Baseball: El Camino Real looks in City title form
The practice games are mostly over, so Wednesday's start of West Valley League play was a chance to gauge where the top teams are at as the race for the City Section baseball championship gets serious. And defending champion Woodland Hills El Camino Real showed it's ready to make another title run.
All-City pitcher Jose Cardona threw a five-hitter, striking out six and walking one, and he also had a home run and single to lead the Conquistadores (9-6, 1-0) to a 5-0 victory over Lake Balboa Birmingham (9-5, 0-1).
Chris Nicholson hit a two-run home run and Chris Whitmer added an RBI double. But the play of the game was turned in by the double-play combination of shortstop Mason Novak and second baseman Jake Mills.
Birmingham had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the fourth of a 1-0 game. Erick Munoz lined a one-hopper up the middle. Novak got to the ball, then flipped it direct from his glove to Mills, who made the barehanded catch, tagged second and threw to first to complete the double play.
Chatsworth opened league play with a 9-1 victory over Reseda Cleveland. Angel Rodriguez threw a two-hitter. Aaron Brown went three for five. Brady Conlan added two hits.
Granada Hills defeated Woodland Hills Taft, 6-1. Nathaniel Pyle struck out four and allowed three hits. Case Gergen had a two-run double. Pyle struck out Mike Hymes with the bases loaded in the sixth.
In the Valley League, Fulton defeated Vaughn, 8-2. Alfredo Resendiz struck out 13 in six innings.
In the Eastern League, Roosevelt defeated South Gate, 12-8. Luis Peraza and Andrew Garcia each had three hits.
-- Eric Sondheimer