In every athletic contest, there is the warm-up, the heat of the competition and the cool-down. But in the case of the Chatsworth High baseball team, the warm-up period lasted four innings during Thursday’s game against West Valley League rival Taft.
Chatsworth, mired in a 1-1 tie until the fifth, racked up eight hits and scored nine runs in the last three innings to cool off the host Toreadors, 10-1, in a game that gave the Chancellors (9-2 overall, 6-0 in league play) sole possession of first place.
“They are explosive,” Taft Coach Rich McKeon said. “They have at least, I’m sure, four Division I players. There’s a couple of guys that may even be drafted.”
Chatsworth exploded in the fifth, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring four runs on three hits to take a 5-1 lead.
Kevin Chong walked to lead off the inning and with one out Rich Aude also walked. A single by Eric Johnson loaded the bases and Derek Wallace followed with a ground-rule double off the scoreboard in right field to score Chong and Aude. Johnson scored and Wallace went to third on Vince Simili’s sacrifice fly to right and Chatsworth led, 4-1. Reed McMackin drove in Wallace with a ground-ball single up the middle for the final run of the inning.
Chong and Aude again walked in the sixth and scored on Johnson’s double down the third-base line. Simili drove in Johnson with a double to increase the lead to 8-1.
Chatsworth, ranked third in The Times Valley Poll, added two more runs in the seventh to account for the final score.
The Toreadors (7-4, 4-2) scored their only run with two out in the first when Glenn Nahmias tagged McMackin’s three-and-two pitch over the right-field fence for a home run and a 1-0 lead.
“After that first inning, I thought we were going to light them up all game, but we didn’t,” McKeon said.
McMackin (4-0), a junior right-hander, gave up two hits in the first but allowed only one the rest of the game and struck out five.
“Reed’s come a long way,” Chatsworth Coach Bob Lofrano said. “He’s really a bulldog type on the mound and he’ll really challenge the hitters by keeping the ball in the strike zone.”
The Chancellors tied the score, 1-1, in the third when Jason Evans hit a two-out triple to center and scored on a single by Aude.