Hershfield, Van Nuys Have Title in Sight
Van Nuys Notre Dame playing Santa Susana for the American Legion Area 6 championship?
After scattering eight hits through eight innings to earn a 7-4 victory over Westside in a playoff game Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium, Jason Hershfield can see it happening.
As opposed to Saturday morning, when he couldn’t see much of anything. Without eyeglasses and unable to get his contact lenses in, Hershfield was scratched from his scheduled start against Pomona.
“I told him he was starting [Saturday night], no matter what,” Van Nuys Notre Dame Manager Jody Breeden said. “I told him to bring a seeing-eye dog.”
Contacts in place, Hershfield did just fine in guiding Van Nuys Notre Dame into a matchup at noon today against Santa Susana (22-5-1). Santa Susana, 2-0 in the playoffs, can wrap up the area title with a victory. If Van Nuys Notre Dame wins, the teams will play a second game to decide the championship.
“I feel really good about [Saturday night],” Hershfield said. “It was a good feeling to come out here and be able to pitch well in a game like this, in a place like this.”
Hershfield’s curve kept Westside guessing all night long, and he was strong throughout, striking out four and allowing two earned runs and one walk. He left only when he used up his 12 innings of eligibility.
“He did a great job, a great job,” Breeden said. “He did exactly what we needed.”
Playing its 10th game in 11 days, Van Nuys Notre Dame (30-6) had to win two games and conserve a depleted and fatigued pitching staff.
The scenario is the same today, but Van Nuys Notre Dame is envisioning more victories.
“It’s a good momentum builder for us,” said Van Nuys Notre Dame’s Brendan Ryan, who had three hits and one run batted in.
“We knew we could do it. We just needed to play the way we can, and we’ve been doing that the past two days.”
As a reward, Van Nuys Notre Dame gets a hoped-for rematch with Santa Susana, which won a first-round meeting between the teams, 8-6.
“Whatever it takes for us to win [today], we’re going to try to do it,” Breeden said. “We’ll be ready to play, that’s for sure.”
Van Nuys Notre Dame took the lead for good against Westside (22-6) with four runs in the third on three hits, a fielder’s choice a walk and a hit batter.
Westside, which led, 1-0, after the first inning, added single runs off Hershfield in the third and eighth, and got one more in the ninth off reliever Austin Bryant.
Van Nuys Notre Dame 24, Pomona 14--Six players each had at least two hits for Van Nuys Notre Dame, which earned a berth in the Saturday night game.
John Puccinelli had a two-run homer, a two-run double and five runs batted in, and Jon Horwitz had four hits and three RBIs for Van Nuys Notre Dame.
Van Nuys Notre Dame’s Ryan Stonerock and Kevin Jerkens each had three hits, and Alec Moss and Chris Dickerson each had two.
Despite a 20-hit attack, Van Nuys Notre Dame had to rally twice.
Van Nuys Notre Dame trailed, 4-3, after the first inning, but rallied with four runs in the second and led, 7-6, after two innings.
Pomona led, 9-7 and 11-8, before Van Nuys Notre Dame rallied.
Van Nuys Notre Dame moved ahead, 12-11, with four runs in the seventh on two hits, two walks andtwo Pomona errors. Jerkens hit a two-run double in the inning.