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ROUNDUP: VAN NUYS GETS IT TOGETHER.

Byline: Daily News

With their new uniforms not due to arrive in coach Bill Chastain's office until today, the Van Nuys High baseball team that took the field for Wednesday afternoon's first- round game in the Daily News Invitational admittedly didn't look like much.

Senior pitcher Chris Sawhill took the mound wearing a black T-shirt with no number (same as the rest of the Wolves players), a pair of old pants from his closet and mismatched black socks hiked to his knees.

But Van Nuys was able to make a statement in their season opener - even if it had nothing to do with fashion - scoring four runs in the seventh inning for a 5-2 victory over host Taft of Woodland Hills.

``We get it together,'' Sawhill said, speaking about both his team's uniforms and its come-from-behind victory.

Taft took a 2-1 lead into the seventh but imploded from there. The Toreadors, playing their first game for new coach Greg Venger, committed four errors in the inning, gave up two stolen bases and hit a batter.

``You play catch, you win the game,'' Venger said. ``They're frustrated right now and they should be.''

Senior center fielder Sal Juarez singled in Sawhill for the tying run in the seventh and Van Nuys tacked on three more runs courtesy of Taft errors. The Toreadors had six errors and only two hits for the game.

Sophomore Richard Nunez came in from second base to pitch the Wolves' final three innings. And Nunez earned his first high school victory by allowing no hits and one walk, striking out Troy Simonian to end the game.

``He's a big package packaged into a small body,'' Chastain said of Nunez. ``They don't expect what comes out of him.''

Taft's Eddie Carrillo gave up just one unearned run and six hits while striking out eight in six innings. But Venger elected to relieve Carrillo, who struck out four of the last six hitters he faced, in the seventh with the senior left-hander's pitch count above 100.

The Toreadors have three seniors new to the program this year, including star receiver Brandon Anson, who played center field Wednesday and hit a double in his first at-bat. Taft will get six players back from academic ineligibility next month, Venger said.

- Ross Siler

--Reseda 6, Canoga Park 5: Host Reseda nearly threw the game away - literally and figuratively - by committing four errors before rallying for four runs in its final at-bat in a game called after the sixth inning because of darkness.

Trailing 5-2, Reseda's Stephan Linden started the rally when he was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a Luis Cabrera groundout. Rigo Herrera singled, moving Linden to third and Scott Bush followed with a run-scoring base hit.

Kurush Italia and Jamie Torres both walked to load the bases with the score tied 5-5 and Gilbert Castillo hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Italia with the game winner.

Linden was shaky at best in his two innings of work, striking out four and walking three to earn the victory. Torres, the Regents' leadoff hitter, went 2 for 3 with two stolen bases.

--Monroe 8, North Hollywood 1: Visiting Monroe of North Hills provided starter Tony Garcia with plenty of run support, scoring four runs in the first and three more in the second in a season-opening victory.

Garcia pitched a complete game three-hitter with seven strikeouts, and his lone blemish was a solo home run by Jackson Walker in the seventh.

--Sylmar 8, Grant 0: Steven Luna pitched a complete-game five-hitter, striking out nine for host Sylmar in its season opener.

The junior left-hander threw 82 pitches, retired the side in order in four innings and tossed first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 25 batters he faced.

--Birmingham 11, Eagle Rock 1: Birmingham of Lake Balboa's Max Limonick pitched a no-hitter the unconventional way, striking out four and walking three in a game called after six innings because of the mercy rule.

--Notes: Huntington Park and host Wilson of Los Angeles played to a 5-5 tie in a game called after eight innings because of darkness. ... Wednesday's game between visiting Granada Hills and crosstown rival Kennedy of Granada Hills was rescheduled for today at 3 p.m.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 4, 2004
Words:708
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