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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Guntz Is High-Roller in Las Vegas

April 13, 2001|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LAS VEGAS — Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Chicago--none of those cities would come close to bringing out the best in Joe Guntz from Chatsworth High.

But Las Vegas. . . .

"It's my favorite place," Guntz said.

Guntz didn't even mind a 5:45 a.m. wake-up call Thursday at his hotel. The junior left-hander turned in perhaps his most effective pitching performance ever, striking out a career-high 11, walking none and allowing four hits in a 1-0 victory over Jordan from Sandy, Utah, in an opening game of the Bishop Gorman tournament at College of Southern Nevada.

Guntz (7-0), who is 18-0 in his high school career, threw 75 pitches and didn't walk a batter.

"It felt like I could put the ball anywhere [Thursday]," he said.

He needed to be at his best because Jordan left-hander Brian Nielsen limited Chatsworth (17-0), top-ranked in the region, to five hits.

The Chancellors scored in the second inning. Jason Dominguez led off with a double, went to third on a sacrifice and scored on Justin Cassel's double.

Cassel and Gregg Wallis finished with two hits apiece.

The only time Jordan (6-5) had more than one runner on base in the same inning was the first, but Guntz helped himself by picking off a runner.

Guntz has never been known as a strikeout pitcher and his control can be erratic. He walked four last Friday against Marshall in three innings.

But he challenged hitters from start to finish, changed speeds and never allowed anyone to become comfortable.

"We looked at a couple things mechanically and that made a difference," Coach Tom Meusborn said.

Chatsworth, ranked No. 3 in the nation by several publications, is hoping to show off its outstanding pitching staff this weekend while playing four games in three days.

There aren't many teams that can match a staff consisting of Guntz (1.24 ERA), sophomore Cassel (4-0, 3.39), freshman Dominguez (4-0, 3.05) and senior Sean Richards (2-0, 0.88).

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