When Darryl Stroh says his baseball team hits well, it means something.
Stroh, in his 17th season as coach at Granada Hills High, has breeded more hit men than a 1920s mob, and his Highlanders have won five City titles in the past 11 years.
He unleashed his hungry hitters for nine runs in the first inning Wednesday at Monroe and cruised to a 15-5 victory in a Mid-Valley League opener for both teams.
Right fielder Bob Allen paced the Highlanders' 16-hit attack, going 4 for 5 with a home run and seven runs batted in. His two-run homer came in the first against Viking starter Larry Kolb, when the Highlanders (5-1) sent 13 men to the plate. Allen had what looked to be another homer in the same inning, but it was ruled a ground-rule double.
Monroe Coach Kevin Campbell certainly believes that Stroh has an impressive lineup.
"There's no doubt," he said. "They swing the bat extremely well all the way through the lineup. I can't remember one easy out today. Everything they hit was hit really hard."
Kolb, a junior who fell to 1-2, wasn't ready to argue.
"It seemed like no matter where I pitched the ball, they hit it hard some place," he said.
Sean Casey (3-0), who transferred to Granada Hills after quarterbacking the Alemany High football team to the Big Five Conference playoffs last season, pitched four innings and picked up the win.
It was his performance at the plate, however, that commanded attention against Monroe.
Casey had two singles and a homer in five trips to the plate. His solo home run in the first came immediately after Allen's shot, and gave the Highlanders a 4-0 lead.
Stroh is quick to point out that Allen and Casey are not the only ones capable of having a big game.
"Every part of our lineup can hit," he said. "Today, it was Casey and Allen. Who knows, tomorrow it might be Fowble and Takahashi."
Greg Fowble and Danny Takahashi didn't do too badly on Wednesday, either.
Fowble, an All-City receiver in football, was 3 for 5 and scored four runs. Takahashi was 1 for 2 with three walks and three runs scored.
Center fielder Sean Brown also had a good day, collecting three hits in three at-bats.
"That's just one day," Stroh said, referring to his team's impressive offensive showing. "Still, you've got to be pleased when you hit the ball that way."
Monroe (2-3) had a tougher time at the plate. The Vikings managed only four hits off three Highlander pitchers.
Left fielder Paul Halsch, Monroe's No. 9 hitter, had two of those hits, but Monroe couldn't score before Granada Hills already had the game in hand.
Will Campbell take a different approach when the Vikings meet Granada Hills later in the Mid-Valley season?
"Well, it's tough to find a weakness on their team," he said. "You look at your charts and try to find their tendencies and weaknesses and you just can't."
Allen doesn't foresee any change in the Highlanders' attack, either.
"We're all hitting," he said. "It's great. I hope we can keep it up. In fact, we've got to keep it up, and I think we will, too."
GRANADA HILLS--Casey, Kessler (4), Smith (7) and Olsen.
MONROE--Kolb, Garcia (5) and Eldridge.
WP--Casey (3-0); LP--Kolb (1-2).