Even in Victory, It's Wait Until Next Year


Oh, those 'D' words.

Pick one, two, three descriptors--degrading, demeaning, devastating--and they describe Chatsworth High's tough luck in City Section baseball championship games.

Another word, this one more appealing to Chatsworth fans, now comes to mind: Dynasty.

After the Chancellors defeated Roosevelt, 2-1, for the City Championship before 3,546 Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, the on-field soiree began. Most of the attendees were underclassmen.

Seven starters return for the Chancellors, ranked No. 3 in the nation in one poll.

That's bad news for everybody not wearing orange and navy blue.

The "2001 L.A. City" champion hats were made before the game, a nod to confidence--perhaps arrogance, Roosevelt fans would say--and were passed out afterward to the Chancellors, kings of the one-run victories.

Get used to this cast.

"Hopefully we'll be right in the middle of things next year," said Chatsworth Coach Tom Meusborn, whose team went 10-0 in one-run games.

"It's a tribute to some of these young guys."

Joe Guntz (14-0 this season, 25-0 in his career) was solid, pitching with aplomb and covering up mistakes when he made them.

He threw 113 pitches, struck out 10, allowed four hits, walked five and hit one batter. He's a junior left-hander.

Freshman Jason Dominguez (6-0), who throws in the mid-80s, and sophomore Justin Cassel (5-2) also return to the mound for the Chancellors.

Junior power sources Brian Lee (seven home runs) and Jared Halpert (six home runs) will be swinging for the fences again.

Halpert turned 17 on Tuesday. He hit a run-scoring single in the first inning. The world was his.

"This was truly the best experience of my life so far," he said, before talking about a potential championship rerun next year. "We have [the ability]. Whether we're going to do it or not is the question.

"Anything's possible with these guys."

Not like the Chancellors need it, but junior infielder Ryan Braun of Granada Hills, who hit .427 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs, has been accepted to Chatsworth as a transfer. He said he hasn't made his decision yet. If he watched Tuesday's game, his bags are packed.

The Chancellors' biggest worry next year might be whether they play El Camino Real in the championship--they're 1-3 against the Conquistadores in title games, a potential problem averted this season when the Conquistadores were placed in the lower Invitational playoffs.

No need to keep secrets. The word's already out. It's tough to keep a lid on a program that could do it all again next year.

"They could all be seniors, but could still come back strong next year," Roosevelt Coach Scott Pearson said.

"Chatsworth reloads every year anyways."

Peering into the Chancellors' crystal ball, it's not a risk to make predictions for next year.

Another run at a national No. 1 ranking.

Another West Valley League title. And another City title.

As long as they don't play El Camino Real.

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