec. R ER SO BB H Sean Richards,2-0 3 2 8 5 10 Jacob Ball,1-0 1 1 4 2 4 Joe Guntz,1-0 3 0 4 6 5

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