Mike Kunes enjoyed a rousing season debut with the Chatsworth High baseball team Saturday in the Westside tournament.
The junior left-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning en route to a 6-0 complete-game victory over Rio Mesa in pool-play action at Chatsworth High.
Kunes also had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the second inning.
"I was a little shaky the first three innings," said Kunes, who allowed six hits while striking out six and walking four. "But when we scored first it took some of the weight off of my shoulders."
The Chancellors (1-0), the top-ranked team in The Times' preseason poll, broke the game open with four runs in the sixth inning.
After Rio Mesa's Greg Ramirez walked Kenny Levinson with the bases loaded to force home Tom Morefield, Chatsworth third baseman Danny Eisenberg doubled down the left-field line to score three runs.
"That was a clutch hit for us," Chatsworth Coach Tom Muesborn said. "We made a few mistakes on the basepaths and we were impatient at the plate, but you expect those things in your first game."
Eisenberg was two for three with a walk and four runs batted in, including a single to right that scored Bryan Gant and gave Chatsworth a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning.
Kunes, who was 13-1 in American Legion ball in the summer, retired the Spartans in order in the third and fourth innings.
"I mostly used my curveball in the first two innings," Kunes said. "But once we got a big lead I started throwing harder and using more pitches."
Rio Mesa (1-1), ranked eighth by The Times, left nine runners, five in the first two innings.
"Early on, we had our opportunities, we just couldn't come through with the key hits," said Rio Mesa Coach Rich Duran, whose team defeated Alemany, 10-2, Friday in the first round.