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North Hollywood Loses to Canoga Park, 10-7

Times Staff Writer

Brian York had his North Hollywood High baseball team prepared for its first round City 4-A playoff game against Canoga Park by practicing on a dirt field with no mound, conditions similar to those at Lanark Park, site of Friday’s game.

Unfortunately for York, the practice didn’t pay off. Canoga Park defeated the Huskies, 10-7.

Canoga Park (12-7) will face Granada Hills, a 16-8 winner over San Pedro on Friday, in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at Granada Hills.

“I don’t want to take anything away from their kids--they played a great game,” York said. “But no game should ever be played on this field. The field is in deplorable condition. There was no mound, and when the pitcher took a long stride, he’d land on the back of a softball rubber.”

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Doug MacKenzie, Canoga Park’s coach, said he didn’t consider the site to be beneficial to either team.

“Most pitchers don’t have trouble with our ball park,” MacKenzie said. “Besides, three of our five losses have come at this park.”

And, make that one for the Huskies.

Canoga Park led, 8-7, through five innings and added two more runs in the sixth. Steve Kachoian, who was 4 for 4, singled with one out in the inning to start the rally. Tim Marquez, North Hollywood’s third baseman then mishandled Mike Kerber’s grounder, sending Kachoian to second. Mike Urman singled, scoring Kachoian and with two out Aaron Marks, who was 3 for 4 with three RBIs, singled to left field to score Kerber.

“That broke our back,” said Danny Bateman, North Hollywood’s hitting leader with two hits in four at bats and four RBIs. “We were only down by one. It really took the air out of us.”

Canoga Park had 14 hits, but it was a fourth-inning error to clinch the victory.

Adam Schulhofer reached first on a force play, stole second, and scored the Hunters’ eighth run when shortstop Mike Wells mishandled a grounder hit by Kerber.

Early in the season, Schulhofer was Canoga Park’s top starting pitcher, but after contracting pneumonia, Kerber (6-0, with 4 complete games) became Canoga Park’s ace.

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He pitched four innings against North Hollywood (17-6), allowing seven hits. Schulhofer, who relieved Kerber in the fifth, allowed four hits, struck out two and walked three.

“The only reason I took Kerber out was because he had sore muscles in his ribs,” MacKenzie said. “Six of our guys got sick, they were coughing at every base. We’re still trying to get Schulhofer in shape.”

Schulhofer’s three innings were the most he’s pitched since April 15.

North Hollywood’s pitcher, Mark Eubanks, is accustomed to a longer stay on the mound.

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Eubanks (8-4) pitched three innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits. It was field related, York said.

“He’s a first team all-league selection with a 2.1 ERA,” York said. “We haven’t given up 10 runs in a game in two years. You explain it to me.”

MacKenzie said he also had reason to be a little unhappy after the game.

“We looked a little shaky late in the game,” he said. “We didn’t pick strikes to swing at. We started swinging at bad pitches.”

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But at least his team gets to play next week.


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