Baseball: Get ready for more ECR-Chatsworth drama at Dodger Stadium
It's going to be hard to top the drama and excitement from Saturday's City Section Division I championship game at Dodger Stadium that saw El Camino Real pull out a 5-4 victory over Chatsworth in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out, two-strike, two-run single by JJ Crane.
Fans might as well get used to it, because both teams figure to be stronger than ever in 2013.
Good luck to left-handed hitters in the West Valley League next season. You might want to start practicing to become a switch hitter, considering the Conquistadores return their two left-handed starting pitchers, Luke Laurita and Owen Perry, who shut out Chatsworth for five innings on three hits. Also back is catcher Michael Pope, hot hitting designated hitter Nick Snyder, first baseman Hayden Rappoport and outfielder Yannick Villanueva.
Chatsworth will counter with the league pitcher of the year in Jason Karkenny, plus pitcher Nick Milone, who was effective as a closer, and pitcher Harsa Prahara. First baseman Chris DeVito came close to hitting a ball out at Dodger Stadium and is headed for All-City honors. Also back is center fielder Jerry Ismerio, who had some big hits, and watch out for young infielders Riley Conlan and Sam Shaikin.
El Camino Real has now won seven City titles. The problem for the nine-time champion Chancellors is that they are 1-5 in championship games against El Camino Real. It's pretty clear that when the Conquistadores have good coaching, they're a threat to win every time. Coach Josh Lienhard, in his fourth season, has proven to be a very good coach and is forcing Chatsworth Coach Tom Meusborn to work extra hard to get his ninth City title.
Get ready for the rematch in June of 2013.
-- Eric Sondheimer