Batting averages figured to suffer when two of the Valley’s best pitchers squared off Tuesday in the City Section 4-A Division quarterfinals at Chatsworth High. Derek Wallace of Chatsworth and Grant’s Javier Delahoya have combined for 35 wins the past three seasons.
But the arms that harmed had nothing to do with pitching. Instead, they hung from the shoulders of the Grant infielders, who combined for five errors--all throwing. The mood was contagious. Even Delahoya threw away a pickoff attempt for the team’s sixth error as Chatsworth posted a sloppy 11-6 victory.
The win moves the Chancellors (21-6) into today’s semifinals against Palisades, a 5-2 winner over defending-champion Monroe. The game is tentatively scheduled for Cal State Northridge.
The season ended for Grant (16-5) largely because of nerves, according to Coach Tom Lucero.
“Six errors is very uncharacteristic for us,” he said. “I think that’s a sign that we were nervous. We played well on Friday, so how can you explain something like that?”
The teams combined for seven errors, four hit batsmen and 12 walks. Chatsworth scored seven runs in the third inning on only two hits. Wallace singled home one run and Vince Simili capped the inning with a two-run single. Grant scored six times in the fourth on four hits.
“It wasn’t pretty for either pitcher,” Chatsworth Coach Bob Lofrano said. “Our game plan was to be as aggressive as possible. I’m not saying that led directly to runs, but sometimes that makes a team get antsy.”
Chatsworth scored in the second on a sacrifice fly by Reed McMackin, added a single run in the fourth on a run-scoring triple by Kevin Chong and capped the scoring on Rich Aude’s two-run single in the fifth.
Delahoya was kept in the entire game, making 150 pitches in his final appearance for the Lancers. The senior right-hander allowed seven hits, six walks, hit three batters and struck out nine. Six of the runs were unearned. Delahoya (9-1) ends his three-year career with a 19-4 mark--and the Chancellors’ respect.
“We didn’t want him to intimidate us but he threw really hard,” Wallace said. “I got fisted all three times I was up.”
Delahoya also delivered a bases-loaded triple that keyed Grant’s six-run fourth and knocked Wallace from the game.
After three scoreless innings, Wallace was yanked in the fourth after suffering a cramp in his right calf. He allowed six runs, all earned, on five hits and three walks. He said that he would be ready to pitch in today’s game if needed.
Jason Evans also said he would be ready today if McMackin, the scheduled starter, runs into trouble. Evans (3-1) rescued the Chancellors against Grant, yielding two hits and three walks in 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Evans apparently has recovered from a hyper-extended right elbow he sustained while working out in a batting cage last week.
“My arm wasn’t 100% today but it was good enough to throw,” he said. “I could go another three or four innings tomorrow.”