Springing Forward

As more and more teams are eliminated from the north and south regional basketball playoffs it becomes the spring season at more and more schools across the state. Here's some updates on three stories to watch throughout the season: Chatsworth baseball, Foothill (Tustin) softball and Pacific Grove slugger Trevor Howell.

The first major weekend of the spring sports season in the state was highlighted by the Chatsworth baseball team's 6-3 victory last Friday over Chaminade of West Hills, the Foothill of Tustin softball team's 3-0 trip to the Fresno area and a prolific home run hitter parking six over the fence in three games.

Chatsworth, ranked No. 2 in the state top 20 to start the season, trailed Chaminade throughout, but ralled for a 6-3 win in eight innings. A three-run eighth was the difference for the Chancellors and made a winner out of pitcher Joe Guntz, who improved to 26-0 for his prep career.

Guntz's unbeaten record is now tied for fourth on the all-time state list, according to the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac. Topping that list at 33 straight pitching wins is Mike Pill from Edgewood of West Covina (1975-77) and Richard Hunter from Linfield of Temecula (1991-93). Guntz moved past the total of 25 straight set from 1971-72 by El Segundo's Scott McGregor and one of the ones he's now tied with at 26 is Eddie French, who played at Sacred Heart of San Francisco way back in 1909.

The only word to describe how the the Foothill girls looked in beating Bullard of Fresno once and Clovis twice would be: wow. Coach Joe Gonzalez club now has to be the favorite to win top honors at the upcoming Arizona Tournament of Champions even though preseason No. 1 Fairfield will be there, too.

Foothill, No. 2 in the preseason state top 20 and No. 4 in the preseason Student Sports FAB 50, looked like No. 1 in beating Bullard, 17-0, then coming back the next day to win 12-1 and 3-2 over Clovis. Alison Yin pitched a complete game one hitter in the 12-1 win and went 3-for-4. She had two hits and was the winning pitcher in the second game against Clovis, too. Yin had a no-hitter against Bullard and Caitlin Lowe had four hits, four steals and three runs scored. Bullard was the No. 1 team nationally last year, but obviously doesn't have anyone who will be able to replace graduated standout Marissa Marzan.

Meanwhile, media calls from the Monterey Bay area came in droves last week when Pacific Grove's Trevor Howell hit two home runs in three different games. The slugging catcher, who played football last fall with a cast on his hand, is healthy now and is taking aim at the state career record. Some in the area still thought the state record was 39 set in 1986 by Brian Johnson from Skyline of Oakland. Last year, though, Ismael Salas from Marian Catholic of San Diego broke Johnson's mark and set the total at 48. Howell's hot start gave him 34 career homers.

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