HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : Banning's Busby No-Hits Van Nuys in 4-0 Victory

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Minutes after Banning High's Mike Busby pitched his second no-hitter of the season Wednesday, it was back to business as usual. Rake in hand, he proceeded to groom the mound in preparation for the Pilots' next game.

"That's their job," Banning Coach Syl Saavedra said of his players' postgame chores. "There are no prima donnas on this team."

Least of all Busby. The unpretentious senior, a young man of few words, again let his powerful right arm do the talking as he pitched Banning to a 4-0 victory over visiting Van Nuys in the first round of the L.A. City Section 4-A Division playoffs.

The top-seeded Pilots (18-6) advance to the second round Friday at Banning, where they will play Monroe, a 4-3 playoff winner over Granada Hills.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Busby made quick work of Van Nuys, dispatching the Wolves on 95 pitches in a game that lasted barely two hours. He struck out 11 and allowed only four baserunners--none of whom got past second--in improving his record to 10-0 with his 10th complete game.

Van Nuys (5-14) didn't hit the ball out of the infield, as Busby recorded 10 ground-ball outs.

"They didn't want to swing at anything," Busby said. "They were just looking."

Comparing it to the no-hitter he pitched March 28 against Washington, Busby said: "This was much easier."

Van Nuys Coach Bill Gordon agreed that his team was overmatched. The Wolves reached base on two walks, a hit batter and an error by Banning shortstop Mark Chavez.

"This was the most dominating performance we've faced," Gordon said. "I think we were a bit intimidated."

Gordon, however, said Banning will have a tougher time beating some of the better San Fernando Valley League schools. The Pilots, who are not known for their offensive prowess, managed only six hits--all singles--against Van Nuys right-hander Rusty Howard, who brought a 1-8 record into the game.

"I think they'll have a rough time against some of the Valley teams," Gordon said. "There are some good teams out there."

Raul Diaz scored the only run Banning would need in the first inning. He singled with one out, went to second on a bunt by Jose Pizano and raced home when Van Nuys catcher Alex Alvarenga threw the ball away at third on a steal.

The Pilots added a run in the second. Jeff Harris led off with a walk, went to second on a bunt by Jose Bernal and scored on Anthony Lozano's single to right field.

The score remained 2-0 until Banning tallied two runs in the sixth. Lamont Dobbins stole home during a double-steal with Harris, who eventually scored on an error.

Banning will start Chavez (6-3) on the mound Friday, with Busby capable of going three innings if needed under the rule limiting pitchers to 10 innings per week.

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