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Chatsworth Has the Winning Combination

June 07, 2003|Steven Herbert,Eric Sondheimer | From Staff Reports

Justin Cassel (14-0) and Jason Dominguez (11-0) are the best one-two pitching combination Tom Meusborn has had in 14 years as baseball coach at Chatsworth. They desperately needed each other Friday in a City Championship semifinal game.

Dominguez, after struggling on the mound, hit a tie-breaking home run in the fifth inning, then turned the ball over to Cassel, who picked up his first save with two shutout innings of relief to give top-seeded Chatsworth a 4-3 victory over Wilmington Banning at Lake Balboa Birmingham.

"Obviously, I didn't have my best stuff, but to get pulled for Cassel, that's not a bad thing," Dominguez said.

Fifth-seeded Banning (23-12) put two runners aboard against Cassel in the sixth with one out, but Ruben Noriega grounded into a double play that Coach John Gonzalez bitterly contested after Noriega was called out at first.

"That call was terrible," Gonzalez said. "Our kid beat the throw easily. They were on the ropes and that umpire let them off."

Chatsworth (32-1) trailed for the first time in more than a month after Banning took a 2-0 lead in the third. But Dominguez contributed a two-run double to tie the game. Mike Fernandez homered in the fourth for a 3-2 Chatsworth lead.

Consecutive doubles by Banning's Johnny Mendez and Pablo Villicana tied the game in the fifth.

"Nobody gave us a chance, but we proved we could play with anybody," Gonzalez said.

Cassel was pitching on only one day's rest after throwing 84 pitches in a 2-0 quarterfinal victory. Meusborn asked him early in the game if he could pitch.

"I told him, 'You better believe it,' " Cassel said.

Chatsworth will play Carson in the City Championship final game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Carson 1, L.A. Roosevelt 0 -- Edgar Sedano, who had not allowed an earned run all season, hit Johnny Rodriguez with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to allow the only run in a semifinal at East Los Angeles College.

Sedano (5-2) began the fourth by walking Felipe Aguilar and Jon Sims. Bo Napoleon then singled. Sedano's 1-1 split-finger fastball hit Rodriguez in the back, forcing in pinch-runner Todd Gallegos.

Second-seeded Roosevelt (28-4) loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, but was unable to score. With one out, Luis Rodriguez attempted a squeeze bunt, but reliever Jonathan Hernandez's pitch was high. Sedano, who had broken for home, was chased back to third.

Sedano broke for home when Carson trapped the runner from second, but was tagged out on a headfirst slide, which was ruled illegal and he was benched by the umpire for the rest of the game.

"I should have broken sooner," Sedano said. "As soon as I saw him running toward second, I should have gone up."

Third-seeded Carson (24-9) advanced to its first City final since 1995.

Luis Magadan (14-4) allowed three hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter over five innings. He was removed to start the sixth because he had pitched the maximum 10 innings for the week. Hernandez allowed one hit and issued one walk in two innings.

Carson left fielder Juan Vargas robbed Arturo Gonzalez of a home run in the fourth by reaching over the fence for the catch.

-- Steven Herbert

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