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Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.


Four West Valley League teams advance to City Section Division I semifinals

 (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The domination by San Fernando Valley teams in City Section high school baseball was on display in Friday's Division I quarterfinals. All four West Valley League teams came away victorious, making it 44 times in the last 45 seasons that a Valley team will be crowned City champion.

Next Wednesday's semifinals at USC will match rivals Chatsworth against El Camino Real at 3 p.m., followed by Birmingham against Cleveland at 6 p.m.

It's a repeat from the 2016 season when the same four teams made it to the semifinals.

"That's unbelievable," Birmingham coach Matt Mowry said.

Chatsworth has been the No. 1 team all season and is the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but Birmingham (24-9-1), the fourth-place finisher, could be the hottest of the West Valley teams. The Patriots, behind left-hander Eddie Rosales, defeated Banning 2-0. He struck out six and walked none. In 14 playoff innings, Birmingham pitchers have zero walks.

"It means we're throwing a lot of strikes, putting the balls in play and letting our defense do the work," Rosales said.

Kevin Olmos had an RBI double in the second inning, and the Patriots added another run on a misplayed fly ball that got lost in the sun. Banning pitcher Adrian Cobos kept his team within striking distance and also had two hits but the Pilots never threatened after leaving the bases loaded in the second inning.

Chatsworth cruised to an 11-1 victory over Kennedy. Josh Medina struck out seven. The star of the game was Alex Milone, who had a double, three-run home run and finished with six RBIs.

El Camino Real hung on for a 6-5 win over No. 4-seeded San Pedro, the last non-Valley team to win a City title in 1992. Freshman Adam Christopher got the start for ECR and Cameron Gaskill got the save. Joseph Avrahamy contributed two RBIs.

Cleveland advanced with a 3-1 win over No. 3-seeded Venice. Bryan Suppan and Greg Conklin combined for five shutout innings in relief. Nick Schmidt had two RBIs, and Sam Villa, back from an injury, contributed two hits.

The winners on Wednesday will advance to the championship game on June 3 at Dodger Stadium.


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