A year ago, Granada Hills Kennedy seemed ready to make it to the Final Four in City Section baseball. But the Golden Cougars couldn't hold on to a 3-0 lead and lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Birmingham, 4-3.
The West Valley League will be loaded with top teams and top pitchers this season, but Kennedy is hoping to more than hold its own after going 24-8 a year ago.
The big plus for the Golden Cougars is they return their top two starting pitchers in Gilbert Hernandez and Felix Rubi, plus top catcher Chris Sandberg and the Valley Mission League player of the year in first baseman Estevan Rodriguez.
The big challenge is replacing All-City shortstop Nick Rodriguez. Sophomore Jose Olivas looks to be the top candidate.
Of course, San Fernando will offer strong competition in the Valley Mission League, but if anyone wants to knock off a West Valley power, Kennedy could be the team to watch.