Pettis Is Big Time in El Camino Real Win

Times Staff Writer

A Woodland Hills El Camino Real student showed up at the City Section championship baseball game Saturday at Dodger Stadium with a white T-shirt that had three words printed across the front: “It’s Pettis Time.”

Junior right-hander Eric Pettis left plenty in the crowd of 4,950 in awe with a dominating pitching performance that enabled the second-seeded Conquistadores to defeat top-seeded Chatsworth, 5-1, ending the Chancellors’ two-year reign as City champions. It was El Camino Real’s first title since winning back-to-back championships in 1997-98.

Pettis (8-1) threw a two-hitter, striking out six and walking one. After giving up a home run to Matt Dominguez, the second batter of the game, Pettis didn’t allow another hit until the seventh inning. He retired 17 consecutive batters between the first and sixth innings.


“It’s all a daze,” Pettis said. “I don’t know what to think right now. I’m sure I’ll figure it out over the next two months. I was just focused on every pitch. I was not thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve retired five in a row.’ ”

In beating Chatsworth (29-4) for the third time in four games this season, El Camino Real (28-6) relied on its strengths: flawless defense, superb pitching and clutch hitting from the top of its order.

Leadoff hitter Shaun Kort had a two-run triple in the sixth inning that broke open a 2-1 game. No. 2 hitter Sammy Donabedian doubled, singled and scored two runs. Sophomore Dominic D’Anna made a major contribution with a run-scoring single in the third that put the Conquistadores ahead, 2-1.

Most important, Pettis never wavered after Dominguez, Chatsworth’s All-City sophomore third baseman, lined a fastball down the left-field line for his 10th home run of the season. Pettis walked the next batter, then was in complete control by combining a sweeping curveball with a fastball that he threw on the outside corner for strikes.

“You have to be so precise against Chatsworth,” Pettis said. “If you miss your spot, you’re going to get hit.”

Said El Camino Real Coach Matt LaCour: “He could have easily collapsed after Dominguez hit the home run. He showed a tremendous amount of character and poise by sticking to what he does best.”

Chatsworth’s hitters could never figure out Pettis, who had held them hitless for 4 2/3 innings in a West Valley League game.

Chatsworth had a 97-4 record over the last three seasons going into the game, but LaCour was confident his team could prevail.

“Every time we’ve played them it’s been a battle,” he said. “Nobody thought we’d win this one except our 20 guys. This team is relentless.”

About the only thing Pettis didn’t do well Saturday was the celebratory dog pile. He was tackled by his catcher, Donabedian, then crushed by teammates. “I couldn’t breathe,” he said.