Guntz Helps Chatsworth Gut Out City Final, 2-1

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chatsworth High's pitcher is no ordinary Joe.

Left-hander Joe Guntz of Chatsworth improved his career record to 25-0 by outdueling Joram Iboa of Roosevelt and lifting the Chancellors past the Roughriders, 2-1, in the City Championship game Tuesday night before 3,536 at Dodger Stadium.

In 21 playoffs innings, Guntz (14-0) limited opponents to one run while relying on a Chatsworth defense that committed one error in four games.

Guntz struck out 10, walked five and gave up four hits. He did not have his best control, but the seventh inning told the story why he has never lost in high school.

With one out, Raul Ramirez hit the ball off Guntz's glove. Guntz threw the ball into the dugout for an error, putting the tying run on second base.

Others might have started feeling the pressure.

Not Guntz, who became more animated. He struck out Iboa for the second out, then walked Edgar Sedano to put the potential winning run on base. Up came Francisco Figueroa, Roosevelt's best hitter. The count went full. Guntz struck him out on a called third strike.

"I scared myself," Guntz said. "I was throwing hard but not hitting my spots. I knew we were going to win. I had a good feeling."

Said second baseman Gregg Wallis: "He's a competitor. Even when he doesn't have his best stuff, he finds a way to get it done."

Besides Guntz and its defense, Chatsworth (31-2) unveiled another weapon. Jon Selman, who began the year as a starting right fielder, then lost his job after an injury, came off the bench in the fourth inning to deliver a pinch run-scoring single that proved to be the game-winner.

"This was a dog fight," Coach Tom Meusborn of Chatsworth said.

The aura of playing at Dodger Stadium combined with its large confines did not help Roosevelt (24-9-1). Sophomore catcher Art Gonzalez was under constant pressure behind the plate, with Chatsworth trying to steal bases at every opportunity. The Roughriders had two wild pitches and a passed ball.

In the first inning, the Chancellors showed their aggressiveness, with George Spadier stealing second after a two-out walk. Jared Halpert followed with a run-scoring single.

A dropped fly ball by right fielder Figueroa in the fourth opened the door for Chatsworth to increase its lead to 2-0. Selman drove in Jason Dominguez with a single to right.

Roosevelt ended Guntz's playoff scoreless streak at 18 2/3 innings when Iboa hit a run-scoring single in the fifth, scoring Gonzalez, who had doubled.

Roosevelt's march through the playoffs as the 15th-seeded team earned the Roughriders respect, and Iboa's pitching only enhanced it. He allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked three.

It was the 28th time in 29 seasons that a San Fernando Valley team has won the City Championship, four by Chatsworth.

Roosevelt, like everyone else over the last two years, was unable to figure out how to beat Guntz.

"Every time he looked like he was losing it, he gutted it out," Coach Scott Pearson said.

As for being 25-0, Guntz said, "It doesn't mean nothing. This is what it's all about."

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