Canoga Park Swamps Reseda, 15-4 : Multiple-Run Innings, Return of Pitchers Lead Hunters to Title

Times Staff Writer

The rest of the West Valley League had to have heard Canoga Park High's cannons all the way from the Thousand Oaks tournament.

This was the Canoga Park team people had expected to hear from since the beginning of the season: Thirteen hits and four innings in which three or more runs were scored.

And in a 15-4 win over Reseda in the tournament final at Thousand Oaks High, there was a new addition--fine pitching.

"We're back," said a smiling Adam Schulhofer, who hit a three-run home run and pitched three solid innings.

With the return of junior pitchers Mike Roberts, who had been academically ineligible, and Mike Kerber, who had tendinitis, Schulhofer can keep smiling--he won't be expected to carry the pitching load any longer. Roberts started and threw four effective innings Wednesday. Kerber pitched well Tuesday.

It was Reseda's misfortune to be the only West Valley team in the vicinity of Canoga Park, its booming bats and battery of arms. And the Regents, who were riding the crest of a three-game tournament winning streak, were blown out of the water.

"We came to this tournament to get our ship righted and in the proper direction," said Reseda Coach Mike Stone, who happens to live on a boat in San Pedro Harbor.

After clear sailing the first two days of the tournament with wins over Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and Diamond Bar, Reseda (5-6) was capsized by the Hunters, who had three tournament wins of their own after struggling to a 4-3 league record at the season's midpoint.

"We were in better shape with pitching than they were," Canoga Park Coach Doug MacKenzie said. "Getting Mike and Mike back not only gave us an emotional lift but a physical lift on the field."

Reseda scored three runs on a home run by Carlton Hardy and three Canoga Park errors in the top of the first, but the lead was short-lived. The Hunters came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Designated-hitter Casey Fink singled home the last two runs in the first and finished with five RBIs on three hits. Kerber also had three hits and Mickey Snook had two.

"I just hope we don't get cocky like we did early in the season," Fink said. "Our pitching is back and that's what we were lacking."

About all the Hunters lack now is warm bodies. Only 11 players suited up, leaving the organizers of the tournament with a surplus of championship trophies.

"One player was absent because of an illness in the family and another just didn't show up," MacKenzie said. "He won't get a trophy."

With the addition of two pitchers, Canoga Park (8-4, 4-3) is in much better shape for the balance of the West Valley League race, which resumes next week.

Reseda, meanwhile, also hopes to make a move after beginning league play with a record of 2-5.

"Until today we played well against good teams," Stone said. "We proved to ourselves that we are a good team. We'll just try to forget about today."

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