The coaches of the North Hollywood High and Polytechnic baseball teams deny that any rivalry exists between the two teams. But that’s hard to believe after Thursday’s East Valley League game at North Hollywood.
Going in, North Hollywood’s only loss this season had come at the hands of the Parrots. Poly made it two in a row, collecting nine hits to defeat the Huskies, 8-7, tying the teams for second place with 5-2 records.
The Huskies also had nine hits, but most of the noise was not made at the plate. Late in the game, tempers flared and players from both benches exchanged insults.
Suddenly, the rivalry seemed very much alive.
North Hollywood’s Mark Eubanks hit leadoff batter Ken Tatum with a pitch in the seventh inning. Huskies Coach Brian York contended that Tatum had taken the pitch intentionally.
“People are taught to crowd the plate,” York said. “He definitely turned into that pitch.”
Tatum went to first and Eubanks struck out the next batter, but six more Parrots came to the plate before the Huskies had the second out of the inning.
Poly scored five times in the inning to erase a three-run deficit and take an 8-6 lead.
The Huskies had only one error before the seventh. Luis Porres hit a ground ball to second baseman Danny Bateman, who fumbled the ball, enabling Porres to reach first base. Harbind Walia doubled, scoring Tatum, then Tim Hunts’ single to left drove in Porres and Walia.
With the score tied at six, Joe Speakes hit a double to center field, scoring Danny Gil, who had walked. Ray Palafox drove in the insurance run with a sacrifice fly.
The Parrot bench exploded, mobbing each runner as they scored.
“It’s the most emotional game we’ve had,” Poly Coach Jerry Cord said. “They got kind of mean to each other for a while.”
The Huskies fought back in the seventh.
Leadoff batter Peter Straus walked, but Tim Marquez and Peter Washington flied out. Glen Raasch then drove in Straus, putting the winning run at the plate. But Doug Williams grounded out to end the inning.
Traditionally, teams exchange handshakes after a game, but after Thursday’s game, the teams were anything but amiable.
Instead, York and Cord exchanged handshakes, and the teams were separated.
“Tempers were flying between both teams,” Washington said. “If we had shook hands with them, there would have been a fight.”
POLYTECHNIC--Palafox, and Hunt.
NORTH HOLLYWOOD--Eubanks, Washington (7) and Raasch.
WP--Palafox (4-2); LP--Washington (0-1).