Everyone knew what the story line would be about Thursday at Chatsworth High, where Coach Tom Meusborn would be facing his former pupil, Matt LaCour of Harvard-Westlake, and his group of former Chatsworth assistants.
The Meusborn-LaCour rivalry has been so intense at times that Meusborn once walked back to Chatsworth instead of taking the school bus home after losing to LaCour when he was coaching at El Camino Real. Both have gotten a little older, a little wiser and their respect for each other is very strong. Meusborn had to adjust his team's signs Thursday to make sure his former coaches didn't figure them out.
"This is as fun as it gets around here," said Harvard-Westlake pitching coach Joe Guntz, a former All-City pitcher under Meusborn.
By game's end, the focus and story line had changed. It was all about junior pitcher Gabe Golob of Harvard-Westlake making his first varsity start after missing all of last year with a stress fracture in his elbow. All he did was throw a four-hitter, striking out four and walking one in the Wolverines' 4-0 win.
"He's had the potential to be a guy for us, but that injury delayed him," LaCour said. "To get a shutout in his first varsity start is a big deal. This definitely means he gets another opportunity."
Harvard-Westlake (3-0) broke a scoreless deadlock against All-City pitcher Tommy Palomera with an RBI double in the fifth by Leon Kaplan and an RBI single by Tom Fuller.
The game was almost a chess match, because the coaches knew each other so well. There were signs galore, lots of meetings and constant maneuverings. But in the end, Golob was too good.
"I started off pretty nervous because it was my first varsity start," he said. "As the game kept going, I felt confident I was making pitches when I needed to. I kind of realized if I trusted my stuff, then it's going to be a good day. And I told our offense I just need one run and I'll win this for you. They gave me four."