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Kohon's Latest Relief Effort Is Winner for Notre Dame

Division IV: Senior right-hander comes in at crucial juncture and picks up 4-3 victory over St. Paul in second-round playoff game.

May 24, 2000|MITCH POLIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SHERMAN OAKS — Pitcher Matt Kohon said he lives for such moments.

For the second consecutive game, the Notre Dame High senior was summoned in a crucial situation and he responded brilliantly--again.

Kohon pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in Notre Dame's 4-3 victory over Santa Fe Springs St. Paul in a Southern Section Division IV second-round game Tuesday at Notre Dame.

With the tying run on first in the seventh inning, Kohon (8-1) induced Brandon Vayda to ground into a double play to end the game.

"I have so much behind me with our defense that I have a lot of confidence when I come in a game," Kohon said.

That was evident from the moment Kohon stepped on the mound in the fifth.

With runners on second and third with one out, center-fielder Steve Moss put an end to the rally when he caught a fly ball by Michael Gray and fired to second to double-up Fausto Gonzalez and maintain a 3-3 tie.

St. Paul (19-12), which won the Del Rey League, had the go-ahead run on first with one out in the sixth when right-fielder Chris Dickerson made a diving catch of a fly ball by Tim Jimenez.

"With Kohon on the mound, it gives us a lot of confidence," Dickerson said. "Every time he comes in, he pitches a good game."

It wasn't the finest offensive display for the usually potent Knights, but it was timely.

Notre Dame (17-9) had nine hits, all singles, with four coming in the sixth.

Matt Cunningham scored what proved the winning run on James Rivero's sacrifice fly with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth.

Cunningham, who opened the inning with a single, finished with three hits and drove in the first three runs for Notre Dame.

Designated hitter Lee Johnson had two hits for the Knights.

"It was just a case of Notre Dame making the plays," Coach Patrick Fitzsimons of St. Paul said. "I give credit to their defense. That's what won the game for them."

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