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Rio Ruiz stings the ball to lift Bishop Amat over Chatsworth, 5-0

Junior third baseman has a run-scoring double and two singles in nonleague game at USC.

March 14, 2011|Eric Sondheimer

For all the debate and discussion about the new bat rules in high school baseball, there's at least one player who couldn't care less whether he's using BBCOR, BESR or a wood bat, and that's Rio Ruiz of La Puente Bishop Amat.

Hand him a plastic bat and he'd probably crush a Wiffle Ball. Last season, he hit two home runs in the National Classic with a wood bat. And this season, he's 11 for 21 with five doubles using a BBCOR aluminum bat.

On Monday night at USC, Ruiz had a run-scoring double and two singles in Bishop Amat's 5-0 victory over No. 3-ranked Chatsworth.

It was a night to savor for Ruiz, a long-time USC commit who loves to hum the USC fight song. He's only a junior, so he's still a year away from deciding whether to become a Trojan or possibly sign a professional contract.

"It's great to come out here and play under these lights," Ruiz said.

Ruiz has moved from shortstop to third base this season in an effort to strengthen the infield. He also starts at quarterback for the football team, and the lifting of weights has made him strong, which helps him generate lots of bat speed.

"He's a cross between Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez," Coach Andy Nieto said, referring to the former Chatsworth standouts who could be in the major leagues this season.

Nieto said Ruiz wanted to use a wood bat this season.

"I said, 'Are you nuts?' Aluminum is still better than wood."

Said Ruiz: "I dealt with it, had to roll with the punches and everyone is swinging the bat well. It doesn't matter what it is. Put the bat on the ball and it's going to go."

Bishop Amat (4-2), ranked No. 13 by The Times, turned in a near flawless performance against the Chancellors. Sophomore first baseman Adam Alcantara had four singles, making him 10 for 18 this season.

The Lancers got 11 of their 12 hits against starter Angel Rodriguez (1-1). And the Lancers' strategy of pitching by committee worked against a Chatsworth team that won the Easton tournament Saturday and is considered the City Section title favorite.

Daniel Zamora threw 4 2/3 innings and gave up four hits. David Berg gave up one hit over 2 1/3 innings.

Chatsworth (5-1) faces the same challenge as a year ago when it came up short in the City title hunt. The Chancellors don't have a clear-cut No. 1 pitcher, and that makes them susceptible to defeat when they face a top team with pitchers who can throw strikes.

What's encouraging for the Chancellors is that Aaron Brown could be emerging as an ace. He had a shutout last week against Newhall Hart. Shortstop Brady Conlan had three of Chatsworth's hits Monday.

Bishop Amat begins Del Rey League play Friday against Santa Fe Springs St. Paul.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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